This Woman's First Bikini Photo Ever Has A Powerful Story Behind It

A June 2 Facebook post for Love What Matters shows Lesley Miller smiling while posing in a black, purple, and aqua two-piece swimsuit. What makes the post remarkable is the 21-year-old woman’s moving explanation of why the image, her first bikini photo ever, is so important. After a lifetime of struggling with body image, Miller decided to don her first bikini, and to show her body as it is, without shame. It's a powerful example of body acceptance and self-love.

“I've spent the past 18 years of my life waiting,” she begins. “I kept my body covered up and hidden away. I told myself that one day I would finally let myself be seen; I would finally do all of the things I dreamed of when I was enough. Thin enough, happy enough, confident enough. When my body looked the way that it was ‘supposed’ to.”

Miller recalls feeling self-conscious of her body at as young as three years old, when classmates questioned why she didn’t fit into the smocks they wore. She writes that, at 7 years old, she lied to get into Weight Watchers, and at nine, she attended a camp for weight loss. She remembers “[standing] in line the first week to take my ‘before’ photo.”

“When I was eleven the surgeon cut into my stomach,” she writes. “He told me how happy I would finally be. I was the youngest person to have weight loss surgery.” A few years later, she began harming herself. “I thought I deserved it,” she says.

After so many years of feeling “continually ashamed and silent,” Miller finally “got tired of waiting,” and at 21, she bought her very first bikini. She writes,

You can see it all. Weird bulges and rolls of fat. Hanging excess skin. Stretch marks, cellulite, surgical and self harm scars. Awkward protrusion on my abdomen from my lap band.

I want to learn to love all of myself, not just the parts I've been told are “acceptable.” Because the secret is, I was always enough. And you are too.

Readers are cheering for Miller’s story, and her refusal to feel ashamed any longer. More than 2,800 commenters have written messages of support and thanks. One reader commented, “Love yourself, happiness follows. You are more than enough. If you believe, you are extraordinary!” Another wrote, “What a wonderful testimony to finding self worth, to love yourself now, because you are so much more than weight or any idealization. You are your smile, your friendship, and all the thousand facets that make you unique!” Take a minute to read Miller’s full post above.

Images: Kaz/Pixabay; Love What Matters/Facebook