We shiver through the winter months dreaming about a day at the beach. But when the weather finally turns sunny and we pull out a bathing suit, our excitement is instantly replaced by a flood of insecurities.
Lesley Miller knows just how that feels. She's struggled with her weight her whole life—buying her first bikini at 21—and is sharing her powerful message of self-love and acceptance (and a photo where she's rocking the bikini) on the Facebook page Love What Matters. "I told myself that one day I would finally let myself be seen," Miller writes. "I would finally do all of the things I dreamed of when I was enough. Thin enough, happy enough, confident enough."
Check out her full post below:
I've spent the past 18 years of my life waiting.
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.
I fought my body every step of the way, continually ashamed and silent.
When I was 3, my classmates asked why I was so much bigger than them. Why I didn't wear the same smock they did.
When I was 7, I lied to the lady at Weight Watchers, desperate to sit in on meetings full of middle-aged women trying to shed a few pounds.
When I was 9, I went to weight loss camp and stood in line the first week to take my "before" photo.
When I was 11, the surgeon cut into my stomach, and he told me how happy I would finally be. I was the youngest person to have weight loss surgery.
When I was 15, I started cutting into my own skin. I thought I deserved it.
When I was 20, I lost half my body weight in nine months, my worth for the day solely determined by the number on the scale being lower than the day before.
And then I got tired of waiting.
So now I'm 21 and I bought my first bikini. EVER.
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.