Britney Spears or Rihanna probably don't remember the first time they took a photo of themselves in a goddamn bikini, but 21-year-old Lesley Miller will remember her first bikini pic forever. "I've spent the past 18 years of my life waiting," she says of the photo, which she posted to the Facebook group Love What Matters. It's since been liked over 24,000 times, and not even for pervy reasons.
The post reads:
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 three my classmates asked why I was so much bigger than them. Why I didn't wear the same smock they did.
When I was seven, 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 nine I went to weight loss camp and stood in line the first week to take my "before" photo.
When I was eleven 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 fifteen, I started cutting into my own skin. I thought I deserved it.
When I was twenty, 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 twenty one 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.
It's a nice reminder, just in time for summer: you too can wear a bikini. Try it. It will make going to the bathroom at the beach easier.