This 21-year-old woman's first ever bikini photo has gone viral

This 21-year-old woman's first ever bikini photo has gone viral

Lesley Miller is 21. But unlike so many of her contemporaries, she doesn't constantly upload selfies to Facebook and Instagram - at least, until now.

Lesley took what she says is her first ever pic in a bikini recently, and it's amassed more than 30,000 Facebook likes thanks to the empowering message she posted with it.

As young as the age of three Lesley struggled with her weight, she wrote. She joined Weight Watchers and weight loss camps as a child, and took the drastic measure of getting weight loss surgery at just 11.

Her body issues spiralled during puberty, leading her to self harm.

At the age of 20 Lesley said she lost half her body weight in just nine months - but that did not make her happy either.

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.

After 18 years of waiting, Lesley wrote, she was tired of it.

So she decided to go out and wear what she wants anyway:

...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.

Lesley's post was met with praise for her courage in telling her story and its positive message about self-acceptance.

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.

Well said.

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