Brave Woman Posts First-Ever Bikini Photo, Goes Viral

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Lesley Miller deserves your applause. 

A rising senior at Rice University, Miller has shared an open and honest Facebook page that details the shame she's felt about her body for as long as she can remember.

Lesley Miller

The message is included as a caption to Miller posing in a bikini... for the first time in her life.

"I've spent the past 18 years of my life waiting," begins the lengthy, emotional caption.

It continues:

"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."

But that day never came. Not for a very, very long time.

Miller wrote that when she was 7, she lied in order to sit in on Weight Watchers meetings.

When she was 15, she began “cutting into [her] own skin.”

When she was in fifth grade, she weighted 250 pounds and had lap band surgery.

You know what? We can't do this justice.

We'll just let Miller explain her journey and we'll just offer her our very best wishes and our strongest praise for having reached a place where she's confident to share the photo above.

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:)

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