"I want to learn to love all of myself, not just the parts I've been told are 'acceptable,' " says Lesley Miller

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated June 07, 2016 10:20 AM
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Source: Lesley Miller/Facebook

Lesley Miller had struggled with her body image for as long as she could remember.

“I’ve spent the past 18 years of my life waiting,” Miller, 21, wrote in a Facebook post for Love What Matters. “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,” she continued. “I fought my body every step of the way, continually ashamed and silent.”

Miller recalls being body shamed as young as 3 for having to wear a larger size smock than her classmates. At 7, she tried to join Weight Watchers, and at 9 went to weight loss camp.

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She got lap band surgery when she was only 11 years old.

“When I was 11 the surgeon cut into my stomach, and he told me how happy I would finally be,” wrote Miller. “I was the youngest person to have weight loss surgery.”

Miller began self-harming at 15 because “I thought I deserved it.”

At 20, she lost half her body weight in only nine months, but valued her self-worth only by the number on the scale.

“And then I got tired of waiting,” says Miller. “So now I’m 21 and I bought my first bikini ever.”

Miller says putting on the bikini has allowed her to confront her perceived imperfections head on.

“You can see it all,” she continues in the post. “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,’ ” she continues. “Because the secret is, I was always enough. And you are too.”