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Kay Ska used to dread summer. Growing up, even on the hottest days, she wore long-sleeved T-shirts and tights because she struggled with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder.
“I did not want to look at my body or anyone else to see it,” Ska, 22, told TODAY Style in an email.
But this year, Ska, who lives in Blackpool, England, decided this summer would be different. She tried on, and bought, a bikini. Ska shared a confident photo of herself in the sporty two-piece suit on her Instagram page, where more than 10,000 people are following her wellness journey. (Warning: There's some colorful language in the captions of the images below.)
“It's been over 10 years since I've worn a bikini!!! Until today!! This summer I have already been kicking ED (eating disorder) and body dysmorphia butts but this is another milestone for me,” Ska wrote in the caption.
She added, “We are in control of learning to love, accept ourselves and our bodies! .... We are good enough, just as we are, right here, right now!”
Trying on a bikini, not to mention sharing the photo online, was a huge step for Ska, and she was a little hesitant at first.
“As I tried the bikini on, my first thought was, ‘I can't pull this off!’” she told TODAY Style. “But then I recognized that it wasn't true because EVERY body already is a bikini body. I felt quite emotional. I haven't worn a bikini for over 10 years. In that moment, I realized just how far I've come. Which made me happy and grateful for the body I have now. Which then made me want to capture the moment and share it with my followers, as a reminder for them that our bodies are always summer-ready and we don't need to change a thing about them or go on crazy diets.”
Ska’s fans loved her body-positive message.
“You are simply wonderful! And a real source of inspiration for me,” one person wrote on her post. “I’m still not able to take this step, but your message is slowly infusing into my brain! Maybe one day I’ll get there too!”
“What makes this post great is your confidence and huge smile, which coincidentally are the only two things you need for an amazing bikini body!” another fan commented.
After buying her first bikini in more than a decade, Ska is now on a roll. She just bought a second bikini and shared a photo of the cute, rainbow-striped swimsuit on Instagram.
“Not only did I buy and wear my first bikini in (a) decade last week, but I actually got TWO bikinis!!!” she gushed in the caption. “Trying bikinis on generally new clothes still gives me a little bit of anxiety ... you can get the same size clothing in different stores and one of them might be a lot smaller/bigger than the other. However, we have to remember that we are soooooooooo much more than our clothing sizes. And appreciate our bodies for what they are, a home for our wonderful souls!”
Ska continues to document her experiences with body positivity and mental health issues on Instagram and on her personal blog, “Healing Journey.” Body acceptance is an ongoing process, and there are still days when she struggles with confidence, she admitted in a recent blog post.
But buying not just one, but two, bikinis this summer is undoubtedly an important breakthrough in her journey. Ska offered some words of wisdom to other people who have faced similar mental health challenges.
“I would like to tell people who are struggling with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia that no matter what we look like, we are ALWAYS worthy of self-love,” she told TODAY Style. “It's okay to love yourself exactly where you are, right now.”