AS SHE looked around the beach nervously, making sure she was a safe distance from judgemental eyes, she clenched the towel that hid her lack of board shorts she'd forgotten for her family holiday.
"How far from the water are we?" the 41-year-old mum of two thought, as her 6- and 8-year-old kids were keen to jump in the cold Tassie ocean.
Taking one last glance around at the crowd and then at her kids, something inside Kirsten Bosly "snapped".
She dropped her towel, and her inhibitions, gathered her son and daughter in a hug and passed her phone to her bewildered husband and asked that he take a photo.
Posting it on her Facebook page, 1MotherBlogger, Kirsten shared her reasons behind the snap.
"Today marks a new beginning for me," she posted.
"For most of my life I have hated my body.
"Wanted so very much for it to change; for it to be smaller, thinner... less 'fat'.
"I've been terribly ashamed of its wobbles and dimples; like somehow they are the measure of who I am."
Kirsten had recently read somewhere "be in pictures with your kids because when you're gone, the pictures will be all they have left" and it struck a nerve.
Her Facebook post is fast going viral, and has already been liked more than 3000 times by those inspired by the photo.
The Perth-based mum has strong ties to Mackay; her grandmother raised all her children in the region, two of her aunts still live here and one of her best friends is radio personality Jay Shipston.
Speaking to the Daily Mercury, Kirsten said her only goal when posting the photo was to inspire at least one woman.
"Letting go of the shame of 'nobody should see me, I need to cover up' - it was freeing, like a burden had lifted off my shoulders," she said.
"I didn't look at the photos until we got back (from the beach) ... but when I saw it, we looked so happy.
"I said I'm going to take the next step, not only am I not ashamed of this photograph and I'm proud of this, I'm going to take a risk and put it on Facebook.
"If it inspires one more person to feel good about themselves and be able to let go..." Kirsten trailed off as she fought back tears.
"We beat ourselves up as women about the way we look. That somehow the measure of us is based on the label inside our clothing," Kirsten said.
She has been inundated with comments after her post.
"It's been overwhelmingly more positive than negative but I have had a few nasty posts," she said.
"If someone had called me a beached whale the day before I took the photo I would've crumbled ... but after this, reading it now I just laughed.
"He doesn't know me, I don't know him, so I just move on to the next comment from another mum saying 'you've inspired me to get in my bathers, get out with the kids and have fun'. And that's what I'm taking away."
Kirsten said one mum had reached out to her, saying how she had recently lost her son and because she was too ashamed to be in photos, she doesn't have enough pictures of the two of them together.
"I'm so humbled, so overwhelmed that it's got this message - people are realising the measure of who you are is not about how many lumps are on your thighs or whether your stomach bubbles over your pants when you sit down.
"Do you love your family ? Yes. Do you love your kids? Yes. That's what matters."
Loving your body is a message she hopes her five-year-old daughter Bronte will live by as she gets older.
"The bottom line is never be ashamed of who you are and what you look like. Because that's not who you are," Kirsten said.
"It's so cliche, but there's no other way to say it. What you are, and what you project out into the world is so much more important.
"(The message to Bronte) is just for her to have pride in whatever and whoever you are and not let other people's perceptions about what you might look like affect you."
But she admits it's been a long and difficult road to get to her recent realisation.
"I suffer from depression and anxiety. I'm a mental illness survivor... I've come pretty close to not being here and have the scars to prove it," Kirsten says tearfully.
"A lot of my self doubt and self worth have come from other people and for me to shed that veil at 41 has been one of the most amazing lessons in my life.
"To not let others' opinions and verdicts dictate your life.
"I wish I could go back and have this attitude years ago... but I'm so looking forward to the rest of my life with this attitude of 'oh my god, who cares?'
"When I walk away from that beach, the worst case scenario is someone goes home and says 'oh my god there was this fat chick at the beach'... but who cares?"
Kirsten's post sums up her entire attitude shift:
"I finally feel free and it feels f**king awesome!
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