My father wasn’t an active participant in my life, well, ever. From as far back as I could remember, he battled drugs and lost time and time again. He didn’t make much of a positive impact on my life. One of the few things I learned from him is how to be cold and keep people at an arm’s length, because it’s “safer” that way. (Hey, I’m working on it.) In April 2010, I found him on Facebook, and I fought with the idea of emailing him, not because I wanted to develop the father-daughter relationship I had longed for, but because I needed to get some dark, unexpressed thoughts out in the open. For the longest time, I lived in fear that whatever was wrong with him was also wrong with me. Of course, when I wrote the email, I was fully expecting what I’d get as a reply — if I even got a reply, that is — would be a fabricated story which would closely resemble “Woe is me,” but I decided I’d prefer to deal with that fabrication rather than my own speculation.
He wrote back what was basically a poor excuse for an apology and had the nerve — the NERVE — to friend request me on Facebook. Really? You want to be my “friend”? You’re twenty-something years too late. You can’t friend request your estranged daughter. It’s ridiculous. What are you going to do? Look through my pictures and admire the lives of people you had no positive effect on? “Like” pictures of my son? Pry into my life and be the leech I always knew he was. No, thanks. I’m all set on my pariah quota.
With all of that being so lovingly said, when I was a kid, I remember my father telling me I was beautiful. I have always had a horrifically low self-esteem, probably because I’ve been fat my whole life. As a result, I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve felt truly beautiful. Harshly, I’d snap back, “You’re only saying that, because I’m you’re kid. You know that’s not true.” Verbatim. His reply will always be emblazoned in my head:
“The prettiest girls rarely ever realize that they are.”
On Army Wife Talk Radio Show 370, which aired on June 4, Tara (AWN’s co-founder, if you haven’t heard) was commenting on her appearance on Fox & Friends Memorial Day morning. Simply put, she bemoaned the way she looked on camera. I just couldn’t understand why. She’s a beautiful woman. Period. There’s no qualifier; she just is. It makes me CRAZY when women don’t realize it. Women are held to these ridiculous standards of unrealistic beauty. If you don’t fit a certain criteria, you’re less than. That’s probably the biggest pile of bull, and I refuse to accept it. Moreover, I refuse to let my friends — and everyone reading this — accept it, too.
So, start realizing. You are beautiful. You are smart. You make a difference. You are enough. This is the life, the body, you were given. Accept and love it or do something about it.
Of all the things my father effected me with, that is the one thing I can actually thank him for.