In a world which tells girls of all ages to look, dress and behave a certain way – you taught an insecure girl in her early teens struggling with body issues to love herself and take her flaws in her stride.
Today, as I write to you as a nineteen year old girl, I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful that I was born to a father that taught me the importance of accepting oneself and loving oneself before loving anyone or anything else.
I was sixteen when I came to you crying about another harsh, snide comment about my dark complexion and skinny physique, complaining about how it was unfair that I was not “beautiful”. If I could go back to that day I would probably slap myself for holding such a fallacious misconception of “beauty”, but I am glad that I, instead, had you and maa by my side to hear me out patiently and repair my broken esteem with utmost care and stoicism.
You told me that it does not matter – appearances do not matter – for beauty is subjective and the notions of which are transient and ever-changing. But what is permanent are the attributes of intelligence and intellect (which do not rely on marks or grades, but by developing habits of reading, meeting new people, facing new challenges etc), confidence (which comes from self-love and love for everyone around you), gratitude and kindness. You reiterate the significance of cultivating within oneself the act of kindness or being kind to everyone you meet at every path in life. I can say with immense pride that I want to grow up to exhibit the same magnanimity and benevolence that you boast of, to my children as well.
The world can be brutal to girls and is constantly setting new norms for them to live up to, but had you not prepared me to rise above this endless cycle of falling into it’s trap and then struggling to break free by achieving those societal standards of beauty, I would have been unsure of myself and incapable of understanding my self worth. You never made me feel that I was any different from a son, and never placed any restrictions on the friends I made, the clothes I wore or the time of the day I chose to go out at. It is so imperative to build the trust factor between a father and a daughter, and even though I am just another teenager, I say it from experience. Had you not told me that you trusted me at moments when I was unable to trust myself with the choices I had made, I would not have learned to live life without regrets.
Today, I feel more confident in my skin and my body than ever. I have my set of objectives that I want to work hard towards achieving to live as an independent woman and not be afraid to make mistakes.
All that I am today and all that I will become is going to be because you have been a wonderful human to look up to, and, most importantly, the best father a girl can ask for. You gave me the freedom to make mistakes and you still tell me that I will have you to fall back on anytime, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
Thank you papa, for being the person that you are and never making me feel any less than a real Princess. Though it is just one occasion that I have chosen to write about what a beautiful relation we share, what I have written stands true for all times and all circumstances.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.