|Marvel by La Perla|
I remember being a child and seeing the way my father's gaze would follow my mother around the room. Yes he could be extremely annoyed with her a second before, when she yelled at him for being slack, but his admiration never ceased. That look of fascination and happiness with someone who was and had been his wife for years never faded. I listened as he would compliment her when she came out of the bathroom all dressed up to head out while he looked after us kids, or when she was in her pyjamas and he gave her a playful slap on the bum, giggling together as she told him off. This is the partnership I grew up watching. This is the love and attraction that I saw.
My father was far from perfect. You could call him lazy, but his undying love for my mother and his family was, and still is beyond joyous to watch. Yes my mum may have hated his ignorance and lack of sociability but she also knew him to be the best father a mother could dream of and the most faithful husband she could have hoped for. It resulted in a loving, safe upbringing.
Now my father was also just an average male, who could talk about the beauty of other women too. I never saw that as bad thing, as he would admire my mother most of all, but I do remember the comments he would make on women he saw on television. He hated big toothy smiles (Julia Roberts...he couldn't stand her) but loved the girl next door characters (Debbie Reynolds). He disliked tall leggy women (any model whatsoever) and loved women with more curves. Maybe it was a generation thing, maybe it was just his personal taste, but either way it gave me a different opinion from those of the friends around me.
When I would ohh and ahh over an overly thin, overly made up female celebrity, he would tell me that she wasn't nearly as beautiful as I was - his awkward looking teenage daughter. He had a way of slightly boosting my self confidence without giving me a big head in the slightest; I thought he was crazy for saying so but I could see it was in complete honesty. Just the knowledge that someone felt that way about me, even if the world didn't see the beauty within; It didn't matter what anyone else thought about me as long as I was happy, content and comfortable within myself and my own life. I felt lucky. "I don't understand what the world sees in that Claudia Schiffer model. Your mother is much more beautiful!" my father would say. I could see that everyone had a different version of beauty... and that was ok.
I never felt the need to be like anyone else, follow trends or be anyone other than myself. My friends all dressed like Janet Jackson while I op-shopped and wore full circle skirts like Audrey Hepburn. My true friends liked the fact that I was different. Why did I want to look like everyone else my age? Why did I want to fit in? I wanted to be special. I wanted to be beautiful. Most of all, I wanted to be my true self and be loved for it.
So now I am a lingerie addict, an op-shopper, a bargain hunter, a hoarder, and I'm confident in the person I have become. I still have my insecure days, just like most people, but I wont allow myself to dwell on it for too long, because honestly...I don't actually care. I don't judge others harshly, so why should I judge myself that way? I will look at myself the way my father does. I will see myself through the eyes of someone who loves me and understand what it is they see with a little more clarity.