A Letter to My Dad

Dad,

I remember being a little girl, sitting on your lap, sucking my thumb with my favorite stuffed tucked beside me. I don’t remember what we were watching or if I even understood it. All I knew was that in that moment, I was in the safest place in the entire world. I was in your arms.
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Every morning you would wake up before the sun to go to work so that we could have full bellies and a place to lay our heads at nights. I remember one night in particular when my sister and I had both heard you get up. We sat in front of our windows and watched you get your construction truck ready as you carried all the tools you would need for the day out to load them up. We watched you get in your cold truck and we sat there in silence until we could see you drive away. You had no idea that we were watching, but we were. We had no idea the sacrifice you gave, all we knew was that you were our hero.
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I still remember the day you taught me how to ride a bike. It was sunny outside and we had a large front yard. You took off my training wheels and I was terrified. As I got on my bike, you made sure to hold it steady and you promised to never let go until I was ready. You kept your promise and over and over again you walked back and forth across the yard, holding my bike behind me. I was finally ready to try it on my own and as you let go, I felt the wind blow across my face as I heard you and mom cheering for me in the background.

As I grew older, I wanted to be more independent, so I pushed you away. I would scream hurtful things when I didn’t get my way but that didn’t stop you from loving me. You still drove me to my friends house for sleepovers. You still taught me how to drive and believed in my ability to drive on a highway before I believed I could. You always did believe in me more than I could ever believe in myself. You helped me come up with a solution the first time I ever over drafted my banking account as a teenager over a mocha frappuccino. You endured 14 hour car rides to Denver multiple times a year so that I could work with my favorite vocal coach. You even endured those rides with my best friend tagging along as we listened to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. You later sent me off to pursue my dreams of being a world famous singer straight out of high school. You expressed your fear when I would travel alone, but you never said no because again, you believed in me.
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You see despite the ups and downs we’ve had in life, you set the standard of what a man should be in a woman’s life. A source of encouragement and strength. A place of refuge and unconditional love and acceptance. I’ve never questioned your love for me. In fact, as the years go on I see it more and more.

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On this Father’s Day, and every day after this, I hope you know what an amazing person you are. You’ve had to fight to be who you are now, which is what makes your strength and love so beautiful. I hope you know that you mean everything to me. That no matter where my life may take me, you’ll forever be the first man I ever fell in love with. The first man I danced with. The first man who stole my heart. You’ll always be my first Prince Charming.

I love you more than you love me

Love always,
Rihanna

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Beauty is Power

You are beautiful.

Sounds cliché, right? How many times have we heard that as girls? Everywhere from Pinterest to instagram to your favorite blog has been flooded with uplifting messages encouraging us to love ourselves just as we are.  If you’re like me, you’ve read those posts and felt a hint of encouragement and a fleeting hope of finally getting it. I say fleeting because for a long time, that revelation would soon slip through my fingers and I would find myself back in the whirlwind of my toxic thoughts.

Beauty is powerThere is something captivating about a woman who walks in the fullness and confidence of her beauty.  Her beauty, not someone else’s. She doesn’t have to be a size 2.  Her lips may be thin, her freckles dark and her laugh lines set. But she knows those things don’t add or take away from who she is as a woman.

You see, once we realize that our appearance can’t add or take value away from our hearts, the power that was once stolen from us is taken back into our possession. No longer are we slaves to the master who always tells us to try harder, yet insists that we are never good enough.

For  a long time, my master was bulimia.  It had an ugly way of making me feel like I always needed it despite its true desire to destroy me. I was never good enough for it. So, when I would read blog posts encouraging me to love myself for who I am, its message couldn’t sink in because I had given my mind access to a master that said I would never be lovable, beautiful, or worthy despite my best efforts.

I realize that I am rambling a bit. Maybe because I don’t have a whole lot to say other than that I want girls to take their power back. Maybe because I have everything to say and no way to really narrow down my thoughts on the subject. Maybe because insecurity and self-hate haunted me as a little girl and I feel this overwhelming urge to see them both destroyed in my generation and family.  It could be because I am tired of seeing people I love, young and old, serving a master that will never give them what they have wanted since they were old enough to ask for their first Barbie…beauty.

You are beautiful. You are powerful.

To the girl who feels like you will never live up to your family’s expectations and dreams for you, you are beautiful and you are powerful.

To the girl who spends her free time on the elliptical and yet can still never look quite right in your swimsuit, you are beautiful. Be kind to yourself.

To the girl who just spent an hour pinning “motivational pins” filled with models in bikinis and “thinspirational quotes,” you are beautiful and you are enough.

To the girl who just ate an entire chocolate bar, five stale cookies, half of a leftover pie and handfuls of chocolate chips, you are beautiful.  We’ve all been there. Life will go on.

To the girl who just spent the last nine months nurturing and giving life to another human being despite feeling sick, tired, and scared, you are beautiful.  Your body just created a human being, don’t be so hard on yourself.

To the girl whose youth seems like a distant memory and your face trails the places where laughs, smiles, and tears once resided, you are beautiful. Your best days are ahead of you.

You see, we are all beautiful.  Who we are, our laughs, our curves, our wrinkles, the way our hair falls in front of our face after a long day, the sound of a nervous giggle in front of our crush, the way our arms feel when they are wrapped around the ones we love and even our flaws all tell a story of where we once were and where we are going.

Be kind to yourself.

You are beautiful.

You are powerful.

 

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