Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dear Dad*

*I just sent this letter to my dad over facebook after he commented on a picture of my new hair with the words "Too short!"
Hey, I didn't like this comment. I'd like for us to talk about this in person in the near future, but because this is the second time I've felt the need to delete your comments I wanted to let you know why.

I do not appreciate the majority of your comments about my appearance. Especially when your words encourage me to appear "prettier" or more "girly/womanly". I've decided to look the way I look because it feels right to me. I like my hair short. I like my armpits & legs hairy and my belly and thighs a little fatty!

I love these things about myself and would appreciate it if you would comment no further on the choices I make about my own physical appearance. In other words: 
Unless I ask you directly (even if I am asking all of my internet community) I am not soliciting your opinion of my appearance.

When you tell me that I should have longer hair or that I should lose weight I feel afraid that you want me to feel ashamed of or doubt the choices I make in about to my own body. This fear is out of sync with the person I know you to be. You are and have been an incredible father and parent to me. I feel mind-bogglingly lucky to have you in my life. Truly, I love you more than I can say.

I am asking this of you because I trust in the person that you are and I believe in the relationship we share as as adults and friends. As my father & friend, I know that you don't want to hurt my feelings or pressure me to do something that doesn't feel right to me, because I know that you love me (this is never in doubt) and that you want me to love myself (this is the part I am afraid about).

The ways I've chosen to appear and how I treat my own body are the best way I know to love and express myself. It saddens me to think that you dislike the ways I am finding to love myself and my body. But I can live with the dislike. (people who love each other often do things that the other dislikes!) What hurts the most is being asked, cajoled, & hinted to about how I should change or stop doing things that clearly make me happy because of that dislike. 
If you dislike my hair that much then don't look at it. Stop telling me to grow it out. I love you the way you are. It doesn't mean I have to like everything about you. I request the same courtesy from you.

I know that you and I have differing opinions about fashion & appearance. But these are differences of aesthetic opinion. And I would love to discuss these differences with you more in depth when I see you at Christmas. But for now, can we keep our conversations about fashion and appearance general/philosophical & not about me in particular?

Thank you so much for being my Dad! There is no thanks that could be enough for that! I love you so much and can't wait to see you over the holidays. Give my love to Mom!

Wendy R.M.

This was difficult to write. But important. So glad I did.