My daughter's nickname is buga... short for suga buga of course. Only I call Katie buga.
Katie is 15 and a sophomore at Greenwood. Katie is beautiful. I know that every father says that about his daughter, but my daughter is - of course - different. Everywhere we go, Katie turns heads.
Today we went shopping. It's not often that we get out and go do this but today was special. My son is done with his semester at IUPUI and we went off to get some groceries and Katie got some clothes... specifically Miley Cyrus jeans.
That's when things went wrong.
You see, Katie doesn't just have designer jeans. Katie has her hair died from strawberry blonde... a unique and beautiful color, to a designer brown. Her hair is straightened daily with a designer straightener.
Katie has designer nails. Instead of an allowance, she likes to have her nails manicured and painted. She goes to the same designer place and actually gets a designer discount now.
Katie wears only enough make-up to accentuate her face. She'd love to wear designer make-up but can't afford it. I took years of me battling with her wearing too much make-up. There were many tears and many battles... but I believe this is one that I finally won.
Katie doesn't have piercings (even earrings). Katie thinks tattoos are cool on a woman (yikes).
Today, Katie told me that she was thinking about working for a tanning salon where she could tan for free in exchange for working there. All her friends are getting tans.
I just about went ballistic.
It wasn't about her wanting to turn herself orange... it was about everything else... hair, nails, clothing, make-up... I'm tired of if. Working for free to turn her perfect skin a leathery brown was too much to handle. Enough is enough.
Katie said to me, "Why can't you just like me for who I am?"
I went ballistic.
"Who you are? WHO YOU ARE? Who ARE YOU?"
I might be the only person in the world who loves Katie with all my soul for who she ACTUALLY is. I love her natural hair color. I love how beautiful she is without make-up. I love her when she's roaming around the house in sweats. She's a beautiful girl who's quickly becoming a woman.
I told her, "Don't be mad at ME! Be MAD at the ADVERTISING WORLD WHO IS BATTERING YOU WITH MESSAGES THAT YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY BE HAPPY WITH WHO YOU ARE!!!"
They are the ones who want Katie to die her hair and not be happy with her natural color. They are the ones who want her to straighten her hair. They are the ones who want her to by make-up. They are the ones who want her dressed in designer clothing.
Why isn't she mad at THEM?!
Why aren't we all mad at THEM?!
It's not easy raising a 15 year-old teenager, let alone by yourself. I've been raising Katie and my son for 8 years on my own. It's a battle every day! Every day! But I'm not giving up... Katie will figure out someday that I wasn't being a mean ol' Dad.
I was actually looking out for her and loving her for the beautiful person she is
Don't be mad at me, buga! I'm the one that truly loves you for who you are.