My love, he's got this joke with me. It's a play on everyone who intrusively asks me about my face.
"What's on your face?", he says.
Then he adds, "Oh it's just beautiful."
And boy do I smile when he says that. I am the luckiest.
I don't need anyone but myself to make me feel happy with my appearance. But it is amazing knowing and seeing how someone else sees me. It's such a joy to love and to be loved. And I love how it shows. This isn't vanity. It's seeing myself as my love sees me. When I see a photo he's taken, I see the beauty he sees in me.
How wonderful that a camera can capture that - I thought only a human could, not a machine. I thought that beauty was fleeting, merely dandelion fluff that can never be caught.
I read a blog post by a woman who wrote about how she was 'exposed by her children for what she really looks like'. She wrote about how she wasn't comfortable in her own skin, but her children saw such beauty. She was the beauty queen in their eyes. The way someone who loves you sees you is often poles apart from how you see yourself.
I never thought someone could stare at me lovingly when I have skin hanging off my face - when I'm the bearded lady that you never see here. I've been so sore lately and he's seen all of it. My wincing and asking for panadol after a shower, me delicately tearing the stockings off my legs, leaving perfectly straight wounds and tiny drops of blood dotting them like rubies. He's seen me cry in pain and want for this to be better again.
We write each other cards. I left him one on his pillow - with an illustration of two rabbits on the front, the caption "you're gorgeous". Because he is, and I could stare at him all day. Inside I wrote a thank you note, telling him that without him I wouldn't be able to smile through this pain without him.
Darren Hayes is right when he sings "you make me feel so beautiful". Because even on my sorest days, when I am in my pyjamas, braless and have knotted hair, my love looks at me like I'm his world.