One day, when I was little—preschool age, I think—I saw a photo or some video of myself. I looked for a minute, and then announced, delighted, "I'm pretty!"
"You are," my mother agreed. After that, I ran off to play. That was that.
The notion that I would see an image of myself, gleefully approve, and move on with my life feels like science fiction now. I don't often feel pretty. In fact, pretty, and the even higher-ranking beautiful, aren't words I feel I'm allowed to apply to myself. In a 2009 interview with Huffington Post, Margaret Cho sums up my semantic problem: "I always thought that people told you that you're beautiful, that this was a title that was bestowed upon you."
But—and here's the really weird part—on the rare occasion that I look in the mirror or at a photograph or at a piece of video and imagine that I'm looking at a stranger, I can get there: She's pretty.
Day 17: My family.
Day 20: A childhood anecdote.