By Clellie Merchant '18
There are days when I wake up and feel bad. I feel ugly. I slept too little, or too much. I did too much homework last night, or too little. I forget to brush my hair or my teeth, or to put on deodorant. I choose my pants and top without thinking about how they look together. My socks don’t match. I roll out of bed, grab coffee. I’m late to class.
On these days, I feel like a mess. I feel unattractive. But not for long. Soon I remember that I am beautiful to someone. And I always relax. Why am I so sure? I don’t have a significant other. But I do have a crush.
I think that a lot of people on this campus are cute. The exact number isn’t important (I’m too embarrassed to say exactly how many). The point is, every day, I pass people -- in the hallway in Founders, Clapp, or the dining hall -- who I think are cute. They are people who I don’t know, who I’ve never spoken to and probably will never speak to. They are short and tall, curvy and thin, smilers and people who never smile. Chances are, they include you.
Sometimes the cute person’s outfit is on point. Everything matches and fits -- this isn’t an outfit cobbled together from the few clean articles of clothing left.
Sometimes the person seems to be having a good day. They smile, laugh, hang out with friends.
But sometimes they are wearing their pajamas at 5pm on a Saturday. They haven’t brushed their hair. They drop a plate full of food in the dining hall during the lunch dinner rush.
Sometimes they seem to be having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. They have dark circles under their eyes, they don’t smile. They sit by themselves, poring over a notebook.
And even on these days, when they are not at 100%, I still think they are cute. I have yet to see one of these people early on a Monday morning, when we’re both better prepared to crawl back into bed than go to class, and think that they are anything but cute.
So when I feel unattractive, I remember that if someone finds me attractive, then they should find me attractive regardless of whether or not I’ve brushed my hair, or put my sweater on inside-out. And when I doubt that someone could do that, I remember that I do it for other people every day.
Part of this propensity to see people as attractive is a remnant of the time when I was mentally ill, and fixated on attractive features in every person I saw, as a part of my suffering. But of all the remnants of that mental illness, this one is my favorite. It’s no longer about making myself suffer; it’s about loving other people, including people who look like me.
During midterms week or a day that just won’t end, when you’ve slept too little and stressed too much, and you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth or choose clothes that match, remember that there is at least one person who will see you and think you’re cute. And that person will probably be me.
From April 2016 issue