I’m much better at responding to compliments than I used to be. So much so that I don’t really want to write about it,
partly because I can’t express it any better than this, and also because my current healthiness about it is still new enough that I don’t want to breathe on it because it might fall down. Because I made it out of toothpicks and didn’t use any glue.
I will say this: For a very long time I was the smart-and-kind-of-fat-and-maybe-a-bit-cute-but-mostly-just-smart girl, and that was fine with me. It was an identity I purposely cultivated. I poured a lot of energy into being smart. I was proud of it.
And then later, much later, I grew up and realized that I had never been ugly, and that I looked better at 29 than at 19. At the time I was living in a country with very different standards of beauty. But, more than anything, I think I started smiling, which literally made me look like a different person.
So when people compliment my physical appearance, I smile and thank them, and silently wonder to myself if they don’t think I’m smart too, dammit.