I'm almost 21, and just experiencing a new phenomenon: a sense of empowerment, control, and self-confidence. This usually hits teenagers during puberty, but I think my social development got arrested back then.

It took this long, but now I finally believe that I may be pretty. Not all the time, but when I look good, I know I look really good. I believe in the power of looks. I feel confident and secure in the body I finally have.

Do I sound vain?

I sound vain. Feeling this sort of strength is intoxicating. The knowledge that I can draw eyes, turn heads, hold attention.

This turns hilarious, next, because once I see someone interested in me, I get all pissed off. Hey, I have brains, you know? I'm not just a size four! And I become eloquent. Trying to prove that I'm smart. Suddenly, my charm hits full speed and I'm demonstrating my intelligence instead of strutting my looks. I take the conversation all over the place, break out the puns, my one-liners. I become a grammar demon, mentally ferreting out errors in speech.

The truth is, I don't fully feel like I own the room. Not yet. But I'm finally getting to the place where I can think of owning it for just a little bit, just long enough to keep my ego where it is.

Right over here, near my heart.

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