I’ve got to say, for someone who is a pessimistic worrier by nature, I’ve gotten pretty good at listing things about my day that I’m thankful for in my Facebook statuses. I’ve even gotten to the point that I can step back from a stressful situation and think, “What part of this can I be thankful for?” And yesterday, I became aware of a whole new perspective to take: At work, my friend and co-worker, Clerissa admired another co-worker’s nose, and mentioned, “Everyone, even if they’re ugly, has at least one good facial feature. …I’m not saying that you’re ugly, Shasta. Your nose just reminded me of that theory.” I challenged her to name each preferred feature of the co-workers standing around us. She selected my eyes AND mouth, and she even named her own favorite feature, which was her mouth, and she had no trouble picking out the “good feature” on everyone.

I always observe people’s looks, a lot of times because I’m simply thinking, “Yeah, she’s cuter than I am.” I don’t broadcast that insecurity, but there it is. So, my new challenge is to choose one feature. I’m ridiculously observant as it is, so it shouldn’t be difficult, but it’ll be a shift since I’m accustomed to kind of envying the face as a whole. And so, here I go:

I’m sitting in Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party, as usual, and the only other patron is an older, balding guy wearing a maroon cardigan, hunter green crew neck T-shirt, too-short khaki pants, gray socks, and Teva sandals. In short, he’s adorable. But specifically, his nose is, with reading glasses perched atop it. And the baker here has, without a doubt, the best little rosebud mouth–I can see her as a pinup girl with bright red lipstick.

And while I agree with Clerissa that my eyes and mouth are pretty good (I get my mouth from my beautiful mom, and who my eyes are from is kind of a mystery, in a good way), I appreciate my nose. I kind of hated it for a while, especially after my weird neighbor told me, age 9, that I looked pretty good, “If only we could do something about your nose.” That stuck with me, and then got worse when I was in high school and habitually dissected every aspect of my appearance. My nose, I tell you, was shaped horribly. So I thought. And then, after college, my friend Shaheen became a bit obsessed with the idea of me piercing my nose. Her Hindu mom had the traditional piercing, and Sha wouldn’t do it because she hated HER nose, so she wanted to live vicariously, and she didn’t care that I didn’t like my nose. I did like the idea of the piercing, though, and three years ago, I had it done. One could argue that I shouldn’t have drawn attention to a feature I disliked, but it was the best thing I could have done. I instantly started not only tolerating, but liking my nose. So today, I appreciate it and its sparkliness.