For as long as I can remember, people have used a certain word to describe me.
Sara, you're so cute!
Sara, you're ADORABLE.
The sentiment is lovely and kind, and I am grateful for such compliments.
But sometimes you think you want to be something more than cute. You don't want to feel like the little girl among all your friends who seem so much more grown-up.
Cute is nice and all, but sometimes you're tired of feeling nice. It smacks of generic, of unnoticeable, of overlook-able.
Maybe you want to wield power -- a scepter, instead of a feather.
I recently expressed this feeling to two friends, when we took the opera on tour. The three of us -- Carrie, Marissa, and I -- were in my and Carrie's room at the hotel. I was the oldest one there, but I felt like the youngest.
I'm tired of being cute, I told them.
I'd like to be hot.
Then, realizing, what I'd said, I amended it. Or gorgeous. Or beautiful.
They told me I didn't know what I had.
The next morning I woke up and was sorry I had said it.
In my head, cute means We can overlook you. And worse: You are not special.
But I'm coming to see that's not true.
I realize there is power in cute.
(On a side note, no one ever said that to be cute is to be powerless.)
There is power in seeming little but knowing in your heart of hearts that you have some serious grit.
It doesn't make you bigger. It doesn't make you anything other than what you are.
But what if what you are is courageous?
What if you're a warrior?
I think the earth shakes when those who feel small realize they are also brave.
After all, what do we think hobbits are? Small and brave.
Isn't that the essence of the fairy tale? The unlikely individual finding courage lurking under the surface of their skin, to the surprise of themself and everyone else?
If you're cute and also mighty, you can surprise people.
If you feel small, but you also know you have gumption, then -- why, then, your bravery will shine, even if you feel like all you're doing is swinging your arms blindly around your head, eyes shut tight.
We may not be noticed in the way we desire it.
But we will be ourselves.
We will be the version of us we were created to be.
And isn't that the point?