There’s a Mathematical Equation That Proves I’m Ugly — Or So I Learned in My Seventh Grade Art Class
It took me years to realize that despite being born with a rare facial disfigurement, beauty is more than a cold calculation.
Photos courtesy Ariel Henley | Edited by Lilly Dancyger
I am ugly. There’s a mathematical equation to prove it. Or so I was told by the boy that sat behind me in my seventh grade art class.
I’m going to stick my pencil through the back of your eye, he told me, laughing. It’s not like you could get much uglier. Even the teacher thinks so.
Two years earlier, a different boy, whose name I can no longer remember, angrily asked me what was wrong with my face, after I beat him in a game of handball during recess. You have the weirdest set of eyes I’ve ever seen, he told me. When my teacher overheard this, he sent the boy to the principal’s office, where I would later go and give my side of the story, only to be told that I needed to not be so sensitive.
So when the boy in my art class continued poking me in the shoulder with the back of his pencil, I said nothing.
My art teacher that year was a heavy-set black woman named Ms. J. She had a laugh so loud it echoed down the corridor. She wore beaut…