I found this telling. But one day, in a moment of emotional vulnerability, I broke down to a teacher and confessed everything.
"Why would you do that?" he asked.
"Because I don't think I'm likeable," I answered, eyes filling with long-repressed doe-eyed tears, and I explained in a shaking voice why I might seem horrifically unapproachable or downright antisocial at-a-glance.
His brow furrowed in sympathy. He put a hand on my shoulder and, with an encouraging squeeze, softly proffered the following hypothesis:
"Angela ... maybe you're just icky."
I was speechless. The Chicagoland accent went away after that, and in similar situations, where I quietly resent people who don't seem to automatically intuit my preciousness or whatever, I remember it. Maybe you're just icky. It has probably made me a nicer person.