Why I Said No to a Nose Job
I don’t look like everyone else, and that’s finally OK with me.
I spent much of my life thinking my nose made me ugly. A ridiculous amount of time was put into wallowing over the fact that I didn’t look the way I felt I needed to look.
Now I am warming to the idea that it’s a good thing I look this way. But growing up there were a lot of things I loathed about myself — like my personality and my out of control social anxiety — with the number one thing I took issue with being my nose.
At some point in my childhood a bump formed, and it grew to the point that it became the focal point of my profile. I’ve heard women complaining about little bumps they felt they needed to get fixed on their schnozzes over the years, but let me tell you, I had them all beat in that department. I mean, my nose is big, and the bump is pronounced AF.
I grew up in the 80s & 90s and had minimal people to compare myself to. There weren’t any women on TV rocking large noses, at least none that were celebrated. And forget about magazine covers. The only women I could see with something similar to mine were witches in movies like the Wizard of Oz. So that made me think that having a bump meant I was ugly AND representative of something shitty, which was a really crappy belief to carry with me most of my life, but that’s what happened.
I did my best to hide it — I’d try to lean into my hand with my hair in class so people wouldn’t see it. But they did. In fact they saw it so clearly that I was appointed “Most likely to get a nose job” in my high school year book. How the principal or year book teachers ever thought that was a good category is beyond me. But what can I say? The last thing on anyone’s mind in the 90s was “hmm, I wonder if bullying is something we should work on?”
I’m sure there were some other mean categories in that year book beyond mine because the principal wasn’t exactly known for being kind. Either way, I wouldn’t know, because I threw mine in the garbage as soon as I read my special designation. Not really something I was stoked on adding to my book shelf.
What that ridiculous year book entry helped confirm for me was that there was something very wrong with my nose, which meant there was something very wrong with me overall. I had already suspected this was the case, but that super fun designation added another layer of shame and guilt that I ate the fuck up for over 15 years. I just kept thinking about the day I might come into some money, and how I’d get my nose fixed asap. Because as is, I wasn’t pretty, and being pretty was all that mattered in life. How could I ever be truly happy if everyone thought I was ugly?
Current day me knows being pretty isn’t all that matters, but at the same time has learned to appreciate what I’ve got going on in the looks department.
I’m not conventional, or everyone’s cup of tea — and in truth, I think my entire face, not just my nose, confuses people at times. I’ve had a lot of random folks ask me what ethnicity I am, which I always find to be quite a bizarre thing to just blurt out.
But the bottom line is I look how I look: there ain’t no changing it. I don’t have any other options in this life, save for slicing up my face, which is not a risk I’m willing to take. So it’s best to accept myself, as is, and stop harassing myself with thoughts that tell me otherwise. And when I stop comparing myself to mainstream beauty standards long enough to appreciate that I look quite unique, I’m able to let go of a bit of the unrealistic pressure to look a certain way.
I say a bit because there are still days I feel like that 17-year-old high-schooler, being rejected by the entire world (because small town high-school was the entire world back then). And there were other comments over the years that deserve a spot on the list of top ten shittiest things to ruminate on that I lean into on occasion, like this one from a friend’s brother: “You’re pretty Andrea, but you’d be prettier with a nose job.” And this gem from the guy who introduced me to my husband always feels particularly gross to me: “She’s pretty from the neck down.” What a bunch of dicks.
Now when those comments cloud my mind I switch to thinking of all the bad ass women out there that look nothing like reality TV broads, who bring some top shelf shit to the table. And I think about Jennifer Grey, who played Baby in Dirty Dancing (I look like her at some angles) and how she spoke openly about wishing she hadn’t changed her nose; that it fucked with her career.
And I know that if I changed myself in such a drastic way, it would fuck with my soul.
I don’t think I could live with myself, knowing I let the pressure to fit in with a bunch of judgmental assholes get the best of me.
Generally speaking, today I’m tapped the fuck out on caring what people think of my nose. Some days I’m uncomfortable with it because I’m still working on releasing my ridiculous standards for perfection. And to be real, sometimes people stare at my profile, but when I feel that happening I turn and look at them with a smile and say “Hi!” with lots of enthusiasm. They always get flustered which I find entertaining.
And these days, with all the wicked amazing, (apparently I’m from Boston this morning?) talented women who defy conventional beauty standards making names for themselves in the world, it’s easier for me to say, “Pretty sure the bump on my nose isn’t going to hold me back from doing what I love to do.” Which, BTW, is writing.
I mean who the fuck says my nose can’t be beautiful? And why the fuck do we have to be everything to everyone? Also: why does everything have to be so fucking perfect all the time?
It doesn’t. And here’s my final thoughts on beauty:
Most of us have lives that don’t revolve around being photo shoot ready — our jobs do not require us to look that kind of perfect. Like right now, I’m in ill fitting pajama pants and have a really tacky head band in my hair and adult acne on my chin. But I’m still doing my thing because looking perfect isn’t a requirement for writing.
So ladies please join me: let’s all work on committing to stop comparing ourselves to these other worldly standards — reality TV standards in particular. These are women who have made a career out of getting cellulite lasered, facials, nails, and botox.
And I mean no shame to them. All the power to them. It’s just that we, as in you and me, are not being kind to ourselves when we compare ourselves to women like that. It’s not mainstream reality, it’s a minuscule percentage of human existence that experiences life like that, and it comes with its fair share of shit. Consider the psychological repercussions of having a career that is dependant on you looking perfect, all the time: yikes.
So give yourself a break, and I’ll work on giving myself a break, and then hopefully we can all set a good example for everyone else. Hopefully, in releasing the need to be something we aren’t, we can all rest a little easier, and work on accepting whatever flaws some dicks from high school felt the need to point out, in person, or in my case, in print. ;)
Because there is power in accepting and embracing our imperfections.
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