Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When you really hate something about yourself

One of the things I try to do on this blog is speak the truth - my truth - in the hopes that someone else is thinking the same thing, that I am not crazy, or the only one feeling this way. I have, admittedly, very little filter. I am not afraid to be really honest, to acknowledge my flaws and weaknesses, and perhaps in the process find healing and strength. I love the internet.

Internet, I have a confession:

I hate my nose.

Does that make me superficial? Is it even acceptable for a modern, empowered, healthy woman to admit that there are aspects of myself - from personality traits to physical characteristics - that make me unhappy?

I blame it all on Facebook. It had been easy to avoid looking at photos of me.....until Facebook. For years, I was the one behind the camera, which helped to eliminate any chance of getting my own picture taken. "No, no" I would demure "I am the least photogenic person EVER." It was easy to avoid - until every phone became a camera, and every picture was a 3 second upload away from Facebook. For the first few weeks I was on that damn site, and seeing photo after photo posted, I thought: "This might be a good exercise for me to help me get over my issues." They can't all be terrible, right?
Notsomuch.
Candids, posed, day and night, light and dark, grayscale and color. And everyone else always looked so cute...why did I have to ruin every damn photo I was in? I was further justified in deleting all photos of myself when I posted a profile photo, and a friend commented on my narcissism.

I was mortified. I didn't know how to respond to that, besides taking that photo down and replacing it with a photo of my kids. Which I did. But newsflash, I'm pretty sure Facebook is, like, narcissism central.

However, she wasn't wrong. The truth is, the photo I posted was chosen because it wasn't so bad. I thought, in a very narcissistic way, that I looked okay for once. That photo - the angle, the light, something about it hid the flaw that has bothered me for 25 years. A flaw that is undeniable every time I look in the mirror, see a photo, or catch a reflection of myself.

It's not "something I would like to improve" or "something I wish was different". It is something that makes me feel ugly. My reflection does not match the person in my mind. When I picture myself, I look different than I do in real life. It's not a question of being self-conscious - I'm past that. This is straight-up self-loathing.

It's like hearing a recording of your voice. It always sounds different from the way it sounds in your head, right? But for me, this is more than a squeaky voice on an answering machine. The longer I have lived with this nose, the more time I spend waiting to grow into it, or get over it, or get used to it, the more unhappy I get. It is something that makes me unhappy every single day - and there is nothing I can do myself to change it. I have been hit square in the face countless times, and I am always hopeful that maybe this time it's broken and I can get the damn thing fixed. But no, that lump on the bridge of my nose must be made out of titanium. It's not going anywhere. "It's a roman nose!" My mother said."It has character." "It's the family nose." my uncle Bob told me. "It's how we know you are one of us." And he is right. They are both right. This stupid nose is my birthright.

First world problem? Sure.
But it is still a problem.

So I wonder: should I do something about it?
Will I know when the time has come to stop hating part of myself so fiercely and just get it "fixed". And what if I get a nose job, and hate my new nose just as much? What if I still look terrible in photographs, and have trouble finding glasses that fit properly? What if the problem is much bigger than my nose? And what if, as is the case sometimes, I keep going? A nip here, a tuck there, the teeth straightened and filed, the boobs lifted, the butt tightened, the chin shaped to balance the new nose, the lips filled to flatter the chin......it sounds like a slippery slope to me.

My husband refuses to discuss it. He is terrified that I will look completely different "like that chick from Dirty Dancing. I don't even recognize her now."

Personally, I think her new nose looks great. And I totally understand why she got a nose job. I *want* to look different. Maybe not totally unrecognizable, but different would be fine.  Great. It's sort of the whole point, actually. My concern is more selfish than that. I don't want to have "cosmetic" surgery. I just can't imagine having voluntary surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. I never thought of myself as particularly high maintenance, but maybe I have been fooling myself. Maybe I am just a waddle and a frown line away from a facelift, regardless of the risk to my personal safety or what other people will think.

The bottom line is that I am afraid I might hate myself even more if I try to make my outside look like what I see on the inside.

That doesn't keep me from wishing away this nose of mine, but so far it has kept me away from consultations with surgeons and running into walls face-first. For now, I'll keep myself busy cutting out photos of "good noses", wearing glasses to cover the bump, and thinking about how yucky and dangerous nose jobs are. And dreaming  of deviated septums, which may be the only HMO-approved way to the nose of my dreams.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful just the way you are. Nose included.

Rebecca Walker said...

Um. Your nose is genius. You literally have a GREAT fucking nose. So I hear you, and feel your pain (my hair drives me crazy) but yah, NO. Stop it. Go make some sauce and redesign the cover. And love your gorgeous self.