I get self-conscious about my nose.
Yeah, “self-conscious.” That word choice is me majorly down-playing my relationship with my nose.
To explain just how much I hate it, please enjoy this brief glimpse of the inside of my brain and the fucked-up diatribe I run about my nose almost/all of the time: It is a fat person’s nose. If I lost weight, it would still reveal me to be naturally fat. It makes me look sloppy. It is seemingly ever-expanding. It’s got these busted red capillaries on either side. It’s oily. The nostrils are a magnum opus. They are large. It’s wide. It’s covered in blackheads. It stretches in a gross way when I smile. It’s got a bulb on the tip.
FUN RIGHT? JUST IMAGINE WHAT I AM LIKE WHEN I AM TALKING TO MYSELF ABOUT WHAT A BAD PERSON I AM!
No one else in my family has this nose. If I were standing next to my mother or my brothers or my sister or my dad you’d be able to see how we were related, sure. But my nose compared to their nose is like a regular wall clock beside one of Dali’s melting ones -- it’s a nose in theory, but definitely not in practice.
I know it isn’t rational. I know that the messages of self-hatred and general insanity I send to myself aren’t where it’s at or remotely true. I know this the way I know that cat butts are hilarious and that cheese is the greatest. That doesn’t stop me from resolving not to smile in photos anymore for fear of making my nose seem bigger, or casually covering it with one hand when talking to someone new.
Here’s a hilarious thing I’ve learned: There actually is no way to "casually" cover your nose. You just look like you are hiding boogies or blood. Or the fact that you have no nose. Like so many things we do in an attempt to escape from judgment, it only draws more attention to the perceived problem.
The big word in that last statement is “perceived.” I know that in reality my nose isn’t going to cause my neighbors to storm my apartment with torches and Biore blackhead strips. Whenever I bump up hard against other instances where my negative self-perceptions are all consuming, the only way to come close to defeating them is by challenging them directly. I used to think mentally berating myself for vanity was the sure-fire fix, but turns out when you’ve already got a head full of screaming critics one more voice yelling at you is hard to hear.
Instead, I opted to make change -- and shockingly, the world didn’t fall apart. I chopped off my hair in spite of my internal critic’s assurances that I looked like too much of a man to have short hair. When I thought I was too ugly to leave my house, I started writing for this site, and taking daily selfies, and in so doing, began to recognize my face and body as an inoffensive collection of shapes no better or worse than anyone else’s.
Embracing my fatness is still something I struggle with almost as much as I battle with my nose hatred. Lately, because the summer lends itself to this sort of action, on my fattest days, I make myself wear shorts and go for a long walk outside. It’s hard to hate your thighs when you see them in action, working for you, rippling and strong. (That’s right, bitches -- ripple-ripple-rub-rub.)
But with my nose, I can’t do it. I never once even at my lowest found myself online at night looking up weight loss surgery. But I scroll through the web once a week looking at before and after nose surgeries. I would have said once that I’d never go under the knife for something cosmetic, but now I’m not so sure. The only thing stopping me is that I’d feel like such a failure, and years from now, what if I have kids and my nose comes back to me on their little faces and because it’s not mine anymore I love it and grieve for having banished it?
That’s where we are guys: baby-future-ghost-noses. For real.
How do I beat this? I’m starting to think I might have to go the full-on-adolescent route of piercing my nose. This is only encouraged by articles like this one telling me that nose rings are “in” again, like overalls, and Swatches before them.
While I’m not ready to consider surgery, because I know I’m awesome, and my nose is part of my face (WHICH IS EQUALLY AWESOME), I am ready to do something drastic to keep my inner critics in check -- is this a terrible reason to pierce it? YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE EVERYONE. Also piercing horror stories welcome. And also-also, I love you.