A friend of mine recently got a nose job. She showed me a picture of her face post-surgery, enormous white bandages covering much of it. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was convinced that she would be happier and feel better about herself if she just didn’t have that little bump. I can’t say I’ve never considered the same.
My nose was my biggest insecurity growing up. I didn’t like the bump and I thought it was too big for my face. I would stand in the bathroom examining my profile, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t so bad. My mom used to tell me that I could get a nose job if I wanted to. As if every time you don’t like something, you just break it.
At one consultation I went to, the doctor told me it wasn’t my nose at all; the problem was that my chin isn’t “strong” enough. He said, “It’s okay, sweetie, God just didn’t give you a chin.” He was a brilliant businessman, taking advantage of my insecurities and creating a new one for me to obsess about.
In light of my friend’s recent alteration, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own beauty practices. How can I be against plastic surgery when I perform similar alterations to my body like coloring my hair and plucking my eyebrows to make myself feel better? I suppose that because those things are impermanent, much cheaper and far less gory, I find them more acceptable. We do what we feel we need to do to be beautiful, desired and loved. I admit that I do. I have no right to condemn what others choose for their own bodies. Yet real, lasting confidence can only come from within, and a shift in mindset about societal ideals can free us of our insecurities. This awareness creates progress, even little by little.
I have come to love my nose; it has character. I now accept that it’s a part of me and as long as I’m okay with it, nobody can make me feel bad about it. Shaving that bump down would almost strip me of my identity. I probably would never be able to sing the same without the resonating cavities I was born with, and I’d be missing that endearing, characteristically Jewish feature that proudly marks who I am.