When I was about 15, my grandfather offered to pay for my nose job. I was simultaneously impressed by his generosity and taken aback by the insinuation that my nose was just that horrible. He didn’t want my bumpy nose to hold me back from finding the right spouse or feeling great about myself, he said…something my insecure adolescent brain had thought infinite times before (but never managed to tell him – yet somehow, he knew). At the time, I was too scared of the procedure to take him up on the offer, and I vowed that if I wasn’t married by a certain (undefined) point, I may want to reconsider, if the offer was still on the table.
Four years later, I met Mordecai. And as we were moving towards a serious relationship, I casually mentioned Poppy’s offer, and said that if he wanted me to change it up a bit, he should speak now: the offer was sure to be rescinded the minute an engagement took place. He laughed and said that he didn’t even notice it, and that it clearly was not a breaking point for our relationship. And so, my dream of having the perfect nose vanished, while my vanity and insecurities remained. I saw the bump every time I looked in the mirror, glaring at me like a blemish that would never go away.
That is, until I stopped looking in the mirror. It’s funny how motherhood does that to you. At first, it’s a baby’s cry that rouses you out of bed so abruptly that you barely have time to brush your teeth before starting the day. Later, it’s the need for breakfast, the packing of schoolbags and the tying of shoes that must be done first thing, lest your child miss the bus. And because you still need to get to work on time, there’s little time for personal maintenance – unless, of course, you want to wake up before the kids do to start on yourself. But who on earth wants to do that?!
In my high school and college days, I spent many, many spare moments analyzing (and crying over) my physical flaws, having my eyebrows waxed to perfection, and even getting an occasional manicure. Now, I’m lucky if I leave the house with matching socks. And I’m ok with that. It wasn’t finding someone to love me despite my big nose that vanquished my insecurities. It was finding more important things to fill my time with. I wish I’d ‘gotten it’ earlier, but I guess some lessons are just learned through time and life experience.
I recently got my nose pierced, something I’ve wanted to do for at least a decade, but never had the guts to do previously. It wasn’t a statement of rebellion. It was an embrace of my imperfections. My own form of nose job, if you will. One can argue that getting a nose ring certainly draws attention to the one part of myself I spent years trying to deny. And that would most definitely be correct. But I’m past that now. For me, having a nose ring is a reminder for myself and my kids that it’s ok to embrace your flaws and to be comfortable with yourself. And this is a lesson that I hope they internalize way before I did.