One of the coaches in my Productivity program suggested that, since a couple of us had been discussing issues with our noses, it might be a good topic for a blog post. I decided tonight to go back and copy the discussion, and of course I couldn't find it. This proves a number of things: if you think of doing something, move it forward right away. I got as far as the headline for this blog post, and the other things we discussed disappeared into the ether. Of course, this might be an opportunity to go in a different direction or be more creative, but it also might mean that some brilliant insights will be lost. But since it wasn't an earth-shattering topic, I can ruminate and let it go where it will--or just follow my nose.
As a child, I was never happy with my nose. I judged it was too big for my face, closer to my mother's which had a slight bump in it, and less like my father's which was very straight and which he had bequeathed to my brother. When I was in high school, a friend had had a nose job. She had had a fairly large nose that was hooked, and after the surgery she had an adorable, much smaller nose that I envied (of course, she was also about half my height). When I was 16, I told my father that I wanted a nose job. He was strict and I never really thought he'd let me get one, but he began to tell me every night when he got home from work that he loved my nose. At first, I didn't believe it and just thought he was saying it because he thought it would steer me away from wanting to change it. Then I thought that since he loved my mother he probably thought she had a nice nose, and therefore liked mine, too. However, it didn't convince me to like it.
But he kept telling me that he loved my nose, probably for a whole year. It is difficult, even for a stubborn teenager, to resist a constant barrage of affirmation. When I look back, I know that he could have just told me to stop complaining (which he often did about other things), but instead he kept repeating that he loved my nose. I can see underneath that, the love he had for me, and probably the awareness that I was going through a gawky adolescence in which I was going to fasten on at least one aspect of my appearance which I detested. It wouldn't have helped if my mother had done this, but it made a huge difference that my father did. By the end of the year, I began to see my nose as less horrible than I originally thought, and the following year, when I met the boy who fell in love with me and eventually became my husband, I rather liked my nose, and his admiration made me feel beautiful from head to toe.
Love can change our perspective, and it did the same thing for my oldest daughter. She and my son inherited my nose; the other four daughters all got my husband's, which of course I thought was perfect. Elizabeth was not too happy with her nose, though she was so self-confident I don't think it bothered her that much. (She had a scar on her forehead from an accident as a child and if anyone asked her about it, she told them it was a dueling scar!) Her husband told her that he loved her nose, but she thought he might just be saying that, or that he was intrigued because he is Korean American, and hers was so different from his (as his stepmother said, hers was a "tall nose"). At some point, they had watched High School Musical and he commented on how attractive one of the actresses was. When they watched the sequel, he said that for some reason she was not nearly as good looking in this movie. Eventually they realized that the actress had had a nose job between the two movies! So Elizabeth realized that he sincerely liked a larger nose!
On the other hand, my son who has the largest nose in the family (and at 6'5" is the tallest), always loved his nose. He told me when he was about 10 that if he ever broke his nose, he would ask them to fix it so that it looked like a huge, hooked pirate nose! I'm not sure if he still feels that way at 27, but I am thankful he never broke his nose!