In June 2019, after my junior year of high school, I got a nose job. A rhinoplasty, to be specific, and I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
When I tell people this, their first response is always something along the lines of, “But why? You looked so good before, you didn’t need a nose job!” While I am thankful and appreciative that people liked my original nose, the problem was that I did not like it. It made me feel insecure and ugly, and I hated taking pictures of my side profile because of it. My parents were aware of this and told me that if I truly wanted to, they would offer to get me a nose job. It took me some time to decide whether or not that's really what I wanted to do, but ultimately I decided on it, and I do not regret it.
Ethnically, I am Syrian, which is a part of the Middle East, and Middle Easterners tend to have larger-than-usual noses. Neither of my parents have those tiny, European noses you see often, and even my dad got a nose job when he was younger. Luckily, I never got bullied for my big nose when I was in school, but it was always a source of insecurity for me, and I blame society and the westernized standards of beauty that we have deemed the “ideal” look for women. Tiny noses with a slope that pop right back up at the tip to make the perfect little button nose is what I have been told makes someone beautiful, so you can imagine the insecurities I felt when I looked in the mirror and stared at my large, bumpy nose in the middle of my face. There are a handful of people from different races and ethnicities who have felt the same way about their facial features thanks to what society tells us is beautiful and what’s not, and some of them do take the approach of cosmetic surgery to help them reach those ideals. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong; I am proud of my Syrian culture and love everything about it. I love being - and looking - like a Syrian, and I’m also not that insecure about the other aspects of my appearance. There is nothing else I would change about my look because I love myself and think there’s nothing else worth changing.
I still decided to get a nose job anyway. I realized that if I got it, I would feel so much more confident and comfortable and would feel so much more beautiful than I used to. I wanted to do this for myself and no one else. My nose was the only thing that was hindering my ability to feel as confident and beautiful as possible, and hey, if my parents were supportive and willing to pay for the operation, why the hell not.
So, I got the operation done at the start of summer following the end of my junior year of high school after a couple of consultations with my surgeon. I was incredibly nervous for the operation, because
a) I hate surgery and b) I had no idea what my nose was going to really look like after it was done and was afraid I was going to deeply regret it. But, the surgery was quick and surprisingly painless, and even though there were times during recovery where I would fall into a depression, fearful that I looked worse and that I was ugly (my face got really puffy during recovery, which made me look kind of like a chipmunk), I am in love with how I look today and am so thankful I made the decision to go ahead and get the operation done.
I’m not afraid to take photos of my side profile anymore. I feel a million times prettier, and I don’t really look that much different. I didn’t get one of those tiny European noses I talked about earlier, but I did get one that made me feel a lot more comfortable in my skin. I’m happy now, my family and my friends are happy for me, and now I can go about my day without feeling insecure about my appearance as much as I used to feel.
For those of you reading this who have been struggling with insecurities about your appearance the same way I did and have been contemplating getting some sort of cosmetic surgery, please understand that you, in no way, shape, or form, need to get an operation done. That being said, if you really want one, if you’re doing it for yourself and only yourself, then there should be nothing stopping you from doing what you believe is going to make you feel happy. You, of course, are beautiful in your own skin, but it is not my place to tell you to get or not to get a nose job, or a face lift, or lip fillers or anything. It is your choice, and what you do to your body should be a reflection of what you want and not what others want for you.
And for the rest of you, take the time to reflect on the way we have westernized beauty standards for both men and women, and think about how it has affected the self-esteem of those who do not fit those very specific ideals. We need to normalize all kinds of facial features and body shapes and understand that they are all beautiful. Maybe one day we won’t have little girls like me who feel ugly because of their nose shape, so let’s re-evaluate our approach to beauty standards and find ways to emphasize the beauty in everyone.
My journey is something I’m going to look back at and smile about, because in the end, I know I did this for me and for me only, and I love how it made me feel about myself.