I must have been eight when I was made to realize that my nose is not my most flattering feature. A relative probably joked about it being too broad one time, and that stuck with me for a long time. So, the weeks, months, and years that followed, were filled with me checking out my nose in every reflective surface I encountered, literally every.
I became obsessed with noses. Funny thing to be obsessed about as an eight-year-old no? Noses? In fact, it is a funny thing to be obsessed about at any age. I used to check out everyone’s nose, compare it with mine, and wonder how their nose would look on my face. I remember using hairpins, cloth pins, and every other pin to pinch my nose together, hoping that it might become more chiseled somehow. Sadly, all the pinching did not work, but what did happen was that I developed scars on my nose because of the continued pressure.
All I wanted, more than anything else in life back then, was a chiseled nose. It was my single, unwavering goal. However, all the pins, prayers, and holding my breath ever so often did not help. My broad nose started making me resent my dad a tiny bit. After all, it was his broad nose that I inherited. I used to blame him for passing on his non-flattering nose genes to me.
I grew up over the years in most other aspects but my obsession with my nose or its lack of sharpness thereof did not wane down. So, I approached this problem the same way I approach most problems in my life – I went to my sister to resolve it. She acknowledged it and then both of us with our combined childhood wisdom came up with a plan. The solution was clear – I needed to get a nose job. The plan to reach there was to work hard in life and become rich because apparently, good nose jobs are expensive. I was satisfied with the solution she offered. It was not ideal, but I was happy that one fine day I can look pretty with a chiseled nose.
Over the years, however, I grew up to feel that my nose was probably not all that bad. I passed my ugly duckling phase to grow up into a good-looking young girl and surprisingly nobody seemed to notice my nose or its lack of sharpness. I was, however, always conscious of wearing any make-up that would draw any attention to my nose. I learned to accept it but not love it yet. I was alright with it lying on my face quietly, not asking for attention. But the thought of it asking for more and claiming its rightful place on my face was almost blasphemous. How dare it! It was just allowed to exist – quietly, unceremoniously, and almost grateful of my acceptance, indebted even.
Over the past few years though, ever since dadda passed away, I started growing a strange fondness towards my nose. I now find in it my special connection and bond with dadda. I feel like a part of him stayed back with me through my nose. On days when I have time to stare at the mirror a little longer and admire myself, I get reminded of him and smile. So, my nose is now a strange yet adorable reminder of my bond with dad. And funnily enough, from accepting it, I have now grown to like it. I no longer expect it to lie unceremoniously on my face. I want to get a nose piercing someday because I want to make up for all the love that my nose did not get all these years. I want to love it, and dare I say, even celebrate it.
On your birthday today dadda, I am thankful for all that you passed on to me – your smile, some bits of your intellect, your fierce independence, your vulnerability, your bad sense of humour, your idiosyncrasies and most importantly your nose…I am thankful for your nose dadda. It taught me so much about the cruel beauty standards we crush little kids and their spirit with. And it taught me so much about embracing our bodies and our beauty. You are gorgeous dadda and so is your nose, and mine. Also, ‘Fuck beauty standards! I am not getting a nose job.’