One Never “Nose” The Power Of Words

This month’s Living Out Loud Project theme is “It. Was. Awful!” The idea is tell about something that makes you physically different whether it be a scar or a natural feature.

My nose. Big subject, literally. I hate it. Always have. Well now, that’s not entirely true. I used to have a cute little pug nose. But the summer between 7th and 8th grade, when all the other girls were at home growing breasts, my body decided to grow a nose instead.

Yeah, 8th grade sucked. I left for my 7th grade summer vacation with a cute boy liking me and when I returned he didn’t even look my way. Never found out if it was because I grew a nose, or because my aunt talked me into letting her cut my long dark waves into the new Dorothy Hamill rage – the wedge, or whether it was because I was probably the only 8th grade girl without boobs.

People at school didn’t really make fun of me, at least not to my face. However, the 40 minute bus ride to and from school was torture. I mean a living hell. There was a boy who made it his daily fun to pick (no pun intended) at me and my nose. In retrospect, he was probably trying to divert the attention from himself. After all, adolescence is a survival of the fittest. I’m sure I called him an ugly name or two in retribution, but I never flat out teased him. I couldn’t bear the responsibility of putting anyone else in that kind of pain. I wore my heart on my sleeve, so my friends were bound to have known how much it hurt me. I tried so hard not to cry at his hateful words. I could feel the scarlet burning through my skin, but the tears I saved for my pillow at night. I think the worst was when he named me “cherry picker”. He told everyone that I could hang myself on the tree by the hook of my nose and pick the fruit with both hands. My friends never called me that, but they surely laughed when he did it. Yeah, I guess it was funny. But not when you are the 13 year old girl who just wanted to fit in.

I have three sisters who all inherited my mother’s pretty little perky nose. I told my father that life was not fair that I (being a girl) ended up with his big old ugly nose and I hated it. I will always regret those horrible words I said to him. Like he was able to chose the nose God gave him or me. I never thought about the words hurting him until after they had escaped my mouth and my mother scolded me. My only excuse is that I was an angry teenage girl who had a nose with both a crook and a hook, and at the time, I hated the way I looked. I was ready to pin the blame and humiliation on anyone willing to accept it. The sad thing is that those words only broke both of our hearts.

I have often heard remarks about my appearance in which I knew was in reference to my honker. I’ve been told that I look like Barbara Streisand…do you sing also? (I must add here that I am not a big fan of Barbara Streisand’s music, but I have great respect that even though she has enough money to alter her appearance, she has greater self respect and acceptance to be who she is.) Then I’ve even had the comment, “Oh, I thought you were Jewish”. Like a certain kind of nose makes you Jewish. Who were these people who made such disparaging comments? Sometimes the ones I love lightly tease me, and that I can handle. The absolute most cutting incident came from someone I respected and thought truly cared for me for who I was inside. This person looked me right in the eyes (of course, the nose is stuck between them!) and said, “Susan, I never realized how big your nose is. Really, it is.” Something died inside me at that exact moment. I thought that if someone who loved me could say something so heartless, so callous, and wasn’t looking beyond my appearance and seeing “me” , who could I trust to see and love the “REAL” me…the one behind the NOSE?

So, a few years after that, I did the dirty deed. Yeah, I got a nose job, no not a boob job, a NOSE job. I actually was having surgery on a deviated septum, and decided that while I was under the knife, I might as well come out looking a little better. It is not a tremendous difference. (And I still have difficulty breathing at times.) The hump is gone, and the hook has been lifted. I still don’t have much of a chin and if I did, my nose would appear smaller. I still don’t like my profile, but it looks much better than pre-surgery. Do I regret it? Only occasionally…it’s the guilt thing with my father. I feel that I betrayed him. Appearance wise, I have no regrets there. However, I must say I’ve learned a lot from that nose. I’ve learned how to know who my real friends are and to treasure them. I’ve learned how painful words can be, and to choose them carefully. My nose has given me character, and I like to think that my character didn’t shorten along with my nose. Most importantly, my nose gave me strength…it’s a residual inner strength I’ve earned no matter what nose I sport on my face.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” –Pearl Strachan

This is a photo taken years prior to my surgery. I really don’t have many profile pics of those years…I probably shredded anything taken from an unflattering angle!

I still don’t do profile pics, but this is close, taken seven months ago.

46 thoughts on “One Never “Nose” The Power Of Words

  1. I know exactly what you mean.

    The cultural definition of beauty.

    The European nose…vs the American pert nose.

    I am European in my look, people comment on the bridge of my hose. Or on how sunglasses never fit my face, but are LIFTED off my face.

    It is what it is.

    And my life? It’s been hard with my big nose, for me.

    To others, please keep your thoughts to yourself, or, at least stop and ask yourselves: “Is this a polite thing to say? ” If not, then don’t.

    I related to your post here 110%.

    • The inconsideration of people never ceases to amaze me. Seriously, why would anyone say something rude to someone about a physical attribute? I suppose some people have no couth.

  2. Isn’t is amazing how words have the power to effect us both positively and negatively?

    “I learned how painful words can be, and to choose them carefully.”

    Me too, Suzi. I was also teased in school, so I can closely indentify with how you felt.

    But we learned and grew from it, didn’t we?

    “My nose has given me character, and I like to think that my character didn’t shorten along with my nose. Most importantly, my nose gave me strength…it’s a residual inner strength I’ve earned no matter what nose I sport on my face.”


    Such a beautiful lady you are. Inside and out.

    Have a wonderful day!


  3. I have a ‘hump’ or a ‘bump’ in my nose. I used to hate it as a kid, but then it started to look right to me. My sister had a much smaller little bump on her nose which she got ‘fixed’. She looks fine, but I do too. I think if something makes you feel bad about yourself, change it. Looking at the photos, you are a beautiful woman in the before shot and in the after shot. It’s all good.

  4. Mine was always my overbite. I was made fun of. Made beaver teeth at. Called a bunny rabbit. I still cringe, but it’s me. My parents did not have it fixed, so I am still a chipmunk to this day. 🙂

    I think you are BEAUTIFUL both ways, inside and out.

  5. I doubt I would have noticed anything unusual about your nose before. I had a friend who had a nose job and while I didn’t judge her for doing it, I couldn’t really see a difference. Although I did have a girl on a bus once say to me “oh my god, you have such a cute little nose”, so I guess some people are aware of it.

    • Some people are more obsessed with physical beauty and have no problem verbalizing it. And I don’t know why some people think it no differnet to comment rudely than it is to compliment.

  6. Honestly, I really don’t like little button noses. I’m glad I don’t have one. I don’t have a huge nose, but it’s not a button. My creative writing teacher in high school once told me I had the nose of a Roman Empress. I was Ok with that.

    You also have the nose of a Roman Empress. Strong, proud and beautiful. I love it.

  7. Funny how much those bus rides when we were young stick to us and how dare does a friend look into your eyes and say hurtful things, part of life I suppose and the positive thing here is as you pointed out, we learn how to choose our words.

    I never was one to notice or worry about the looks of other people, I always saw the person inside and that makes the person on the outside either beautiful or ugly depending on their attitude, you my Friend are one of the beautiful.

  8. The cruelty adolescents are capable of … if it’s not one body part, it’s another. I can only imagine the agony of that bus ride!

    I think you look nice in both of your photos. I had an art teacher once who did some really beautiful profile portraits of Barbra Streisand, which she brought in to show us. Interesting trivia: Streisand, she told us, resisted having her nose altered because she feared that any change in its shape would affect the distinct resonances of her voice. She wouldn’t be Streisand without that, so she kept what, in part, made her the artist she is.

  9. I hate how fully focused we tend to be on our flaws, but I am the same way. I have to say that I am utterly floored by the rudeness of that comment made to you. That is shocking, and I hope that person is held at arm’s length these days if you’re still even talking to him/her. Unbelievable.

    You are beautiful, Suzicate.

    • I don’t know what possesses people to say the things they do, but all is forgiven…I only used that example only to focus on the power of words…and the power of people’s opinions, when in fact they shouldn’t matter at all; yet we live by the words, thoughts, and opinions of others.

  10. Nice post!
    I always think its brave when people talk about those things that bother them…its embracing it or offering that pain up, to finally free yourself.

  11. If an operation has made you more happy with your looks, then it was a good decession. I think you are beautiful and were so on the first pic, you look like Maria Callas?

    I have a bit of a long nose (thanks dad) but it never bothered me and no one ever said it was too big. I am European living in Europe; maybe all big nosed people should immigrate here lol.

    • Gee, how come I got the nose and not the voice like she or Streisand? I’d actually heard of Maria Callas, but could not recall who she was until I googled her. I have an elderly Italian friend who is big into opera, I should have asked her.

  12. I love your nose. When I was in college, my roommate always pretended like any sort of cosmetic issues others brought up were so silly. I then found out she had a nose job in high school through a mutual aquaintence! How funny. And by the way, I hate my feet.

  13. I relate to this post. I also had a deviated septum and a hump in my nose as well it being completely crooked. So many people teased me in high school about my big, crooked nose and finally when the doctor said I needed to have my deviated septum corrected, I also plead with my parents to have some cosmetic changes done to my nose. It made college a better experience. I had more confidence and more importantly I could breathe.

    • Glad it made your college experience better. My parents did not have mine done couldn’t have afforded it nor would they have done it. They judged my cousin who had her nose “bobbed” as they called it. I had mine done as an adult…when the choice and finance was mine to bear.

  14. Gee … thanks for bringing my nose to my mind. Most of the time I have learned not to think about it and just picture it in my mind as this cute little button … yes, I am delusional about it. However, whenever the subject comes up about anybody else’s nose .. there is my reality again.
    Unfortunately .. our noses are a part of our body (like our ears) that continue to grow .. I don’t even want to imagine mine at 80 yrs old.
    Good post

  15. I once read that in the bible when it says that God is slow to anger the literal translation is God has a long nose…that’s supposedly because the ancient Jews thought that anger came out through the nose. Don’t know if it’s true but it’s kinda fun to think about. My 90 year old mom to this day rues the fact she never had a nose job. In any case, Suze, your post made me smile and made me sad that you had to go through that. We all have something, I guess, that we would change about ourselves. But the little I know of you from a few visits to your blog, your beauty is apparent. I like the way you wrote about this. Victoria

  16. Oh, sweetie. That was hard for me to read because it made me want to hug you and I can’t. You’re so pretty! I know what you mean about avoiding profile pictures. I do the same. I don’t like my nose either because it has a “ball” on the end of it. It’s my mother’s nose. She is still living and I swore I wouldn’t get rid of it while she was alive. My husband is angry with me that I would even dream of changing it, as he says he loves it the way it is and how it makes my face look. But I want to cry about it sometimes.

    • Awe, thanks. I think it’s one of those things unless you live it, people don’t really get it. I don’t think mine really understood why I wanted to do it or will ever understand the depth of where the desire stems, but of course, he has a nice nose that I thank God my kids inherited.

  17. Precisely who was it that defined beauty as having perfect everything, boobs, nose, eyes, mouth, hair, body? Then again, who was it that decided what’s perfect? As a young teenager I remember being teased because of my height (everyone else was height-challenged) and because I’m bow-legged (and now I note an awful lot of famous people whose legs are shaped the same as mine from the knees down). Getting through those years is a challenge and yes, you come out stronger. Or you don’t come out. We could use lessons in consideration.

  18. You know, in all the pictures of you when you were younger that you’ve posted, I have never noticed your nose. You are a very pretty lady, presurgery and after!!!! And I HATE bullies. HATE THEM. I was bullied, too, for my ears. When I was little, my ears stuck out (they still do somewhat, but I grew into them) like radar dishes. Plus, it didn’t help that I wore coke-bottle thick glasses WITH A BLACK PATCH over my right eye to help my vision in my left. Life was rough for me, so I can totally empathize with you. I can’t even tell you how often I cried at night.

    • I think most of us have endured bullying at ne time or another…and the saddest thing is probably that most bullies do it because they’ve been bullied…why can’t people just be nice?

      • I KNOW!!! The world would be a much better place if people just treated those around them the way he/she would like to be treated! But apparently, being nice is just too hard for some people…

  19. I have always loved that picture of you and Sabu. And to be honest, I don’t think I even knew or noticed that you had surgery for YEARS… until you told me… You’ve always been beautiful to me… before and after. Your nose does not make you beautiful or ugly… your heart does and yours is beautiful.

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