I was never the same after that accident, for better and for worse.
Our wounds heal, but once something is broken, as you know, it is never as pristine as it was before. My left shoulder was permanently separated, and it hurt like hell. I still can’t sleep on my left side for long periods of time, as a result. I fractured my left eye socket. And, of course, I broke my nose. I BROKE MY NOSE!
That last injury was the answer to my prayers.
My nose, once it healed, was just a big as it was before, and now slightly crooked. But the fact that it had been broken in a car accident in which I was an innocent passenger meant one thing: “fixing” it would be 100% covered by my boyfriend’s insurance company. God bless insurance!
V, Version 2.0
And fix it is what I did. During Christmas break of my senior year of high school, I said goodbye to my Greek nose, forever. Dr. Laird gave me a new nose, which still wasn’t perfect, but it was the most beautiful nose I had ever seen. And it was mine.
After Christmas break, the kids at school noticed the difference, and marveled at it. People went out of their way to compliment me, and although I knew it was only because now I was prettier, I didn’t care. For the rest of the academic year, I was able to just enjoy school without the daily anxiety of trying to hide my nose. I finally felt “normal.” I walked across that graduation stage with honors and my head held high—in profile, of course.
Cosmetic surgery is a very personal choice, and it can have life-changing results. Rhinoplasty, for me, wasn’t about wanting to be pretty per se, but about release from the mental anguish my nose caused me. I didn’t expect it to make me pretty. I just wanted to be able to go to class, go out, live my life without contemplating my nose every waking moment of every single day.
That day in December, 1989, V 2.0 was born. To say that my nose job changed my life is an understatement. It gave me confidence…the confidence many of you have told me you admire…to focus squarely on my goals and achieve them. To find mental peace and love for myself, and actually feel that I was worthy of love and kindness in return. To stand up for myself and voice my opinions, fearlessly.
I’ve read that many keep their adventures in cosmetic surgery a closely-guarded secret. I have never felt that way about my nose job; why should I be ashamed or secretive about something that was so positive for me?
Self-acceptance…after cosmetic surgery?
Yes. And I’m very aware that having unnecessary surgery to change something on your face is basically the opposite of accepting it.
I’ve heard all the reasons people have for not wanting or supporting cosmetic surgery too:
But it’s not what God intended.
But it’s your ethnic heritage.
But it’s not natural.
So I say: Honey, if God was so opposed to me having a nose job, then he wouldn’t have intervened with a car accident that was just serious enough to break the one thing I hated. (I’m kidding, people!). Survivors of breast cancer who have mastectomies and rebuild their breasts with implants…you think He holds that against them too? It’s cosmetic surgery, no matter the reason. It’s a blessing and a miracle for so many men and women.
And I say: Heritage, schmeritage. I’m no less Greek-American with a smaller nose. Changing my nose doesn’t make me lose my ability to speak Greek or celebrate the customs of my culture.
And I say: You proponents of “natural” beauty, show me a woman in the western world who doesn’t do one of these things (or all of them): shave her legs, color her hair, tweeze her eyebrows, wear acrylic or gel nails, or makeup. I don’t know a single woman is 100% in her natural, God-given state. We all do something. There is nothing wrong with tweaking your appearance if it makes you feel better, whether that is cosmetic surgery, $325 highlights, or wearing drugstore lipstick. And really, we don’t want to see each other in our unrefined states. Trust me on that.
Cosmetic surgery, a nose job, specifically, seems like a vain, selfish endeavor. I know that. But for me, it actually was the opposite. If you are obsessively focused on a flaw—perceived or real—you really can’t focus on anything (or anyone) else. Case in point: Before my nose job, I was a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. For one shot, the photographer wanted the wedding party to look at the bride and groom, who were in the middle. That required us to turn our heads and be photographed in profile. I was so uneasy about it, the photographer asked me three times to turn my head and I just flatly refused. Eventually I gave in because I was actually drawing more attention to myself by refusing. But it was devastating to me knowing that my cousin and everyone who saw the photo would also see my big, hooked nose. I came off like a spoiled brat instead of a girl who was just really insecure about having her picture taken.
I’ve had my version 2.0 nose for 24 years, longer than I had my version 1.0 nose. It was instrumental in my journey to authentic, I’m-OK-in-this-skin self-acceptance.
My albatross had finally flown away…but there is still more to this journey to tell…
Are you contemplating cosmetic surgery? Or have you had it? How did it impact your life?