I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just started secondary school and was chatting with my friend, when a guy in the year above stopped clean in his tracks. He pointed and me and said with a laugh, ‘Oh my God, your nose is so big.’ Funny, right? Only it wasn’t. Not for a twelve year old girl.
And that’s how it happened. My large (pardon the pun) insecurity issue with my nose. Up until that point I’d never been aware that my nose was a ‘problem.’ I knew I wasn’t one of the prettiest girls but I certainly wasn’t hideously deformed either. But something about an older boy going out of his way to say that to me really hit me- especially at an age where I was already starting to become self conscious about how I looked. And thus, just like that, the insecurity was born.
From then on I knew wanted a different nose. A little button or a cute ski slope. Not one with a bump and an overly round tip. I constantly found myself comparing my idea of the perfect nose with what I saw in the mirror. I felt my features were big and bold on my face. Not in proportion. Not feminine. Not dainty and neat. As girls especially, the beauty industry is so integral to our day to day lives. The billboards we’re exposed to, the advertisements, the music videos. Most depicting one kind of beauty. Most depicting one kind of nose – or whatever your ‘flaw’ may be. And this, for 12 year old me, was the ‘proof’ that I wasn’t enough. Proof that boys wouldn’t fancy me and girls wouldn’t think me as pretty.
Now I’m 24 I’m a little wiser. I’m perfectly aware that feelings of physical confidence and security mean embracing ideas about self love. But easier said than done, right? No matter how many times we tell ourselves to love how we look. No matter how many times we tell others to love how they look. Embrace your little tum, or the lines beside your eyes. Love your stretch marks and your scars. They tell a story, we say. Indeed, I tell myself all the time. But it’s a toughie thanks to the critical voices in our heads that seem to tell us we’ve missed the mark in some respect. I think about my nose less now, certainly. And I think that comes with age. Does it ever fully dissipate? No, I don’t think so.
So with this in mind, how can we deal with our insecurities at a time where it’s still a pretty big issue for us. For me, it’s about being mindful of how I spend my time. We’ve read time and time again of how Instagram has the ability to build us up. But we’re also fully aware that it has the ability to drag us down. And for that reason, I think it’s one platform in particular we should be mindful of. If I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’ about myself, I’ll take a few days out. I’ll read a book. I’ll go for a walk and stick on a face mask.
Sometimes, the last thing we need to see is someones flawlessly curated life in front of us. We’re aware these perfectly formed squares are nothing more than a fantasy. A great angle. A touch of FaceTune. But at the wrong time, ‘perfection’ can hit us like a kick in the teeth and be incredibly damaging. And other times, I’m nothing other than uplifted by the pretty squares that depict a dream life. But if we find the balance then surely we’re on our way to become more mindful of our own needs.
Of course, it goes without saying that there’s so much more than just our appearance that shapes us as a person. I’d obviously rather be thought of as kind over beautiful. But it would be wrong to assume that dwelling on our physical appearance doesn’t take up a lot of our time. Either way, to round this up, for every one of us who hate our tummies, or our hair, or whatever else, there’s someone out there wishing there’s was like yours. And for every time I hated my nose, there’s someone else who thinks of it as a cute quirk. We really are too hard on ourselves. Here’s to dealing with it better.