Here’s How I Finally Became Confident Sharing My Side Profile Online

I had a bumpy relationship with my bumpy nose for way too long.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t think twice about my nose, but in middle school, my nose began to change, and soon there was a bump on its bridge and a boy in my 8th-grade science class told me I had a “witch nose.” While I hold no grudges toward him, this is the exact moment my period of self-loathing began.

I used to stand in front of a mirror while holding up a handheld mirror and study my side profile. I’d hold my finger up to the bump, attempting to see what I’d look like without it. In time, my nose became my worst enemy and I blamed it for all my problems. It wrecked my self-esteem. I’d daydream about the day I was old enough to finally get a nose job—I believed getting one would bring me closer to the person I was meant to look like.

All the models I saw in magazines had tiny, ski-slope noses, and I was jealous of how beautiful they looked in their side profile shots as I couldn’t bear having my nose photographed from an angle. I’d dread every second I could feel someone looking at my side profile. I’d cringe whenever I was tagged in a photo with my side profile showing. I’d obsess over the photo for weeks, wishing it wasn’t me. I felt ugly.

I also never saw any protagonists with unconventional noses on television. When I did see a nose like mine, it was usually on a villain. This only reinforced the idea that a nose like mine wasn’t considered beautiful or worthy. As the boy in 8th grade said, it was a “witch nose.”

Finally, three years ago, I got a nonsurgical nose job, which involved getting filler injected into the bridge of my nose to straighten it out and give the illusion of a smaller nose. Initially, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it was that easy and I was eager for the confidence to start pouring in. At last, I looked like the person I believed I was supposed to look like.

I was so excited to show my new side profile to my best friend, but when I did, she couldn’t tell there was a difference. It was only at that moment that I realized the people that love me don’t view my nose the way I do. Suddenly, it dawned on me that “fixing” my nose wouldn’t fix my self-esteem or give me the confidence I yearned for.

After a lot of self-reflection, I realized that I wanted a straighter, smaller nose because that’s what fit in the molds of the Eurocentric beauty standard I grew up aspiring to. To boost my self-esteem I needed to redefine how I defined beauty, so I turned to the Internet. There, I found hundreds of pictures of people celebrating parts of their faces and bodies that toxic beauty standards told them to fix: cellulite, stomach rolls, rosacea, and bumpy noses galore! They inspired me, so I decided to do the same.

For the first time in my life, I took ownership of my side profile. If I had seen other women embracing their big, bumpy noses as a child, my perspective on beauty might’ve been different. So, while I don’t have a large platform, I committed myself to use mine as a way to remind people with unconventional noses that they don’t have to change.

After years of self-loathing, I no longer waste my energy by questioning my beauty. I still have days when my nose makes me feel insecure, but ultimately, my nose is just a nose, and whether or not others consider it to be beautiful is not my problem.