^^ Photo from one of my favorite illustrators ever, Zoe Sees. ^^
When it comes to the love I feel for my nose, I think Facebook’s limited relationship labels describe it best, “it’s complicated.”
Everybody has a body part (or lets be honest, a few) that they’ve spent years trying to accept with mixed results. A lip moustache, a crooked nose, uneven butt checks — there is often a large gap between the moment you notice the things that bug you about your body and the moment you decide to fully embrace their originality.
I mean, the media is doing us real humans no favors in the lane of body acceptance so the work is really on us. Have I ever found a celebrity rocking my kind of nose? Uh, maybe Sam Elliot? Now that I write this I am HONORED to share a nose with that “Tombstone” legend, Anna Wintour, put him on the cover of Vogue!
I always joke that my nose was created to grace the face of a 6’2 man instead of a 5’5 cat mum living in Brooklyn. I’m not just saying this on a whim, it’s a theory tested through family genetics. I never got to meet my paternal grandfather but perhaps in the hopes of being remembered well into another generation, he graced me with his great nose.
And by great I mean full bodied, with a slight leftward tilt and a sharp curve that extends like a ski slope away from the rest of my face. On him, this nose looked like it was the star of a party thrown in its honor by all the other facial features. On me it looks … uh … far away from my face.
Now it might seem like my nose and I have had a real Capulet and Montague relationship my entire life which I assure you isn’t true. In high school my teenage criticism was solely focused on having the shape of a 2×4. But years later, after I had come to love and respect my flat chest, I would still find myself catching sight of my nose in profile in the mirror and thinking, why can’t you be more of a team player with the rest of my face?
When you become an adult you really have three choices of how to approach your body: One, you can spend all your energy hating it. Two, you change it if through diet, exercise, or MONEEYY. Or three, you can take a deep breath, give yourself a good look over, and start loving yourself. I chose the last one because the idea of hating something about myself seems so unnecessarily exhausting and I’d rather save that energy for trying to learn ukulele. Plus even in the midst of my most insecure moments, I knew that while my nose stood out to me, no one else noticed or cared.
There is a myth around self acceptance that once you achieve it you will never have to think about it again. You’ve gotten the medal, you love your body and now it’s just roses and daisies forever! If I’m the first one to burst your bubble on this, apologies. “Snow White” is also a deeply unsettling story of a toxic relationship so we might as well disband all your allusions now.
The truth is, accepting yourself and loving yourself takes a lifetime of work. Somedays it’s as simple as breathing (“Damn look at the steep profile of this elegant nose!”) and somedays it’s tested (“Why is this picture make my nose look like Cyrano de Bergerac?”). But just like any muscle, once you start training yourself to see and talk about your body with care, the easier it gets to accept your body exactly as it is. Because at the end of the day your body is helping you navigate the world and that deserves a real gold medal, don’t you think?
It’s been a slow building relationship between my nose and I, but now at 28, my nose holds a pretty special spot in my heart. Sometimes I’ll even give it a tap and think, you are my nose and damn it, I love you and here’s why:
Due to it’s mountain-like slope, my glasses NEVER fall down which is not something my tiny nosed friends get to enjoy. This nose is the befriend-er of babies who have a growing fascination with grabbing hold of it. Honestly anything that puts me in the favor of babies I am on board with because I love them SO MUCH. My nose is always covered in freckles during the summer and makes me feel really beautiful. Due to its size, my nose really helps me heighten my facial expressions. But perhaps best of all, when I look at picks of my grandpa and dad, I see my nose centerstage above their smiles. So to my Lanning nose, I love you just as you are. Now, let’s get you another pair of glasses, shall we?
^^ Me realizing Hans Christen Anderson and I have the actual same nose. Hopefully that’s where he stored his imagination and creative drive. ^^