I never really had a problem with my nose when I was younger. I was always told I'd taken after my Greek dad, with my slightly bulbous tip and a crooked bridge but it gave me character at school in Essex, where I was a minority.
But in my late teens, I found myself caught up in the social media storm. Suddenly, I was spending hours on end scrolling through Instagram, being bombarded with snaps of beauty bloggers, makeup artists and models with picture-perfect features – and mine didn't match up.
Later, at university, I received an anonymous message through Facebook from someone (I still don't know who) that managed to tap into that insecurity, big time. I thought I had gotten away with overexposing my selfies with natural light or choosing my angles well, but no matter which filter I opted for, I was told that my nose would "still look big and ugly".
That was the turning point for me and, two years on, I truly believe that having my nose tweaked was one of the best things I've ever done – especially for my confidence levels in a world and a job that is obsessed with appearance. And while I don't regret it, there are so many things I wish I'd known before biting the bullet and altering my looks for good.
The Big Reveal Is Extremely Disappointing
I don't really remember the pain or the black eyes, but I do remember crying myself into a state over how my nose looked after the cast had been removed. I felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment. The plastic shield had pinched my tip, Jacko-style, the swelling made me look like something out of Avatar and I was terrified that I'd be haunted by the regret of my £5,000 decision. What have I done to my face? Did I look better before?
But as time went on, the swelling began to subside and my nose finally looked like it belonged on my face. A quick catch-up with my surgeon also revealed that it takes longer for those with "thick skin" (a certain characteristic of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern noses) to see the swelling subside and that it can even take up to a year (sometimes longer) for your nose to assume its final shape. Phew.
It Takes Time To Adjust To The New Face Staring Back At You
As someone who tests makeup for a living, I probably spend longer than most looking in the mirror and analyzing my face, but in the months after my nose job, I was completely obsessed with spotting changes. Not even shop windows or locked phone screens were safe from my glare.
It was weird having to adjust to the ever-changing face staring right back at me and, even though I had asked for the "ski slope" bridge and a "button tip", I was almost shocked when they started to appear through the swelling. Every day for about a year afterwards, I noticed my nose assume a slightly different shape and it threw me every single time.
It Looks Worse Than It Feels, So Don't Let People Work You Up Into A Panic Beforehand
A quick Google search of the term "nose job" will return pictures of bulging black eyes and dried blood – a lot of it – but, honestly, the pain was no worse than a leg wax.
That won't stop people from working you up, though. A week before my surgery, an editor I worked with launched into a horror story of how a friend of a friend "looked and felt as though she'd been run over" after her nose job – and I let it get to me. Walking into surgery, I'd never felt fear like it and practically had to be carried in, but on exit, I laughed at myself (or tried under the tight nose cast) because it really wasn't that bad.
Other People's Perceptions Of Your Appearance Are Totally Different From Your Own
Nose jobs aren't meant to completely change your face and any reputable surgeon will tell you that good plastic surgery should make it impossible to tell whether you've undergone a procedure at all. To me, my new nose finally looked like it belonged on my face. I was in love with it and I was certain my friends and family would admire it, too.
But they didn't. In fact, hardly anyone who mattered to me noticed the difference. It taught me that other people's perceptions of your appearance are incredibly different from yours and that sometimes we're a little too harsh on ourselves.
Changing Your Appearance Won't Change The Way People Treat You
It may sound really stupid, but as someone who was always self-conscious of her nose on dates with new people, I put almost all of the failed ones down to it. I'd find myself half-covering it with my sleeve and even make comments about it to break the ice, even though there was no need.
My straighter nose gave me a new lease of life – a new-found confidence – and I was certain it'd land me a boyfriend, too. But I've realized that if a guy is going to ghost you, he'll do so regardless of your looks or sparkling self-assurance. Sometimes, you just don't click and most of the time, apps are a really crappy way to meet people.
It'll Never Be Completely Perfect
Long story short, if you waltz into the surgeon's waiting room and tell him you want a "Kim Kardashian nose" (guilty), chances are, you won't walk out with one. Any reputable surgeon will warn you that a) You can't ask for someone else's nose as it simply won't suit your face, and b) No nose is perfect after surgery.
I'll admit, my surgeon talked me through all of that, but as someone that had marveled over "before" and "after" pictures online (symmetrical noses I now realize were probably Photoshopped and obviously contoured – Kim, I'm looking at you) and had never actually been under the knife before, I convinced myself I'd be an exception.
Fast-forward to now and I am happy with the finished result. My nose is smaller, slimmer and more feminine – which is exactly what I wanted – but that doesn't stop the perfectionist in me taking over sometimes. Maybe one side could be a little more streamlined. And is one nostril a fraction bigger than the other...?
Most surgeons will offer free revision surgery if you aren't 100% happy with the finished result a year on, but is a perfectionist ever truly satisfied?
People Might Make You Feel Silly For Having It Done – Don't Listen To Them
"You didn't need a nose job in the first place," is something you'll probably hear on a loop after surgery, but just imagine the weighty insecurity you've carried on your shoulders for years and years finally jumping off and running away. To me, that's what it felt like, and I wasn't going to let anyone instill that regret in me.
A few years on, there are some days where I look back on my old nose with nostalgia, almost. Its chunky tip, its "charismatic" (thanks, Mum) bridge, slightly off-centre, but I think that's because I've forgotten what it was like to live with it. The fact that I no longer shy away from cameras, keep my head down on the Tube or make jokes about it before anyone else has the opportunity to (sad, I know) is, in my opinion, worth it.
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