Why do you want to change your nose? Your father’s nose?

renee zellweger eyes
From CNN

My husband and his mother were standing next to each other the other day, and something in their stances, their proportions: it hit me. “Oh, that’s where he gets that from.”

I see this in my own family, in babies. That six-month-old has her father’s eyes, my sister has my mother’s mouth, another sister has my aunt’s hair. This baby looks like his grandfather, and that baby looks like great uncle Jack. Two of my sisters look so different, but sometimes they each look so much like my mother, it stuns.

Part of me believes: “You don’t like something, change it!” If you hate your nose or your eyes or how something is sagging, what’s a little nip/tuck? I have a crease between my eyes from squinting – my eyesight is so bad – and I’ve thought about botoxing it. Not now, but later.

And yet…

Our faces are not our own. They are a compendium of all those who came before us. I love being an individual, but I love coming from somewhere, too. My body is an actual, physical reminder that I have roots, of all that I have inherited from my ancestors. That seems to me more beautiful than anything a surgeon could do – how could a surgeon give me a better face than the one I’ve already been given?

If I would never want to change my mother’s face, or my sister’s, why would I want to change my own?

When I see people who’ve had surgery, I wonder about this. I wonder how they reconcile themselves to it. I suppose it’s easier if you hate your family, but I wonder how you’d tell aunt Ethel, with the same nose as you, why you hated your own nose so much. Does one’s role as a dutiful daughter impact one’s decision?

Or does Aunt Ethel look at you and say: “I wish they’d had the technology when I was your age.”?

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