There comes a time in everyone’s life when your childish innocence comes crashing to a halt. When the world is no longer solely about running and wondering if dinner will ever be ready. The time when your flaws come to be noticed, and the desire to be just like everybody else becomes priority number one.
For me, the sky fell on a sunny day in year nine, when I realised I had a big nose.
The year was 2006, in March if my memory serves me correctly. Waiting outside room M12 for maths with Mr Llewelyn. I was standing with a friend, Peter. Life was relatively normal and carefree. And then it happened. Someone made a snide joke about the size of Peter’s nose. I laughed. I think a cool kid made the joke so I’d probably have done anything to fit in and stay below his radar.
“Yours is big too you know”, Peter said.
And this is where my memory will only recall that fateful moment in black and white, slow motion, and with a string quarter playing an ominous score. In the reflection of the door I see myself, and turn my head to profile.
DEAR GOD. MY NOSE IS ENORMOUS.
I broke into a cold sweat, and life was never the same again.
Flash forward seven years, and all those health blogs saying I would ‘grow into my facial features’ gave me nothing but hollow lies. Make no mistake, life with a big nose isn’t a walk in the park. This is something I must confront, and deal with, on a daily basis. Quick glances through windows can end in a bone-aching thump into the glass. T-shirts and jumpers with round necks need further stretching when they are coming off over my head. Even a toast with champagne leaves me outcast and shaken.
You see, for me, sipping champagne doesn’t just happen. Like the Oral-B toothbrush mascot, drinking from a champagne glass requires a full-head snapback which means I must sacrifice sips for swigs – not uncommon for most twenty-one year olds, but highly inappropriate at your cousins wedding.
Life with a disability comes with its good days, and its bad. The bad days are dark. Those are the days where I curse my mother and grandmother for passing onto me my heavy honker, and condemning me to years of endless nose bleeds from getting hit in the face with footballs and soccer balls Marcia Brady-style. But then there are days when my troubles subside, and life just doesn’t seem so hard. Sunglasses shopping is surprisingly easy when you have a ‘beak’, and days when my goddaughter uses my nose as a toy make me feel like some child-care genetic superhuman.
Life always gives you your own battles and ups-and-downs to work through, and I have been blessed with people around me who put up with my constant need for tissues and ice after walking shnoz-on into a door. They even keep their sniggers to themselves when I dive nose-first into the foam of my cappuccino, and refrain themselves to only a bi-monthly Anne Frank remark.
You simply have to put all of your problems in perspective. I really am fortunate, especially when I hear horror stories of men having to battle through the skinny-jean years with child bearing hips, or facing another Mo-vember with the inability to grow facial hair