Tuesday 2 October 2018

You're Damned If You Do: My Rhinoplasty Story

What if I told you that I had cosmetic surgery? Would you judge me? Would you think that I suffer from low self esteem? Low self worth?

Maybe not. But the problem is that while this may not be the the thoughts that you admit to, as some point each of us at one time or another has passed judgement on someone else for undergoing a cosmetic procedure. Myself included; I mean, who among us hasn't passes judgement on a celebrity for some sort of cosmetic enhancement? On that same token, how many of us have made comments about someone's appearance, exclusive of cosmetic enhancements? Be honest. I'm definitely not above it.

And the thing is, I've actually had cosmetic surgery. Rhinoplasty, to be exact (aka a nose job.) I myself know all too well the crippling thoughts of self-consciousness, the shame, the space that occupies your mind when you're truly unhappy with a part of your body. I also know how making a change to your body can give you a renewed perspective on life - not even physically, but mentally. Hours agonizing over your body, a lifetime hiding - all gone. It's a beautiful thing. And yet, I still have a tendency to judge.

Let me back up and explain briefly my history with my nose, my surgery itself and how my life changed moving on from it. All my life I had been extremely self conscious of my nose. My nose seemed to dominate my thoughts and lead me to adapt my life to fade into background; anything to prevent attention to my face. I was never teased, it was never an issue for anyone else - and yet, my nose was such a point of insecurity for me that it seemed to consume my entire life.

Flash forward to 2009: after moving to the GTA to study Funeral Services at Humber College I finally mustered up the courage to speak with a plastic surgeon who came highly recommended by my uncle (a medical doctor himself.) After an incredible consultation, I promptly booked my Rhinoplasty. Come winter 2010, I would find myself in a fancy clinic in Yorkville, dressed for surgery, eagerly awaiting the show to get on the road. I was asked multiples time if I was nervous; by my parents, by the nurses and by the doctor himself. No, I would answer each question confidently. I'm ready.

The surgery was a success. It would be weeks before my bandages would come off and I could see my new nose but I could already see a change in myself. I felt lighter, more relaxed. Already the space in which insecurity and doubt that occupied my mind for decades was starting to clear, and was filling with a more positive use of thought.

Eventually the bandages came off, my scars healed, the swelling went down and I was left with nose that looked very much like the one that had caused me so much grief, but different enough that I didn't have to think about it anymore. It made all the difference. I felt like a different person; the same me, only lighter. And while I didn't get the people in my life noticing a huge change physically, they did notice a change with my spirit. One friend remarked that she noticed that I was now able to make eye contact. That says more about the results than I could ever explain. For me, cosmetic surgery was one of the best decisions that I've ever made for myself.

Flash forward to present day. With my rhinoplasty a distant memory I've embarked in a career that essentially revolves around putting myself out there online, with my writing, photos and more recently video. While I have never experienced any taunting due to my nose, I have definitely had more than my fair share of insults thrown my way about my teeth. "You need braces," the comments read, "fix your teeth and it will fix your lisp." Youtube comments from trolls are the worst. The thing is, these comments don't bother me since I'm in the (seemingly minority) mindset that my crooked bottom teeth add to the aesthetic that is "me." I like my shifted teeth, I don't mind the lisp that comes along with them. At present date, I have no plans on fixing my teeth - but isn't it funny that we can't seem to escape judgement, no matter what the avenue?

My point in all of this is that we could all do with a little less judgement. I also wanted to offer a different perspective on cosmetic surgery, and how it's not all based off of vanity. I wanted to do my part on reducing the stigma on elective procedures, even if just in a small way. Ultimately, I just wanted to be more honest with you. One of the most empowering things that we can do is take control and ownership of ourselves, whether it be making a change or embracing our imperfections - exclusive of judgement.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Join in on the conversation. And, as always, thank you for taking the time.

xo Joëlle

Disclaimer - While I'm extremely candid about my relationship with cosmetic enhancements offline, I was always reluctant to share on La Petite Noob because I would hate to think that anyone would take away that they should be participating in plastic surgery. Absolutely not. Cosmetic surgery is still surgery and comes along with the same risks. It is also incredibly painful and the full results do not reveal themselves for months - it took one an a half years for me to see the full results of my rhinoplasty. I grappled with my decisions for over ten years. This is not something to be taken lightly, nor something that you need to do.


  1. Hey girl, thanks so much for posting this!! I follow you on Insta and I saw you talk about this on your latest Instagram post and I had to read it. I’ve somewhat recently (over a year ago) gotten plastic surgery and I’m always so afraid to say anything about it lest I get judged. I love that you totally open up here - very inspiring ☺️

    1. Thank you so much for reading Ellie! I completely understand how you feel - my surgery was over 8 years ago and I still kept it quiet for fear of being judged! After people really went in on me for my teeth, I realized that people are going to judge you regardless - may as well just be honest and do what you want! Thank you so much for reading xo

  2. I am recovering from a lower Blepharoplasty. Also done in Yorkville �� I’m 6 days post op.
    This piece spoke to me and made me tear up (bad timing as my stitches just came out today and the incisions are still tender lol). I didn’t tell anyone about my bleph because I was afraid of being judged. Since 18, people have been asking me if I’m tired, am I sick, etc. After 25 years of that, I’d finally had enough and I decided that was it. I’m SO DOING this. Every single thing you’ve said has hit home for me. Thank you for talking about this. You made my day. You’re beautiful and seem like such a free spirit. Change whatever you want, but don’t ever change your sass n’ soul. ��

    1. Proud of you for making the decision to better yourself after years of thinking about it! I'm with you - there's a point where you realize that people are going to judge you regardless. May as well do what you want and what makes you happy! Your body, your life, your decisions. Thank you so much for reading and for your support! xoxo

  3. I don't think it's anyone's business to judge people that get plastic surgery.
    I also don't considering altering a body part that makes you unhappy as having low self-esteem.It's like outfits. Wearing one certain outfit makes you happier than another. It doesn't mean that your self-esteem is low. I mean, there are also people that are addicted to plastic surgery and thats a whole different subject, but all in all it takes a lot of courage to get plastic surgery. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. I totally agree with you. It's definitely a very personal decision and there's for sure instances where people take it too far. I think it's like everything - best in moderation with lots of thought behind it!

  4. I love that you are so honest with your followers and readers, Joelle. I'm all for feeling better about oneself, especially if it's something that bothers you that takes up so much energy and mental space. If you feel better and have no regrets, then it was the right thing for you!

    1. Thank you so much for reading Mary! I really appreciate it! I agree, after the experience I learned how powerful eliminating an insecurity can be - it opens up space for so much productive thought!

  5. Thank you for sharing this Joëlle! I too have had a lifelong battle with my nose - and my teeth - so I understand the emotions that come along with all of this. I found out a couple of years ago that I have a deviated septum and that rhinoplasty may be a solution. I haven't done anything about it yet, but am seriously considering it. Along with the ability to fully breathe out of my nose, it would be amazing to finally be happy with something that has bothered me my entire life.

    I also agree that we can all do with less judgement. While knowing that judgement of others comes from our own insecurities, it can be pretty devastating when we're on the receiving end. I'll never fathom how complete strangers can pass judgement on someone online and make such cruel remarks.

    Keep on being you and thank you for sharing these real stories with us. It's so appreciated!

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