The Nose and Personality
The mutilation of my physical nose and face continues to be a source of deep pain and emotional debilitation. It has been two and a half years since an ENT cut a large pile of bone and cartilage out of my nose and face during what was supposed to have been a minor out-patient procedure to remove a nasal polyp. There was no medical rationale for his act.
Since the surgery, I have lived a life of daily suffering from nasal dryness, shortness of breath, chronic infections, nasal and facial pain, insomnia, fatigue and depression. Yet among the sharpest and most ever-present sufferings is the loss of my face. The proportions are changed, the nose too short. The bulb which had appeared dainty now appears fat having been stretched by the shortened septum. I pulled on it for months trying to bring it down and only succeeded in making it bigger and losing what little definition remained. I would not have done this if I had realized that my prominent cheekbones were sinking into my face. The right side of my face is now much smaller than the left and my right eye droops. My nose appears huge and deformed.
I can only describe what I feel when I wake each morning as disheartenment. I don’t have my face that I once faced the world with. I have not had an easy life, but through my trials, I always had my face which spoke of my strength of character. It was a well proportioned face with a strong, shapely nose and strong cheekbones. My face was clear of trouble—no worrying lines, sags or droops.
I could bear my physical suffering much more easily if only I had my face. My face not only reassured the world. It reassured me. I am not as sure of who I am now that the strength of character is gone from my face. I am not as convinced that the stuff I am made of is good stuff. A face is far more than the product of luck or chance. A face expresses who we are. Conversely, alteration of the face can alter who we are. In this modern time, many people, and unfortunately, many professions—most notably, modern medicine—have lost sight of the wisdom that once served as guidance. Until recently, the significance of the face, and especially the nose, was understood.
“Mutilation of the most extruding parts of the face (nose, ears, lips) has always meant a very severe impairment, not only of the body, but of the individual’s personality, since it results in a permanent alteration in the most noble and expressive part of the human body. The nose, in particular, was considered, already in very ancient times, the principal element of one’s physiognomy not only as far as concerns the strictly aesthetic aspects (and classic Greek art has offered us countless examples), but also because the form, the aspect itself, appeared to reflect particular qualities of the character, of the psychology of the individual, a topic which, in the past, fascinated many men of great culture, from Michele Savonarola to Gerolamo Cardano, from Giovanni Battista Della Porta to Cesare Lombroso.”