I've been obsessed with my appearance for most of my life. I was not an attractive child and I was very conscious of it. The main problem was my nose—it was too big for my face. It was too big for Andre the Giant's face. I once showed a picture of my fourth-grade self to my therapist to prove my point. I was half-expecting her to pshaw me away as people tend to do when they're trying to be kind, but she looked at the photo and said, "Yeah, I could see where you may have had a problem."
Not that I needed any more proof. One boy in middle school called me Pinocchio—and not because I wanted to be a real boy. My best friend once said to me, "I don't know why everyone says you have a big nose." I had another friend in high school—a really pretty blond girl with the smallest nose you've ever seen—look at us both in the mirror one day and gleefully claim, "It's amazing just how different we look!" Um ... yeah, it sure is.
My dad, seeing how tortured I was for years, finally offered to pay for a nose job. I turned him down. I thought I'd be ridiculed as being shallow. Besides, didn't suffering through life with a giant nose build character?
What an idiot I was! Between the nose and my hairy arms (jealous yet?), I had more character than I knew what to do with. A healthy dose of artificial confidence wouldn't have been the worse thing in the world for me.
Many years later, I did finally have my nose fixed. Well, not fixed exactly. Altered. I was trying to be an actor at the time and thought I should give in and see if it helped. Ever fearful of looking like one of those people who's had a nose job—I can spot them a mile away—I asked the doctor to go easy. Just a little off the top. Unfortunately, he listened to me. It was subtle, all right. I had to actually tell people I had a nose job and detail what was done in an attempt to convince them I was changed. Goddamnit, can't you see I'm a beautiful butterfly now?
I had had just enough taken off that I was starting to get callbacks but not so much that I actually booked any parts. All my life, I had waited for the moment when I'd finally look how I was supposed to look. I had rubbed the bump on my nose every time I was in a dark movie theater, hoping it would somehow get worn down. I'd cover parts of my nose in the mirror and try to picture what I'd look like. I'd finally taken the plunge and what did I end up with? A face that could have used a nose job.
In the ensuing years, I took a few more steps to improve my appearance, all with the same disappointing results. I tried laser hair removal before it was, you know, safe and effective. I've never been in so much pain in my life. It was complete agony, with zero results. This despite being told I was the perfect candidate! "Yes, with your frighteningly pale skin, Ms. Koenig, and your unholy otter-like covering of hair, this procedure will be perfect for you!"
It was similarly suggested I'd be an ideal candidate for the removal of dark spots on my face ... and you can guess how well that turned out. I actually threatened to take the laser hair torture place to small claims court but, apparently, I had signed a waiver that basically said it was cool to burn off my nerve endings if and only if I walked out as hairy as I had come in. I dropped the case. I didn't have a hairy leg to stand on.
So, it wasn't a total surprise when I walked into an upscale dermatology office and the Fancy Lady Doctor took a quick look at me and proclaimed, "Your forehead's too small for Botox." To be fair, she didn't lead with the bad news about my microscopic forehead. The first thing she said was, "One of your eyebrows is higher than the other one," which apparently also posed a problem, as she was afraid Botox could exacerbate the discrepancy. I had to think about that for a moment. Would looking like The Rock be an improvement?
Despite my many deformities, she said she'd give it a go—but only a little. It was the imperceptible nose job all over again. Even a little bit of that stuff jammed into my forehead hurt. It hurt so much my higher eyebrow threatened to leap off my face completely. And once again, the results were less than ideal. I had hoped for a Nicole Kidman, "so smooth and shiny and Silly Putty-like, you could pick up a comic strip with it" forehead. But alas, there would be no Andy Capp across my face. I'm a few weeks out and while the crease between my eyes is lessened, it's still there.
To add insult to injury, the lid of my right eye is now sort of folded over a bit. Most people wouldn't even notice it, just me and my husband who, upon seeing it said, "Oh, you're a monster today." He wasn't being mean, that's just what we say when I get one of my inexplicable allergic reactions, in which either my eye or lip swells up to horrific proportions. It's happened all my life. No allergist has been able to pinpoint the cause. They usually shrug their shoulders and say, "It could be stress." But why would I ever be stressed? Not when I feel so damn pretty!