The Girl With the Dot on Her Nose

When I was born 25 days short of 40 years ago, I was born with a dime-sized burgundy birthmark on the bridge of my nose. Slightly off-center but dead-on in the sites of anyone looking at me, it was the color of red wine. Its contrast with my super pale skin made it impossible to miss.

If you saw my Christening portrait, however, you wouldn’t know. The photographer convinced my mother that it would fade so they painted it out. Unfortunately, however, there was no photographer following me through life painting over the offending red circle.

It did not fade. It stayed frustratingly prominent in the center of my face. The first thing that you saw was not my flaxen hair. You did not see my big smile. You did not even see my hazel eyes that change color. The first thing anyone saw was the red dot on my nose.

People never quite knew what to say about it. Concerned adults would ask “What happened?” as if it was an injury. “Is she hurt?” Kids could be less subtle. “What happened to your nose?” “Did something hit your face?”

And so it stayed. I was the girl with the red dot on her nose. As I got older, the harder it became. Children went from a lack of subtly to a lack of civility. Bullies are always looking for things that makes one¬†different and having a large red circle made me an easy target — pun intended. At one point an especially troublesome boy (surprisingly I cannot remember his name considering how many tears I shed over him) came up with the term “hickey nose”.

That’s right. Hickey nose. I was 9 years old and I had no idea what a hickey was. So I went home and asked my mother. If you think having a 10 year old bully calling you a name is painful, try learning what a hickey is from your mother! Once he came upon this moniker, he never let it go. For three years, he and anyone he could convince called me “Hickey Nose” incessantly. On the bus. In the halls. Across the cafeteria.

Finally, we changed schools. And while I left behind Hickey Nose, I could not leave behind the stares and the feeling that I was scarred; marked for life. Attempts were made with makeup but I was so young and the makeup so heavy that it never really worked. Finally, at the age of 13, I began a series of procedures culminating in a surgery that would remove my Scarlet blemish.

It was successful. All these years later, I have a very faint scar across the bridge of my nose. Most people never see it unless I point it out. But in so many ways, I will forever be the girl with the red dot on her nose.

Small scar on the outside, big scar on the inside. What scars do you carry?

tracisiggie
Share

Comments

  1. says

    I was just thinking I had a classmate from Kinder to 12th grade who had a birth mark on her eye lid. Large dark brown mark and very noticeable. I don’t remember her getting teased much. I’m sure she did because kids are cruel but there were only 50 in our class (give or take depending on the year) and most of us had known each other our whole lives. I’m not sure if that makes a difference but she kept it and still has it.

    I’ve had a scar on my lip since 4th grade and some people would ask me if I had a hare lip. It simply annoyed me. The scars I carry around are where the outward wounds healed and disappeared but the inward wounds still ooze. I think most people are like that. We go around saying that person looks fine, she seems well, he appears kosher but on the inside are all these wounds hidden away like a dirty laundry when company appears. I think the world would be a kinder place if we remembered this as we dealt with other people. If we were less defensive and more generous with the benefit of doubt.

    • says

      Very well said, my friend. We could all use some benefit of doubt and therefore we would be wise to give it.

      :-)
      Traci

  2. says

    Wow that stinks that you had to go through all that crap from other kids. Ughhh. I had one of those strawberry marks under an eye, as did my mom. THey both faded. I had a hump in my nose. (girls and noses, what’s up with that?) I was made fun of for my nose as well.

    • says

      Isn’t amazing how we can come from such different backgrounds and yet share such similar experiences? That is why I blog… because I need to know that I’m not alone.

      :-)
      Traci