“That was life altering,I went from, in my mind, hideous, to not hideous. I did it the summer before going to a new high school. So there were plenty of people who wouldn’t know how hideous I looked before. That was a good, good, good change.”
Kudrow’s surgery occurred after enduring a very difficult time in junior high when her two best friends decided they no longer wanted to be friends with her. “That happened in seventh grade when we moved from sixth grade to a new school. So they knew some people, and I didn’t. Eventually they just got tired of me being a tag-along,” she shares. “They said, ‘For your own good, you need to see what would happen if we weren’t here.’ It was really brutal. Very hard.”
The first is that she at some point felt that way about herself. No one should feel, or be made to feel that somehow they, in their most natural state are not beautiful, valuable and worthy, just because they are here. It brings to mind the words of Abilene from the book The Help says to the child, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important”. All people (not just children) should be told that they are valuable and have the right to believe and stand in that belief. As I have said before I do not have on issue with self modification. If it is something that really bothers you, and that can be safely altered, go for it, I feel that it is a personal choice but I do wish that we all (myself first and foremost) could get to a point where it is not necessary.
Now, on another note, can we talk about how mean children are. This is something that needs to be addressed. Where you can’t stop kids from being hateful (and they will be) we have to have a no tolerance stance on it, it needs to be called out and halted, on the smallest of levels. When we as adults see that cliquish behavior, and groupings we need to speak to it before it becomes something larger. As a dance teacher I take special care to notice the interactions of my students both inside and outside of the studio. The whispers, the cutting or rolling of eyes at other students, the giggling behind someone’s back – I shut down, openly and directly. Some may take issue with the way I do it, but I am, a New Yorker, If I SEE something I SAY something. Why should we have more compassion for those who shame at the expanse of those who are being shamed? I think not.
As a youth I was made to feel like an outsider, laughed at and made fun of sub rosa and it was very painful and I have never forgotten it because it helped shape me (or misshape me) in ways. I think that Ms. Kudrow’s admission should be looked at more deeply than just “I had a nose job at 16” but should be evaluated more as insight to how self esteem and self perception are formed in children, teens and even adults. We all have to do our part to make the world a better place WE have to be better people in it!