This Big Nose of Mine

Middle Eastern girls are well known for their noses.

If our faces were crowns, our eyes would be crown jewels and our noses would be the highest peak that holds these jewels together. It’s as if God wanted the whole world to know how proud we are and planted these heavy bridges between our furrowing thick eyebrows and our snarling lips to remind you that you can’t cross us.

This pride is passed down from generation to generation and it’s as potent as the genetics that gave us our noses. It’s the same pride that upholds the richness of our culture, the same pride that kills any doubt, the same pride that celebrates success. It is also the same pride that sparks family feuds, the same pride that disowns children, the same pride that makes it impossible for us to differentiate between a brick wall and our mothers.

Falling in love is better when you subtract pride from the equation. This is especially hard for Middle Eastern women, though. It is ingrained in us the same way each follicle of hair is rooted into our skin. It’s as heavy on our minds as our noses are heavy on our faces. There’s no laser hair removal or rhinoplasty for pride though. It’s hard to just get rid of it when it’s been our protector against accusations of stupidity.

When people would ask me what I would look for in a man, I would respond with “someone who I can be proud to call mine” like the predictable Middle Eastern girl that I am. My wish got granted and I rep team flatchest forever but he makes my chest swell so much that the sound of my ribcage groaning has become background noise.

Pride has never been a quiet affair for Middle Eastern people in general. Take one glance at our history and you’ll understand this. It’s the thing Western powers rely on to force us into a submissive position and we fall for it every time. So when I talk about him it’s to silence anyone doubting me, it’s to silence anyone doubting him, and mostly it’s to silence the voice in my head that told me either I’m not good enough for anyone, or no one else is good enough for me. My pride is so strong that the evil eye is ripped out of any socket that dares to taint us.

This is even if we have to rip it out of ourselves. In a way to self-protect from wasting time or energy, we become our biggest haters. I tattooed my evil eye on mostly so that it would protect me from myself. Sometimes I have to be loud in my pride so I can drown out the scenarios in my head. The one where he leaves me. The one where he’s sick of me. The one where he gets bored.

Like my mother that wakes up at 5am to start preparing food, I start early in my preparation for possible failure. I wish I wouldn’t. Just like her, I am exhausted by the time it’s done. I need to understand that in the kitchen that is our relationship, the food is already prepared. He is feeding me his love and I just need to eat. What’s that thing people say? You know food is good when the table goes quiet? He plants a small kiss on this big nose of mine and I know that pride doesn’t always have to be as loud as i’ve known it to be. Sometimes it’s as quiet as looking into his eyes and just knowing.