DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and have just started high school. I have been told I'm beautiful. Most times I feel that way, except for one thing -- I hate my nose! I don't want to sound ungrateful for my looks. I know I'm not the only girl who has a flaw and wants to change it. I just want your opinion.
From the front you can't tell my nose is messed up. But viewed from the side, there's a bump in the middle. It's also sort of crooked and just too big. I'm starting to be self-conscious about it. I don't like people looking at me from the side, but it's hard to prevent.
I have been researching plastic surgery online. At my age, my parents won't let me get a nose job, but I don't want to wait until I'm 18. Some kids have commented about my nose, but mainly I want to do this for me. It would make me feel better about myself. What am I supposed to do? -- SELF-CONSCIOUS IN MINNESOTA
DEAR SELF-CONSCIOUS: For now, stop looking at yourself in a magnifying mirror and obsessing about your "flaws." You may -- or may not -- want to consider plastic surgery in a few years. I say in a few years because at 14 your features are not yet fully developed. A nose that seems "too big" now may be exactly the right size in a couple of years. If you are still displeased about the bump, there is time to have it smoothed out.
But for now you should wait and develop your personality and your intellect so that people notice you for more than your looks. I'm sure you have many qualities that make you special -- and remember, what makes us unique is sometimes what we mistake as our "flaws."