i am not my beard

I buzzed my beard off the other night because I was tired of the rough texture.  I went to work the next day and was met with audible gasps.  Not good audible gasps, either.  More like shock and terror.

“What did you do to your face?”

“Where’s the beard?”

“You…you shaved it?”

“Grow it back!”

People acted like I was missing an eye or a nose instead of facial hair.  I know they didn’t mean to make me feel bad but they did.  I didn’t realize I was some gargoyle and the only thing that kept people from bursting into tears at the site of me was my beard.  It was a mask, a filter, a softening lens that cranked down my deformed face.

Or maybe it was just the shock of seeing my face look so different so fast.  As I grew the beard, everyone was slowly introduced to bearded Bran, including myself.  And taking it all off with a few strokes of the clippers was a bit jarring.  I had the beard for nearly three months and it just became a part of me as if it were always there and suddenly it wasn’t.  I didn’t recognize the smooth stranger in the bathroom mirror.

I didn’t like everyone’s reaction.  I didn’t even like my own.  I didn’t regret buzzing it off but I do like the way I look better with a beard.  But my face feels so much better without one.  When I had the beard, I combed and clipped and conditioned and even through in some argon oil to soften the facial hair but it still felt too rough for my liking.  And sometimes when I slept on my side or stomach, the facial hair against the pillow really irritated my cheeks.

I also realized maintaining facial hair was actually more intensive than just shaving it clean off.  There’s a lot of maintenance involved.  Clipping.  Washing.  Conditioning.  Keeping the neckline even and clean.  Trying not to get food or bugs or girls’ fingers caught in it.  Serious upkeep.

Yes, the beard will come back but I won’t do it for anyone else but myself.  This is kind of a big deal because I’ve always been so used to doing things the way others wanted, living and looking the way others have dictated.  But I’m not doing that anymore.  In fact, I am thinking about holding off on growing the beard back even longer than I normally would just out of spite!  Take that, jerks.

It’s gonna be my choice, no one else’s.  And I’m going to rock it either way. 

I think just about every guy has done this at least one time when debearding.
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