"While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make." -FTSOY
I made a big decision on July 9th, 2014. I handed my razor over to Shunhe Wang and pledged to commit to growing a raggedy, nasty, tasteless "beard". The first few days were just fantastic. It was Christmas morning every day. I would wake up early and run to the mirror, excited to see some incremental progress. I would write a little update in my journal every day, commenting on how things were growing.
Later on in my journey, I found myself having to lean heavily on my contract and accountabilibuddy for support. The first signs of trouble appeared on Day 12. Here's an excerpt from my journal:
"Committing to this facial hair experiment is a lot harder than I thought it might be...WOW. I can't imagine a facial hair future where I want to keep what's currently growing on the sides of my face."
By Day 16, things were looking bleak.
"My logic at the beginning of this endeavor was infallible....'I can't grow a beard in the future! Why not now?'...Now my thoughts are more like 'Thank goodness razors exist on planet Earth.'"
It was really hard for me around that time. When I saw advertisements for Gillette razors, I wanted to run into the store, buy one, and shave immediately. I had to keep reminding myself that I knew that this process was going to be hard. Suddenly (and to my great joy) I realized that there was a loop-hole in my contract. I said that I would commit to growing a "beard", but by putting "beard" in quotation marks, I unintentionally gave myself a lot of room for interpretation. As I looked in the mirror at the sides of my face and considered this loophole, I knew what I was going to do. On our weekend excursion to Fes, I had an informal, but incredibly important meeting with the majority of the guys on the program with me. We discussed and deliberated if shaving the scraggly nastiness off my cheeks would violate my contract. The definition of "beard" was Googled. Tempers flared. Friendships were ended on the spot.
Actually, we just chatted about it and determined that it was my flipping face, and that I could do what I wanted. With Shunhe's permission, I took the razor to my shameful cheeks and made them smooth again. Cleaning things up was a great idea, and I have no regrets about that night. With renewed confidence, I continued growing my facial hair out. On Day 22, something strange happened.
I felt for the first time that I actually wanted to keep my whiskers. I broke the news to my parents in an email. I told them flat out that I'd fallen in love with my raggedy lip rug and awkward chin beard. Then, humbly, I asked for their blessing to continue my personal journey after August 5th, 2014. The next day, my dad replied.
"Yes, you have my permission. Keep it growing. (I'd write more but my PC is wigging out)...
I was ecstatic. The journey could CONTINUE! Nothing was going to stop me fro-...
But wait. My mom didn't reply. She didn't reply for days. After a while, I sent her a series of Facebook messages, begging for the smallest amount of approval. The tension as I waited for her response was incredible. Reluctantly, she said yes, but that she didn't like it.
Well..............a yes is a yes.
I've come to terms with my awkward facial hair. I feel like it's become a part of me. This whole process has been incredibly educational. I've learned that with proper support and resolve, hard things become bearable. The unattainable somehow comes within reach. The impossible becomes reality.
This journey will continue past my original target date of August 5th. Wish me luck. NM
Here's a photo of Day 26.
(Also, my chin beard is coming in red. Isn't that bizarre?! Genetics, man. Genetics.)