I wonder if the romantic relationships I’ve had are directly related to who might be ok with my beard. I wonder if I’ve limited my options and/or lowered my expectations because of my beard. Sort of like, “Well, I’ll just overlook [insert thing I should probably not put up with here], because he’s cool with me having a beard.”
Maybe if I’m asking these questions, I already know the answer.
Craig and I are getting a divorce. That has nothing to do with the beard, obviously, but it’s making me reflect on many complicated things. One of which is my hair.
I want to be able to open myself up to all opportunities at some point. With the hair, I don’t think I can fully do that. I’ve tried over the years, and I think I’ve gotten to a great place of mostly self-acceptance.
The fact is, though, that I don’t see myself as someone with a beard. Even though I am.
I shave it off. When I don’t shave and it grows out a bit, I don’t like how it looks or feels. I’ve never felt comfortable with my significant other touching my face, which is sad, because I like that sensation. I don’t like being in direct sunlight unless I’ve recently shaved. I get razor burn (less so now than I used to – I have a finely honed system these days). I occasionally cut myself, which is embarrassing. Also shaving is a temporary, 12-hour-at-most, solution. Tweezing hurts like a motherfucker. Vaniqa is expensive and not covered by insurance (or, at least that was the case when I briefly used it). Waxing scares me. Laser removal stimulated new growth for me, and doesn’t work anyway on red or blonde hair (sure wish the person who did it knew that at the time…). It’s also painful.
So guys. I’m considering electrolysis. Which makes me feel… guilty. Guilty because, while there would be several complex emotions involved in the process, I think I would feel an enormous sense of relief.
It’s a pretty big deal. I’ve made it a life goal to just be ok with what’s going on with me in the moment, beard and all. Because whatever, right? It’s just hair.
It’s just hair.
It’s just hair…
But as you already know, it’s just a lot of other stuff too.
I wrote this back in January, 2012:
I identify myself as a heterosexual, cisgender female. The larger culture, and the community that I consider myself to be a part of, is heteronormative. With that comes tremendous privilege in ways that I know I don’t fully understand, because I’m a part of it.
A trend that I’ve noticed through talking to you lovelies over time (and certainly this is not true for everyone – just a general trend I’ve picked up on in my limited experience) is that those who consider themselves part of the hetero community (such as myself) tend to remove. Those who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community tend to feel more comfortable NOT removing. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that I have not talked to any hetero females who grow and consistently wear their beards, but I have talked to LGBTQ females who do. There seems to be more tolerance for bearded females and more freedom to explore what the beard means and looks like. I understand that my identity comes with privilege in a lot of ways that don’t just include the beard. I also wish there was more freedom within my identity to explore difference. I mean that in both an internal way and an external way.
So. Do I not let the hair grow because I’m afraid to lose that privilege? What would it mean for me to grow it? Because, unfortunately for now, it would mean so much more than just, “Ok, now I have a beard. Moving on.”
I still think that. Whether I like it or not, it DOES mean more than just hair to have a beard and identify the way I identify.
But then, what does it say about me that I’m considering this option? Am I just giving into The Man? Does it even matter?
Maybe what matters is that I’m content, and have one less thing to worry about during a truly shitty time, and from here on.