The Tale of an Aspie's Beard

 

So, I am not one of those people, who finds it fascinating when when I take a crap, or who thinks that his beard really deserves its own article. Still, as people have been asking about my beard or making suggestions as to what I should do to it, and as I have just hit the one year anniversary of living my life razor free, I decided to write this little article, for those who are interested.

I was often curious about growing a beard or mustache, but was never able to do so. For one thing, I have very slow growing facial hair. The next problem is that I would get itchy and miserable after about three days. My misery, prolonged by my slow growing facial hair, always lead to my shaving rather quickly.

On July 1st 2016, I shaved before going to see a woman I loved very much, and with whom, I had a complicated relationship. I saw her twice a week. We had been seeing one another for almost 3 years. I always shaved before going to see her and this day was no different. I had no idea that I would not shave again for at least a year, if ever.

I was to see this woman again on July 5th. My plan was to shave the morning of the fifth. But I received a distressed call from her on July 4th. She told me she had relapsed in her drug and alcohol addiction. She was depressed and suicidal. She was in her parents car, being driven to treatment. She told me she felt like she had betrayed me and was sorry to have let me down. I assured her that there was nothing to be ashamed about and that I loved her. She told me she would not be able to talk with me for a while, but would call me as soon as she could. I told her, that in an act of solidarity with her suffering, I would not shave until I saw her again. For the first time in our conversation, she laughed, and she told me I would be far too uncomfortable to go 30 days without shaving. I made a solemn vow not to shave, until I saw her again. I told her the misery and itching would remind me to pray for her. I told her to take care of herself and not worry about me.

The next 30 days were miserable. I was worried about her and I missed her. I prayed for her almost constantly. The facial hair was making me miserable. It itched so badly, it hurt. It was hot. I would wake up at night, miserable. But this was something I promised to do for her, and damn it, I was going to do it.

Then time passed and she didn't get in touch with me. I would call, but it would go straight to voice mail. Her family wouldn't talk to me. I didn't know if she was still in treatment or not. I began to check the obituaries and look for her online. But as my pain at not speaking to her increased, the facial hair was getting less uncomfortable. By the 60 day mark, it wasn't uncomfortable at all. It was also something, yes this is probably mentally ill, something that made me feel a deep connection to her, the only connection I had left.

Finally, things reached the 90 mark. By this time, I loved having facial hair. It was soft and comfortable, and never having to shave, which I never liked, was really cool. But at the same time, I was so worried about her, and so hurt at never having been contacted by her, I pulled out all the stops to find her. I found her at the 100 day mark. She had simply gone away after the 30 days of treatment and decided never to speak to me again. Our relationship was over. I wasn't worth an explanation or a goodbye. I was devastated.

As I have done, when I have been hurt in other relationships, I turned to God. God is the only one who never leaves us. My divorce hurt me. My son not speaking to me hurt me. I had lost loved ones to death. But this loss hurt me more than any other ever had. It has taken me a long time to get over her, and to the extent that I will, I think I have.

Still, the beard remains. I have tried to cut it off twice, but each time a panic attack shut me down. I have been to a barber to have it trimmed, twice, but each time, anxiety shut me down.The fact is, I actually like having the beard. But it is so associated with her, that I feel I should cut it off, to prove to myself I've let go. Whether it is because I am an Aspie, who is used to the beard now, and can't let go, or it is because I associate it with her and I'm hanging on, I have no idea. I suppose this whole thing is pretty pathetic. But the fact is, I am not able to trim, have styled, or shave off the beard at this time, and I am not at all sure that I want to. I would appreciate it, if the people who have negative things to say about it, would shut up. If I ask your opinion, that's different. You are allowed to give it. But the unsolicited criticism, from some family and friends, is not welcomed.

I know pride is a sin and I have to let go of that too. Still, I am proud that I went through what it took to grow this thing. I know that is was pure hell for about six weeks. I know that I was doing it out of love and that I persevered.