I pride myself on letting my facial hair grow and keeping it trimmed so I don’t look like the bearded lady at the circus. Hair is there for a purpose and I like facial hair on me. Not all my friends do and when we’re in person, some are quick to point out I could use a tweeze. I just laugh and let them know I grow it on purpose. Hey, the hair is blonde and smooth and fine, so you have to be right in my face to even see it. A good friend and spiritual brother is going through several austerities right now. An austerity is, among other things, an extreme practice undertaken during an ascetic or monastic period of one’s life. We share a spiritual practice, so when he did a head shaving, I cut my bangs. When he removed his beard, I got out the Nair and removed mine. For a month. I know that sounds like no big deal to most, but I’m very into symbolic practices and sharing this was important.
Nonetheless — isn’t our personal perception interesting? — it feels very odd to be suddenly barefaced after all these years, although to anyone who casually walks by me, nothing is different. Yet it is a giant obvious thing to me, feeling the air on the now naked skin. When I drank water a moment ago and a drop fell onto my chin, it felt very odd indeed. I was lost in the sensation of it for half a minute, it was so odd.
I recall years ago when I lived in monastic community that many of the residents had shaved heads. I never did that as I went to work in a law office every day and never saw a reason to scare the straights. If you’re too different, they can’t hear your message because they are too hypnotized by your weirdness. Funny, we spend our youth trying to get noticed and acting weird to get attention, and then when we actually become weird and eccentric, we do our best to fit in or become a hermit and hide away from everyone.