“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”
It began as laziness. Black specks that were soon to become hairs appeared in various places on my face. Only time would tell if the formation would lead to society's definition of a "beard." With my already disproportionately large forehead and incongruously-positioned ears I didn't need another detractor from my face.
I used a simple threshold to determine a time to shave. When the hair ceased to radially exit my face, it was time to go. I'd historically remained "babyfaced" as we've been wont to call it, and there was no reason to change that. Stubble? Sure, but none of this facial hair nonsense.
But this was a different time. My mood was not one where I would look in the mirror and think "today is going to be a good day." No. I thought the opposite. I would look in the mirror and think "today is not going to be a good day." It was a semi-dark time. A 60% grey time, at least, and no time to be content taking tiny knives and chemical goop to my face fur.
So I left it.
For the first time in my life, I let my beard grow. I superceded the threshold. The hairs began to exist, to form. I saw what they really did out in the open; contorting and stretching through space. I could tell that they didn't have much strength to them as they meandered in no particular direction. For a while, they simply looked haggard, distressed.
It took a few weeks for the beard to grow competent on its own. Its fullness varied based on many factors--lighting, my mood, how much peanut butter I put on my sandwich. I would trim it down and make the hairs even (if but for a few days) which gave it a moderate amount of sophistication (or as much as Pitchfork.com has given the 20-something white males with moderately haggard beards).
It's stayed for a few months with little modification. One barber evened out the mustache a little bit, which made me realize that even as mature as this beard was it still had growing pains and some chronic issues to sort out. Another time I trimmed it really short. The stubble was fairly full, albeit not of a very dark color (figurative peach fuzz on a person's face and totally not anywhere near as edible as peach fuzz).
So as a 20-something looking for his place in this world, I have decided that I don't need another thing on my face to care about. Grooming is important, but I'm not interested in investing money in hipsterly beard-related solutions (that I just know have to exist) to keep something that I only moderately care about.
This doesn't mean that I'm shaving it off immediately. It'll stay put until I hit a point where shaving will occur nonchalantly. At that point there will be no connections, no ties to the beard, no reason for it to exist any further. I won't be thinking about it as the hairs fall into the sink/trash can, and I'll move on through my day as if nothing had occurred.
My beard is to experience the most existential death possible. I'm sure it would like that if it could think things.