Beyond the gray...

I decided to grow a beard for the same reason I refused to grow one for a long time: GRAY HAIR.

I've resisted accepting the fact that the little hair I have left on my head and the majority of it on my face are gray. So I'd allow the scruff to grow in, because I don't like to shave, and then I'd shave before it got too thick, because I really don't like all the gray.

As many of us know, and every one of us will eventually find out, it's tough to age. It's strange to watch m<span class="text_exposed_show">y body get older...by strange I mean mostly sucky. 

Like all parts of life, there's the choice to resist it or accept it. In the war of resistance, the resistance of aging might be one of the most futile battles. Because, we're human. We get older. Our bodies inevitably show it—in the way they look and feel.

That's one of the less exciting parts of life. At least for me.

So I have a beard now. A very gray beard. And that's okay. I'd prefer a dark brown beard, but as time passes, I'm slowly getting used to my gray, and to the fact that I look older than I feel inside. That's been the case for years, and I don't expect that to change. And that's okay, too.

I grew the beard, because I didn't want my dislike of my gray hair to be the reason I didn't grow a beard. I'd rather not be a prisoner to my vanity, or to my distorted perceptions of what is and isn't attractive. This is who I am. This is how I look. I'm beautiful. So are you.

Now I feel like I can do whatever I want with my facial hair from a place of freedom. Not from one of insecurity and self-judgment. Maybe I'll get insecure about my gray again—all bets are off when they start coming in as pubes—but for now I'm cool with it. Not loving it, but accepting it.

The beautiful thing about self-acceptance—true self-acceptance—is that it doesn't have conditions. It embraces us as we are, period. How great is that? It also opens the door for us to accept each other unconditionally. Everything starts from within, after all.

So let's all keep working on deeper self-acceptance. Let's breathe into the fact that we are beautiful, just as we are. And let's encourage each other to love ourselves.

I'm posting this pic to honor my gray beard...or more accurately to honor my willingness to accept it. If you're inspired, post a pic of yourself, as a tribute to your self-acceptance, or to the fact that you're working at it. Either way, you're beautiful.

In love and solidarity...