In March of 2014, I was not in a good place. I had finally accepted that my longest relationship had ended, I wasn’t happy with my job, and generally speaking I felt lost amongst a rush of question marks and lack of self-assuredness. After weeks of feeling like this, I broke down and called my mom, someone who I by no means feel estranged from, but also not someone I call to unload problems on very often, especially of the personal variety. The second she answered the phone and I said hello though, she could tell that something wasn’t right and at that moment of realization, I lost all ability to hold back the multitude of emotions that I’d been struggling to restrain for some time.
I tried to be rational, but between the tears and my attempts to steady my voice, it ended up becoming a slurry of unfortunate admissions and feeling sorry for myself. My mom, however, never wavered and never rushed me. She did what she’s always done best and something that I attempt to emulate on a daily basis, she listened. At the end of the call, she told me that she understood where I was coming from, that it was okay to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed; I wasn’t the first 25 year-old to feel that way and I surely wouldn’t be the last.
Soon after that phone call, I was able to turn my life around in a number of ways. I embraced a healthier side of myself, I started meditating, and I stopped feeding my inner demons as if they had access to a 24/7 Golden Corral of my insecurities. None of this would have happened though if it hadn’t been for my mom.
It might seem strange, making the tie between moms and beardsmen, but as we all know, if it wasn’t for our moms, we wouldn’t be the men that we are. When we look in the mirror, we wouldn’t see our bearded selves. I’ve had a beard for quite some time now, dating back eight or nine years when I first stopped shaving during my freshman year of college. When I arrived home from that pivotal first year, brimming with youthful cockiness and a plethora of newfound experiences, I announced my return with a god-awful goatee, a prime example of how no one makes good decisions at 19.
Both my older sister and dad offered their two cents on my new look, my dad being overly supportive in a way that only someone who’s received mixed feedback regarding their facial hair choices in the past can understand, while my sister raised an eyebrow and posed a condescending question asking where I’d picked up this unique style (and rightfully so). My mom though, she simply gave me a hug and said she was happy to see me.
I view these two experiences as pivotal building blocks of my maturation, perfectly exemplify my relationship with my mom. It’s one built on the truest thing we each possess and share: love. From the very beginning of our lives, our mothers are there to nurture, provide support, and foster the most essential relationship to our early survivals. More often than not, mom is the first person that your brain is able to identify as a unique individual and even though each of us learns to take care of ourselves on our own, that deeply tethered connection never breaks, regardless of age or distance.
As someone who prides himself on being independent, mindful, and creatively driven, as many other beardsmen similarly do, I know that much of who I am today stems from my mom.
My ability to empathize? Mom.
My tendency to cry from laughter? Mom.
My noticeable height? Mom. Well, Grandpa, but you get the idea.
The same, in a weird way, can be said about the way I identify as a beardsman. My parents have both supported me in their uniquely different ways through every decision, both mistakes and triumphs that I’ve experienced, which considering some of the moves I’ve made over the years is truly saying something. It’s this level of independence and free-spirited exploration that laid the foundation of who I’ve become and what I stand for as a beardsman, a bearded man, and just simply a man. All moms want their sons to remain children for as long as they can, but even as their chins begin to show stubble, no one is able to look past how you’ve aged physically and see the little boy that still lives inside of you better than your mom.
I have no perspective on what it’s like to raise a child, to see a person who’s literally a part of you grow up before your eyes, but I know that I simply wouldn’t be the man I am today without the amazing support and love that I’ve always received from my mom. Never overly nosey and always there when I’ve needed her most, my mom has counseled me at my lowest points and shed praise upon me when it’s been warranted. Being cut from the same genetic cloth, my mom and I share a quiet understanding that I can’t always articulate, but every time I speak to her I know she feels it too.
My mom is the most well-read person I know so I’m confident that there’s no better way for me to explain to her how important she is to me, how important all mothers are too their sons, than by typing it out to share with y’all. So thank you mom for everything you’ve taught me and to all of you other beardsmen out there, call your moms and tell them how important they are to you, it’ll be the best gift they receive this Mother’s Day. Although, flowers are a nice touch too.