As a kid I couldn’t wait to grow facial hair. It wasn’t because I wanted to look older (that was a secondary benefit). It was because I had a scar on the right side of my face borne of a traumatic event that caused me shame and embarrassment. The scar came from one of those “whoopings” that “got out of control,” and I took a belt buckle to the face. The impact was what I imagine being kicked in the face by a bull would feel like. I was sure she was going to kill me, and I was okay with it.
I was messed up for while, and my mouth was swollen shut for about a week. As the scar tissue began to form, so did my aversion to mirrors and posing for pictures. From that point forward, I hated looking at my reflection. I wanted to sit on the passenger side of the bus, closest to the window, so I was the only one who could see the scar reflected back. Even as an adult, I found myself favoring certain seats and positions in photos…all most definitely (and subconsciously) tied to the buckle incident. Since I was a kid, I was certain that others couldn’t see past my scar(s), and I figured facial hair could help me cover this up and restore me to normal.
We all have stuff that attempts to rob us of the simple things: joy, love and peace. When you experience persistent and chronic childhood trauma, the residue can stick for years and, if not addressed, rob you of a “normal” adult life that’s fulfilling and productive. Pressing forward is a choice that we all must make for ourselves (but that impacts our loved ones and futures). We can’t let “reflections” hold us back.