Finders Keepers

So I trimmed my beard for the first time in my life. I didn’t use clippers or go to a barber. Target sold a nice, small pair of scissors that did exactly what I needed it. The process took almost thirty minutes because I had to comb, cut, and repeat. The ends were splitting, especially the one of four gray hairs I’ve earned in my 33 years on earth. It wasn’t until they were affected by my seemingly poor maintenance that I said to myself, it’s time to keep up before I screw up.

Looking in the mirror, I see my white shirt covered in small hairs. The sink is full of dead strands from my chin as I look at the process that I’ve made. My fear was that my beard would be shorter than it was before I decided to start pruning. Accepting that it would be shorter regardless isn’t what won me over, but the fact that with cutting comes growth. This process is obviously not strictly for beards, but for hair in general. Growing facial hair has been my dream since high school. Looking at older pictures of my dad and his full, facial landscape, I thought to myself, I want one, like it was a new toy at Wal-Mart.  Like toys themselves, it looks fun from afar, but when you look close at the packaging, you notice the instructions informing the consumer of how to maintain the device. It may require new batteries or other accessories you must replenish as the toy ages. Regardless, it takes time and dedication to keep what you get in your grasp.

Many of us artists are handed over opportunities to do something great. Someone blesses us with recording time in a studio or a spot at a show where we get to perform for a large crowd. The question is how you are going to preserve that experience so that more will come. Your reputation will grow exponentially with every time you cut away excess fear and doubt. You will have to miss out on something to make room for something bigger. Seeing someone flourishing in their career objectively easily swoons you into believing that everything’s perfect. Take the time to notice details, dissect the situation and gather what it took for that person to be where they are today. It’s never easy.

Beards have been in style since forever. You may see a nice one on Pinterest or a young man sporting one at the local grocery store. It takes time to allow your hair follicles to extend beyond unusual lengths, especially when it comes to a person’s face. What you don’t see is the chronic conditioning, oiling, washing, combing, and most importantly, trimming. What are you willing to lose to gain what you’ve always wanted?  You’re given a gift and talent that needs nourishment so that it can nourish others. The more you cut, the more things produce. Cut away bad friends. Cut away social media (and use it primarily for promotion). Do what you must do so that you can do more.

- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.