‘Challenge accepted’ for goatee

When my best friend Carl told me he was growing a goatee for November, the first thing I said to him was “challenge accepted.” That’s the kind of friends we are. Put us in a room together in five minutes flat we’ll be seeing who can punch the hardest, eat the most spicy mustard, or any other outrageous challenge to show up the other.

So, when he told me that he was going to try growing a goatee this month, what else could I do but put my razor down and start growing my own?

Does that sound immature? Maybe, but for us it’s just good fun, especially since neither of us are likely to be in a ZZ Top lookalike band any time soon. But if you notice a little extra scruff on me this month, it’s all because my best friend is trying to grow a goatee, and I’m trying to grow one faster.

Besides, it’s all for a good cause. Movember is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancer and associated charities.

Growing the goatee so far has been an adventure in self expression all in itself. It’s actually been rather freeing. My fiance hates it completely, but she understands the friendship Carl and I have so she’s used to a little crazy competition once in a while. Besides that, it’s been good to just let go a little and — forgetting the fact that it’s perhaps not as full or thick as I would like it to be — go out in public with a new look.

There are far to many instances in our lives when we hide things within ourselves because we are scared of what others will think if we put them in the spotlight.

Maybe it’s the fact that you love opera music, but you think you’re friends will find that lame so you never bring it up. Maybe you’re a comic book nerd, but you think girls won’t understand so you try to look like a jock instead, only ending up hiding who you really are. Those are just two of a million possible examples. Ask yourself, what are you hiding?

It’s perfectly fine to just be yourself, no matter who you are. It’s okay to be you!

Not only is it “okay” to be yourself, you should be trying to be the very best you that you can be. That means embracing the things you are passionate about, doing the things you love doing, and not trying to live up to what you think everyone else’s expectations are. In the end, that just never works.

Take myself for example. I am a nerd. I’ve always loved comic books and for the past two years I’ve gone to the Motor City Comic Con dressed up as Doctor Who. Think that’s weird? That’s fine. I think it’s fun. I also love extreme mountain climbing, listening to folk music, and I even draw on the side. Most people don’t know that I memorize and can recite scores of classical poetry either. It’s a passion of mine that I wish I could share more.

My fiance is an incredible artist, far better than I could ever hope to be, but that doesn’t take away my love of drawing. There’s always someone out there who will be better at something than you — but there’s no one out there who can be a better you than you. Get the point yet?

The old proverb said “Know thyself.” While we could all use a little soul searching from time to time, I think we each have a good idea of who we are and what we are passionate about. The more important proverb ought to read simply “Be thyself.”

(Jacob Hunsanger is a reporter for The County Press in Lapeer. Managing Editor Gary Gould’s column will return next week.)

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