09 Nov The 365 Day Journey of the Yeard
As of November 1st, 2015, I finally achieved a long held goal, surpassing a milestone that I had previously fallen short on numerous times. It took strength of will, conviction, and a place of employment with lax grooming standards. Many times I was tempted to back out, but each time, my doubts were drowned out by a prospect so majestic that the word itself began to ring around my head like a catchy song that I couldn’t shake. The milestone in question? The Yeard.
The Yeard is, as you have probably now guessed, a year-long beard. It took me three official attempts to make it to the promised land. The first two tries were done in by extreme itchiness, lack of conviction and the fact that a five o’clock shadow is just a hard look to top. After tapping out early two years in a row (six and nine months in, respectively), I knew that it was time to prove to myself once and for all that I had what it takes to grow a year’s worth of hair on my face.
I had just arrived in LA a week prior to embarking on this facial hair odyssey, moving from my hometown of New York to a new city for the first time. The alien environment was intoxicating, and the prospect of personal evolution in hyper speed was beautiful and enticing. I was a stranger in a strange land, and I wanted to look the part. The Yeard became an exercise in being present, a sort of mantra of acceptance that sprouted from my chin. By building up the mythos of the Yeard in my own mind, I was achieving by simply being, by simply existing one day at a time. It felt good.
Looking like you’re trying to start a ZZ Top cover band presents a unique set of challenges. A beard this ambitious is going to be resting on your windpipe twenty-four seven. It’s like wearing a turtleneck that you can’t take off. There were times when this sensation caused bouts of claustrophobia that nearly took me out of the game. Through it all, I remained determined.
Then came the dreams.
I began to have a series of recurring nightmares that involved me felling the mighty follicular mass in haste and frustration with a comically large pair of scissors, only to be immediately struck with crippling pangs of regret. The dreams always ended with me waking up in a cold sweat, clutching my face to make sure it was still there. It always was.
The biggest hurdle was the itchiness. My girlfriend’s fingernails amassed a practical value much greater than their weight in gold a thousand times over. Combatting this condition by properly caring for the skin below the surface became essential to the beard’s survival. If the itchiness progressed unchecked, I feared what I was capable of.
I was turned on to Sam’s Natural by a friend. They have a great line of hand crafted personal care products that are all made in America. There’s a diverse lineup of beard oils, but my favorite is the Original, which is made up of rosemary and olive oils. It smells great and it feels amazing on the skin. Working it down to the roots of the beard keeps my face happy and it makes the beard look healthier and fuller, in addition to being easier to manage. This was a game changer, shining a bright light on some of the darker facets of beard ownership, and making it much easier to continue on my quixotic and unyielding quest towards Yeard-dome.
Sam’s also makes a really nice Whisker Wash, which is kind of like a leave in conditioner that makes my beard very soft to the touch. If you have some serious beard flow going on and you find that your whiskers sometimes get dry and brittle, your significant other will both immediately notice and greatly appreciate the application of this product.
For those considering growing a Yeard, or even seasoned pros who have worn their whiskers Yeard after Yeard, decade after decade, proper beard and skin care will definitely make the pursuit much more manageable and enjoyable. It always feels good to take care of yourself, and each other.
Guest article by Alge. Alge was conceived in early 2014 as the solo project of New York native, Jon Weinman. After graduating from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Weinman began writing and producing for his first band, Sioux Lion, as well as for other artists artists in NYC. He broke out on his own in January 2014 to create his new sound and Alge was born. Weinman has released four singles since January 2015, garnering features in The Wild Honey Pie, Impose Magazine, LA Buzzbands, I Heart Moosiq and Acid Stag. I am Tuned Up describes Alge’s music as “tribal, oddly produced alternative R&B that would be well suited supporting Lorde on a future tour.”
Equally influenced by hip hop and folk music, Weinman draws from a diversified sound spectrum, including 90s hip hop, trap, chill wave, new wave, garage, techno and alternative R&B. Weinman’s music has been compared to David Bowie’s Young Americans album, Autre Ne Veut and Mura Masa. Be sure to check out the latest single by Alge, “Waiting on You,” from debut EP, Diamond Inseams, out November 20, 2015.
Alge is not affiliated or associated with Rugged Fellows Guide. The views & opinions expressed in any guest article featured on Rugged Fellows Guide are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of the Rugged Fellows Guide community as a whole.