Things I’ve realized so far:
1. I hate shaving
2. My skin hates shaving
3. I really liked my beard. It was dramatic and beautiful and served a role rather similar to makeup for me in giving shape to parts of my face that I wanted definition on. It was gloriously dense and curly which also means that underneath the hair follicles are really thick and visible without it.
4. I feel like the biggest reasons I shaved was about other people, not because I wanted to. I was curious to see if my face had changed underneath and if I could get used to it, and in that regard it was a successful experiment. But mostly it was because I feel like having the beard makes a lot of people jump to very gendered expectations of me and they are less likely to see me as trans even if I’m wearing a dress. And I am really tired of living in such a gendered world and in a society that bars me from many activities if I don’t look like I’m trying hard enough to be a woman (even in supposedly trans inclusive spaces). But the solution isn’t necessarily for me to try to conform to that image but to keep trying to do what I want and fits with my own experience and dysphoria. And to continue trying to learn to ignore other people’s opinions and prejudices.
5. Seeing the dark shadow on my lower face and feeling the scratchy texture of my skin gives me far more dysphoria than having the beard. If I do want to get rid of it, I will likely have to wait until I can afford laser hair removal.
I think I’m going to start growing it back which shouldn’t take long with my face. Though perhaps longer now that I’m on estrogen than before.
Thank you to everyone who was so affirming of my little experiment and gave me so many lovely compliments and shaving advice.