Why I’m Subjecting the World to This Sad Thing On My Lip
First and foremost, it should be said up front that I have no business growing facial hair.
At the age of forty-four, I think the puberty ship has probably sailed. The beard and moustache I can grow now isn’t all that different from what I could conjure up in college, except of course now it’s got a lot of grey in it. That’s an eye opener, too. I only have a tiny little touch of grey at my temples, so it’s easy to feel young and vigorous until the beard comes in, and then suddenly I feel like I should be asking for spare change on the corner. Or perhaps piloting a boat out to sea while singing a chanty and sharpening my harpoon.
It’s seriously not a good look. So why am I growing a moustache, perhaps the worst part of my very questionable facial hair?
Because men’s health is a pretty important part of my life, and my future. Or more accurately, a future for my daughter.
Almost thirteen years ago, my daughter Schuyler was born with a rare brain malformation called bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria. It affects everyone who has it differently, causing everything from mild learning disabilities to fatal seizures. In Schuyler’s case, it has robbed her of most of her ability to speak and has given her some developmental difficulties. It has also caused seizures, mild ones so far. Schuyler’s polymicrogyria hasn’t threatened her life, but it has made it more difficult. And while she attends some mainstream classes in school and presents to the world as a little girl seemingly like any other, the fact is that Schuyler will most likely require some help for the rest of her life, even if she is able to live semi-independently one day.
Like most parents of children with serious disabilities, one thought haunts me when I lie in bed at night. What will happen to my daughter when I am gone? Who will take care of her?
When I think of the research that goes into helping men prolong their lives and improve the quality of those lives, the concerns are very real to me. When I see other men stepping up to raise awareness about the issues surrounding men’s health, I realize that I have a part to play in making a difference, even if it’s as simple as helping to raise awareness and maybe some money for the cause.
So that’s why I’m participating once again in Movember. Even if it looks less like a moustache and more like I’m eating a mouse.
Robert Rummel-Hudson is the author of Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter (St. Martin’s Press, 2008). He also blogs at Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords (http://www.schuylersmonsterblog.com). Visit Robert’s Movember page HERE.