This post started out as a "why I cut my hair" and "review of 2018" post. My insanely busy schedule these last few weeks have prevented it being released in a timely manner, but have also allowed for it to evolve into so much more than a "why I cut my hair" blog entry.
To set the stage for this whole post, I’m going to start with this:
2018 was the year that I didn’t expect.
It didn’t go as planned. Literally nothing, even the good things, went as planned. It was one of the most necessary and hardest years of my life to date. I spent hours upon hours with myself writing, wallowing in difficult self-reflection, processing things I’d put on the backburner, and learning the habits of my ego and mind.
In terms of actual events, here’s an overview in order:
I started dating my favorite person
I lived in Lynchburg, VA from Jan-April. This man has become my best friend, my confidant, my support system, my partner. He has taught me so much about myself. We have grown more together than we ever did apart. This has been the best and (in some ways) the hardest year of my life. And much of that is due to him. I love him and am incredibly grateful.
I took a lot of trips home as my grandmother’s health failed to her eventual passing on March 16th.
I was part of the cast of Big Fish with the Alluvion Stage Company in March and April, and Dance Captained a show for the first time.
I took a trip to NYC in May to perform in a Cabaret, go to a couple auditions, and visit friends.
Kyle and I became long distance
(which is such a deep, painful, beautiful, and complicated affair in and of itself that I will likely write an entire blog post about it at some point).
I moved back home and did a lot (A LOT) of painful personal work and worked side jobs to pay off some debt.
I got a gig as a coach at the Premiere Program in Orlando.
I took another trip to NYC to visit my sister, friends, and take some classes.
I went to visit Kyle in Utah where he spent his summer playing Tarzan
I had a nervous breakdown freak out panic
I had been living for the hope of a Fall job, didn’t get one, sobbed by myself in an elevator in New Jersey, considered quitting my dreams, felt hopeless and worthless and like the biggest failure and disappointment to friends and family. Then got over it and wrote the last blog post I published on here.
Went to Fall SETC...
in the hopes of booking something.... Booked a job for Cedar Fair Winterfest… at Carowinds… which is 10 minutes away from my parents house…which would have been fine if I hadn’t spent 4 months living at home and feeling antsy to go ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING…but alas, was looking at finishing 2018 at home…
Spent my winter months performing on the Holly Jolly Trolley at Carowinds
Finished my contract and…
On January 2nd, 2019, I chopped off 13 inches of hair.
Thank God. I feel freed.
To fully understand the significance of what would be an otherwise standard haircut, we need to go back.
I loved my long hair. It was beautiful and fun to braid and curl and flip and all of that. But over the course of the last ten(ish) years,
My hair had become a symbol of bondage
People told me to keep it long. I didn't want to (I've wanted to chop it for years), but I wanted to be liked. So... It’s length represented bondage to the opinions of others.
One of my professors told me “your hair will book you jobs.” So... it became a security blanket for "success" I kept out of fear of failure.
Growing up, I'd been told “guys prefer girls with long hair” (I see now how very wrong and manipulative it was to be told this. At the time I didn't. Please don't ever tell anyone (especially young people), directly or otherwise, that their value is found in others' perception of their beauty, intelligence, success, etc.) so... my hair represented bondage to the fear of being undesirable.
(Side bar: My boyfriend is the one who finally convinced me to chop it so *blows raspberry* to the above)
In light of these reasons, the hair had to go. I shed a lot of things this year. My hair had come to represent many of the things I wanted to leave behind me. Cutting my hair was so much more than chasing after a new "look." It was an act of liberation. A physical representation of a spiritual renewal and emotional reset.
I cut my hair. And with it I’m cutting out fear. I’m cutting out striving. I’m cutting off insecurity. I’m cutting out the desperate need to succeed. I’m cutting out negative self-talk. I’m cutting off living my life to please others.
The first 2-3 years out of college teach you that you actually have no earthly idea what you’re doing. I was exhausting myself and barely surviving. I projected a beautiful image of confidence and strength that fooled everyone including myself.
But I was The Titanic and 2018 was my iceburg.
The worst part was the painful sinking I did for months. The holes and cracks that formed in places where I'd patched up emotional wounds in the hopes that I wouldn't have to face them again. I needed to hit an emotional and career "iceburg" to get to the place of rebuilding. A place of "dealing". That's what the last 6 months have been.
I became so obsessed with being a SUCCESSFUL performer, I lost sight of why I started performing in the first place. Theatre is my first love. It's where I came out of my shell, felt creative, felt free. And I hadn't realized I'd lost that. It's not that it ever stopped being my passion, it's that my love of it was buried under mounds of fear. I needed 2018 to become aware of this, and then work through it.
As a child, I wouldn’t have thought twice about cutting my hair. I wouldn't have worried about job opportunities, or others' opinions. I would have done whatever I wanted and followed my truth. As a child, I was organically myself. I took bold risks, made choices I wanted to make because I WANTED TO MAKE THEM. I performed because I loved it and when I didn’t get cast, I didn’t care. I found the next opportunity to do something I loved. Somewhere along the road between childhood and now, I lost my beautiful and carefree self-confidence.
I want to find the child again. I want to rule my life, blaze my trail, and free my spirit from the cage it's been in. 2019 is the year to begin again.
In 2019 I’m going to do things that set my heart and soul on fire. I’m going to be intentional about removing obstacles to this flame. I’m not going to let the opinions of others douse it. I’m not going to let fear contain it. I’m going to stop pursuing “success” and start pursuing “joy.” I want to fall in love with life all over again.
At this moment that I'm (finally) finishing this blog post, I am on the Amtrak train (approaching Philly) heading North towards New York City Penn. When I get to the city I will collect my bags, hop in a taxi, and unpack in my new (temporary) home on the Upper West Side. I will spend these next ten weeks taking classes, receiving coaching, attending auditions, and re-finding the joy this life has to offer. I'm leaving my long locks (and all they'd come to represent) behind me.
In this last year I have reflected, reset, and re calibrated. It’s time to set my heart and soul on fire once again and blaze my own trail. I’m going to rule my own life. And I’m going to rock this pixie.