There are moments where I look at myself in the mirror and I stare in astonishment of how much I’ve changed. I feel like we all have our moments of realization where we acknowledge we’re not the same person we used to be years ago, or even as of yesterday. I used to be upset over the fact that I’m so impulsive, emotional, and fickle. But now, I’ve found peace with myself and am learning to not mind that I’m this way.
It’s OK for me to change moods, opinions, and interests. It’s healthy for me to establish my boundaries and change them when I best see fit. Some life lessons include learning that walking away and removing myself from conversations or situations isn’t weak, but beneficial to my wellbeing. Allowing myself to sit with my emotions and acknowledging instead of ignoring or invalidating them is what’s best. My perspective and views have changed alongside me. I’ve given up on labeling people and things as “good” or “bad” when in reality nothing is as simple as it seems. I’ve learned it’s alright for me to see the gray between the black and white.
Most importantly though, I’ve learned it’s OK to do what I want and not feel bad about it as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else.
Recently, I made the bold decision to allow my friend to cut at least ten to twelve inches of my hair off in one of the Merrill dorm bathrooms. I gave her total freedom to style it however she wanted, using her handy dandy cutting scissors that one would usually use to cut paper, not hair. It was midnight on a Thursday and we were both sleep deprived, but honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I wasn’t stressed, as I fully trusted my friend and was prepared to let go of at least ten years worth of damaged, unhealthy, and dry inches. I’d been wanting to cut my hair for a long time, but I never did because I was so attached to my long hair that had been accompanying me for such a large portion of my life.
Letting go of my hair was as if I were letting go of my old self who had been with me throughout all those years. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to her, yet. Especially this year, with as long as my hair had ever been, I’d been getting compliments over how beautiful it was, even with curly split ends reaching my stomach. But, I knew I had changed, and the person I am now is no longer who I was years ago.
In tandem with rocking my new hairstyle, I also finally got my nose piercing. It’s such a privilege to be able to make these changes, knowing I have the limitless support of my friends and family members. It’s nice knowing that alongside the changes I’ve made, what stays consistent is my community of love and support.
Being back on-campus has helped me realize how much I’d grown from the first year I was here. I’m more confident and sure of myself now, willing to speak up and take on roles I’d never thought I could do. It took time, emotional labor, and even physical changes—all encompassed by the concept of growing pains—to become who I am today. I’m grateful for all I’ve gone through though, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe that’s what growing up is all about—knowing that it never stops.