Driving in the backseat of my grandfather’s truck with my family in Pennsylvania, I remember the windows blowing in the warm, summer breeze throughout my short, ombre hair. It felt nice. Something about the Pennsylvania trees in the summer was soothing this time around; possibly because it wasn’t the noisy city back home, full of the demons that I carried on my back for the last two years. The grass felt different on my feet, the sun felt comforting on my skin, and the wind: it was quiet. I wonder how am I still here after all this time finding my depression from high-school and my first-year of college? I wonder how I wasn’t dead yet after everything that has happened to me. Just a couple of days before my trip, I had experienced one of the scariest nights of my life: a close friend was contemplating suicide and had left me a goodbye text. I think about it, and I know I did the right thing, despite what that friend had said. That night was the last straw of many things: I was tired of holding on to toxicity that allowed me to feel the way that I did. I questioned if something was wrong with me. Did I need to see a therapist? did I have Borderline Personality Disorder? Was I really this lousy person that my friend made me feel? I was tired of living my life like I had to owe something to someone, and I was tired of allowing others to dictate my happiness and my worth.
Something changed me during my time in Pennsylvania that weekend. I was happy. I was smiling. I felt present for once in a really long time. And I came back to reality that Monday morning when coming back to the city. I knew I couldn’t ignore the thoughts and demons I was returning to, and because of that – I set up one last meeting with this friend. It was our goodbye: bye from my life, bye from controlling me, and bye from everything else I should’ve let go a long time ago. I saw this friend walk away that one night, and I felt free. I felt born again.
I stared at the four dollar box of hair dye sitting on my kitchen table, and then looked at myself in the mirror I had in front of me. Was I doing the right thing? I brushed my ombre hair and remembered just how long this color has been my sense of identity for the last three years. Black hair meant sad and depression in society’s eyes, and maybe I felt myself going down that path again. Maybe this was just me being sick of looking at the same girl over and over again every morning. But maybe I was sick of my hair as my source of identity after so many years. I mean, I thought about it: I had a really awesome group of college friends, I was graduating college in just a couple of months and for once, I felt extremely happy. So, why was I here with a box of black hair dye if I was actually okay? Because my sense of control still felt like was missing. I still felt scared making decisions for myself. I still felt afraid that if I changed something about myself, it meant that I was changing, and not for the better. But, I was ready for a change: I was ready to try something new. So, I opened that box of hair dye and dyed my hair black. THere’s a reason why I could never go back to anything else. This was me. It complimented me, I looked healthy, I was born again.
Something told me to record myself. The last time I recorded myself just talking about how I felt was during 2013 when the videos used to be 10 minutes long of me just ranting because I had no real friend to vent to at the time. This time, I was pretty much on the same boat, or I thought I was. It was a couple of days before Thanksgiving and things on my mind were quiet for once in a really long time. I had made a huge decision in my life that at the time I thought was the right one, but still, I was feeling empty and not completely there. I kept looking at my phone to see if I wanted to do it; if I really wanted to record myself talking. But something told me that I needed to do this, not just for my present self, but for my future self as well. She needed to see for herself that me, as the present, was able to go through something so heartbreaking, and still go through life as it came. I needed to remind myself that everything was going to be alright at the end of the day, and because of that, I recorded my 5-minute video, reminding myself that suicide was never the answer to my problems, that things will get better because bad days are only temporary.
A little after that, I wanted to gain back control of my life by crossing some things off my bucket list: I arranged to take my first solo trip, and I cut my hair into a pixie cut. Despite looking like a new person, I felt like one too. I felt like I was able to forgive myself for the hardships 2018 put me through. I was able to bring more awareness to my mental health, and knowing that it doesn’t define me, but that there will be days where it does consume me. I felt like I was growing into myself more and more each day, and for once in a really one time, I felt excited about where my future is heading. Not scared, not anxious, but excited. I felt free, I felt fresh, I felt born again.
This post was inspired by Tiffany Young’s new song, “Born Again”, which has been speaking to me on a spiritual level lately.