To support safety and public health during the Covid-19 pandemic, all on-campus events are canceled until further notice.

First, I want to address the blonde. It was a complete accident, and quite the tragedy at first. I went to my usual hairstylist, Jackie, who I had been trusting with my hair (and what feels like my life) for years. It was a few weeks ago when I walked into Jackie’s salon with my dyed light brown hair, looking for some change. I told him that I wanted my hair ashy. No more orangey, brassy tones. I wanted a darker, but grayer shade of brown.

Somehow, I came out blonde, even platinum blonde at the ends. I didn’t even realize how light it was in the salon. I walked out feeling great, not too different. It wasn’t until I got home to parents gawking at me that I realized something must be off. I ran to the bathroom where it became clear to me that I was, in fact, blonde.

I spent the next few hours figuring out how I was going to get my hair back to being a comfortable and familiar shade of brown. I had already spent 200 dollars and 5 hours of my life bored out of my mind sitting in a chair for my hair. It felt like the biggest waste to not be satisfied.

I don’t know if it’s just my personality or if I’m honestly a little crazy, but the next day, I woke up realizing I loved being blonde. I’ve always been weird about my likes and dislikes. I can hate a song at first, but end up loving it after a few more listens. I think that’s basically what happened with my hair too.

And now, I’m thinking I want to stay blonde forever.

This summer has been a turbulent one of ups and downs. My relationships with a few important people in my life got extremely confusing. I realized (and posted about earlier this summer) that I suddenly came to the conclusion that I don’t really have a clue what I really want to do with my life, academically or career-wise. Some issues in my life that I had previously chosen to ignore were coming back up at me, hard. I was unraveling, to say the least.

So, I started a journey to heal. I began unpacking some disappointment and sadness that I never wanted to address before. Even though it has been extremely difficult, confronting my fears and my anxieties has been an extremely positive experience.

Sometime this summer, along the way of trying to improve my life, I learned that for some time now, I have been struggling with some severe forms of anxiety. I never really had a name for it before, but now that I know what it is, it actually feels so much more manageable, because I know specifically what it is that I have to tackle now.

One major anxiety I have is separation anxiety. This anxiety comes out especially strong whenever I am about to embark on a major change, for example, starting college or moving back home for the summer, or in the current case, moving back to school for sophomore year. Learning about separation anxiety has helped me to piece many confusing pieces of my life together finally, like why the concept of packing has always stressed me out so much.

I’ve always been a thrill-seeker and hunting for the next adventure, but the week or so before major trips always psyched me out, but beyond the level of the average nervousness one might experience before taking flight or something. My fears have always felt both baseless and uncontrollable and manifest into me simply not packing or preparing.

That’s what happened last summer before freshmen year. I literally did not pack a single item until the very morning of move-in day. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go to college. I was really looking forward to it all senior year. But as the date drew closer and closer, I just couldn’t bring myself to think about college anymore or do anything to get ready for it. As I result, I ended up being late to checking in with my RA because I started getting ready so last minute at my house.

It has always been a very conflicting and confusing phenomenon for me–I love meeting new people and experiencing new things, but struggled immensely with the preparation period. I have a very type A personality too and I do not have a hard time committing myself to reaching goals, so it just never added up for me. Not packing went beyond procrastination for me, it was deeply rooted into something that I never had a name for until I learned about separation anxiety.

At this moment in my life, going blonde is more than just that for me. Going blonde, by accident, and then adapting to it proved to myself what I should have known all along, that this, blonde Kaylee on a whim, is who I have always been at heart. I can be an impulsive person and by nature that makes me not fear change, but rather welcome it. My anxiety over moving into college is just my anxiety, but not who I am as a person, and it is extremely relieving to realize that.

I will never be that person who will pack a month in advance for a trip, but I am also going to stop being that person that pretends like nothing is coming up when something big is right around the corner. Instead, I will pack a bit earlier than I have been for a while, and that marks the start of a new beginning for me.

Pinpointing your fears and your anxieties is key to resolving them. This summer has been rough at times, but also full of self-discovery. And with self-discovery comes new beginnings that I am so very excited for.

I wish everyone the best school year.