• Kaylila Pasha

2018: The Year I Leaped (And Lost)

Let's get real, 2018.

If you know me, then you know that New Year's is my least favorite holiday. I'm not sure why. I don't do well with things coming to an end, and to me the idea of quantifying my year into terms of just "good" and "bad" simply doesn't work. But, I also love the idea of a fresh start, so this is my attempt of closing the chapter that is 2018. 

2018 was my year of doing things that scare me. And boy, was it a big one (full disclosure: so was 2017. I think this may be a common theme for the next few years of my life; isn't that what growing up is all about?). This came about in a lot of ways, from climbing a taller ladder in lighting lab to being honest about my feelings to living alone for the first time to even directing my first show. 

Forcing myself to venture so far outside of my comfort zone led to friendships, jobs, and opportunities that I had previously been goals of mine. It also caused a lot of loneliness, letting go, and hard conversations--but all for the better. And, because of who I am as a person, I'm charting it all out--the good, bad, and ugly of 2018--below.


It's crazy how January feels like yesterday and also so long ago at the same time. My favorite memory from January was attending the annual National Womens' March on Washington on January 20th. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but as a passionate Democrat and feminist from Mississippi this is a dream of mine that I finally got to fulfill! 

IMPORTANT side note: this March was also the first time I spent one-on-one time with my sweet roommate, Frenchy! (We share a passion for smashing the patriarchy). Her friendship has been one of my biggest blessings in 2018.​


February was full of fun with friends! Slowly but surely, I began to really find my people at OCU. I also served as the supertitles co-creator and operator in OCU's Mainstage opera, The Vaudevillian (World Premiere). 

I also let go of a person whose presence in my life was no longer serving me / benefitting my mental health. By nature, I'm not one to say "no" to others and put myself first, but

The Last Five Years Cabaret w/ MT Sessions!


I re-auditioned for degree transfer at OCU, attended OCUNYC (the best week of the year), celebrated my 19th birthday alongside my best friends and bbys in my favorite city, travelled home to see my mom, sister, and brother's work in Grease, and travelled back to NYC to train as a Work Study Student at Broadway Artist's Alliance. I also made lots of sweet memories with new people--a ~thing I was afraid to do.~ Even though things may not have worked out exactly as I wished, I still look back on this time so fondly.

sweet milkshakes w/ sweet friends @ OCUNYC


You know how I said some things didn't quite work out? Yeah, that was April. But, there was also Alpha Phi formal, my MT Sessions debut (A Night of Rodgers and Hammerstein), and Kappa Sigma Derby Days. I also fell in LOVE with Pure Barre, and invested in healthier lifestyle choices.

But the BEST part of April was successfully transferring into the BFA Acting degree program at OCU! Changing my major from music to theatre was definitely a thing I was afraid to do, but it has proved to be the best decision I have made since arriving at OCU.

my perfect fam stack @ Alpha Phi formal!

 M A Y

I finished my first year at OCU, packed up and went home, went to Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, and then packed up and headed to Dallas to begin rehearsing for my first summer stock show. Cue: a thing that scared me (are you noticing a theme?)


I made my regional debut in Repertory Company Theatre's production of Guys & Dolls in Dallas!​ I also had the incredible opportunity to complete a Theatre Education internship at the WaterTower Theatre in the daytime (see previous blog post here). This was the first of many months of professional growth, and I am so thankful.



July had some high highs and some low lows. I made my professional debut at Summer Stock Austin in The Music Man and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I also was involved in the world premiere of the musical Rob1n. Living in Austin, working in theatre, and making some of the best friends I've ever had was seriously the best of my life (see previous blog post here).

However, in July I also received the news that my Aunt Diane (Auntie Di) had passed away unexpectedly. I learned about this over the phone call while on a ten-minute break during rehearsal. As I was under contract, learning 3 shows in 2 weeks, I wasn't able to visit my mom or attend and services. It was hard. 

July was the first time I lived on my own, in a new state--definitely a thing that scared me. But, this month I discovered how strong I can be in the face of both professional and personal challenges. In times of struggle, I often rely on my art to get me though. I dove back into painting, an I took the leap to begin my own business, Kaylila Pasha Art & Design! Growth growth growth.



Closed SSA season, said some hard goodbyes, and moved back to OKC!

Began my sophomore year living with Frenchy, the single most positive and encouraging friend I could ever imagine having in my life. ​ Experienced my first recruitment as a member of Alpha Phi, fell in love with my sisterhood all over again, and welcomed home 31 sisters!

I joined OCU's Pom & Spirit Squad! I grew up dancing, but I've never felt confident enough as a dancer or athlete to put myself out there--until now. Just doing more things that scared me :)


(a really! big! month!)

1. I got my theatre fam! They are the best and I am so blessed <3

2. I FOUND MY LITTLE! She is sweet and smart and kind and beautiful and perfect in every single way. The big-little matching process was caused so much stress, but it was all so worth it. I didn't think I could love my fam any more, but then she happened :) 

3. I chopped 7 inches of my hair off! This may not seem like a big deal for some, but it's something I had thought of doing for years and never had because I was scared.

4. I earned entry to the Equity Membership Candidacy (EMC) program via Oklahoma CityRep's production of The Music Man in Concert. This has been a huge goal of mine for so long, and the experience was nothing short of wonderful. 

September was also the month that my grandfather, my Dada, was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He lives in Pakistan, and I can't help but feel defeated and helpless knowing that he is so far out of my reach. Another big 2018 dose of reality. 


October was a bit of a breather...kinda? I visited Destin, Florida with my family over fall break, and then I competed in Miss OCU! While I learned quickly that I am NOT cut out for pageantry, the experience was empowering and the overwhelming support I received was even better.



Aside from a quick trip home for ~real~ Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to prepare for my directorial debut throughout the month of November. The rehearsal process of Good Kids was nothing short of crazy, and in this month I learned to appreciate the beauty in the process of stumbling and getting back up time and time again.


Good Kids opened and closed, and I couldn't have imagined a better end result. This ensemble, this story, and these friendships are invaluable to me. Even more so, the overwhelming support from the community exceeded every expectation.

I completed my finals and headed home for the holidays. This is where things fell apart for me.

In my true 2018 fashion, I confronted the biggest fear I've had for years now; I spoke up about something that had been weighing on my heart for years. Feelings that I had oppressed, swallowed because I was afraid of the inevitable change that would follow.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one in my family hiding their heart. My parents promptly decided to undergo a divorce, changing the family dynamic that I have held close for nearly 20 years. It's been hard. It's been ugly. It's been brutal.

However, one of the phrases I've been clinging to through this time is this: "I am the one thing in life I can control." In life, you can't control the cards you get dealt, but you can control the way you handle it. This is easier said than done; I would be lying if I said I didn't spend my final days of 2018 crying and packing up memory after memory of my childhood home. However, I know the bigger picture is a happier and healthier family dynamic for everyone.

Going into 2019, I hope to continue to search for the light in the darkness of the unknown. If I've learned anything this year, it's to find your people, love them hard, lean on them when you need to, and continue doing things that scare you--it'll pay off.

Love and light, friends.

xx ​ ​Kaylila

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