Lena Waithe cut off her signature locs last month, and the Hollywood triple threat says that the decision has made her feel “so free and so happy and so joyful.” “The Chi” creator told Variety at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet Thursday that she’d been thinking about letting her locs go for a while. But she hesitated because of how others might perceive her. “I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am,” Waithe said. “I think I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, I’ll be a stud, I’ll be — in the gay world, there’s a lot of categories — I’ll be a stud or I’ll be a butch,’ and I’ve always thought, ‘Well, no, I’m not that, I’m still soft,’” the actress continued, “and I said, ‘Oh, I gotta put that down ’cause that’s something that’s outside of me.’” She debuted her fresh cut on Instagram last month. “New tings,” she captioned the photo, which raked up more than 80,000 likes.

New tings. Cut by : @barberdolltheslayer

A post shared by Lena Waithe (@lenawaithe) on

Overall, Waithe said the decision to cut her hair allowed her to really step into herself. “If people call me a butch or say ‘She’s [a] stud’ or call me sir out in the world — so what? So be it. I’m here with a suit on, not a stitch of makeup, and a haircut. I feel like, ‘Why can’t I exist in the world in that way?’” The year 2018 has been a big year for Waithe, who has a number of TV shows in the pipeline. Check them all out here.