What a vague and totally uninspired title… This post is already off to a great start.
The concept of summer break in North America is overly romanticized and idealized. All year long, students count down to summer because that’s when school’s out and that of course means everything will be okay. See summer is supposed to bring hot days, fun nights, and unlimited adventures with friends. During the break, people travel, transform into wildly attractive people, and usually have a little fling with hopes of a forever relationship on the horizon.
Movies, television and especially books have nailed the recipe for the perfect “teen” summer after hundreds of iterations. It usually goes like this: an average teen with above average looks starts a boring new job/visits a boring family member in a different town/mopes around with their other above average friends. Suddenly a new girl or boy shows up and they have an undeniable spark and wicked chemistry. The new kid in town helps the average teen realize they really do have above average looks and they discover a new confidence/talent/passion. They bond and go on cute dates like visiting a museum/swimming in an isolated lagoon/stargazing on the beach, which usually culminates in getting caught in a “random” rainstorm, setting the mood for their perfect first kiss.
Other common expectations for summer include bonfires, parties, barbecue dinners, daily pool days, sailing trips, and through it all, having the perfect tan.
If I just described your summer, feel free to rub it in and invite me to your next warm weather extravaganza.
See, summer isn’t a magical time of paradise for everyone. For some people, myself included, summer just means it’s the same old life and responsibilities with lighter clothing involved.
At this moment, I’m still in school, taking summer courses to try to jump ahead and lighten my workload for the fall and winter. I’m regularly working evenings, especially weekends. I volunteer at a health clinic on Sundays for migrant agricultural workers as a healthcare provider. And the little free time I have I usually spend catching up on readings and working on assignments for school. About once a week, I try to see my friends and maybe lay out by the pool or go to the mall, but these are rare and few in between.
I haven’t had the time to transform into a tall leggy model (for starters I’m 5’2) with envious abs or experience any sort of transformation really. Although I did get my hair cut a couple weeks ago, but it’s hardly a groundbreaking new look. There’s no summer fling happening for me, nor is there any sort of prospective relationship remotely close. Oh and the furthest I’ll be travelling is 20 minutes over the border in Buffalo to shop.
Basically I am having the furthest thing from the expected fun-tastic North American summer. That highly romanticized, enchanting break is a laughable extreme away from my life currently and the more I think about it, the more I feel like the unattractive girl sitting at the back of class chewing on her hair.
I don’t chew my hair guys, honestly.
So here’s to you reading this, perhaps on your phone on the way to work, possibly sitting on a beach with a tablet, but most likely indoors while the sun is shining outside. Here’s to everyone who has a few more responsibilities than the average summer loving twenty-something. Here’s to the people working really hard right now for their future, I promise you it’ll be worth it. And here’s to me, turning self-deprecation into positivity because really, what else do I have going on?
We may not have crazy, wild nights, but we’ll get through the tantalizing warm months right guys? Right???
PS. One year ago today I started my blog! I didn’t write my first post till a week later but this is the official beginning. Thank you to all of you regardless of how long you’ve been here. I don’t think I could ever coherently express how much every single like or comment means to me. Thank you for all the little moments of happiness you give me.
Image Source: Self Portrait #12 by Dani Oshi