Relax! It’s Summer!
by Darshni Patel
With the searing heat of the sun coming out once again, it seems as though summer is well under way. I thought it would be appropriate to reflect a bit on my summer today. Summer for me, as for most, can be a bit of a difficult time period.
Although I love the warm weather, I despise the challenges associated with it. I loathe the philosophical questions summer poses to me year and year again. My productivity, in particular, is something I question quite a bit during the summer time. Am I making the most of my time off? As a student, this is an intimidating question for me. Will this summer truly be enough to offset the anguish of junior year? On the one hand, you wish to stay focused on things such as summer assignments, classes you might be taking, or college applications to write.
On the other hand, the water and waves of the Atlantic Ocean are calling to you, or your friends are, quite literally, yelling at you to hang out with them. Choose the beach or your friends, your GPA suffers, and you may suffer a bit depending depending on how greatly you define yourself by that number (Duh, I am aware intelligence is not defined by your GPA, yet you would be surprised at the amount of my peers that do so anyway). In addition, this decision could lead you into a new spiral of serious questions about yourself. If you’re like me, despite the consequences, you choose to go to the beach with your friends.
However, the relentless summer curse does not leave you alone. Next are questions about your self-esteem. Am I good enough? Am I holding up to the standard for female beauty? Summer to me is known as a time where I have to find fitting bathing suits and a sense of self-esteem (that was mostly a joke). However, it can be daunting to approach the summer feeling less than great about the way we look. I find that as the summer time gets closer my perspective seems more and more fixated on my body image.
Am I skinny enough? That’s a question I feel too many of us ask when looking into the mirror on a daily basis. Everywhere you look we are flooded with images of skinny white models. It’s unavoidable, from the television screens, to book covers, to billboards– no matter where you look, it is something that consumes us. Our society is infatuated with this idea of thinness. We are expected to collectively stick to an ideal that, for a large majority of us, is difficult to achieve. At some point it becomes almost unimaginable to remember that my body type is not exclusive to me.
As summer comes, I need to remind myself that what I see in the media is not who I am supposed to be. It is not representative of me, you, or of her. It is not the ideal. You are the ideal. It can be easy to define yourself by numbers simply because it is so tangible. It becomes so effortless because we can measure these things on a scale whether that be a weight scale, your GPA, your income… but it is so much more difficult to define yourself by things you know are not tangible– your happiness, your benevolence, your success.
It is far more difficult to acknowledge the many wonderful things about you because so often we overlook them when comparing them to what we believe to be our faults. Nonetheless, the admission and the recognition of the beauty in us should drive us forward. Not the need to reach an unattainable change to our bodies, to our personalities.
So with that said, I hope we can all go forward this summer being healthy and happy.