70 days ago I realised Summer was coming. Insert a parodied Jon Snow talking about the weather and flip it. That has been me, prepping, studying, readying myself for the sunny season. Why would anyone care about such a thing? Well, the answer lies in the lyrics of the HGS Founder, Megan Thee Stallion: “And when we say it's Hot Girl Summer, we ain't talkin' 'bout degrees.” Let me explain.
Towards the end of September, I figured out that for the second time in my adult life I would be single and this coming summer would be my chance for a Solo Hot Girl Summer since 2009. It was something I had heard about, seen on Instagram, sure. But to actually experience the magnitude of the phenomenon I had some serious investigating to do. That first day, I listened to Megan Thee Stallion on repeat for hours, taking avid notes. I was pleasantly surprised at the Spongebob Squarepants references and clearly mortified by some of the vulgar terminology requiring some un-unlearnable Google searches. The core principles I gathered were as follows:
Where you are from is important
If you aren’t doing what or who you want when you want you are a “runner-up”
If you are failing to hype up other women* you are a “runner-up”
If you aren’t in control, being fiscally responsible* or proud of your body and accomplishments* you are a “runner-up”
*I have altered the language slightly but as you can tell, Miss. Thee Stallion's values are very authentic and self-assured. Two admirable qualities I was eager to obtain.
I sat down and planned my 10 weeks ahead, starting from scratch. I envisioned the life I wanted and was willing to work towards. I asked around, I read articles, searched hashtags, accounts even consulted outdated Dolly and Girlfriend magazines. The responses to “What the hippity-hop is a Hot Girl Summer?” were overwhelmingly conclusive; it’s a MINDSET. The 1% who insisted it was skimpy bathers on the beach have been thoroughly educated.
I made every appointment I could think of with the doctor, dentist, optometrist, audiologist, skin clinician, reiki master, dietician, kinesiologist, hair stylist, and psychologist. It brings me pure joy to say that nearly everyone I have come into contact with since coming up with this project has made a lovely little space in my life. Now I have 10 weeks of journal entries, videos, pictures, conversations, goals, too much to bore you with now; so consider this the executive summary.
After preparing and planning and living out my Type A dreams of analysing media and thoughts etc. it was time to put it all into action. Considering my health, my appearance, my brand, my aesthetic, my surroundings, my house, the people I interact with, my thought patterns and habits it all became too much, I was overwhelmed and wanted to cry. Not very Hot Girl Summer of me. Failing before I had even made it half-way to the life I wanted. That’s the thing about healing; it sounds like face masks and lavender baths but it's like a boxing match with the old you who wants to keep you where you are because it’s so much easier and familiar. Avoiding the blows I was throwing myself, I kept going.
And maybe you noticed I wasn’t myself. Did you say I look tired? Yeah I’m tired. Each step forward felt further from home without a clear track. I mean that I am crawling under metaphorical vines and snapping imaginary branches just trying to get through each day. I’m looking through the gaps in the trees to the side and I see everyone else leisurely strolling in a park. I resist staying in bed all day though it feels like I haven’t slept. My brain panics at the detours I’m trying to break in. It bombards me with the people I miss. The me I miss. So I do what the movies tell me to. I happen upon a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
Adopting an Eat, Pray, Love, meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind mentality at a time when I couldn’t travel and couldn’t meet anyone; I coloured my own hair pink and got a tattoo. That’s right, I was my own MPDG all along! I was beginning to unlearn all the rules I had created so long ago and had clung to with white knuckles. The world didn’t end with the ink under my skin. Nobody questioned the fresh undercut above my left ear. I wasn’t shunned when I attempted guitar and singing. It’s a remarkable thing to learn that the foundation on which you understand the world is actually more like a ball-pit and now you’re left with more un-learnings than learnings.
Now, I wish I had all the answers, I wish I could write a click-bait article “like, how to totally have the hottest hot girl summer yet!” But that would be boring and very unhelpful, because like I mentioned earlier, IT’S A MINDSET! Find your values and stick to them. Be aware when you are pulled to them and pushed away. That’s your gut feeling knowing best. Set boundaries to keep your greatest strengths at max power. If you are generous, limit your giving. If you're independent, let people help you once in a while.
As for the physical component, because after all it is summer. The biggest tip I can give is to wear the hell out of eyeliner if that's your thing. No wait, that sounded shallow. Go easy on yourself. Take time to appreciate your body for all it has done for you. And sunscreen. Oh man, even in winter, you don’t want your skin to age prematurely, but get the nicer brands that aren’t so oily. And if you can manage it, surround yourself with amazing people who remind you to sunscreen, because they love you deep down.
So here’s to all of us antipodeans soaking up the wonders of Vitamin D. Carry around the enthusiasm of a thirteen year old at a One Direction concert. Show yourself the support you show your favourite sportsketball footsoccer team when they get a goalpoint. Go out there and be the first place prize you are.
Make this your hottest Hot Girl Summer ever.
x❤x -Stephanie Jane