The September issue is the magazine world’s equivalent of January, its very own new year… it’s the magazine edition that is the biggest, the most influential and the one with the strongest fashion pull. The autumn/winter season always has more influence than spring/summer – September spells the end of summer. – Ella Alexander, Glamour UK Magazine, 2016
As fashion month comes to close and I mourn all the fashion weeks I have yet to be a guest at, I revel in the fact that it is finally fall. To start, I guess I should say I have never really been a summer girl to begin with: it’s hot, everywhere is crowded, and travel is expensive. I also feel at my absolute worst in summer as I detailed in a very personal post around this time last year. Unfortunately, it was no different this year where I found myself experiencing those all too familiar feelings and, more intensely, asking myself, “What am I doing with my life?”
Anyone who knows me knows I am not currently working in a position where I am actively utilizing my communication degree, and haven’t been for the past two years and some change. To compensate for that and, honestly, try to teach myself some relevant skills in my prospective field, I started my YouTube channel. It has definitely been the creative outlet I have been crying out for; seeing myself get better in front of a camera, figuring out what content people want to see, and learning more about editing has been so rewarding in ways that I have not found professionally. But those glimpses of excitement I only really feel about two times a month when I am putting those videos out hasn’t quite made the mark on my life that I hoped it would. I feel stunted and uninspired.
Arguably, this has been one of my most social years to date, but it has equally been the most distant I have felt from everyone in a long time. Maybe it’s something about turning 25, but we are no longer in our early 20’s where it feels like there’s still an airbag to protect us. We are all trapped in a financial hell where we feel guilty for spending money and cancel on plans because we need to save, but then are depressed because everything that we enjoy with our friends costs money. It’s a sick cycle. While many of my friends are close to home now, everyone is in pursuit of different things in their life whether it’s changing careers, going back to school or graduating from secondary school, or picking up more work so that we can keep climbing the proverbial ladder in order to survive. Naturally, that then opens the doors to comparing yourself to others to see if you are doing “enough.” I feel disconnected.
Like most people–women in particular–I have been struggling with my weight. I’m great at finding clothes to hide it, but it has been affecting me a lot. Also, like most people’s journeys with their weight, my motivation to make significant changes is easily swayed by my mood. I thought I would stay on the workout train after my goal of completing a 5K back in April, but that quickly crashed and burned after I used traveling as an excuse. Now it’s a seesaw of being on and off the wagon. I feel disappointed.
The big one. My struggle with depression and anxiety is no secret here and it has been super intense this summer. From the outside looking in, I went on all these glamorous trips this summer from Europe to Hawaii to the Dominican Republic, but truthfully, I walked away from those trips with more harsh truths about reality than the “Hot Girl Summer” I envisioned for myself. There was literally a point where I was planning things just to have something to look forward to and it ended up putting me in a financial pit that has left me benched the rest of the year–coincidentally, my favorite time of the year to travel. That’s not to say any of my trips were bad or that I am ungrateful by any means to have the opportunities that I do, but was I using them to try to escape my life? Absolutely. And I quickly found out you have to face the music sooner or later. I feel trapped.
I write “I feel” at the end of each of these little sections because my feelings are still present. I will ‘walk’ away from this post with full intentions to do better, focus on the fact that it is now my favorite time of the year, and try to find the answers to my problems. But I think there is power in acknowledging and validating whatever you are going through. Something I have had time to reflect on and have been really proud of this year is how much better I have gotten at being a friend: learning to empathize without inserting myself in the equation (most times), accepting that some friends really aren’t looking for advice, and sticking to my word. But I never factored my relationship with myself into the friendship category. Until now.
With everything I wrote above regarding my summer pursuit to escape my current woes and lock me and my friends in a time capsule, I am realizing that I need to do better at being my own support system. I end up shutting myself down because I am stuck with my thoughts all day and want to turn them off. That’s not going to help me in the long run though, and that’s not at all the advice I would give to my friends. I have a lot of power over my social, physical, and emotional/mental wellbeing and need to wield that power. Though they are all intertwined, I need to separate them and find the roots to the individual issues in order to move forward.
Many, many great things happened this summer and I want to look back on this at the end of the year and focus on those. I am very excited for fall and for the rest of 2019: the end of an era. I refuse to waltz into 2020 in the same headspace that I have made a home out of for the last three to four years. I am going to use this time of year when I am happiest to start making these changes. New season, new decade, new me.
Photo cred: Ilse Campos ❤