By ena ganguly
I adore the summer season. Perhaps it’s because of the annual luxurious summer vacations schools afforded me growing up, or because of the vibrant sunshine and long days that reminded me so much of my babyhood in India. During this time of year, I feel awake, active and ready to try new things.
Here are some things I want to try this season, and invite others to try too!
One: Sun bathing
Sunshine is great for our bodies. It produces Vitamin D in us which decreases inflammation and improves brain function. Not only are there physical benefits, but mental ones too. Lack of sunshine is one of the main reasons why so many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, so the presence of sunlight has an impact on our overall mood and can even make us sleep better.
One of my aspirations for this season is to lounge outside and indulge in the sunlight. I would also like to do something active, like learn how to play basketball, a sport that my partner has been wanting to teach me for years. Before I expose my skin to sunshine, I do want to find a good sunscreen, both for my body as well as my face! I’ve heard that we should wear SPF throughout the year, so finding the right sunscreen for my body and face would be a decision that would benefit me beyond this season.
Two: Being near the water
Ever since I was little, I’ve had a complicated relationship with pools of water. I remember being dunked into the pool by an adult when I was really young, which traumatized me. I also remember my parents swimming away while leaving me sitting at one corner of this large resort pool. The little ledge they sat me on was surrounded by water, so I felt very trapped. I screamed and reached my arms out towards them. I thought they were leaving me for good and I did not know how to swim to get back to land.
Though I received swimming classes when I was 10 ish years old, even those classes were terrifying as my teacher was hell bent on getting me to dive into the pool. I hated those classes!
However, recently, I dreamt that I was freely wading in the water with some beings, my friends, in this natural pool. The ground was a dark emerald green and the water reflected that too. It felt like a pond, reminiscent of the ones that are in my native land of Bengal. I was floating on this clear inflated pad of sorts when two of my friends told me they were going to flip me off the pad, leaving me to the water. I woke as I fell into the water in my sleep, still feeling like I was underwater.
I think maybe it’s time to make some peace with the water and meet her one on one, while releasing my negative past experiences with her. I hope to do so by going to a water park or going to the community pool in my neighborhood. As a fat person, I’m also happy to report that I have a very cute two piece that I am excited to wear in the pool!
Three: Reading books on your ‘List’
You know the List. Everyone has one. That List that contains so many book titles, friendly suggestions and bookmarked articles that there is no way you could get them all read in an entire season. However, summer time is a great time to start digging into all those ambitious plans you made to learn and educate yourself on different viewpoints, histories and narratives.
I just read ‘Redefining Realness’ by Janet Mock. A book I finished within two days. Books that are really good and magnetic, I will finish within a week, easy peasy. However, there are some harder, slower reads, which for me, are usually history books and articles from journals. Those reads are more difficult to finish, since it takes me longer to take it all in and digest it. The language that type of writing uses is also less animated and more didactic.
I like both kinds of writing but I’m usually more interested in narrative-based stories, even if those stories are based on a person’s very real story. Mock’s story is so different than the ones I’ve read. She talks very openly about her family dynamics, her childhood, the experiences she underwent, and it was an honor, truly, to read all that she offered up. I’m hoping to read her second book soon!
Her book also made me consider re-reading some classics like The Color of Water and Their Eyes Were Watching God, books I haven’t read since high school! Our list doesn’t need to be only new books and articles, but perhaps some pieces of writing that you would like to revisit, especially if, like me, you read them a long time ago.
Four: Playing with new styles
In the spirit of staying true to summer, I want to try wearing new things, like different types of makeup and clothes that I have not dabbled in yet.
I’ve seen that the two piece is really in right now, like a pencil skirt and crop top, often having similar fabric, colors and styles, while others are drastically different and sport multiple patterns and fabrics.
As someone who doesn’t do a lot with their clothes and prioritizes comfort over elegance, I definitely want to challenge myself to try new styles that, while still comfortable, upgrade my look!
As a sagittarius, and immigrant, I am a firm believer in traveling as much as possible. I don’t even think one needs to travel far and wide to have a good time and try new things! Texas is a huge state and there is a lot that folks can discover by a quick drive to major cities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
My favorite place to go back to is Houston. That’s my home: where I was raised, where I assimilated, where I was exposed to hundreds of different cultures, foods, and languages. There is always something new to do or try in Houston, and it’s only a three hour drive! Another plus is that I have my mother who is a great companion as we drive around the city, eating at different restaurants, going shopping, and lazing around.
If you have friends who live in other places, especially places that are more accessible and affordable for you to travel to, meet up with them! Maybe they will let you stay at their place, helping with traveling costs, and perhaps you can return the favor if they are in your city.
Traveling doesn’t have to be intimidating, costly or a headache. It can be easy, affordable, and fun!
My partner and I went to Houston recently where we stayed at an airbnb for the weekend. We were in town for a concert, so we were able to hang out with my mom, meet up with some of my partner’s friends, and go to the concert. We had a great time and got the rest we deserved.