By Marlene Goldman
Whew, after surviving 2020, I entered spring 2021 fully vaccinated, loaded with hours of PTO, and ready to be OUTSIDE! I had a glimpse of what it meant to be back in social settings around my birthday, and I thought that was the jumping point for my hot girl summer. Some much-needed life changes occurred during the transition from spring to summer but, I figured they would just put me in a better place to be out and about. No longer under the constant stressors that the pandemic brought on, I felt free for a bit. But then I felt anxious re-entering society, especially in unfamiliar spaces. So here I am, in a stagnant summer.
We saw non-Black people act a whole ass in summer 2020, and while their outlandish behavior is nothing new, there was a bit of safety not having to interact with SO MANY people at the grocery store. As capitalism continues to prevail and restrictions are lifted across the States, I look in awe at the carelessness of others after we were supposed to spend a whole year “listening & learning.” Case in point, Miss Abigail had a complete temper tantrum AND harassed a Black Woman all at the same time at a mall retail store! Where do they do that at?! Oh, in the States, and my hot girl summer wants no part of it.
Constant marginalization aside, there is still a sense of gloom over this summer. The current labor shortage truly showcases how these corporations and businesses don’t care about anyone or anything other than uplifting capitalism, which, again, we knew this. Still, wow, it feels a bit excessive at this point like damn, we get it, you don’t care, but can you at least try to pay people a living wage?! Jeez. In addition to this, there is a collective grief washing over us. Over 600,000 people died in the States from COVID-19, and more are now disabled & suffering from chronic illnesses. Family dynamics have drastically changed, and I haven’t touched on other looming stressors affecting households, such as student loan deferment and rent moratoriums ending.
While a hot girl summer ideally would help us heal from this trauma and find ways to move forward, I don’t think it is. I don’t know what we need to do as a whole but, I’m sure I don’t feel alone in this feeling. I was so excited to connect with new people and start living some semblance of my typical life again but, I’m not there yet, and that’s okay. This stagnant, gloomy summer can still include some fun that’s not over Zoom while looking at the big picture; even though society thought it was okay to bust wide open just to uphold systems of oppression, we must hold space for ourselves as we continue to grieve many losses and find new ways to move forward. Not to rain on anyone’s parade (it seems like climate change is doing plenty of that), this is just a note that if you felt a little off this summer, you’re not alone.
Marlene Goldman-Marlene Goldman is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC who loves a good outfit with a cupcake to match. If you’re looking for a better start to your Mondays, follow her on Instagram @mondayswithmarlene