It’s early September, which for many means settling into some sort of routine at school, work or both. It’s also the time when that post-summer nostalgia just begins to creep in. For me and many others, this past summer can only be defined in one way: hot girl summer.
You may have seen it as a caption underneath someone’s Instagram post. Yet, if you aren’t active on Twitter, the phrase “hot girl summer” is probably lost upon you. What do these three words mean together?
Megan Thee Stallion and her fans coined the popular term after her album dropped in May, which included the song "Hot Girl Summer."
“It’s just basically about women — and men — being unapologetically them, having a good ass time, hyping up your friends, doing you and not giving a d*mn about what anybody has to say about it,” she said, in an interview with The Root. To say the least, this doctrine of self-love spoke to me.
What happened in my seemingly amazing hot girl summer that I felt so compelled to share it? I worked. A lot.
I’d wake up around 8 a.m., commute an hour to New Brunswick to partake in a social media internship, drive back to North Jersey, go to the gym for an hour, go to ShopRite and work until closing. I’d get up and do the exact same thing every day.
At first, all of this was overwhelming. The driving and running around was dizzying, and I wanted nothing more than to be on the beach with my family or in bed with ice cream and Netflix. The worst part of the experience was the commute.
I was alone with my thoughts and stale tunes from the radio for more than 2 hours every day. This gave me so much time to reflect upon any and everything. I’d think about the time when I was 12 years old and rude to the guy that liked me in class, a book I read when I was younger or how insane my first year at college was.
After a while of viewing this drive as nothing short of torture, I began to love it. I’d ponder about different things and would try to listen to a new band every time I drove. This routine became therapeutic. I’d crave being behind the wheel, alone, listening to a new artist and keeping my whirring thoughts at bay.
In the middle of the summer, just when I thought I couldn’t take the seemingly endless routine I created, I was fortunate enough to go to Portugal and Spain with my family. Before I left and in between shifts, I thrifted a few pieces of clothing and got to express different aspects of my style. Eating, seeing and feeling so many new things was just what I needed.
It felt amazing, to say the least. I found that when I was surrounded by so many people I didn’t know, whether it be in a new office or new country, I clung to the most authentic parts of my identity. I slipped into the person I’ve always wanted to be: focused, driven and reflective. Spending so much free time with myself forced me to actually enjoy who I was becoming.
This was also the first summer I haven’t had a boyfriend since 2015. I wasn’t even talking to anyone. At first, this fact made me incredibly sad. All of my friends seemed to be in relationships, and all of their cute Instagram couple pictures weren’t helping.
Yes, it was upsetting to not have someone to text about all the amazing moments I was experiencing. But I soon found myself journaling again, a hobby I quit years ago, and I always felt as if there were secrets between my past and future self.
Sometimes I’d find myself smiling in the middle of ringing someone up at ShopRite, remembering fondly something only I could know.
I didn’t party at all, and I barely got to see my friends beyond quick coffee runs or FaceTime chats. But I’ve never been so happy to be myself, so enchanted with life and its opportunities, and that’s what being a "hot girl" is all about.