FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: It’s Not Over Yet! What’s On Your Summer Bucket List?

Hi there! Have we met before? Just in case, I’m Carmen.

This is a little awkward, you see it’s my first time hosting Friday Open Thread. I’ve been writing at Autostraddle for roughly a year now, but I haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with you one-on-one! Since we’re all family, can I be a little honest? I’m pretty bad at ice breakers and small talk.

But, here’s what I’m really good at: Daydreaming! I sit at my kitchen table, but in my mind’s eye I’m already road tripping along an open road and across a sunset. Am I at my desk trying to get through a midweek slump, or am I soaking up summer rays poolside in a cute bikini with a glass of rosé? You decide.

What’s my other favorite activity, you ask? OK. This is nerdy and embarrassing, but dammit I love making lists! I’m an anxious person. Lists help to quiet my mind and put me back in control. If I feel overwhelmed or panicked, I grab a post-it or blank piece of paper and get to work. There’s something oddly freeing about taking whatever is keeping me up at night and methodically writing them down one at a time. Once I can see them, I can conquer them! Absolutely nothing feels more satisfying than crossing off an item on a To-Do List. It feels like I can just soar through the clouds, you know? An addictive, fleeting moment of Type A perfection.

Living at the intersection of daydreaming and list-making is the thing I am here to talk with y’all about today: Bucket Lists!

This Time Last Year: Carmen’s Summer Bucket List 2k17

Summer is sun tickled skin, and all the ice cream you can eat. It’s weekend getaways with friends and drinking craft beer underneath the twinkling lights of your back porch. When the ground warms up and the days get longer, everything feels overflowing with new potential. August is its own kind of animal. Its energy is urgent. The sand is winding out of the hourglass. I look up and there’s three weeks left to Labor Day and suddenly all I can think about it is everything that I didn’t do. The picnic I never got around to planning. The hike I forgot to take. The farmers market blueberries that never stained my fingertips.

Well my friends, the summer’s sun may be waning and painting the sky pink, but we are not finished yet! Fuck the limits of time and space. Let’s band together, scrap up every last morsel of Summer 20GayTeen, and send it off with a BANG!!

What do YOU want to do with the time we have left? What can you write down on a post it today that will send you into September smiling? What are your wildest adventures not yet trekked? What’s your cute, cozy alone time #goals that you still haven’t set time aside for? Write it down. Write them all down. Jot them in your phone, on a piece of paper, the back of a receipt, whatever. Do It Right Now. And then hit up the comments and tell me all about it! I can’t freaking wait to cheer you on! Across the universe, we will travel!

I’ll get us started:

Carmen’s 2018 Summer Bucket List (So Far): 

1. Read Carmen Maria Machado’s “Her Body and Other Parties”

2. Drink As Much Hibiscus Iced Tea As Humanly Possible

3. Squeeze All The Life Left Out of My Bathing Suits ??☀️?

And hey, while we are here, what else has been going on for you this summer? Did you have a crush? Did you kiss your crush? Did you discover a new custom slurpie flavor? Paint your nails a cute color? Go fishing or some other cool outdoorsy activity that will make no sense to my city slicker brain?

It’s Summer 20GayTeen! Time to spill the (iced) tea.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 714 articles for us.


  1. Hey CP! This summer I still wanna go white water rafting, which is something that I wanted to do last summer but never got around to it… hopefully next weekend, as the season is ending September 1st

    • Oh damn! That sounds AMAZING! (and also like it would terrify me.)

      What’s the process for something like that? Would you go with a crew of friends? Or do you join up with a group of other rafters already in progress and rock it with your bad self?

      Either way, I hope you get to do it!

  2. Hot dang Carmen, coming right out of the gate into the land of Friday Open Threads with stone-cold witchcraft! You casually nailed a whole schwack of my summer highlights in a little casual list.

    Why yes I do have a crush! I’ve been aro for years (and fucking rocking it if I do say so myself) but then suddenly BAM and turns out this can also be wonderful. Plus it’s a whole new set of feelings to feel!

    And oh yeah we sure did smooch! And other things besides that I haven’t wanted to do since The Thing That Happened but suddenly they’re SO FUN and I get to bask in all the tooth-and-nail healing I’ve done these past years and also get to bask in other things that I won’t mention because I Am A Lady.

    Also yes we went fishing because we are living BC stereotypes (there was flannel plaid involved, now available for both your lesbian AND lumberjacking needs!). But even more excitingly was that we went swimming in a lake and I have gained weight for the first time in my life and not only does outside water no longer just make me so cold that my bones hurt, BUT I FLOAT! After years hanging out on the bottom of pools and deeply distrusting swimming instructors I can now just drift in sunny water on my back HOLY SMOKIES MY DUDES IT’S THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD I CAN’T BELIEVE OTHER PEOPLE HAVE JUST BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS THE WHOLE TIME WHY DO Y’ALL EVER DO ANYTHING ELSE??

    Anyways it has been a fucking tough summer in so many ways but also amazing and the world is full of magic and starshine!

    • Well this story just warmed my heart right up!!! I’m so happy for you that you got to enjoy a crush, and then actually spend time with that human in all these intimate ways! WHAT A WAY TO SPEND A SUMMER!!

      Plus, bonus points for all that healing. That’s freaking awesome. (I was gonna say f*cking awesome, but I wasn’t sure how you felt about cursing?)

      Anyway, I’m so excited and happy for you! I hope you get to take that good, loving energy with you all the way to fall!

    • You must have done that a while back because my fam was planning on going over there but the smoke. Again.

        • To BC. One of my siblings’ friends says they always go there but had to leave because her mom is asthmatic. We were happy that it seemed we could go outside because everything was fine but after deciding to go to BC, the plan went up in smoke. *punny*

          • Oh gotcha, yeah, it has been super rough in parts of the interior. I’m on the Island which wasn’t too bad until recently. The smoke has certainly arrived now though.

            I was just looking at the wildfires map and man, even I forget how big BC is sometimes… Turns out California is only half the size, though we have one tenth of the population xD

  3. Cam & Rhea … <\3

    On the one hand I know that they deserve privacy in this difficult time and ultimately it will hopefully be good for both of them, but … this is also the first time I’ve ever heard about a celebrity split and immediately gone to Autostraddle in the hopes there would be a post about it here to help assuage the outpouring of lesbian grief

    • I think we are all trying to respect their expressed wishes for privacy, you know?

      But damn, I am right there with you. This was hit to the heart, and it hurt.

    • Yeah, on the one hand, intellectually I believe that an end of a relationship doesn’t have to be a really sad thing or mean that it was a less meaningful and important partnership just because it ended, or the structure of it changed massively. On the other hand I was thinking “well at least my lesbian aunt and aunt are still together” and now I’m just gutted.

  4. One of my goals was to go off roading in a Land Rover in Yosemite, but seeing as the state is on fire and that is one of the places on fire(or close to) it may have to wait until fall to do so(where that part of California does get close to a proper fall usually). That state being on fire really has hampered things. Like there is a fire in Cleveland National park south of us that smoked up the sky and is ashing up cars. It may get worse as they Feds want to fuck it up more. I guess I will have to find another mountain range with views that isn’t on fire? Didn’t really have any other goals as I’ve been just beaching it for the past month an half on the free time. My other goal could be to meet more people in the community. So, far I have, but a lot of ghost fans if you catch my drift.

    My week has been solid. Had a cry in a bathroom at work, ate way too much pizza, and been sweating through clothings every day this week. Had a good Sunday as I spent half of it at Cuties Coffee with the friends/regulars there. Got to meet some new people too! Then after that went to the beach in, which an older couple kept staring at me. It was like she’s never seen a trans woman-ish person at the beach with a great shade of lipstick on; which, looked even better after half an hour in the ocean. Can I for once just be at the beach and not have an old couple stare at me? Thankfully, this week some guy didn’t ask me how the water was or thought I handled the water well(wtf does that mean?). I kind of which there was a strip of beach that was just for all lgbtq women & trans people. Maybe if I win the lottery I may just do a beach house for that sole purpose. Probably be at the beach again Sunday, maybe this week a couple won’t look at me creepily.

    Had a nice view while at the beach. I discovered when I was reviewing the image my camera sensor needs to be cleaned as there is a dust and spots in my shots. Ugh.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post Have a positive and cool weekend!

    • I really want that beach for us, too! I want entire lands of sand and play without straight people or straight people’s gaze getting in our way. Maybe A Camp should do a beach vacay one year? I’ve never been to A Camp either (shhh!), but I hear their pool parties rock. So, Who knows?

      I’m glad that otherwise your week went pretty well! What’s it like to go off-roading? I’ve never lived out west, so I’ve never had the opportunity.

      • Yes, A camp at the beach. There is a yearly beach event for lesbians in Huntington Beach, California, but a friend told me it skews a bit older and white. I have met some great straight trans people but do get your point.

        Well, I’ve only been once, but it was fairly fun. I got to drive up and down rocky-ish dirty roads, light mud, and sand all with views of the surrounding hills/mountains. The bros there in their dedicated offroad dune buggies were a bit annoying looking at me like I am some city queer. One could feel the toxic masculinity in the air.

    • Let’s just pick a beach and all descend on it. I will bring a little spray bottle of water and a rolled up newspaper to enforce non-shittiness on the straights.


      I’m about to go to a swimming pool and brave the unholy hell that is cis people in a changing room for the first time in years and BOY HOWDY am I ever not stoked for that.

      • I can imagine, why I try to avoid dressing rooms when I can. People tell me to just change as fast as possible and not make eye contact, which is what I always did before I came out.

        An acutance of mines was like “if straight people want a show at the beach, we(her and her GF) can give a show.” I replied, “but you two are a fairly hot couple.” She replied, “yeah, but HRT hasn’t stopped me from getting excited & that get’s cis-het men to leave.” lol

      • Yes exactly! Al, your pictures are always a treat, thanks for continuing to post them. I vote when A-Camp is at the beach, Al gets to be the official photographer.

        • Thank you, that made me blush and giggle a little. But, to be honest people and parties is not my forte. I would have to concede that to Molly.

          • Tbh I was thinking of you more as the “scout the scene ahead of time, take gorgeous nature photos that make us all go ‘oh yeahhhhh I have GOT to be there'” person. That way your exposure to people and parties is under your control. ;)

      • Thank you, now that you mention it does remind me a bit of those posters. Just need to clean my camera.

  5. Hmmm so I have a dilemma where I love to plan stuff, just like you! I love to daydream! But I also have a pretty uncooperative body soooo things tend to get canceled a lot. A trip to see friends’ this weekend and a trip to Vermont next weekend got eaten up by the arthritis monster BUT dang it if I won’t stop day dreamin’! So my list includes:
    1) enjoy a few more picnics (in the park or the nearby porch or wherever)
    2) go buy more farmer stand tomatoes before the season ends! Same goes for cherries! And sweet corn!
    3) dip my body in some water (beach, creek, the sprinkler at my moms’ house).
    4) have at least one more bbq!
    5) catch up on Lumberjanes (I’m so behind, friends).
    6) naked dance parties in the AC!
    7) more ice mocha coffees enjoyed under the weeping willow in the park
    8) plan a rad bday celebration for my family dog (she’s gonna be 13 and she deserves treats and hikes and hugs!)
    9) get really really ready for school (going back in the fall, pal! equally parts excited and terrified!)

    That’s it! I’m learning to keep it simple, because small things are easier to achieve. I do have a trip to Acadia National Park planned with my mama in twoish weeks and hopefully I feel okay to go. I want to soak in some views and eat lots of fish and blueberries.
    This weekend I’m going to a Welcome to Nightvale show and I’m so pumped!!!

    Happy Friday!

    • Well, damn! THAT IS A MIGHTY FINE LIST!!!!! I bow in honor of its glory.

      ( I think I’m going to have to “borrow” a few items off that list and add it to my own! Dancing naked in the A/C? Oh yessssssss )

      I hope you are able to accomplish as many things on your Bucket List as your body allows. You sound like you are on the right track! And also, yay for being kind to yourself and listening to your body, you know? Sometimes I can get so frustrated when my body won’t cooperate with my heart, but you’re right – it’s about enjoying the little things.

      • Naked A/C dancing is really the best. 10/10 recommend. And yea one perk (if we really wanna look for positives which ya gotta do!) of getting sick is really appreciating those small things!

    • I am so behind on Nightvale. Like, years. I think I need to add catching up on them to my own bucket list. Fish and blueberries also sound awesome. Hope your body lets you go.

  6. The only things on my summer bucket list:

    1. Finishing the portfolio for my qualifying examination in September.
    2. Loving my wife for coming home last night with an OutsideLands wristband, which means….



      excuse me! I have to go lay down for a while. I’m suddenly light headed and overwhelmed because of this news.

      Oh man, and good luck on your qualifying exam next month!

    • @gray-hairedgrad Have the best time at Outside Lands? I scouted the schedule because I thought they’d be streaming the festival again this year (Spoiler alert: they will not) and was reminded about why I love and hate music festivals…

      On the one hand, you get amazing artists like Janelle Monae and Janet Jackson on the same night but on the other, how do you choose between some of these dueling performers? The Internet and Janelle Monae on at the same time? SOPHIE’S CHOICE. How do you even choose?

  7. I want to organize a trip to Six Flags with my friends! I live in Chicago, and there’s one out in the burbs, and I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS.

    • A friend of mine organized a group trip to Six Flags (the one in New Jersey) a few years ago and we had THE BEST TIME!!! Highly recommend it!

      Though I was super achy the next day! Turned out that my body didn’t handle the rollercoasters as well as they did when I was a teenager, haha. Still, TOTALLY WORKTH IT!

      • That happened to me too! I was kind of shocked when I discovered that my body doesn’t really do roller coasters anymore.

  8. This summer was supposed to be working 9-5 every day while watching my 4 queer roommates work random times on random days for random periods of time, culminating in a big beach trip. But my girlfriend and I broke up so instead I spent this summer working 9-5 and moving and getting a cat.

    So my goal for this last stretch of summer is to do SOMETHing that involves laying in the sand, even if it’s on a man made beach!

    • I’m sorry to hear about the break up, but I am going to hold up a lot of hope that you see some sand this summer! Whatever form it may come in!

  9. I love your drawings for your bucket list!

    Mine is:

    1 – plant flowering annuals in the containers by our front door

    I usually do this mid-May / early June but this year I’ve been hampered by apathy, anxiety and extreme humidity. I’m sort of accepting that I may just not have flowers in the planters this year.

    2 – have a picnic in the park!

    I actually made picnic plans with friends and family this month – we’re picnicking before Shakespeare in the Park and I’m so hoping it won’t be 95 degrees and 90% humidity.

    3 – get a new job.

    I am applying and I’ve had a few interviews and I have a promising phone interview next week. But ugh.

    • Well, I am *DEFINITELY* keeping my fingers and toes crossed for your job prospects! It’s gonna happen!

      Ooooh, what’s the play this year for Shakespeare in the Park?

      • A Midsummer Night’s Dream

        I’m very excited – it’s like the perfect play for Shakespeare in the Park.

        Plus this is my favorite play because of a memory from high school English that’s stayed with me for decades. This kid in my class went on about how he didn’t get why Titania and Oberon were fighting over some boy. Our teacher, who was like 5′ tall, shoved her glasses into her bun, stared at all of us and said “it was as bi-sexual culture and they were fighting over an attractive young man!” And we all sat there in stunned silence. And young Cleo had NO IDEA why that resonated, but it did.

        • That is the absolute BEST play for a Shakespeare in the Park type situation! I saw an outdoor performance of Midsummer like a decade ago and it is still one of my happiest memories.

          Speaking of memories, your high school teacher sounds like my kind of person! We need more normalizing of queerness in high schools, if you ask me.

  10. I am going to eat ice cream on the seafront on my birthday, ideal with my bestie who I’ll be staying with, but that depends on her energy/health. Also other birthday related activities.

    I am going on a jewellery making course and before that checking out a small market in my city I have never been to before.

    • Ice cream on the seafront sounds amaaaaaaaaazing! Happy early Birthday! Wishing you all the best!

  11. I made enchiladas on Saturday! I hadn’t had that on my summer bucket list for very long, but after making a surprise visit to my grandparents and having some of my abuela’s WONDERFUL enchiladas, I was determined to try. I hadn’t made them by myself before, so it was an afternoon-long project, but now I have extras in the freezer for later. The sauce doesn’t taste quite like my abuela’s, but nobody’s does. It tastes pretty much like my mom’s, though.

    My bucket list for the rest of the summer includes writing the introduction to my dissertation (which I saved for last – I did the rest already!), recycling an old book into a paper flower to give to my crush, finding out when my crush gets back so I can pick real flowers for her, bicycling along the canal, going on a long hike, and bookbinding. Oh, and finding out if she likes me back (we went on a couple of maybe-dates in the spring…), though that depends on when she gets back. There are plenty of other things on my academic to-do list, but the introduction is the most exciting one, since then I’ll have drafts of everything!

    • I am soooookoo excited for you and your dissertation! You are this close! Exciting times! You got this!!

      Be sure to let us know when you finish so that we can celebrate you, yeah?

      Oh and abuela’s enchiladas? Yummmm

      • Thank you! I have a date for the FPO scheduled in November already, but I’ll probably post something after I finish the introduction and once I am ready to get it printed and bound (we have to hand in a hard copy).

        And I’ve been taking advantage of having made enchiladas by inviting a few different friends over to try them. So far, they’ve gotten good reviews.

    • Go baby go! Finishing a dissertation can be done and you can do it! Plan a nice treat for yourself when you get that first complete draft done…

      • Hmm, planning something for an uncertain date is a bit tricky. But I just bought a bottle of purple fountain pen earlier this summer; maybe I’ll wait to open it until I finish my introduction!

    • !!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (I’m making an inaudible face of surprise and excitement! Good for you, Violette! You go!)

    • We haven’t talked about it yet! But let me tell you, I have a lot of feelings about this photo!!

      Oh my goodness! Where do we even begin?

      1. That’s a mighty gaaaaaay outfit you have on, Mulan.
      2. Tiana with your hair down! FINALLY! And a frappuccino I see you girl!
      3. ELSA WITH A LET IT GO SHIRT! Is there such a thing as too on brand? I don’t know, but I love it.
      4. I am Anna, chilling in my flannel and stuffing my face full of snacks.

      • I definitely get a sense that Moana is checking out Elsa, and she’s trying to figure out how to approach the sophisticated older woman without feeling like a child.

        Ariel does not want to be there.

    • Does anyone get vibes that Mulan and Cinderella are checking each other out? Or just me?

      I mean, look at their facial expressions! Look at their line of sight!

      • You’re not wrong, @C-P. Plus, I’ve recently discovered that cuffed pants are bisexual culture (who knew!) so Mulan is sending all kinds of signals with that outfit.

        (Plus, she’s wearing Chucks?! SO GAY.)


      You wouldn’t believe how happy and excited I am for you! That’s SUCH BIG NEWS!!! AHHHHHHH!!!

      Like seriously, AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

      Second, on behalf of all of us on staff here at Autostraddle, thank you for joining A+ once again! Welcome home! We missed you.

      • Thank you so much, Carmen!
        Autostraddle helped me so much in this last year, I’m all about giving back to this amazing community!

    • Congratulations on your job and the beginnings of your career. That’s so exciting. Best of luck for your future and many thanks for your courage in taking it on.

  12. I’m about to finish my one big item, which is my book manuscript! Next week, another four or five pages, then I can ship it off to the publisher before classes start! Can you tell I’m excited? And I love your recipes, Carmen!

    • A whole fuckin’ book manuscript? Whoooooaaaaa!

      (Um how are you all such amazing humans? I am in awe of each of you)

      4-5 pages is nothing! You absolutely got this! Enjoy some rest this weekend. And then Go, Go, Go! We have your back!

  13. I took the train to Paris this week to apply for a passport in my legal name at the embassy, so that’s a major box I can tick. I still have to go back to pick it up, though.

    My other item is just to survive the current election cycle. The thing about an international identity is that one has the great displeasure of losing faith in humanity year after year with no end. 2016 it was the US, 2017 it was my home country, 2018 it’s my parents’ home/my nationality and right now checking Facebook sends me into desperate fits of shaking and crying. The “good” news I suppose it that I finally came out to my family (I haven’t been hiding so much as not actively disclosing because I’ve been actively told no one wants to know), because I needed to make it personal, to try to make my father see that “they voters have spoken” is a poor excuse for saying that we need to work with neo-nazis, and that refusing to review their politics or take into consideration the illegal racist and homophobic threats made by their representatives is a position of dangerous privilege. That was my whole day today. Finally stopped crying my eyes out, in time for the clock to turn midnight and now it’s officially my birthday.

    • The world out there is so tough and cold, I feel you. But you know what? We have each other. And that makes all the difference.

      Happy Birthday! I am so happy you’re here!

      • ? I have literally no one to talk to about this heartbreaking ugly-cry father stuff aside from my partner (who is super supportive, but ultimately doesn’t really understand what I’m going through), but when I felt the worst yesterday afternoon I logged onto Twitter and just read my LGBTQ+ list and queer women’s platonic love and support for each other made my heart whole again for a second. We do have each other, and that’s a beautiful thing.

        • The other thing is that you got most of that out in the open before your birthday.

          It’s all healing and softer times to come.

          PS. Parents have so little appreciation for the long term influence they have on our lives. Or if they do, there are so many of them who seem to be unable to acknowledge the profound impact that their acceptance would have on our lives.

          Happy Birthday and I wish you too a better year.

        • @faustine I salute your bravery and persistence. I hope they pay off in terms of change in your father’s attitude, but they are admirable and worthwhile even if they don’t.

  14. I’m looking forward to summer so I can wear my new cute shirts! In the meantime I’m still looking for a job (it’s been 2 months) but I feel more confident after attending a job-ready workshop. I also want to do some volunteering.

    • So many awesome people on the job market. I have such hopes and high spirits for all of y’all! It’s going to happen! Just watch!

      Definitely volunteering is a great way to spend time in the meanwhile, and it also boosts the spirit, you know?

  15. I really want to go to the opera in Verona and I wanted to do it this summer and today I actually started planning.
    Maybe hit up Siena which has also been a dream of mine and the lago maggiore and trail Hemingway during a Farewell to Arms.
    Europe is tiny, distances are short and a train ticket is like twenty bucks.
    I might manage to meet friends along the way in munich and Innsbruck and Zurich and I’m totally up to suggestions!
    I meant to stay home this summer and study but it’s just been too hot anyway.
    Also, today is my birthday and I decided I need to when in doubt go out there and see what happens.
    Actually I decided to do away with tinder and partner apps and seeking another human and live life instead today,too.
    Live to serve, live to be the best I can be and maybe find some chill about the things I cannot change.
    Also, every birthday is cause for a fist pump because I’ve made it another year!
    And if you who are reading this are struggling with depression as I am, as I will probably always be, I would like to congratulate you for having made it another day, week or month even, for me it’s been another year and whenever that’s coming up, I’d like to congratulate you on that,too,because no one probably ever does!
    So, let’s lace up those shoes, loosen up and assume fighting stance and have a go at it for another round!

    • Amidola, I just wanted to say that I see you and I’m so freaking proud of you. Fighting through depression and finding ways to celebrate your birthday is so hard — I’ve been there — and you are tackling those mountains like a champ!!


    • Congrats on making through another year :)
      For periods this summer it’s been a day by day thing. And I have/am getting through it. And so are you!
      Happy birthday :)

    • Well Done.

      Congratulations on another year surmounted. Go to the opera and Verona and meet your friends.

      Love what you do and just try letting life get on with itself.

      I know it’s hard, I’ve been doing it for what feels like eons. It does work though.

    • Happy birthday @amidola! If you wind up in Paris during your travels, le Jardin des Plantes is lovely. (Um, 23 years ago it was lovely…possibly look for up-to-date info!) A good place to sit and relax and enjoy some beauty. Always helps when my own depression-monster gets its claws out.

    • Happy belated birthday @amidola! I’m glad you’re here, that you’re fighting to find the everyday beauty, the everyday you that can be in the midst of it all.

      Your comments about living to serve and to be the best you can be really struck me bc I have been struggling with the question of how to be, to exist, in relation to myself and others…and something a friend told me was so helpful and seems so relevant, and I don’t think they will mind me sharing…”Maybe being the best that you can be can include letting yourself embrace exactly who you are”.

      I feel like we may both share those tendencies to be so hard on ourselves, and feel continuously responsible. So yes to that relaxing and easing up. To maybe finding out it’s the being that counts…right here, right now, just as we are in this moment.

  16. I want to jump in more lakes before the summer ends. I have not done nearly enough outdoor swimming and I want to do as much as I can before it’s too cold.
    I DID kiss my crush, how did you know? It was very nice, and we had a good talk about being physical and my kinda-sorta asexuality that i’m still figuring out and what is or isn’t ok, and I’ve never dated someone who wanted to talk about this stuff before jumping into sexy times and omg, it’s super nice?

    I’m also looking forward to switching from being full-time at my newspaper job to being on-call, so I can start school in the fall. I’m super nervous about money, but I’m also super excited to not be working here constantly all the time.

    This week I’m drinking a lot of tea, writing a lot, trying not to panic, taking deep breaths.

    • Drinking tea, writing, and managing your panics sounds like an excellent place to start!

      Congrats on school! And for finding a crush to kiss and have all those intimate conversation with. I hope you get to some more outdoor swimming, but it sounds like your summer has been pretty great so far!

    • That does sound super nice! My partner was the first person to ever ask if I actually wanted to have sex, and it was such a strange and disarming thing at the time to be asked, and to consider my answer in a fully dressed state with a safe physical distance, but it really shouldn’t be!

  17. i wanna ride at least one roller coaster, go to DC (nearby but not near ENOUGH, ya know?) & hit up every free museum (my fav is the national portrait gallery) / whatever kickass exhibit is currently in the atrium of the National Building Museum, and go swimming in a lake.

    this summer i zip tied a milk crate to a human baby stroller and attatched my parrot Reptar’s travel cage to it with carabiners so now i can take him for walks around town.

    i’m single and i don’t have a social life to speak of, but i got that goin’ for me. so

    • So this milk crate situation sounds awesome!!

      Have you been to the national portrait gallery since the Obama portraits were revealed? I really want to see them in person one day.

      • i do have pictures but i will never, ever get an account on another website just to incorrectly attempt to share them here. it’s fun! people ask a lot of questions. i like talking about birds

    • “this summer i zip tied a milk crate to a human baby stroller and attached my parrot Reptar’s travel cage to it with carabiners” omg @mic-k-ey you are so awesome

      I want to put in a plug for the National Museum of the American Indian, – don’t remember if they were free but they’re one of the national ones on the Mall so probably? Anyway I learned a lot and the cafe is to die for, it’s all foods made with ingredients native to the Americas, organized by region. Go at lunchtime and go hungry. (That part is not free. But I ate a huge amount of totally amazing food for a very reasonable price.)

      • @irrannme thanks for the tip! i grew up in the area but there are so many museums i haven’t been to!! still trying to find a good day for the African American History & Culture Museum – i want to go alone so i can really take my time with it, ya know??

        • You’re welcome, and yes, that seems like a place that shouldn’t be rushed through. Haven’t been in DC in years myself but I do want to see that museum someday.

  18. Spend more time with queer people and in queer spaces here in Vancouver. My 20gayteen goal!

    In my 30s, slowly coming as bi/queer, and have no connections with the local queer community.

    -Went to Pride last weekend with a straight friend. After the parade, spent time with an acquaintance and a few of his friends (all gay men). And it was great and so chill.
    (I was too shy to go to Pride weekend events alone, and there were a bunch that all looked really fun. So my 2019 goal is to have made friends to go with)

    -Bought a ticket to a film showing next week at the Queer Film Fest!

    -Joined Bumble BFF. I said in my profile was that I was looking for friends for specific things, including going to local drag (queen and king) shows. So far no takers.

    -Come out to more people :) one friend was surprised and excited!
    (A few years ago I told a straight female friend and she was surprised/shocked and speechless… like, so awkward that I changed subjects. And it’s never come up again)

    I joined A+ in the spring and upgraded this summer. You guys have been providing me with such a great resource for so many years now. <3 <3 <3
    And now I need to put myself out there and meet real life people!

    • Putting yourself out there can be really hard (and it’s something I often struggle with too, so you are definitely not alone!), but it sounds to me like you are on a EXCELLENT START!

      Pride? A queer film festival? Joining bumble? You are doing all the things! That’s awesome.

      I’ve always been told that if you do the activities you enjoy most, friendships will come organically. So that’s been true for me! Good luck to you!

    • See, I volunteer at the Pride stuff precisely because I don’t know anybody and cannot bring myself to just show up and be there. I need a reason and a purpose or else I just feel lost and wonder why I left the house. ?

  19. I love fall, but I do have a few more summer goals:

    -I just read my first Sarah Waters book, Affinity, and it was Victorian, and dark, and gay, and depressing. Which is basically everything I want in a novel. I want to read at least one more before the semester starts and I have no free time. But which one?

    -Swim, which I should get to do on our brief vacation.

    -Catch up on Star Trek Discovery before the semester starts.

    -Rewatch Man in the High Castle, before the new season this fall.

    -Get psyched for my tiny city’s first Pride this fall!

    • Star Trek Disco is a big fav among my friends! I hope you enjoy it as much as they did. Are you a trekkie? Which is your favorite series? (mine is Next Generation)

      Good luck with your next semester! I hope your summer kicks ass until then!

      • Oh ugh, that is like asking me to pick a favorite child! If someone said I was only allowed to watch one Star Trek ever, I would pick TNG, but having the over all best episodes, I would go with DS9.

        So, yes, I am a Trekkie. Very much so. I was a bit apprehensive about Discovery, but so far I am pleased. I am also giddy that Picard is going to be back in a new show, because we desperately need him in the world today.

  20. – i wanted to learn how to surf this summer — or at least take one or two lessons — but i spent so much time working that i’m not sure if i can work it in now before i go back to school. it’s also expensive as hell! i’m going to take a crack at it, though
    – i’m getting through all of the books i brought home. last summer i dragged a box of to-reads back to my parents’ house and didn’t end up getting through any of them because i wasted all of my free time on the internet. but so far i’ve read “the age of innocence,” “odd girls and twilight lovers,” “borderlands/la frontera,” and am halfway through “sappho was a right-on woman.” when i’m done with that i’m going to read “little women,” which i’ve shockingly never read. it feels nice not just having my brain rot all summer
    – now that my summer job has ended, my bucket list is mostly getting things in order for my other job, which starts in september. so many meetings and so much paperwork! but it’s kind of nice having things to keep me busy so i don’t just sit around the empty house all day making myself stir-crazy.
    – continuously checked off my bucket list is starting some light yoga and stretching and generally paying more attention to my body. my back has been bothering my because i sit at desks all day, sleep on my stomach, and don’t practice great posture. being more mindful of how i’m sitting and standing and the morning/evening yoga has helped a lot. i also sleep better.
    – “have more fun” is on my bucket list every summer (especially since i’m a leo and this should be my season!!) and so far this summer actually has been more fun! i think it’s because i finally turned 21 — a whole host of social events, especially gay ones, open up when you can go in bars. it’s pretty problematic that you’re locked out of a lot of things, like live music, karaoke, and trivia nights, if you’re under 21 or not comfortable/safe in a bar environment, but nevertheless i’m excited i can join in the fun.

    • Oh I’ve never had the opportunity to surf! I think even being that close to the water/waves, you are off to great start.

      I LOVE Love Loooooooove Borderlands/La Frontera! My copy is so dog-eared and marked up, there are sections where you can’t even read Gloria Anzaldua’s words anymore! Whoops!

      • i loved it! it was written in the 70s so it’s very much of its time but so much of it still rings true, and even the parts that do feel out of date are worth reading for the historical value

  21. I only ever have one summer goal, don’t get sunburned.
    Goal achieved so far with 60 SPF on my face and decolletage, 45 SPF quick dry spray on anywhere else at risk.
    Oh and on that note I got a very fetching B&W sunhat on clearance with an adjustable head strap and a supremely breathable t-shirt dress that gives me Electric Lady vibes while also functioning as officewear and andro-femme outfit (I think) No.5
    Need to count my outfits I guess? :P

    Y’all I found this bitchin song that to me fits Season 6 BtVS but IDK only for that, it’s just wicked

    It’s Tony Iommi featuring Skin who is black British singer and musician, major talented, and is kinda known for rocking the bald look.

    And if you don’t know who Tony Iommi is..well he lost parts of his fingers in an industrial accident at 17 but refused to give up and found a way to keep playing and eventually founded the sound heavy metal. The sort of prosthesis he developed for himself and how he adjusted playing is what made it, not a thing created in spite of but because of.
    Founding longest standing member of Black Sabbath

    • Always here for a good Electric Lady reference! I bet you look fetching in that outfit!

      • *shake accepted but wishes I could teach it to my blonde blued outdoor sports loving sibling who finds sunscreen too icky to use and is starting too look like a drunken sailor*

    • Thanks for sharing that song! I’ve loved Skin’s voice since hearing Skunk Anansie in the 90’s…and she’s damn gorgeous too.

    • There’s some controversy going on with lotion; a doctor originally from Cyprus said that when you look at places with high skin cancer rates, the people don’t often get Vitamin D whereas those of us from places with tropical climates tend to not get it. He says go out in the sun and go back inside when you start to turn pink because that is the sign that you got the amount of Vitamin D you need. The more you tan, the more sun you can tolerate.

      • Syntax of sentences some times confuse me so I’m 100% sure you’re trying to say, but I have my dad’s northern european coloring and walk in direct Louisiana sunshine for blocks to get to my work locations during the summer. My father and his siblings have dealt with skin cancer in varying forms, one of them died.

        Cancer is an aggressive failure of apoptosis(programmed cell death) sun burn and prolonged sun exposure damages skin cells. The stress of repairs ups the chance of the programming going wrong.

        Sun burn happens when exposure exceeds what melanin can defend against. Getting a tan is not an increase of body’s melanin but a sign of the damage wrought.
        There ways, vitamins & artificial melanin, to (marginally)increase one’s melanin, but tanning is not one of them.

        Light skin developed as way to try to absorb Vitamin D with a lack of strong sunlight year around, but has it’s faults. Lack of melanin in what precious little sun can easily backfire, it can take a shocking sun damage for the cellular programming to potentially go wrong. Also genetic propensity can be easily passed on as skin cancer usually doesn’t kill people before their reproductive years start.

        Evolutionary trade offs back fire all the time, shedable endometrial lining is far less likely to get infected a kill a female of the species. But endometriosis and adenomyosis? Where the lining ends up growing somewhere it’s not suppose to grow is ouch painful, decreases fertility and increases risk of very nasty cancers and I said painful already but I have to say it again.

        Our giant brains? Big hips that damage the structural integrity of AFAB knees and a truly helpless offspring for years instead of a couple months or years.

        But our great strength as species that’s got us to this proliferation is our big brains. That ability to think, learn, work together for a common goal and take care of each other when the going gets rough.

        Any time science brain activates lately I get “our strength is each other” speechy-preachy…

  22. My 2018 summer bucket list has included:
    – finally sign up on Autostraddle after like, a million years of not doing that for some reason (HI Y’ALL!)
    – go camping (doing that next week, SUPER EXCITED)
    – unpack moving boxes that have sat around for two years and get my room/office more organized (still working on this and probably won’t get it done by the time fall semester starts up, but progress was made!)

    I didn’t put too many things on my list since I mostly wanted to relax after a stressful spring semester; keeping it short made for achievable goals, and left plenty of room to just take naps and watch kitten livestreams and generally exist. I go back to classes week-after-next so that’s the end of my summer as far as vacation/free time goes, but being in The South means the summer heat will stick around until probably October! I will still have justification to eat ice cream and wear sleeveless tops and “accidentally” get spritzed by the neighbors’ sprinklers when I walk the dog. :D

    • HIIIII!!!!! Welcome to Autostraddle! We are so glad that you signed up!!

      Try doing the boxes one at a time? Or even a half box at a time? For me it always helps to play Netflix in the background. Just a friendly suggestion! Enjoy camping!

  23. Late to the party, but it’s only saturday morning here…

    Carmen, your little drawings in the list are really cute!

    I didn’t make a list for this summer, but the main points would have been spending as much time as possible with two of my closest friends who are moving away for the new semester and getting an internship/job/something. Going strong on the first one, not so much on the second, but I did do a workshop and have a couple of options – I just need to find the courage to actually pick up a phone and ask where I might be able to send my application (I have major anxiety when it comes to calling people, I bike 20 min to the dentist to make an appointment).

    Not really on my bucket list, but since my flatmate packed and organised all her stuff and everything smells like change anyway, I got really motivated to redecorate/organise/declutter my room. And it’s great! A friend and I build a bed! We were so proud of ourselves! (The people in the shop where we bought the wood and screws [Building-supply store?] though, … have they never seen two young women discussing which type of wood is the best compromise between weight, price and stability? And having fun doing that? )

    Another thing that happened this summer is that I figured out I might be on the (autism) spectrum? That was a bit of a ride. My therapist was suggesting bpd and I see where she’s coming from but also, it just didn’t feel right. And then I did some research and found some women with Asperger’s who had been misdiagnosed as bpd and that made so much more sense… and after some explanation my therapist agreed, so now we go from there. What I noticed though is that, even thought this is not official at all (yet?), having that explanation for some experiences or also lack thereof makes it so much easier to be gentle with myself. Almost like I can permit myself to listen to how I feel in certain situations and act accordingly, as long as it “makes sense”. (Yes, no one else thinks the music is too loud, you do find it kind of unbearable, there really is no need to force yourself to stay and then break down at home).
    And as nice as this is, I really wonder why that makes such a big difference. It’s not like my experiences change if I have a word for it. It should be okay to say “your flatmate changes and that’s hard and it’s okay to be sad and anxious about it” without needing an “change is hard for people with autism, socialisation is exhausting, it’s logical that having someone new in the space that feels like you can just be yourself is going to be difficult” to keep me from getting angry at having said feelings? Does this make any sense at all?

    Some things on my bucket list for autumn:
    – make pumpkin pie
    – go to denmark
    – find a group to regularly meditate with
    – read at least three books
    – try a new sport

    Ok, that was a very random comment. I hope everybody has a nice sunny day – apart from those people craving rain and wind and some cooler weather, I hope you get that as well!

    • Hey, fellow asperger here! I also was misdiagnosed for bpd first and had quite the same feelings you seem to have now.
      I’m still navigating the end of the autistic spectum world, but to give it a name and to start to understand my boundaries were really crucial for my wellbeing. I graduated med school recently and I don’t think I would be able to finish it if I didn’t understand myself first. Giving a name to the feeling won’t change the experience, but calling it the right way might help you find ways to navigate it better.
      If you want to talk about it some more I’m available. :)
      Have a nice weekend!

      • Thanks a lot for the offer – I might actually come back to that. But even if I won’t, it’s always very helpful to hear that other people share experiences/feelings/states of mind, especially those that make us feel so “different” and misunderstood :-)
        And congrats for graduating med school!

    • I was reading a woodworking magazine today and if I remember correctly, they refer to stores that are not lumberyards as home centers or home hardware centers. Also, I’m surprised there are so many magazines about woodworking; it’s fascinating!! There are a lot of plans for building stuff and advice on what to look for so that’s a resource you can look into if you’re interested in this sort of thing.

      As for your feelings, I don’t see why people would associate that as an autism specific thing. A lot of people dread who they wind up with because my understanding is that no one has a choice so it’s the proverbial box of chocolates. When you read about all the stuff that happens to people who were placed with someone who should be in jail, it just makes it harder.

  24. I helped paint the longest mural in the country I’m currently living in and was looking forward to being in the sun because apparently, facial features and fun sized height is not enough for people to realize I’m not Caucasian. Since I tan fantastically, I thought I wouldn’t have to hear nasty comments about plastic surgery I did not have (that is literally my genes) but there’s a heat wave and smoke from the province next to us is so I can’t look not pale until later, maybe.

    In a couple of weeks, I will be volunteering at the last two days of Pride week. In the meantime, I’m trying to get better at drawing, finishing a book that never ends that I borrowed from the library, be consistent with language learning and continuing job hunting which I absolutely hate but it’s not appropriate to pursue relationships when you do not have an income. I have no problem doing things that are free but not everyone is like this and love does not pay the bills.

  25. I just got back from my annual beach trip with my friends. On the ferry, on the way back from Cape Lookout, I spotted two baby gays. I gave them the “me too” nod and we had one of those nonverbal conversations. They were both working for the park service and I had momentary dreams of being young again. I turn 50 on Tuesday. Then I realized I would not do this crap again for anything. Also, not so fun realization, I’m kind of crushing on one of my friends.

    Tomorrow I’m kayaking down a river in Virginia with my best friend. Wednesday is the dentist and then Stone Mountain National Park. (NC, not GA) It’s an intense hike that I want to take my dog on. Tuesday is dinner and birthday cake with my twin sister. So, I’m hoping this will be a better week than last week.

    • Happy 50th. Have a good time on your Birthday and for the rest of the year ahead. I hope all that bothers you now, soon evaporates in the best of years.

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