Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! [Kylie Bellard]

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Summer may be over, but the Summer of Authenticity will live on forever. Which is why I asked Kylie Bellard too contribute this bonus post. Her down-to-earth writing style is also her style of living, which is full of self-expression, self-love, and empowerment for everyone to do the same. You’re in for a real treat … and some permission to love whatever it is that you love:


“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.”

– You’ve Got Mail

You know how most people just blossom when summer comes around? Like jubilant blooms bursting skyward, they’re reborn each year when the weather warms. Here in New York City, I’m suddenly struck by how many people there are. Where the heck were they all winter? I suppose they were holed up indoors, away from the cold.

My friends break out their bicycles, eager to resume their harrowing rides to work now that the ground has thawed. Others kick off their shoes and picnic on Central Park’s lawns and meadows. All of a sudden, there are babies and dogs everywhere, running and tumbling and playing.

I, on the other hand, draw inward. It seems I’m genetically averse to hot weather (as far as I know, this isn’t actually true, but it might as well be). Summer is hard for me. Like, really, really hard.

If you’re wondering why this is, I don’t know. I have my guesses, of course, but I can’t be sure. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Seattle, where barely anyone has air conditioning because it almost never gets hot enough to use it. Maybe it’s because childhood summers stung with loneliness, and I’ve never been able to shake the memory of that. Maybe it really is genetic (though I sort of doubt that).

For quite a few years, I refused to accept my summer aversion. I was certain something was terribly wrong with me since I didn’t like it. After all, the rest of the world is so beamingly happy when the sun comes out.

I tried to punish myself into liking summer. 

If I didn’t like the heat, I’d spend so much time without air conditioning that perhaps I’d learn to like it. This didn’t work. It just made me angry, depressed, and full to the brim with despair.

I tried to force a positive attitude. 

Maybe I’d simply been seeing summer through my grumpy lens, and I just needed to change it out for a cheery one. (No luck with this approach, either.)

Several summers into trying these tactics unsuccessfully, I started to come around to an approach that felt less awful. With the help of my therapist, and my meditation teacher, and my wife, and my friends (yes, I discussed this at length with all of them), I started to realize this:

Summer is not my thing. Summer does not need to be my thing. I am 100% allowed to have a hard time with a season that (so it seems) everyone else adores.

This transition to a tentative acceptance of my summer aversion wasn’t a linear one. It wasn’t neat. There was plenty of angst in it. And I’ll tell you honestly that I still dread the heat and humidity that begin in May.

It’s just that I no longer hate myself for feeling that dread. And that makes it easier to bear.

In reality, I’m a person who loves cold weather, and cloudy days, and raindrops. I love tea, and reading, and roasting winter vegetables. I love learning, and even though I’ve been out of school for years and years, I get giddy imagining the scores of students gathering their school supplies and filtering into classrooms, ready to expand their world through knowledge.

I’m a person who happens to be reborn in the fall. I’m more like a cheerful bouquet of newly sharpened pencils than a springtime crocus.

And I love myself anyway.

You know what? Scratch that.

I love myself because of it. 


Kylie Bellard, featured in the Summer of Authenticity blog series from Authentic RealitiesKylie Bellard is an uber-compassionate empowerment coach and photographer. Through coaching, she teaches people how to love themselves and care for themselves so they can make the difference they’re meant to make in the world. Through portrait photography sessions, she creates a comfy, fun atmosphere that lets people relax into themselves — and results in photos that capture their souls. She believes that you’re worthy of your own adoration, and that you don’t have to do a darn thing to earn it.

Part of the Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! series, now available as a free eBook!



Lou Knight October.7.2013 at 10.03 am

I love Autumn! This resonated so much with me. I also have a vase I put newly sharpened pencils in to celebrate the season hehehe xx

Lou Knight October.7.2013 at 10.05 am

This resonated with me so much, I love Autumn. I also put sharp pencils in a vase to celebrate the season! xx

Kylie Bellard October.8.2013 at 11.48 am

How MARvelous! I just love it. This is inspiring me to duck outside to see if there are any leaves to crunch!

Dian Reid, CPCC October.7.2013 at 12.11 pm

There is so much richness in this post, Kylie. The realization that just because some people enjoy something (a season, let’s say), doesn’t mean that you have to conform to their idea of what [that season] is to them. It can be what it means to you, and it doesn’t take away from any part of either you or them.

I especially love the closing:

“And I love myself anyway.

You know what? Scratch that.

I love myself because of it.”

Exactly. Such a beautiful reminder to love ourselves BECAUSE of who we are and what we love to do and be. Thank you for this perfect contribution to the series, my dear. xoxo

Kylie Bellard October.8.2013 at 11.47 am

Precisely. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a treat to get to share my authentic story here.

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