Now that Fall has arrived, folks like to cozy up with autumnal spices, sweaters, and other seasonal accoutrements to embrace the season. One of the most celebrated and embraced items of fall is the gourd, and besides all things pumpkin adding delicious spices and soft, creamy textures to our food and drinks, there’s some life philosophies that can be embraced from these enjoyable friends from nature.

Don’t let yourself be boxed into one category. Gourds are technically both fruits and vegetables. Gourds include many varieties of melon (recognized as fruits), squash and pumpkins (widely renowned as vegetables), and cucumbers (somewhere in the middle, depending who you ask). Also, gourds aren’t just food but multi-use tools and instruments that can be shaped and refined for a multitude of uses. As creatives and writers, don’t let one interpretation of a genre, style, or medium define the work you do, or the type of creator you are.

A thick skin often encases a soft (and unexpected) inside. People, like gourds, are often layered, and what we use to shield us from the hazards and inclement weather of life can often be protecting a vulnerable inner self. Don’t be afraid during harvest season to explore some of that inner depth in yourself, and support those explorations in others. And remember that all our insides are different, but ultimately we all contain valuable multitudes.

It’s ok to be decorative! Whether carved and lighted, painted, or simply put on display as-is, gourds don’t care if one side of their skin is bumpy, or they have a lopsided middle – and neither should we. All those curves and bends, bumps, color variations, robust middles, and long handles are desirable and should be celebrated.

Every part of you is valuable. Expanding on the above: people, like gourds are useful no matter their shape, size, color, variety, or insides. Even hollowed-out gourds with their seeds are used in making fun music. We’re not advocating that for people, obviously, but the point stands that we all can contribute meaningfully to the world, and ourselves. Cherish every part of yourself, even the parts you don’t like, because each part makes up a whole you that is unique, special, and important.

Embrace your season. Forget the haters who call you ‘basic’ for loving being a juicy, ripe watermelon basking in the summer sun, or for indulging in pumpkin-flavored everything as soon as the days start growing shorter. Whatever season makes you feel coziest, happiest, most productive, or most creative, embrace it – you can even embrace multiple seasons! No one gets to decide what brings you joy but you.

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