I think that being a little bit of a disaster is a good thing.
Now when you make your mess someone else’s problem that’s a different story, but being or feeling all over the place is not inherently bad. It is pretty much inevitable that things, at some point(s) in your life, will hit the fan and come crashing down on top of you.
Mess can be good. Lean into it.
In my experience so far, college is an inconsistent little adventure that you’re constantly learning and relearning how to navigate. There have been times where I have felt secure and on top of my various responsibilities, and then a week, day, hour or even just five minutes later I am pulling my hair out over things like impending due dates, burnout, situationships or anxiety/anger/sadness with no one specific cause.
I have come to the groundbreaking realization that college is hard and can kind of suck sometimes. However, when I’m beating myself up for mistakes or feeling as though the sky is falling down and the world is ending, I remind myself that the idea of not being a bit of mess at least some of the time in early adulthood is laughable.
Starting college is a major life transition, and even if you are over the moon about moving out and starting somewhere new, stress is only natural.
I would say that I had a good freshman year, but at the same time, there are many moments in my memory that have an undercurrent of sadness or anxiety as a result of trying to teach myself how to adjust to a new stage in my life. It was jarring and my emotions were usually conflicting. Happy and sad at the same time.
Everyone loves a story about overcoming obstacles: tales about famous authors whose books were once repeatedly rejected by publishers, actors who were striking out for years before booking their breakout role, entrepreneurs who were rejected hundreds of times whose businesses are now worth billions. It is inspiring to see people persevere and succeed. Being in the midst of the obstacles feels nowhere near as inspiring though.
It can be impossible not to compare yourself to others, to feel inferior in comparison or feel like you’re a walking disaster and everyone else around you has it all figured out. Most of the time this isn’t true, nobody really has anything figured out, but even if it were I just to feel as such, it would be so boring.
It would be boring if we all had the same trajectory, some tale of quick success — almost as boring as everyone constantly pretending that they’re thriving when in reality we’re all just working with what we have and making it up as we go.
Inspiring yourself and others often means failing first.
Embracing mess has made loving myself feel more achievable. If I can learn to stand by and extend grace to myself even when I’m in shambles on the floor, then I’m doing something right.
Embracing mess has made me less of a mystery to myself because the only way to really move past mess is to go through it. Feel everything intensely and to its fullest extent because that is how you grow and make self-discoveries, and having the capacity to feel big emotions is a powerful thing. I don’t want to be stagnant, and if that means having to sift through mess and disaster to get from point A to point B then so be it.
I believe that human beings are messy by nature, so why try to run from it? Falling apart, collecting ourselves, and then falling apart and collecting ourselves again is a natural cycle that teaches us lessons if we make the choice to listen and learn from ourselves.
Be messy. Give yourself permission to be a category five hurricane and to be brave enough to rebuild yourself when the storm passes.