Lindsay Thompson-Miami Laundry Posing Vintage Pensive

How to Be a Hot Mess

I sleep through all my alarms and wake up at 7:56 a.m. I have an 8:30 a.m. class and I told my professor I’d be there early to take a quiz. Skipping breakfast and tea, I throw on clothes, glance in the mirror and barely make it to class in time to take the quiz before dashing to my next class. At this point, the lack of caffeine hits me. To stay awake I focus on keeping my eye open, which means I’m looking at people with a weird, shocked facial expression. Nice. I haven’t brushed my hair so it’s in what I like to think is a very French, messy style but is really just messy. I actually did take off my mascara last night which is probably good since I’d just been coating on more each morning and something tells me that’s not the best idea. There is a mountain of dirty dishes back in my dorm and they’ve been there for a while. I went to a plant sale and bought two succulents and now I really don’t know if I was ready for the responsibility of plant parenthood. I haven’t opened my Wells Fargo banking app in weeks because if I don’t open the app the reality of my horrible spending habits is just conjecture.

In short, I’m a hot mess.

And I don’t think I’m the only one. Young adulthood is a crazy, hard, exhilarating, confusing, amazing time. There are grownup problems like jobs, relationships, family, debt, safety, careers and school. The community is that strange summer camp feel of being thrown together with strangers and instantly bonding. The loneliness can be intense and unexpected. Everything happens artificially quickly. You room with two strangers and within a few months they are the kind of friends you can’t imagine living without. You meet a guy and find out he has a “Bartlett for America” t-shirt and you kind of can’t believe how cool that is.

I think Taylor Swift has it right. It’s “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.”

And you know what? I think Taylor Swift’s reaction to it is right too. There is nothing to do but embrace the insanity.

When the toilet on the second floor bathroom of your dorm is overflowing and dripping down the stairs and under doors into people’s rooms, the only thing you can do is laugh and fall in toilet water as you make a towel barricade. The only thing you can do is be sad with friends when their stuff gets soaked with toilet water. The only thing you can do is be there with people and cry and laugh at the appropriate times. The only thing you can do is eat fondue and watch "The Bachelor."

I know tomorrow morning Murphy’s Law will kick in to do everything it can to make me late for the bus I’m taking home. I doubt that I’ll do both my dirty laundry and my dirty dishes today. I know I’ll spend too much time on my phone arguing about how stupid sig figs are with my STEM-major friends and not do my homework this weekend. Going home will be fun and complicated and I’ll find a reason to overthink. In short, life will be messy, and I’ll be a hot mess.

I think the line in the sand for being a hot mess is not being a jerk to those around you. Get in a fight with a friend but make it up to her. Make mistakes but don’t hurt others just because you’re hurting or you’re ignorant or you’re not thinking about their feelings. Don’t make other people’s lives harder. But then don’t fight your hot-messiness too much.

There’s no reason you have to do your dirty laundry today. It’s not hurting anybody. Who said you have to use a planner? Write your assignments on the back of a take-out menu if that works. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat pizza for dinner three nights this week. Pizza sauce is essentially tomato, a fruit. You’ll learn to manage your money and eat salads one day. You really don’t have to figure it all out right now.

It’s okay to be a hot mess.

But maybe do use makeup removal wipes because I think that may actually be worth it.