Being Real, Or, Why I’m Proud To Be A Hot Mess

Toronto’s been in the throes of our ‘in-between extreme weather’ season (i.e. Fall) for the past couple of weeks. It hasn’t been quite hot enough to rock a simultaneous combination of bare arms, legs and sandals but it’s also not cold enough to have to worry about a heavy coat or sweater. And along with Fall (every year) comes my impassioned cry (every morning) that I have absolutely nothing to wear. So I decided to make a trek for a couple of tops to tide me over until the deep freeze of winter sets in. And yesterday, I rocked a cute new number. You know that feeling when you buy something and you just feel really fucking great in it? Like, the colour, the fit, and the style just suit you? That’s how I felt.

I strutted into the office, feeling like I had a handle on the transitioning season via my new stylin’ wardrobe addition, and made my way to the kitchen for my morning tea. After I brewed my cozy mug of Earl Grey, I thought I would check to be sure that my hair was still right (and all that jazz) and cracked up at myself as I looked in the washroom mirror. All across the bottom of my fresh and fly new top was a bunch of water stains. “So much for looking classy gurl”, I thought to myself as I giggled my way back to my desk. By the time I chowed down my lunch, my new shirt was stylin’ an oil stain, an unidentified smudge and a random food-crumb-thingie crusting up near the side seam and all I could wonder was whether or not that top could ever see the light of day again.

Now, I could choose to resign myself to wearing a bib for the rest of my life to ensure that I never have an ‘incident’ again. I could choose to not ‘have nice things’ to save myself from the inevitability that I know I live with. Or I could accept the fact that I’m messy.

And messy is beautiful. Messy is real. Messy is authentic, raw, uncomfortable, enlightening and inspiring all at the same time. After all, our lives are inherently messy, aren’t they?

I believe we’re souls first and physical bodies second. The very reason we’re here is to experience life and all its chaos and confusion through misdirection and experimentation. We’re here to feel shit – good and bad. And it’s our job to reposition the messiness in our heads from our own unique perspectives.

If I were someone looking into my life at the things I’ve been through and the choices I’ve made, I could understand if that person thought that maybe I’d made some mistakes. Y’know. Like, I probably shouldn’t have married a man in my mid-20’s despite my gut’s visceral protestation against it. And that maybe quitting that “stable, well-paying job” wasn’t the smartest decision considering I had nothing lined up next.

And if I’m being perfectly honest, I’ll admit that I often freeze rather than make big choices from the fear of ‘making the wrong decision’ in life.

I’m messy. I make questionable choices. I sometimes love too much and too hard. I’m full of contradictions. I see the good in people way before I see the bad and have been known to trust too soon. I solidly make up my mind one day and staunchly change my opinion the next. But I’m also a proud, hot mess. 

Life is made of all our actions, decisions and choices – the things we do and don’t do. Our life is composed of small moments, not just big identifiable milestones. We should stand by those moments, even if we lean towards labelling them ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ or ‘misinformed’.

How many times have we set a goal, thinking that when we achieve said goal, we’ll be happy, fulfilled, successful, x, y and z. And how many times do we reach that objective and then think, “now what”, “what’s next”, “get more”. When we’re so fixated on the big goals, we dismiss the messy journeys along the way and assume they’re merely hiccups or divergences.

I’d argue that we don’t want to be tidy and squeaky clean all the time because all those knocks, all those detours, all those lessons – that’s LIFE.
Life is meant to be messy.
So be messy and take comfort in knowing that no one’s perfect and that nobody’s got it all figured out just yet.


  • Corinne K.
    October 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Hahaha! I hear ya. I’m definitely one for one-time-use clothing. I’ll wear my stains with pride along with you! <3

  • Stacy Thomas
    October 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Love this! I actually did laugh out loud as it’s a rare day when I can actually hang up my shirt at the end vs.throw it in the dirty clothes hamper. After reading your post, I will forever wear my stains with pride as evidence of having been busy living vs being careful. Thanks for this.
    – Dr. Stacy

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