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It’s okay to be a hot MS

By Brittany Quiroz
There’s a need or desire to appear “put together,” or give people this illusion of false reality that our life is far superior than the average joes. Of course this facade of smoke and mirrors differentiates between masculine and feminine roles. As women we pluck, we wax, we bleach, we dye, we plump, we fill, we gain weight, we lose weight. We wouldn’t dare be seen in a grocery store in our PJs or without doing our hair first. There is a physical expectation that must be met before we are accepted into the outside world. We strive to never be on that infamous “Walmart’s Worst” list. To never let the world see the moment of just getting out of bed and making our first coffee of the day before we stick a toothbrush into our mouths. Come on, you know you’ve done this. Who needs toothpaste when you can cover up the layers of film coating your teeth with some at home French Roast Brew from Starbucks? You’re laughing because it’s true. 

We have been programmed to apologize. “I’m sorry I didn’t sleep well last night. That is why I look terrible.” “My kids are sick and haven’t washed my hair in six days – sorry for the haggard appearance.” 

I’ve heard strong women say these things and it drives me insane. Why are we apologizing for being human? Why are we apologizing for functioning as human adults to the best of our ability? For me it changed when I started to care less. Now, I’m not talking about not caring less as in not taking care of myself. But in a sense that if life gets insane and chaotic, I don’t feel one ounce of remorse if my hair moves in one solid mass because I haven’t had time to wash it in a week. True statement. No joke. I have enough hair to probably construct two to three wigs. So, when the washing at home process takes me about 45 minutes to wash it twice and then about an hour and a half to fully dry it and style it. So, what do I do? I space bun it. 

We embrace ourselves on such an exponentially profound level when we are at our best. Why do we not credit ourselves on this same plane when we are at our worst? Picture this. It’s Saturday night and we have a hot date with our spouse or love interest. We have zero going on and know we have hours to get ready if necessary. We shower, shave, pluck, wax, wash, dry, style. We do the makeup with, wait for it, false eyelashes, which take about five minutes per eye if you want to nail them perfectly. We take our time and when we are done we feel gorgeous and fabulous but also exhausted. We look at the clock and just spent almost 3 hours getting ready for a date that will probably be around the same in length. Or if you are like my husband and me, we are done and exhausted after one hour and want to go home, snuggle on the sofa and watch “Parks and Recreation.”

Since we’ve been talking about the physical aspect of “having it all together” lets cover some other tunes to chime in on. Status. Financial Wealth. Being on the PTA at school. Volunteering at every single church service. Hosting that men's poker night every Friday night. Assisting with our kids’ school projects. When I say assisting, I basically mean “doing” the project for them because we will have the best project in the class. Making sure we have the newest version of iPhone because our social circle is basically looking like Apple Store ambassadors. 

There is a constant need to be the best. To get the best. To perform the best. To act the best. It is as if there are two levels of social acceptance. To be the best. Or to suck royally. There are no shades of grey. If we miss a parent teacher conference, we are the Mom that doesn’t care about her child's progress and education. If we skip a church bible study, that must mean we are falling away from our relationship with God. We set such high standards for ourselves that when we cannot meet those expectations we start to fall apart and saying “I’m sorry” happens almost as much as we blink. We feel that we are not giving the world our best. But what if when we are not at our best, that that is a moment that we can be the most genuine? 

What if by sharing those moments of “hey I haven’t washed my hair in six days” we are able to have others relate to us more? One of my best friends and I have developed a relationship that is so strong yet requires so little work. We both work. We are both moms. We are both passionate about change and really trying to take life into a whole new direction. She goes to school, plus works, plus takes care of two boys under the age of five. She cooks. She cleans. She is Superwoman. There are times we laugh because neither of us have shaved our legs in days and not wearing pants would be considered a societal disgrace. No skirts this week folks. We embrace the trainwreck parts of our lives just as much as we embrace the fabulous and put together. 

This is not a skill that is easily achievable. Some of you may not like my take on this but if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t sugar coat anything. Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. The only way to start to get comfortable with embracing your disasters is to, wait for it, be vulnerable. Vulnerability is uncomfortable at first. Once you are open to the concept you feel a sense of freedom. A sense of “I don’t care what people think anymore.” And there is such a beauty to this. 

For me this happened pretty early on in life because I was never one to follow the crowd or fit into the mold. The more I embraced who I was inside and what made me special and different the more I was bullied and forced to eat unwrapped Hershey kisses off of the school bus floor. True story. I still remember. Twins. Girl twins Darcey and Brianne in Marshfield Massachusetts. If you’re reading this, which you probably aren’t but anyways, thank you. Thank you, because you forcing me with your hands around my back and neck to eat that Hershey kiss made me stronger. It made me care less what people think of me. It made me part of who I am today. Plus who doesn’t love chocolate right? 

For a while I will admit I did care. I tried to fit in. Change my clothes. Follow trends but I was basically ripping myself off. I was selling something that I didn’t believe in. I was putting on a show I didn’t want to endorse. That was when I stopped putting on a front to be someone I’m not. 

It’s ok to be a hot mess. It’s ok to be a wreck. It’s ok to ugly cry. It’s ok and acceptable to accidentally miss your kid’s parent teacher conference because work was crazy that week. Its ok if you can’t afford the same truck as your neighbor and you are still driving around a hunk of crap. Love your hunk of crap. Guys! How many memories did you make in that hunk of crap? How many hours of work and labor did you put into that junk of crap? How many times did you take your kids to get ice cream cones on a hot summer day in that hunk of crap? Embrace your crap just like you embrace your victories. 

We have to stop setting such high expectations for ourselves. Now I’m not saying that you should walk around with a chip on your shoulder either saying “I’m going to do whatever I want in life regardless of what anyone thinks”. 

It doesn’t mean being an egotistical narcissistic wacko on a pilgrimage to independence and acceptance. It means having enough confidence and security of who we are as human beings to take the good and love it and take the ugly and love it just as much. Love your disasters just as much as your victories. Your disasters are always there to teach you something. So, embrace that learning opportunity. Be kind to yourself. Be unapologetic unless you have a reasonable cause to apologize, like accidentally running over your neighbor’s cat's tail because she likes to hide under your car when it’s hot. But don’t apologize because you didn’t have enough time to make those cookies for the bake sale or because you forgot to take your son to the barber with you. He can look like a surfer for a few weeks and that is fine. 

We are all doing the best that we can. We really are. It’s ok to be a hot mess. We make it work. I have a very profound quote by one of my favorite philosophers, August Wilson. The tattoo is on my left leg, which ironically has become my “junk leg” because of multiple sclerosis. “Embrace the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” 

This is something we need to practice daily. Love the ugly. Love the messy. Love the chaotic. Love the frantic. Love the wacky. Love the disaster. Love the mess. And know in your soul and core that It’s ok to be a hot mess.