Posted on April 21, 2016

Since When is Being a Hot Mess “Cool”?


There’s an excellent chance that if you’re reading this, you are a millennial. This publication is centered around college students and 20-somethings, for whom we create age-appropriate content. We post about campus life, sex and dating, millennial politics, fashion trends…pretty much anything the younger crowd is into right now. There’s an excellent chance that if you’re reading this, you love pizza, you’re drowning in student loans and making it to class on time isn’t your priority. (Unless you’re my dad, reading this to support your offspring on your day off from your dope job. In which case, Dad, sorry I don’t have my sh*t together.) We get that. That’s why we’re here, to relate to you.

Last night, I was that same person. I had ramen and coffee for dinner and alternated between power naps and watching Grey’s Anatomy before I finally cranked out the saddest excuse of an essay I’ve ever drafted. I felt pretty good about it. It was good enough to get at least a B, and that’s all I cared about–getting by by the skin of my teeth.

In one of my many breaks between assignments, I took this Buzzfeed quiz to find out “What % Adult Are You?” and didn’t think much of it. As an almost-21-year-old, rising college senior, I feel pretty good about my success as an adult thus far. I rely on my parents for a lot of things, sure. But I make excellent grades. I hold a part-time job. I’m involved with three different extracurriculars. I don’t do hard drugs. I never drink and drive. What bills I do have, I pay on time. I do my part, I do it well and I’m preparing myself for what’s coming after graduation. I’m doing everything right. Then I got my score.

37 percent. Thirty. Seven. Percent. In retrospect, this quiz is downright silly (as are all Buzzfeed quizzes) and was probably not meant to gauge the skill of college students. Some of the options I physically couldn’t select because I do not have the capability to choose them. I can’t pay a mortgage. I can’t order, much less pay, for a fancy cocktail at a bar. I’m not attending my best friend’s wedding. Some of the scenarios I haven’t even experienced in life yet. The quiz was a fluke, but a fun one. I laughed at myself and thought, “It’s okay, everyone is a hot mess at this age, so what did I expect?” And then I had an epiphany.

I was sad. And not boohoo, cry-on-Ryan-Gosling’s-shoulder sad. Pathetic sad. I was sitting at my desk with my sad dinner and my sad essay and my sad, disgustingly long list of homework assignments. And all I could think to say to myself to justify my hot mess of a life was that everyone else is a hot mess too, so it must be okay for me. But why is that a thing? Why is that cool? Why is that a scapegoat excuse to let everything hit the fan? And why is that a normal standard?

Listen, I’m all about self-discovery. I’m all about the journey to ~Nirvana~ or whatever, if that’s what you’re into. I can’t deny that the college years truly test you. Everyone has trouble juggling their responsibilities. It’s difficult to find a day to do laundry or squeeze in a workout with a busy schedule. But what I want to know is why we’re all so blatantly okay with normalizing laziness and reinforcing the idea that it’s okay not to try?

I’m a culprit, too. If I had a dollar for every time I texted one of my friends and said, “I feel you, homegirl. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life either!” I’d have enough money to pay off all the student debt of the entire UNT community. And there’s something wrong with that mindset. Not because I’m a typical student going through the motions and experiencing normal trials and tribulations. But because I, and my peers, have become complacent with that fact and somehow turned it into a trend. It’s cool to post on Twitter about not getting sleep. It’s the norm to post a snap to your story at 4 o’clock in the morning, alerting everyone you’re still awake. I can attest to this. At least 85 people view my snaps on a regular basis. I bank on those kinds of tweets for the RTs and the faves and the follower growth. Being a hot mess has made me cooler. It’s pathetic. And I’m over it.

My personal goal is to try harder. To keep my hot mess to myself. To do the best I can and refrain from advertising to the world that I’m falling apart. To actually try and be more responsible and more conscious of my efforts. Because it’s not a cute look anymore. Laziness is not an attractive quality, in any way. It’s time to stop complaining. To stop attributing my lack of self-discipline to “millennial culture”. To get over myself and be an actual adult. And I challenge you to do the same. I’m not expecting perfection from myself. No one can achieve that. But I’m tired of flaunting my imperfection as a “cool girl” persona to justify doing anything but my best. Because advertising your hot mess, selling yourself short for the sake of looking cool, is only hurting you.

Image via Netflix

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