Giving Up

I promised myself that when I started this blog it would be consistent.

I knew that sometimes life got in the way, and I wouldn’t always be able to post when I was scheduled to. I also promised myself that I would never explicitly state when my posts would be going up because in the past that has backfired on me. The last promise I made to myself was that I would try really hard to never skip a full week.

But that’s exactly what I did and I feel shitty about it.

Not because I assume my followers were absolutely devastated when I didn’t post last week. Not even because I knew it meant my viewings would go down.

Honestly, I’m upset because I feel like I always start things; I always have great ideas; I always have new goals that, realistically, are a little out of reach but I jump for them anyways. Until I don’t. Until I stop. Until things get a little too hard; until I get a little too discouraged; or until things start to get a little too real. Then I give up.

I know I’m being hard on myself.

That doesn’t always happen, and when it does, there usually is a very real reason behind it. I stopped my last blog because I wasn’t passionate about it. It was too easy to just post random things there whenever. There was no theme. There was no work. And so I “gave up” on it.

At least that’s what I told myself and everyone else. In reality, I knew I wanted something more. I kept that old blog until I had a clear indication of what I wanted to do next. Voila! Red Hot (Mess) was born.

I love this blog. I’m passionate about it. But I’m also scared that I’ll do that whole giving-up-but-not-really-giving-up thing again.

Missing my posts last week was easy.

It’s not like I really had anything to do. I was busy, but I’ve been busier.

I have tons of stuff pre-written. I could have easily spent ten minutes to fix one of those up, post it, and share it on my Facebook.

My point is, it wasn’t too hard, but I avoided it anyways.

And that scared me more than anything.

The thing that’s been at the front of my mind since Thursday was that I didn’t post. Did that mean I was giving up? This is a time where I really can’t give up on anything. Did it mean I was done with this? Was I unreliable like I’ve always feared?

As soon as I realized that I was upset because I didn’t write – I didn’t do something I love and care about – I realized that I wasn’t giving up.

Life gets in the way. Sometimes I wake up with no motivation. Somedays I wake up wanting to do so much that I do everything that’s not a real responsibility. Sometimes I don’t know what to write. Sometimes I want to write, but have nothing to say. Sometimes I know exactly what to say, but don’t want to sit down and do it.

Shit happens. We get upset. We don’t always keep the promises that we make to ourselves and to others. Sometimes it seems like everything is going wrong when we want it to go right. But we can’t beat ourselves up over it.

There’s a lot of things in my life and my personality that go against my ambitions. It’s one of the many reasons I call myself a hot mess.

But hey – my therapist told me I have confidence, so at least I have that going for me.

-Red Hot

What’s in a name?

What does it mean to be worthy of a name?

I was supposed to do great things – that’s what she kept telling me.

“Nathan Nightingale. We’re saving you for something special.”

The first half of my life was spent listening to her coo over me. She would protect me from her world; keeping me out of sight, but always within her reach.

“You’ll do great things,” she told me, “I’m just not sure what yet.”

The second half of my life was spent trying to figure out what it was that I could do.

She didn’t want me to break hearts because “that’s what they all do, dear.” I was supposed to be better than that.

“You’re Nathan Nightingale. You are merely too important to break hearts.”

I was too proper to go into space. I was too pretty to go to war. I was too perfect to be just another high school anti-hero.

I lingered in the dark corner she had long since placed me in. She’d forget about me for months on end before tripping over herself screaming my name.

It always came back to my name.

“I could be a prince,” I suggested. She sat at her desk, looking in my direction but seeming to be staring right through me.

“No… a prince is expected. And besides, I’m no regal advisor.”

I didn’t have a path in life. We could never find one, and with each new failure, I would retreat back into my dark corner with my head and self-esteem lower than the time before.

“They always tell you the name is the most important part, Nathan Nightingale, but they never tell you how to plan the rest.”

She never asked what I wanted to be. She never let me tell my own story. I was always there. Always listening to what script she would lay out for me, only to rip it away again.

“This is no story for Nathan Nightingale!”

I’m not sure what I would say if she asked me what I wanted to be (another thing she wants me to say). I have never been more than just a name.

Just a boy with an amazing, grand, royal, perfect name and no way to live up to it.

 

Should my face burn this much?

I am no stranger to the face mask trend.

I will try pretty much anything that is supposed to nourish my face and make it smoother than I ever thought was possible.

After years of dealing with eczema, I try to take care of my skin as best as I can without using harsh chemicals. Face masks seem perfect.

I’ve tried many different kinds: Korean sheet masks, peel off charcoal masks (DIY version), clay that tightens, mud that feels slimy until you wash it off, and my personal favourite, this one that smelled like chocolate cake.

I recently got my sister to jump on this band wagon with me. After putting on her first face mask, she shouted “Why is my face burning?”

It’s just a little tingle. Nothing to be worried about. It’s working, I reassured her.

Honestly it wasn’t until today that I even questioned that. I’m currently sitting here as a black tea mask dries on my face. It feels fine now, but 30 seconds after I put it on my face started BURNING. I was full on sweating, my eyes watered; I questioned whether it would be better to wash it off immediately, or if I should leave it on to get my money’s worth.

Obviously I picked the second option.

Up until now, I had only experienced mild tingling. I wonder if that’s what my sister felt, or if she felt this burning?

Beauty is pain. I told myself.

Excuse me, what?

Why do we accept that? Why do I, a self-proclaimed feminist since before it was common-sense, continue to live by this misogynistic rule?

To be fair, I’m wearing this face mask because it feels like I’m treating myself. I don’t have a date tonight. I’m not wearing it to impress someone else. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m wearing it because I have time.

I just want to know why when my face started burning my first reaction was to repeat the phrase that has been passed down among women for generations. Beauty is pain. Why do I have to be in pain to be reassured that something is working? Why is my pain beautiful? Why are we taught that to be beautiful, we must first endure pain?

And for the love of god, why did my face burn so much?!

-Red Hot

Jealous-Obsessed

At the end of every school term, when I should be working on exams and essays, I come up with a new “procrastination obsession” – something I become obsessed with in order to help me procrastinate. Usually it’s a TV show, though I think there have been a few exceptions (Hamilton comes to mind). This term it was a show called “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” which I still stand by the fact that I was watching it in preparation for my Women Studies exam!

If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend it. It’s a feminist musical-comedy with great representation of LGBTQ+ characters, people of colour, substance abuse, emotional abuse, mental illnesses, and the misogyny that women face on a daily basis.

Again, I don’t want to make this a TV review and I will try my best not to spoil anything, but I highly recommend it.

After watching the first episode, I immediately identified with the main character, a woman who also suffers from anxiety and depression, and has a somewhat obsessive personality. I quickly became obsessed with the show and it’s easy to see why.

In one of the episodes there’s a song called “Feelin’ Kinda Naughty” which describes Rebecca’s girl crush on another character.

It’s not what you think, and I think that’s why it quickly became my favourite song out of both seasons. This isn’t a cutesy girl-crush where they have pillow fights and make-out for the male gaze. It’s a borderline jealous-obsession of one of the other characters – a woman who seems perfect in every way.

I listen to this song A LOT but the last time I listened to it, I was creeping one of my high school friend’s Instagram. I immediately realized that I might have this sort of jealous-obsessive girl-crush on her. I’ve only seen her a few times since high school, but I want to be her best friend. I want to be part of her cool girl squad. I freak out just a little bit when she likes one of my Instagram posts. It’s like a feeling of being accepted into this elite squad of perfect women who are idolized everywhere.

Her Instagram is flawless and I often find myself wondering if I actually have a crush on her or if I am just obsessed with her life. She travels and models. She seems to be healthy and active. She’s talented. She has a Vanessa-Hudgens vibe and looks effortless in every picture. Her strengths seem amplified on Instagram, and my strengths seem lackluster in comparison.

In theory, I know that her life is obviously not just what she shows on social media. I know that my life is also not just what I show on social media. I know that everyone has their own insecurities, and hundreds of Instagram likes is not going to change that.

Yet when I listened to this song while scrolling/just checking up/stalking I laughed at lines like, “Hey cutie, don’t know if you knew but I kinda got a girl crush on you” and “I want to lock you in a basement with soundproof walls and take over your identity.” I cringed at the accuracy of “sorry I said that creepy stuff out loud, that was super rando. I meant to say I wanna do cutesy stuff!” I agreed that she has “silky hair” and abs that I would kill for. I’m jealous of her perfect skin, and want her to notice/compliment me.

When I hear people talk about girl-crushes, this is what a picture (there’s a difference between girl-crushes and being a woman/femme person with a crush on another woman/femme person). It’s not some cute, hypersexualized, lust-filled relationship meant for attention or to satisfy the male gaze. I don’t even think it’s an “omg, if I wasn’t straight…” moment. I think girl-crushes are this perception that someone you sorta know, but don’t fully know, is perfect in every way. Instead of being jealous and focusing on girl-hate, we become obsessed with fantasies of being her friend, or even just being a little bit like her.

Let me know if you also have these kinds of girl-crushes! Is there someone you are jealous-obsessed with?

-Red Hot

Avoiding the fact that I’m a mess

“My preferred method of dealing with things is avoidance and hoping it goes away.”

When I wrote this down the other day as an upcoming blog topic, I originally thought it was going to be funny. The punchline was something along the lines of “I am not a mature adult.” It was going to be another way for me to prove to everyone that I am a hot mess, and people really need to stop asking me for life advice or to give presentations to their high school classes (because yes, I do that now).

I was going to share stories of how I’ve been ghosted in the past, and have also ghosted people without seeing the issue that so many other people my age see. I was going to recount my best petty and passive-aggressive messages, posts, and comments. You were going to read it, laugh, and then think “my god she’s a mess. I’m glad I don’t actually know her.”

But then, like many things in my life (and yours too probably, idk. I don’t know your life) it got serious.

I started working on the anxiety section for my therapy today, and lo-and-behold the first sentence in my handbook was: “There are two types of behaviours that characterize our anxiety: avoidance and safety behaviours. We avoid and seek safety when we are anxious, because these behaviours help us feel better in the short run” (Greenberger and Padesky, 225) (Yes, I cited that in proper MLA form; I’m an English graduate – what did you expect?)

When I read that sentence, everything sort of clicked, and I no longer thought my post about avoidance could be funny and harmless.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an idiot. I know what I’m doing when I’m avoiding confrontation, situations, certain discussions, people, etc. I know that I am avoiding them to remove myself and my anxiety from the situation. I know that it’s not making anything better. I just hope that things will be solved without confrontation. I hope that “closure” isn’t a real thing that people need.

I knew I was avoiding things. I’ve been avoiding things my entire life. I’m good at it. What I didn’t know was how much I relied on avoidance, or how it contributed to my anxiety to make it worse.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. I say that often enough, but I feel like I need that disclaimer.

Obviously I still don’t love confrontation. I don’t think I can promise that I will never avoid a situation ever again. I can tell you that I know firsthand that it just prolongs and increases anxiety. I can tell you that avoidance is easy, but not really worth it.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re avoiding. Are you avoiding something for your personal safety? Maybe keep doing that. Are you avoiding an uncomfortable conversation? Maybe you should just get it over with nice and quick.

And maybe you should stop taking advice from someone who calls herself Red Hot Mess (though please keep reading my blog)!

-Red Hot

Poem

I’ll be your poem,

If your tongue can be the pen.

Write your words across my chest

And down my neck.

Let me hear the rhymes play behind my ears

And the rhythm sway my hips.

Long lovely lines licked along my lips.

Slow sultry sentences stretched on my skin.

I’ll be your paper

Your audience

Your craft.

You be the poet

The speaker

The heart.

You’re moving gently down the page; pen

Pressed against paper so soft

Dip your pen in the ink.

Swirl it around

Find the spot.

The passion over takes you

Faster and faster.

The sounds of pen touching paper create the music you get lost in.

Almost there.

One more line.

All of this

Is mine.

 

Can you platonically send nudes, and other questions

Can you platonically send nudes? Asking for a friend.

I don’t know; I think that would make a great book title. If I ever write a book about being a hot mess, and the numerous unanswered questions I have, I think that will be the title.

Seriously though, are you ever just having a really great/confident/feeling yourself day? Or ever just have a day where you feel crappy, but look hot? Do you ever take sexy photos for yourself and then sigh because you have no one to share them with?

No. That’s just me? Alright.

Sometimes I think it’s such a shame that men can get away with sending unsolicited dick pics to assert their “dominance”, or make a woman uncomfortable, or just because they’re feeling good about their body, but women can’t do the same. I mean it would be pretty weird if I sent someone a picture of me lounging in a bra. It would also not have the desired “woah you look good today!” effect. I’m 99% sure it would just result in more unsolicited dick pics and a constant stream of “u up?” texts.

I used to think nudes were something that should never be sent ever because the internet is a scary, cruel place, and oh my god I am so terrified of anyone’s nudes leaking.

But as I grow older and surround myself with more feminists, I think there’s something really empowering about sexy photos and nudes. You’re claiming your body and saying “yes, this is how I look and I liked myself enough to take a picture and send it to you.” I just wish there was a way to take, post, and send sexy pictures without it being for the male gaze.

I want these pictures for myself. I want these pictures to satisfy my own ego and desires.

I want people to praise me for feeling confident, not reduce me to a sex object.

There is a balance. It’s out there somewhere. I follow some comedians, models, and average everyday women on Instagram who I think have that balance. They’re able to post pictures of themselves for themselves. Because they’re confident.

That. I want more of that.

-Red Hot