This week has been challenging. So much so that I have three fantastic blog entires for which I have ideas and research on going. However, none of it felt authentic or on point with “me” right now. I want to share with you my authentic self and, this week, I have been a bundle of anxiety, frustration, homesickness and the word that keeps coming to mind for me is, a hot mess.
When you search Google dictionary, the definition of “hot mess” this is what you get:
Hot MessnounUS, informalnoun: hot mess; plural noun: hot messes
- a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, especially one that is a source of peculiar fascination.“this outfit is definitely a hot mess”
Why am I a hot mess?? Well, one word, change. I like change and relish in a new adventure but somedays are hard. Transition is an intense beast of a thing to manage. The week started out, for me, wondering why I was so damn tired. Most nights I enjoyed like 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I was eating well and exercising, but Monday morning I was beyond lethargic and my attitude was heinous, to put it kindly. Instead of going to the gym, I dropped my girls at school, came home (in my gym clothes) and sat on the couch with a stress headache and lets be honest, I through myself one heck of a pity party. After a walk outside and a decent day over all, I was feeling okay-ish.
Tuesday was a much better start. I got up and out the door for a 530am BodyPump Class, I worked on my blog and my website and enjoyed a Starbucks latte while I worked. I had on a seriously fun “mom style” outfit built for comfort and looking pulled together. The thing was I was still feeling “meh” on the inside. I wasn’t as emotional as the day before but I couldn’t shake the feeling of angst in the pit of my belly. My inner voice was telling me to be strong and that “California is awesome” so don’t feel sad. The only problem was my gut and my heart were screaming that they missed home. That I was feeling uncomfortable with the weight I had put on. I missed feeling confident and sure, I missed my family, friends, and my sense comfortability and normalcy. So, while I was looking more pulled together on the outside, it was just a mask of nice clothes and red lipstick.
Then came the pinnacle of “Hot Mess Week”. Wednesday, oh Wednesday. My emotions were nothing short of hostile and aggravated. I burst into tears cleaning up from breakfast, because my husband had been kind and chivalrous. I have a very patient husband. THANK GOODNESS. In the midst of my incomprehensible bout of tears, I was pouring out all these things I had been feeling but hadn’t expressed. The new role I have as a stay at home mom is still feeling foreign. I am feeling lost in a large city where no-one knows me. I’m feeling like I don’t know what my place is here, or who my new ‘tribe’ will be. I am a social person who is lacking in the ‘being social’ department. I miss my family. I miss the ease of knowing where everything is and where I belong. I miss my friends and I need to cry this out or I will burst!!
Then came the deep breaths. The release of pent up vulnerability and fear. The pathway to realization that there have been A LOT of changes in my life in the past year but specifically in the past 5 months and I didn’t have to be ok everyday. I just HAD to be able to start managing my expectations of myself and admitting that it is hard. People here I moved to sunny California and think every day must be beaches, palm trees and fabulousness. The truth is, it is those things. However, it is also just real life. Kids have to get out the door for school, I am driving three times a day as the mom mobile to and from the school for pick ups and drop offs. Its the reintegration of living with my husband full time after a year apart. Trying to navigate how the hell I will meet people and make friends in such a large place compared to where I am from all while I balance staying in touch with everyone I miss so dearly at home. I need to House needs to be cleaned, meals need to be made, i need to get to the gym, get the groceries, and day to day life must go on.
According to much of my research on “why am I feeling crazy” and “whats wrong with me?”, I found that I am in fact experiencing the common stages of transition. Before any major transition you of course feel nervous, excited, overwhelmed and hopeful. I feel like because I was in a comfortable place, I was able to roll with that part of the transition much more easily. I took the time to really enjoy the time I had with the people I loved and to squeeze in some important experiences and memories before I left. Do I wish I had more time, of course, but overall I was pleased with my “see you soon” strategy.
The second phase of transition can be much more complex, hence my “Hot Mess week”. According to the Bridges’ Transition Model (mindtools.com) this phase is defined as:
“Stage 2: The Neutral Zone
In this stage, people affected by the change are often confused, uncertain, and impatient. Depending on how well you’re managing the change, they may also experience a higher workload as they get used to new systems and new ways of working. Think of this phase as the bridge between the old and the new; in some ways, people will still be attached to the old, while they are also trying to adapt to the new.
Here, people might experience:
- Resentment towards the change initiative.
- Low morale and low productivity.
- Anxiety about their role, status or identity.
- Skepticism about the change initiative.
Despite these, this stage can also be one of great creativity, innovation, and renewal. This is a great time to encourage people to try new ways of thinking or working.“
Ok, so turns out, I’m normal! Yay! In all seriousness though, I really needed to hear from somewhere, outside of my regular systems of support, that I was going to be okay. Anxiety runs in my family, so I am always keeping a pulse on my mental health. I work hard to ensure I stay on top of finding and utilizing coping skills that work for me. These findings allowed me to take a minute to say, its ok to be a “hot mess” for a minute. Especially, if it turns into a self educating, teachable moment that leads to self improvement and more positive self talk. “No self, you aren’t crazy, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now”. “Take your time with change, things will start to feel less intense soon”, “just breathe”.
Then came Thursday. Day started well and productive It helps when you can connect with friends and share a laugh (even via text). It also helps that I took a BodyCombat kickboxing class that allowed me to have a physical release of these pent up emotions. Thursday had its own challenges, in the form of exhausted kids and their meltdowns. But I was in a better mindset to cope and handle those moments. As a parent, I also have to keep reminding myself that I am struggling with all this change, but so are my kids and my husband. We are all just trying to make it through the tough moments to find our new normal.
So here we are, and it’s Friday!!! Can I get an Amen?! We are all feeling the need to make the time to reset, recharge and unwind. When I got ready for the day, I put on a nice outfit and some red lipstick today, not to hide my inner feelings but because I feel like I can handle it! Just remember, today, and every day, is a fresh start. However, if your day started off not so fabulous, and you’re having a rough time right now, I’m here for you. I get it.
Here’s my bit of advice. Take care of you because no-one can pour from an empty cup, surround yourself with love and realize that some times you’re going to be a hot mess, and that is okay.