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A Hot Mess's Guide To Seeming Put Together

The secret of adulthood? Nobody knows what they’re doing. And everybody has issues with dairy.

Lately, I’ve had several people tell me they think I’m put together or come to me for help because “you seem like you always know what’s going on.” It always makes me laugh a little because it could not be further from the truth, but I kind of get it.

If there's one thing I know, it's that I'm an outstanding bullshitter. And you can be too!

My childhood best friend's senior quote was, "I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really well."

I think about that often. I'm a hot mess–I run on excessive caffeine and late nights, I hit walls often, and I struggle with my mental health constantly–but I always manage to get shit done and look good doing it.

Disclaimer: no, this is not a foolproof method. And I don’t recommend bullshitting anything that deals in exacts–I tried in 11th-grade chemistry and earned consistent 40's. But in general, these few things have gotten me pretty far, even when I don't know anything else.

Show up on time.

A teacher in high school told me “to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be left behind.” Getting places on time makes you look good to whoever's in charge, and if you're in charge, the people you're leading won't respect you if you're late.

Nobody needs to know that mere minutes before you were running around with one shoe, trying to throw everything you need into a bag and then sprinting out the door (sorry to everyone who’s ever lived below me). The art of waking up as late as humanly possible and still being on time is a delicate one, but it is possible to master with practice.

Look the part.

I’m guilty of walking around campus in sweats often. But when I have something that either A) has a dress code above sweatpants or B) has a dress code I'm unsure of, I always go with the outfit that might be “too much." It’s better to be overdressed and own it than underdressed and stressed.

Use your phone for something other than social networking.

I may not be organized 24/7, but the little robot I carry around is. Make use of reminders on your phone for anything you think you might forget.

Also, sometimes people forget that you can Google search almost anything in an instant. You don’t have to know everything when the internet does. Use it.

Fix your posture.

No one is going to respect you while you’re standing like the hunchback of Notre Dame. In the words of my mother, hissing through her teeth, put your damn shoulders back. It’s not hard.

Stay informed about the world.

No, you don’t have to get up with the sun and stand in front of the TV with a cup of coffee like your dad. It’s 2020! News is everywhere!

My personal favorite is Twitter. It’s quick, easy, and you can follow the people you care about and pretty much any news outlet, with plenty of comic relief sprinkled in. Understand some sources might be biased if you're using social media for news, though (cough cough, CNN and Fox).

You can’t be “just not that into politics(/news/etc.)” anymore. Understand at least the gist of what’s happening around you, and you’ll seem like you’ve got it together. Not to mention, as functioning member of society you should probably recognize that some things that desperately need attention and won't get fixed unless people get more informed.

Be prepared.

If it’s a question of whether you might need it, bring it. You’ll be everybody’s go-to person before you know it.

Some essentials that I typically keep on me that come in handy: Tide To-Go, tape, highlighters, an extra pen/pencil, deodorant, wet wipes, contact solution, Band-aids. But also, don’t carry around too much – the goal is prepared, not hoarder vibes.

Stay engaged.

Ask questions and take notes. Even if you don't understand a word of what was just said, you end up with important points written down. Also, something about sticky notes surrounding me makes me feel like I'm on top of things.

Asking questions makes you look curious and invested, not dumb. However, if you're asking questions that were just answered and you weren't paying attention, that's on you, and people will get annoyed.

Chill the fuck out.

This is probably easier said than done, but seriously. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be okay. Part of being able to stay on top of things is the ability to let other things go and accept that you can’t do everything perfectly while making everyone happy.

If you mess up or do something “embarrassing,” other people are human and will understand more often than you think. Life will go on. You’re doing fine. Taking your self-critic down a notch whenever possible will do loads for your confidence and boost your badass energy.

Let this be a sign that it's okay if you don't have it all together, and a reminder to stop comparing yourself to people who seem like they do. They're probably lying anyway.


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