You know that song “Mess is Mine” by Vance Joy? That song bugs the crap out of me.
I mean, I get it. I get it. It’s sweet, or at least it’s meant to be. She’s not perfect but he loves her and he’ll take on her burdens with her. Not that long ago I would have been so into that. “Yes, sweet prince! Take away all of my trouble!” As if love was a big neon exit sign out of all of the unbearable realness of life. Lately, though, I have become acutely protective of my mess.
Stay the fuck off my mess, Vance Joy, because my mess is perfect.
My mess has accumulated through the process of sheading who I thought I was and transforming into the kind of person I want to be: The kind of woman who can handle chaos with grace and a grin. The kind of woman who is confident in her abilities because they have been tested and she has risen to the occasion time and time again. The kind of woman who creates a life that is also art, in alignment with the truth of her soul.
Chaos is often the precursor to putting something together better than before. It’s true of closets, and it’s true of lives. You would think that a culture that has a term like “having it together” would recognize that such a thing is only possible after a little turmoil, and yet it very often gets left entirely out of our cultural success narrative. You have to sort out who you are and what you really want before you can start really moving towards it.
Instead of celebrating the phase of growth we’re at, we behave as if we should be able to control and restrain our way to whatever pinnacle of achievement we aspire to. I think this is where a lot of us get stuck because we’re afraid to fully toss out the old expectations. We keep clinging to those musty standards because “What if they are right?” We push back against the restorative anarchy of our re-creation because all change brings a certain amount of psychological death, and we have all been taught that death of any sort is bad. We’re afraid to be fools and expose ourselves to ridicule, and so we play too small and too tight. We choose claustrophobic cages even when the door is wide open, because we are afraid of the danger “out there”.
Mess isn’t something that requires rescue. It’s not something to hide or be ashamed of. It’s no danger to the true self, only the illusions the ego clutches to itself of all it believes it should be. To be submerged in the fires of change is a wonderful place to be, because on the other side you’re going to be just a little closer to your truth. It’s ok to accept help, and be guided, and enjoy support but if someone wants your mess, tell them to get their own.