Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Hot Mess Is Your Hot Mess

Living Like A Hot Mess 

When I was growing up in the seventies, the only hot messes I had to deal with were spilled soup, hot chocolate, or the landmines left by my dog in the backyard. There was no internet to expose us, so we suffered privately, in our closets, usually accompanied by beer, tissues, and Barry Manilow.  
Clean up your own hot mess!
We were only found out if we drank too much at a beach campfire and started bawling - and even then, with only word of mouth to spread the gossip, the damaging info usually stayed within the confines of the town, and Danielle has herpes eventually morphed into Danielle burps a lot. (think Telephone Game)

Life was quiet back then and people minded their own dirty business - probably because without modern methods of finding and convicting killers, like DNA testing - loose lips could sink your own ship.

But then something happened that changed everything and my theory is that it showed up around the time of reality TV. 

All of a sudden it was not only cool to tell your friends that you weren't wearing underwear, but also to show the world - just in case there was any doubt. And if that wasn't enough, when you missed an episode, a full recap, ripe with stills and video would be available on the internet. Of course nowadays, we can also catch encore airings, entertainment shows, and Netflix - the place where deceased programs rise up to live among us like zombies.

Drama Is King

It's drama that we're attracted to, and my attempts at being normal are not impressing anyone. 

I finally figured out that I feel good when I organize my closet and give the clothes that I don't want to the needy. Raise your hand if you care. 


Now, if I reveal that I'm a hoarder, and I'd rather have my house condemned than give up my water damaged books, then my name will come up in every conversation you have, till the obese guy down the block one-ups me by getting a crane to take him out of his house so he can go to food rehab. 

Why Are Hot Messes So Appealing? 

Boredom and feeling better about your own dysfunctions seem to be the top two reasons. When faced with the choice of talking about Miss Pauline's prized cherry tomato plants, or juicy topics like alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness, gossip seems to be the glue that holds the neighborhood together. 

According to my friends' Facebook posts, if I've got a good story to tell, I can visit any time - as long as I bring wine, chocolate, and check my judgement at the door because my host will finish off the goodies I brought for sure. Whatever alcohol buzz or sugar high happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen.

Proud To Be A Hot Mess

In my family, the hot mess gene gets passed down to the younger generation with pride, like a secret recipe we won't share with anyone else. 

Take my son for instance. Right now, I have him mostly under control, but one day he will move out and have to fend for himself. Max should not live on sugar, iced tea, and french fries alone. 

I pray every day that the reaction he gives me when I offer him a carrot is the same response he has when offered drugs and alcohol. For now, I tell him that we're broke and that there is no money in the budget for chips, ice cream, or candy and that if he wants those things, he'll have to get a job. Wait, what? There's that face again. Is there a tomato in the room? 

Fry Coma
Could I Be The Exception?

I think I'm a hot mess, but a lovable one. My biggest vice is that I crave intellectual stimulation and connections. If I'm not learning, I'm not living. Give me a new vocabulary word, a different perspective, or an unexplained paranormal event, and I will pump you up like Collagen without the lumpy, bumpy aftermath. 

Peter Perfect and Susie Spectacular don't interest me unless they've got a terrific back story. You're thin, you've got oodles of money, and everyone adores you instead of me, so why should I like you? Because you were born with only four toes? I'm listening... Because you built a business from the back of your Volkswagon? Nice... Because when I find out what really makes you tick and what it's going to do for the world, I'm going to witness the magic of coincidence and get carried along in the awesomeness? Jackpot.

In the meantime, let's talk about your cousin with Aspergers...

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States. 

You can now order SUKI in paperback at  or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE. 

CF Winn is the founder of Winning! Publications, a firm specializing in editing and promotion services for authors. Her latest project is the just released Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy saddled with a girl’s name and forced into a nomadic existence. Order it now: 


Medic2RN said...

Anytime you see something too perfect, there's always a story behind it and it's not the ideal. It's all smoke and mirrors. I think most people are more interested in the real deal and not the manufactured one - it's human nature.

CF Winn said...

I agree. Luckily, my imperfections are waaayyy out there, so what you see is what you get. No games.

Anonymous said...

Society has become far too voyeuristic, and sadly, there seems to be cheer for some in watching others fall. I find two types of people on social media- the ones who tell you everything (no matter how much you'd rather not hear it), and the ones who live "Perfect Facebook Life" by only putting up the smiling, happy pictures. I'm with you, I'd rather turn it off in favor of a good book.

CF Winn said...

LOL...yeah..don't gossip, put it in a book. Real life is so unlike anything we usually imagine that it makes for great reading. That's why I created the Coffee Break Series ebooks. They are all based on crazy real life things that have happened to me or people that I know. They are sooo much fun to write and so many people get a kick out of them. That makes me happy in a way that gossiping doesn't.

Charli Mills said...

They advise writers, "get on social media," but I think writers who have depth find the majority of postings, like television, shallow and sensationalized. I want my brain to kick in, my imagination to fire up. I want to converse! I lament the loss of conversation -- everyone proclaims, "too busy" yet they have time to spread yet another cute kitten video. This essay is refreshing and made me laugh. I found your post through #LinkYourLife. Nice to meet you! You can find me outside spying on the neighbors (the feathered kind) at or wrangling words with literary writers at Coffee and conversation are welcome at both.

CF Winn said...

Yaasss Charli! Yaassss!!!! Everything you said and sorry Facebookers, Tweeters, etc, I'm a dog person anyway! Thank you for Linking Your Life too. You have the right idea and I will bring my own coffee and meet you at the pond or the ranch. I'd love for depth and meaning to become the new selfie. #DoesItReallyHurtToLookMeInTheEye