Discover more from Rolling in D🤦🏻♀️h with Jenny Blake
Hot Mess 🍔
I'll have what she's having.
Today I spotted a sign hanging off the scaffolding at the burger joint a block from our apartment, as if for the first time.
In tiny all-caps lettering on an orange-yellow gradient background, it prompted:
Are you ready for a . . .
. . . then in dripping black horror-movie vibes:
That’s me! I thought with a smirk.
I used to refer to myself as a hot mess often in the early blogging days circa 2008, until someone scolded me saying it wasn’t a nice way to describe myself, that maybe it wasn’t the best self-image to curate. So I stopped.
But I lost something in dropping the “hot” and the “mess” as I now approach middle age (and grandma-status in my soul).
I am not as hot, and my life is much more messy, even if more meaningful.
It’s also swelteringly hot and humid as I write this, and I have thusly coined a new term for certain summer moods: thangry—tired, hot, and angry.1
On July 9, 2020, I sent a newsletter for :
I just heard a meme that 2020 is now an adjective, one akin to "hot mess" or "disaster." As in, ugh - that's so 2020! Hah. I am still looking for the silver lining.
Does anyone else feel totally exhausted and lacking in motivation?
Maybe it's just me, NYC humidity, and the hourly evening ‘bespoke’ fireworks that have woken me and my family up 5-10 times a night for almost a month now . . .
Oh sweet, sweet 2020 self.
I wish I could pat her on the head. You have no idea how much harder things will get. (And yet, strangely more joyful too . . . eventually.)
The tension I described wouldn’t release for years, three to be precise.
Just three weeks later, Michael’s neighborhood in Beirut—as densely packed with life, homes, culture, and restaurants as the West Village—would be destroyed by a blast bigger than all the fireworks in New York City combined.
We were just getting started.
“The first step in creating change, then, is to receive a vision that feels true.
The second step is to heal the wounds and doubts that that vision illuminates. Without doing that, we will be conflicted, simultaneously enacting both the new story and the old one that accompanies the wounds. The third step is to bow into service to that which wants to be born.
This process is not linear.”
—, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
No matter how many times I hear it, no matter how many times I say it, it helps to be reminded: The change process is not linear.
We spiral upward, outward, and inward through cycles of death and rebirth, from hot mess to business badass and everywhere in between.
Entrepreneurship is one of the greatest personal growth journeys you can undertake.
You will be asked to confront your biggest fears until you transform them into paper tigers.
You will nearly crack under pressure.
You will realize no one is coming to save you, that you must first save yourself.
You will learn from every mistake and mess you make, because otherwise you will go out of business.
In December 2011, I published a blog post called, “Courage isn’t always glamorous. Actually, it almost never is.”
It started with the following anecdote:
After a recent speaking engagement, someone came up to me and said, “What you’re doing is really courageous. Leaving your job . . . Google of all places, and the safety of a paycheck to start your own company. I want to do that someday.”
She saw my decision as courageous. And don’t get me wrong — I do too.
But more than that, I saw it as oxygen. It’s what I needed to do in order to breathe again. In order to exhale. In order to live the life that was waiting for me on the other side of a seemingly insurmountable, suffocating mountain of fear. I loved Google — but my heart turned elsewhere, even before my mind did.
Later in the post, I write:
Courage is earned . . . through tears, fears, heartbreak, and failure. It’s messy. Ugly. Rocky. And you find your courage when you have no choice BUT to trust it.
Courage isn’t always glamorous:
Courage is crying — snotty, unattractive, red, splotchy hysterical crying — because you know what you need to do, but you’re scared shitless to actually do it.
Courage is going to sleep so heartsick that you can’t find the strength to change out of your clothes, but getting up and out of bed again the next day.
Courage is not having any answers but taking action anyway.
Courage is opening your heart and mind — to hope and possibility — despite crazy mind-goblins telling you it’s a terrible idea.
Courage is agonizing over a decision for months or years — then making it on your own time, when you are ready.
Courage is listening to the whisper in your gut with such a fine quality of attention that it becomes a roar.
Courage is a hot mess. At least in my experience.
What’s that? Yours too? See — we’re all more similar than you think. And we all have a much deeper well of courage than we realize.
What would you do if you had the courage? What would it look like to start even without it?
How it possible that my 2011 self had already figured this out?!
What am I even doing on this Substack if she had all these answers 12+ years ago?!
Unbelievable. Some people never learn . . . 🤦🏻♀️
In June, someone sent me an article from my hometown, blocks away from the first apartment we lived in after I was born.
Reporter Gary Leff writes:2
The owner of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 hotels has chosen to stop making payments on $725 million in debt and turn the keys over to their lender, J.P. Morgan Chase. Park Hotels and Resorts says San Francisco is too much of a mess and won’t be turned around any time soon.
If even the largest business owners in the country are declaring things “too messy,” tossing the keys, and walking away (!) without even selling for scraps, no wonder some of us smaller fish are reeling.
If you are still in business after these last few years:
You are a hot—best-burger-in-the-city, lettuce-flying, grilled-onion-double-patty-with-cheese, mushrooms-spilling-off-the-side, juicy-summer-tomato, delicious—mess.
I’ll take two.
🍔 ❤️ 🍔
P.S. Speaking of yummy meals and business besties, it’s not too late to join our Q4 Pop-up Mastermind and VIP Day on October 22! Early bird enrollment and special pricing ends on September 1. Get all the deets and apply here »
See also: Heat Singes the Mind, Not Just the Body. “If you find that the blistering, unrelenting heat is making you anxious and irritable, even depressed, it’s not all in your head. Soaring temperatures can damage not just the body but also the mind.”