Happy Thursday kittens and welcome to our ~newest~ column over here at THE CRAZY SAD BABES CLUB! Confessions Of A Teen Girl will be weekly excerpts from my real teen diary (and hopefully some of yours too!).
I was inspired to create this column when I was in Florida at my parent’s house digging around my bedroom, trying to conjure up my missing driver’s license (how very teen girl of me). My eyes scanned my childhood bedroom and finally fell on an old antique chest holding court in her darkest corner. The second my fingers grazed the handle (I kid you not) approximately 50 notebooks came flying out of there, landing on the floor with such a melodramatic THUD, I actually fucking screamed.
If you read my book you know that when I was a spindly, low-rise jeans-adorned, wayward teen I was obsessed with writing in my LiveJournal. For those of you youngins’, LiveJournal.com was an early 2000s blog-format, public journal where emo, side-banged teens across America obsessively detailed their “melancholy” trials and tribulations whilst “trapped” in the “dismal suburbs.” I loved blogging about my life and connecting with other sixteen-year-old sad girls scattered across the digital stratosphere. I posted religiously. Feverishly. I couldn’t wait to get home from house parties and type about my crushes, the booze, the drugs, the drama, the mortification, into my trusty LiveJournal. (Oh, how not much has changed!).
I remember my love and dedication to my beloved LiveJournal like it was yesterday.
But you know what I seem to have completely erased from the canvas of my razor sharp memory?
The fact that I also wrote, long-hand in top-secret journals and sketchbooks that I would store away in that dusty, old chest. I was shocked when I finally tore through those pages (over a glass of wine – shit was intense) how much I’ve blocked out and forgotten from my teen years. I thought I’d unearthed everything in therapy. Apparently, not. (I want my money back. JK, I’ve made peace with the blazingly reality that they’ll always be another stone to turn the fuck over.)
As authentic as I was in my public journal, these private journals are the real window into the most vulnerable, raw experiences of my ever-impressionable teen years. These are moments that truly shaped me and I can’t believe I might’ve never even known about them, had I not been haphazardly searching for a missing identification card as a calloused Manhattan-dwelling adult woman.
Some entries broke my heart. Others had me searching my brain, desperately trying to dig up old memories that have been hiding in sweaty sketchbooks for a decade and a half. (I can smell the raging hormones on the pages). Some entries are hysterically funny. Some are so wise I can’t believe they came from the mind of a teenage girl who couldn’t seem to pass Algebra 2. But one thing is alarmingly clear after devouring the old words of my younger self: I don’t want to forget her.
I believe we are the realest, most unfiltered versions of ourselves when we’re teenagers. We are so pure, even if we’re high or incessantly lying to our parents or hooking up with the most vile entities. When we’re teens we accept our feelings for what they are. We accept our crushes for who they are. We accept that our real dreams are our real dreams, even if the grown-ups say we’re delusional. We don’t question if our passions are a realistic career choice or not. We listen to the music that makes us feel connected and heard, even if it’s wildly uncool or deems us weird.
Teenagehood is a fleeting time in the great expanse of our lives and I believe if we were more in touch with our younger selves, we would be more in touch with our adult desires. It would remind us of who we were before the stress of adulting made us settle for jobs that aren’t in alignment with our natural rhythms. Before the pressure of marriage and kids coaxed us into marrying the person who will never be able to truly light us up. We would be reminded of what made us recoil inside before we silenced our girl alarms and stopped trusting our divine instincts.
So not only am I re-reading my teen diaries, I’m sharing them with you. Because maybe my unfiltered truth might remind you of your unfiltered truth. The truth we’ve been working so hard to cover up because it doesn’t fit the narrative of our adult-lives. But we all know that the only thing that matters is the truth. Even if it’s ugly or inconvenient or forces you to rewrite part of the script. I mean isn’t life one giant editing process anyway? And in order to get the best edit, you have to start from the beginning, I think.
So here is my first little excerpt. It’s not the full piece, just a little paragraph that shook me to my absolute core. I’m actually nervous to post it, and that rarely happens. My teen self had a lot of shame about the things she did. But holyshit was her message powerful.
(If you want to contribute your entries email me at email@example.com).
That was before the cocaine set in. Self-obsessed bliss made the night feel beautiful and clear. I believed all the lies I had spewed just hours earlier. I felt good, in the way you always do when you’re the victim. You feel your pain in justified.
Out of respect for the people I still love, or maybe once loved – I hope I never taste the bitterness of white powder on my gums again.
Why else would you do cocaine except that you hate yourself?
CLOSING GROWN-UP THOUGHTS:
I wish I could’ve had this written on a sticky-note, stuck on to my soul to remind me of who the fuck I am whenever I was tempted to take drugs. Nothing kills your spirit like hard drugs. I knew that at sixteen. I know that now. I hope to know that forever.
My debut book GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP: THE BAD GIRL’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR SH*T TOGETHER is available NOW on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and BAM! If you send me a screenshot of your order, I’ll send you swag!
PRAISE FOR GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP
“Zara has the rare talent of marching into the deepest, darkest moments of life—the mascara-teared and alcohol-soaked—scooping them up, and thrusting them into the light with amazing clarity, forgiveness, and compassion. As her editor at Elite Daily, I had the honor of watching Zara blossom into the emotionally raw and poetic writer she is now. Her gripping first-person narratives help every woman (including me) come to terms with her own demons or insecurities in a refreshingly comfortable way. There’s a reason she’s built up an army of ‘babes’ who are empowered by the words of their dear big sister, Z: Her candid honesty and no bullshit advice are simply addicting.”
– Faye Brennan, Sex & Relationships Director, Cosmopolitan
“Reading Zara is like reading your own thoughts—only sexier and much more brilliantly written.”
– Kaitlyn Cawley, former Editor-At-Large, Bustle Media Group and former Editor-in-Chief, Elite Daily
“Reading Zara’s writing will make you feel like you’re at your cool-as-hell big sister’s sleepover party. You will be transfixed by her unflinching honesty and words of wisdom, and she’ll successfully convince you to not only ditch the shame you feel about the raw and messy parts of yourself, but to dare to see them as beautiful.”
– Alexia LaFata, Editor, New York Magazine
“If Cat Marnell and F. Scott Fitzgerald had a literary baby it would be Zara Barrie. She’s got Marnell’s casual, dark, downright hilarious tone of an irreverent party girl. But then she also has Fitzgerald’s talent for making words literally feel like they sparkle on the page. You instantly feel more glamorous after reading a page of Zara’s writing, even when the page is talking about getting into a screaming match with her girlfriend outside of a bar on a Sarasota street corner while high on benzos. I’ve always been a fan of Zara’s writing, but Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup takes it to the next level. With shimmery words that make her dark stories sparkle, she seamlessly manages to inspire even the most coked-out girl at the party to get her shit together.”
– Candice Jalili, Senior Sex & Dating Writer, Elite Daily
“Self-help meets memoir. Party girl meets wise sage. Beauty meets reality. Zara Barrie is the cool older sister you wish you had. The one that lets you borrow her designer dresses and ripped up fishnets, buys you champagne (she loves you too much to let you drink beer), and colors your lips with bright pink lipstick. She’ll take you to the coolest parties, and will stick by your side and she guides you through the glitter, pain, danger, laughter, and what it means to be a f*cked up girl in this f*cked up world (both of which are beautiful despite the darkness). Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup is for the girls that are too much of a beautiful contradiction to be contained. Zara is a gifted writer—one second she’ll have you laughing over rich girls agonizing over which Birkin bag to buy, the next second she’ll shatter your heart in one sentence about losing one’s innocence. Zara is the nuanced girl she writes for—light, irreverent, snarky, bitchy, funny; and aching, perceptive, deep, flawed, wise, poised, honest—all at once. Perhaps the only thing that can match Zara’s unparalleled wit and big sister advice is her candid humor and undeniable talent for the written word. Zara is one of the most prolific and entertaining honest voices on the internet—and her talent is only multiplied in book form. Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup is for the bad girls, honey.”
– Danya Troisi, Executive Editor, GO Magazine