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Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 4 years ago

Factory Girl: How to survive and thrive in the holiday season

by: Zara Barrie

The holidays are a physically beautiful, glittering time of year chock full of twinkling lights, hipster ugly-sweater festivities and an endless supply of scrumptious green-and-red-frosting-adorned treats.

‘Tis the season where everyone appears to be prancing around whilst hopelessly in love, rosy-cheeked, of optimum health and in a perpetual good mood. I’m honestly quite surprised Instagram and Facebook don’t shut down due to an overload of ecstatic #BLESSED hashtags shooting in at once, like rapid fire. It’s the time of year to celebrate love, your values, your family and poor taste in Christmas decorations. For it’s that time of year to guiltlessly eat, indulgently drink and be majestically MERRY, damn it.

So why do you seem so sad, lovely girl?

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While the holidays are undeniably kick-ass for those of us fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, a sufficiently warm coat and at least one real friend to lean on, for many of us, it still remains a loaded time of year, with emotional triggers left and right. Family life alone is the most complicated dynamic in our lives, regardless of how picture-perfect your family is. Travelling back to your hometown and having to face all of your high school “frenemies” at the local pub, is also intense. Especially when you're feeling a bit overweight, unsatisfied with your career, unhappy with a haircut or newly single.

You’re bombarded with terrifying questions, such as: “When are you getting engaged?” “So, you’re STILL doing the acting thing — wow, I don’t know HOW you live like that,” or “Still living in that studio apartment? Don and I just purchased our second vacation home.” “My husband and I love Tavern on Green, are you still waiting tables there?” “Have you considered freezing your eggs? It’s an excellent option for single women.” “I don’t know HOW you live in such a filthy, sinful city like New York,” and of course, my personal favorite, “So aren’t you worried about money?”

I’m getting heart palpitations just writing these words.  Insecurities feel magnified during the holiday season, and sometimes it feels like one giant mile marker, a sick competition of who is more successful and together with their life. Add fresh heartbreak and alcohol into the equation, and you can guarantee at least one embarrassing, drunken meltdown will occur (and knowing my luck, it will be at a formal family dinner, OR at Smokin’ Joe's at 3 a.m. in front of 80% of my graduating high school class. Not sure which is worse).

The most difficult part is that our emotional balloons are filled to capacity with oh-so-many feelings that we're unable to express. God forbid a girl expresses anything other than christmas cheer and she’s deemed an ungrateful scrooge, black-listed from every Ugly Sweater Party in town (can this hideous hipster trend stop, anyway?).  So she winds up skipping around town, silencing her feelings whilst carrying a dangerously swollen balloon until it pops. And she snaps. And it’s not pretty.

I don’t want you to carry the weight of repressed emotions with you this holiday season, so today, I’m here to guide you in the learning process of gently releasing the air in our balloons so you can have the free, fierce and fabulous holiday season you deserve.

And remember, if you feel like no one loves you this holiday season, remember: I might not know you, but I LOVE YOU.


The Silver Factory Girl

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