Party Girl Pain: Signs You’ve Been Going Too Hard

I came flying out of my mother’s glitter-adorned womb a bonafide, party girl. I come from a powerful lineage of hard-partying women, dating back generations and generations before me.

I’m one of those poor, unfortunate entities whose skin simply ~sparkles~ in the moonlight. I look good clutching a glass of champagne. The first time I lit up a ciggie and released smoke from my lips, it came out in a perfect, graceful, goddamn circle

I’m not ashamed of being a party girl (anymore). I’ve reclaimed the term “party girl,” snatched it away from the Paris Hiltons of the world who have rendered it a vapid and uncultured slur, and placed it back in the hands of those to whom it rightfully deserves: The stunning misfits. The genius rockstar DJs. The wisecrackin’ bartenders dolling out strong drinks and sage advice night after night. The drag kings and the drag queens. The pretty girls with dark pasts who glimmer in spite of their traumatic pasts. 

These are my people. And regardless of their gender, I deem them all party girls. Because “party girl” is an energy more than anything else. If you were born with an intoxicating flame that follows you around wherever you go — you’re a party girl.

However, sometimes us party girls abuse the party favors. And when we do, our gorgeous light is at high-risk of being snuffed out by all the drugs and booze and energy vampires that lurk beneath the glitter of the party. Which is why collectively, us party girls need to keep each other in check. So party girl to party girl, I’m going to give you three surefire signs that it’s time to take a well-needed BREAK from the party. Otherwise, the party just might break you.

1. You’re waking up feeling depressed and anxious most days.

I always know that I’ve been partying way too hard when I wake up feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by the insufferable shackles of anxiety and depression, most mornings.

Yes, depression and anxiety are indeed, real disorders that can penetrate our precious bodies without the presence of drinking/drugs – however.

Let’s get real with ourselves for a moment. If you’re drinking like you’re going to the electric chair five nights a week and indulging in the occasional (or not so occasional) bump of that gleaming white powder and also feeling like your soul is being crushed by a hammer every single day — let me assure you — the sadness you’re experiencing is most definitely being exacerbated by your extra-curricular activities.

In fact, it might be the root of the darkness. 

Example: I experienced a severe psychiatric breakdown when I was 24, living in London. It was so bad that I would sob and vomit in the bathroom at work (which was a ~true blast~ especially as I was working as a professional makeup artist in a bougie department store). When I would home from work, I would feel tripped out by simply looking at the texture of the brick buildings that lined the streets of West London. Flowers began to look demonic.

I was living inside an incessant panic attack and my life was beginning to feel like one bad acid trip. I was pretty sure I had gone absolutely bonkers and would never lead a normal life again. I mean, when flowers start to look evil and textured patterns make you want to dig your nails into your flesh; you start to ponder whether or not your sanity will ever return.

I was also, subsequently, getting black-out drunk almost every single night during that really healthy time in my life. I was finally was peeled off the ground by a family friend, taken to a doctor and prescribed a lovely little medication called Cipralex (which I later found out is what we call Lexapro in the United States). 

I also began to lay off the booze. I realized that the cluster-fuck of panic attacks I was experiencing was a by-product of my booze-swilling, pill-popping lifestyle.

How do I know my depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety wasn’t simply rectified by the new antidepressants I was prescribed? 

Because I started blackout drinking again, babe. I lived in London. Blackout drinking is par for the course over there. And eventually, even when hopped up on Cipralex, shit got bad again. Not “freaky flower” bad, but “afraid to leave the house” bad.

And guess what? When I curbed the drinking, shit got good again. I’m certain that drugs and alcohol absolutely make all the mental issues swirling through my body so much worse. 

Did you know, my sweet little sister, that alcohol is an actual, real-life depressant? And that when you drink it you might feel all cozy and calm inside but it comes with a dramatic rebound effect the next day that will send even the most Zen yogi Instagram bitch spiraling down an endless tunnel of sadness and shame? 

(And all that coke/Adderall you might be dabbling with as well? Don’t even get me started on the chemical depression one can experience after a night of cocaine/Adderall or any other type of speed. What comes up must come down. If you’re going to soar that high up in the sky you’re inevitably going to fall SPLAT into the ugly, cold pavement, hard. And it will hurt like hell. No chemical high comes without a hefty price.)

2. You’re UNCLEAR about how you feel about everything in your life.

I’m going to fire some questions at you: “Do you like your job?” “Do you love the city that you live in?” “Are you in love with your partner?” “How do you feel, in general about where you are in your life?” If these questions completely overwhelmed little ole’ you because you just don’t know the answers to anything right now, it might be time to take a little ~booze-free~ holiday. I’m not saying you need to say no to that gorgeous glass of champagne forever (that’s not up for me to decide), but taking a little time away from those sweet, little alcoholic bubbles just might help you find some clarity, babe.

Let me explain: When you’re drunk, you’re seeing the world through a pretty Instagram filter. Everything looks SO MUCH BETTER with a filter slapped over it, right? The sky looks bluer. Your skin looks tanner. You might even look thinner. But the pesky thing about filters is this: They’re not real. They’ve been altered. And in your case, they’re being altered by booze (and we can’t stay drunk forever, sadly).

Example: One time after drinking for five consecutive days in Palm Springs, I slurred to my darling friend  M*: “Let’s quit our jobs and learn how to spray tan! Let’s start a spray tan business!”

“That sounds like a great idea!” She slurred back to me. In our drunken glory ditching our hard-earned careers behind to spray tan sounded like the best idea, we’d ever had! However, when the vicious sunlight came pouring through the hotel room curtains and we were left clutching our pounding heads in our trembling hands, the pretty bronze filter was gone. It was replaced by the ugliest, sepia-colored filter to ever exist. If drinking covers the world in a soft-focus filter where everything looks gorgeous and nothing hurts, hangovers do the opposite. They make everything look ugly, ugly, ugly and feel painful, painful, painful. Their ugliness makes you feel extreme, panic-stricken, emotions, that are not rooted in reality. “I hate my job and I would hate spray tanning more!” I growled to no one in particular, as I struggled to lift my head from the pillow.

I quickly learned that when you’re living a life of perpetual drunkenness/hung-overness nothing you see or feel is real. And even taking a mere month off of drinking will take those crazy, harsh, hazy filters off your life and let you see yourself as you truly are. You’ll be able to see if the colors that make up your life are actually pleasing to your eyes, or hideous. And if they’re hideous you’ll be able to make active changes in your super-clear head, that will lead you to an authentically happier life. 

3. You’ve been forgetting the end of your nights….

If anyone understands the trauma of a colossal black-out it’s moi. I’m not proud of it. I don’t condone it. And I sure as hell am not glamorizing it (PSA: Speaking honestly about something is very different than endorsing it, internet police). Between you, me and the family, I’ve had more black-outs than I care to count on all ten of my freshly gel-polished nails. The number of times I’ve awoken in a cold sweat, rolled over and nervously texted my best friend “Uh, how did we get home last night?” shakes me to my core.

The amount of traumatic events I’ve experienced when blacked-out — fragmented memories I only remember in brief flashes — tiny pieces of nights that are so murky and strange that I’m not sure if they’re real or nothing but a drug-fueled dream — makes my toes curl in fear, my gut reel in shame and my heart shatter for my younger self.

Example: For a long time, I thought everyone had black-outs. I thought completely losing your memory when drinking was simply par for the party girl course. Until I started casually bringing it up to coworkers who were outside of my hard-partying circle. “I can’t remember if I cabbed home or took the train home, last night! I had a total blackout!” I casually announced to the group of girls I worked with on a cosmetics counter about ten years ago.

“Um, I’ve never blacked-out, that’s really scary” a coworker responded, raising her plush brows in concern.

“Really?” I asked her, bewildered. Never blacked out? 

“Yes,” she answered firmly. Well, she’s just a prim bitch I thought to myself smugly.

“Neither have I.” Squeaked another girl I worked with, a girl who definitely hit the clubs hard.

“I did once. In high school” another piped up.

One by one everyone confessed that they had either never blacked out, or had blacked out once or twice.

Suddenly it hit me, blacking out is like, NOT NORMAL AT ALL.

And when it suddenly becomes your normal, it’s definitely time to take a break from the ole’ booze. It’s time to breathe, ground yourself and be present in the gorgeous moment. The longer you’re present and alert to your surroundings the more you will realize how precious you are and how all this blacking out is like playing Russian roulette with your life.

And you were put on this earth to do extraordinary things. All party girls are. Channel that flame into something that sets the world on fire, not yourself on fire.

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