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?
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
Life isn’t always as lovely and simple as the endless stream of Facebook status updates bedazzling our news feeds might suggest (side note: in my twenty-something years, I’ve learned that the majority of social media’s most incessant positive posters are some of the most panic-stricken, jangly people in real life. I digress).
Sometimes it’s just not a #beautiful, #perfect day. Some of us aren’t holding court in our #dreamjobs. Most of us haven’t found our #soulmate and instead are attempting to heal our bruised hearts whilst living the #singlelife. It seems as if we only ever virtually express the things that make us happy, and on those difficult days, when we feel confused, broken or fragile — we retreat deep within ourselves.
Internet culture has a way of shaming us for our inherently human feelings of being lost or off-kilter, so we silence our discontent. Swallowing our troubled thoughts only leaves us feeling painfully alone. This crushing, self-inflicted isolation is what makes it seem as if no one in the world could possibly understand what it is we’re going through (when in fact, chances are that the smiling brunette in the silver cocktail dress two barstools to the right is dealing with the exact same thing and is dying for a friend to relate to. In fact, she’s probably me).
I decided it was time I, Factory Girl, put my leather-boot-clad foot down against this growing epidemic of emotional suppression! I took to the turbulent trio of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and opened up a forum urging those seeking advice to open up. For about four days, I collected anonymous questions running the gamut from career inquisitions to cheating boyfriends to wedding attire.
Lucky for you, darling, my advice-savvy older (and wiser) brother, Blake Barrie, happened to be in town from Los Angeles and was willing and eager to offer his services. Whenever I find myself in the throes of a meltdown and am wrestling with issues (out-of-control fear and paralyzing self-doubt tend to torture this anxious soul on the reg), the first person I turn to is Big Brother Blake.
He provides me with that kick-ass older-brother perspective — the perfect mix of active problem-solving with a mega dose of reality and just the right amount of pep-talk. It’s a fantastic point of view that I’m #blessed (couldn’t help myself) to have, and feel oh-so-compelled to share with all of you.
Blake’s no therapist, but he’s the best listener I’ve ever met, totally free of judgment and blissfully comfortable discussing any given subject matter. Also, in typical Barrie fashion, he’s made a TON of mistakes in his short lifetime, thus learning a thing or two the hard way. Trust me, girl, it’s those of us with the most sordid of pasts that will provide you with the wisest of advice. Nothing quite like hands-on experience.
The main reason I wanted to do an advice vlog was to create a dialogue about unresolved issues pr problems you might be facing (big or small). Again, we’re not therapists or counselors; we just want to talk, really. We want you to know that you’re not alone. We live in such an isolating age where the majority of our interactions take place within the static glow of a screen. We’re constantly bombarded by our Facebook “friends” list, forever proclaiming how perfect their worlds are. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one feeling stuck in the mud.
But remember, a lot of people use social media as a tool to portray the lives they wish they had. Virtual reality is not reality. The most polished, seemingly together social-media sirens are worried about their boyfriends cheating on them, too. The girl with 1,000+ stunningly beautiful #nomakeup selfies is riddled with anxiety about her future, just like you and I. Hopefully, like me, you’ll take comfort in that.
The Silver Factory Girl
I’ve possessed a very real love for makeup artistry my entire life. It’s in my bones, for my family’s been rooted in the cosmetic industry since we took our first steps off the boat at Ellis Island.
In my early 20s, I attended the Make-up Designory (the self-proclaimed Harvard of makeup schools) in SoHo, Manhattan. I’ve painted faces in London, New York and Los Angeles. Each morning, I look forward to climbing out of bed and experimenting with the diverse array of textures and colors that reside within the confines of my massive leather-bound makeup case.
I associate a new lip color with an important life change. After a traumatic breakup, I always head straight to the M.A.C. counter and treat myself to a bold statement lipstick, and as soon as that powerful, fresh color touches my lips, I immediately feel like a brand new woman — a refreshed and empowered version of myself.
Makeup gives us the ability to transform in an awesome, temporary way (unlike the permanence of dramatic haircut). As humans, we’re complex and multi-faceted creatures. We feel so very different on different days, so why should we look the same every day? Makeup is an emotional craft. I’ve had women cry (I swear I’m not embellishing) after seeing themselves for the first time in red lipstick.
It’s hard to explain how empowering it is to unapologetically own a new look — to allow makeup to bring out a hidden trait of your unique personality. It’s powerful to channel all the different parts of yourself, and makeup gives you the ability to do that. I encourage you to play, play play with makeup, regardless of your age or gender.
The Silver Factory Girl
Call me a naive little minx, but it has only recently come to my attention that our community connects fabulousness with wealth. Rumors such as this are dangerous and soul-crushing, tempting me to withdraw from this cruel, cold world and instead live my life within a protective Factory Girl bubble. Being fabulous has nothing to do with having a full bank account; in fact, some of the most fresh personalities I know happen to be the most broke. As the late Oscar Wilde once wisely said: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” (I highly recommend smugly repeating this quote when justifying a reckless purchase)
Okay, so maybe you’re finding yourself in a bit of financial crisis (like me), and you’ve been brainwashed into thinking you must retire your fierce lifestyle in order to make ends meet. I get it — I used to feel the same way! However, this is absolutely NOT the truth. Being fabulous is a quality that comes from deep within, and suppressing this essential part of oneself is just plain unhealthy.
I, Factory Girl, have more than a decade (a lady never reveals her age) under my belt of experience in living a pretty fierce lifestyle with a perpetually bleak bank account. I’m here today to help show you how it’s entirely possible to live large and in charge, regardless of your economic situation. My intentions are pure and for the greater good of society, for I’ve grown weary of seeing so many electric people blow their fuse when stuffing down their inner fabulous child.
Remember, money can buy you a lot of things; trips, planes, a plethora of Chanel purses, a house and sometimes a few pretty “friends.” But money can never buy you fabulousness (or class for that matter). Living the fabulous, chic life takes creativity above anything. Which is why I wrangled my favorite broke b*tich in crime, Eduardo Anaya, and made this little video. I’m ready to see all my budgeted brothers and sisters out there living their lives, fully and fiercely!
A breakup can really throw a person off kilter. When you’re used to having a partner to help you combat this cruel, cold world, it’s massively devastating to suddenly wake up vulnerable and alone. Clenching your jaw and clutching your pillow only serves as a brutal reminder of how alone and pathetic your life has become. You feel as if you’re a raw open wound that anything can creep into and infect. You sob and sing (simultaneously) in your car, whilst blasting high-school music, you heavily drink on an empty stomach, you numb-out, wake up in stranger’s beds, have a VERY short-fuse and insist on rocking your most ratchet outfits to social events (you might even find yourself closing down Smoking Joe’s seven nights per week, mascara streaming down your face and into your whiskey).
I know all of this from my loaded (and quite questionable) past. Factory Girl is a highly emotional, dramatic being (shocker!) who has LIVED (I should have an honorary master’s degree in living, really). In my 27 years, I’ve experienced a (large) handful of passionate relationships that have culminated in fiery breakups (it’s always highs and lows over here — we don’t understand the whole “balanced” business).
Through my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned a very important lesson that I will be selfless enough to share with the masses (at no charge, because despite popular opinion, I’m super kind): When you’re in a breakup, you’re actually in a very powerful place. Your world needs to come crashing down into a million shards of glass in order for you to pick up the pieces and rebuild your life the way you want it, as an individual. Now is the time to do whatever you want. One of the glorious parts of being in extreme pain is the case of the “eff its” that come with it. Your world is broken, so who cares what anyone else thinks? Now is the time to cut your hair, speak your mind, take an improv class, take a career risk, get a tattoo, skinny dip, tell off someone you don’t care for, have a stiff drink and truly think for yourself. And that’s a powerful place to be. So screw relationships; you’re much more interesting (and chic) as a wild individual than an uptight Stepford wife who has to go home at 10 p.m.