Party Girls Don't Get Hurt

by Natalie Windle 16 days ago in addiction

Processing a party girl persona via Sia's "Chandelier"

Party Girls Don't Get Hurt

When I was 16 years old, I hated people who drank or did anything mind-altering. I looked at them as weak, having no self-control.

No one in my family really drank. I was obsessed with learning about drugs and how horrible they were in elementary school. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to break from reality.

I watched Kimmy from Full House get blackout wasted and almost lose her friendship with DJ. I watched Jessie Spano get wacked out on diet pills and spiral out of control. And that “this is your brain on drugs” commercial with the cracked eggs in a pan haunted me in my sleep.

But something happened to me when my high school boyfriend started drinking. He knew I was totally against it, and told me he was too. Until he did what most teenagers do—started drinking with his friends to see what it was like. One time, I smelled beer on his breath and he lied to me. I was furious.

And then he cheated on me. I was devastated.

I never felt so uncool in my entire life. Ugly. Not good enough. Not fun enough. Too much of a prude.

I broke up with him. Summer before my senior year of high school, I had my first Smirnoff Ice. It tasted like a dream and I felt amazing. I felt cool.

Then I got back together with my ex. He started college that fall since he was a year older than me. I couldn’t wait to show him how cool I was now. I was “different.” I snuck to his college and brought my friends and we got hammered off Natty Ice at frat parties.

I was less uptight. I wanted so desperately for him to stay faithful to me and blamed my un-fun self for the cheating.

Which was real stupid, because he went on to cheat on me several more times. Regardless of how cool I was, how drunk funny his friends thought I was. Regardless of how much I strived to become that party girl who everyone loved.

And you’d think that since I realized that being a party girl wasn’t what was keeping my boyfriend around, I’d stop. I’d find someone who liked me for who I really was. Realize that I could be confident and funny without being numb.

But it was too powerful by then.

Party girls don't get hurt

Can't feel anything, when will I learn

I push it down, push it down

Fast forward to my mid-twenties.

I went through a lot in my early adult years. I went into treatment and into recovery for my eating disorder. I was in another relationship with a guy who was the picture-perfect image of the cookie-cutter “perfect guy.” Great job, great looks, homeowner, great friends, provider, smart, good family, etc.

But I was bored out of my mind. He was older and ready to settle down. I was younger and needed to get a LOT out of my system. I needed to find myself BY myself.

When we broke up, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to run away from everything.

I moved into a shitty apartment in the city. Found new friends. And quickly found out what the adult party scene was like. It was a far cry from the basement parties I went to in college. Way more interesting that drinking at friend’s BBQs. It hooked me immediately.

I'm the one "for a good time call"

Phone's blowin' up, they're ringin' my doorbell

I feel the love, feel the love

I went to bars alone. Met the weirdest fucking people. Went to parties on Monday nights at the most random places. Got praise for my singing voice (which never came out unless I was hammered).

Dated great people and terrible people. Fell asleep in public. Made a lot of people mad at me. Made a lot of people laugh. Made new friends. Said things I regretted. Did things I didn’t remember. Embarrassed myself. Received several party girl accolades.

I was so good at being the life of the party. It was easier than being sober because I hated who I was sober. And I didn’t care about the bad things that were happening because being seen as popular was more worth it to me. I didn’t want to listen to who I really was because I couldn’t stand her.

I was boring. I was ugly. I was uptight. Not fun enough. Not good enough.

One, two, three, one, two, three, drink

One, two, three, one, two, three, drink

One, two, three, one, two, three, drink

Throw em back, till I lose count

I hit a rock bottom eventually after about a year of living this way, because lifestyles like this have a shelf life. I was in jeopardy of not completing my master’s degree program. I was barely making my rent because I was spending all of my money going out. I was late paying my credit cards. I was stuck at a miserable job because I had no energy to try to find a new one.

I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist

Like it doesn't exist

I'm gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry

I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I'm holding on for dear life, won't look down won't open my eyes

Keep my glass full until morning light, 'cause I'm just holding on for tonight

Help me, I'm holding on for dear life, won't look down won't open my eyes

Keep my glass full until morning light, 'cause I'm just holding on for tonight

On for tonight

I went back home. I had no choice. I cleaned myself up.

Finished my masters. Found a new job. Started working out five times a week. Moved back out on my own.

I felt like I was a real adult, properly functioning in society.

Sun is up, I'm a mess

Gotta get out now, gotta run from this

Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

But even now in my mid-30s, I’m still a party girl to some extent. There’s still a comfort there in putting on that version of me when I feel like I’m grasping for confidence.

Sure, I’ve scrutinized my experiences, but I feel like I still have so much to process.

Like why I get itchy in alcohol-free social settings with a lot of small talk. Why corporate events just go better with booze. Why it feels like the best nights with my best friends are after several bottles of wine and drunken, woke revelations.

I’m really not sure what the point of me writing all of this is, other than to show you that the reasons why people get caught up in partying are as unique as the people themselves. And that you can’t have a black and white attitude towards it, or assume everyone who parties is an out of control addict.

Just because you party and are trying to figure out why you do shouldn’t then place you in a box with a specific label.

If you’re struggling with why you feel like you need to drink/get high/use whatever you prefer to cope with life, you’re certainly not alone. And it makes me real sad that there’s no real platform for people to talk about this stuff outside of completely abstaining or going to rehab.

There’s a large group of the population that I KNOW feels just like me. I know because they’re my friends. They’re family members. People I care very deeply about.

All I really know for sure is that I am learning to look at my party girl personality with a kind heart and a softness. She’s a party girl sober, too. And that really is good enough.

Because the reality is—although party girls don’t get hurt in the moment, they get their asses handed to them in the sober light of reality.

addiction
Natalie Windle
Natalie Windle
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