I don't know about YOU, but I'm sick and tired of the all of these picture-perfect girls on Instagram, with their perfect fitness routines, their perfectly unmussed ponytails ,their perfectly white teeth, and their perfectly photographed green kale smoothies, all with captions telling me how #Blessed they are.
Now, as we approach the New Year, these same girls are polluting my news feed with a laundry list of unsolicited advice, lecturing me on how I, too, can attain their unattainable bodies and lives. STOP telling me what to eat for f*cking breakfast. Let me eat my bagel in peace.
If they want to live on a raw diet and wear Lululemon leggings and post their aspirational photos every single day highlighting how perfect they are, that's totally fine. But I'm far less interested in juice cleansing and filtering away the sadness than I am in examining where this sadness came from in the first place.
I suffer from depression every day of my life. And I know some of you struggle, too. And you know why we struggle? Because we're wildly creative, out-of-the-box, complicated, gorgeously imperfect girl creatures.
We're teeming with emotion, creativity and endless energy. We think deeply about things. We've been through sh*t, and we're going through sh*t. And we are far more dynamic and multifaceted than Ms. Instagram.
So I've come up with a list of super-real, unapologetic personal resolutions to make me a stronger version of myself in 2016. Let's make 2016 the year the real girl rises.
1. I want to learn to meditate, not self-medicate.
I had my first anxiety attack after a night of doing cocaine with some creepy older boys when I was 16 years old. Now I'm 29 and clean, but anxiety and depression continue to be a perpetual battle for me.
While I don't binge drink as destructively I did in my early 20s, I still rely more than I wish I did on that trusty glass of Sauvignon blanc to quell my social anxiety or to ease a hectic day.
But stuffing the feelings down isn't serving me anymore. I don't want to be that girl who needs to rely on chemicals because she can't handle the weight of her feelings. I want to find healthier ways to deal with the sadness.
But I need to find new methods that will help me calm down naturally in 2016.
2. I want to learn to cope without a Xanax in my purse.
I rarely leave the house without a Xanax tucked into my Chanel bag. Cliché as all hell, I know. It's almost funny: Upper East Side New Yorker hoards pills in the hidden folds of her designer bag.
While I rarely take the pretty blue pill, I take far too much comfort in knowing it's in there.
Every morning, I contemplate not putting it into my purse. The strong girl inside of me says, "You don't f*cking need that sh*t."
But the fearful girl bites back. "What if you get stuck in an elevator? What if you have another panic attack on the train?"
I'm done with listening to the fear. It's time for me to let badass Zara raise her voice and tell fearful Zara to shut up.
3. I want to stop running away from new feelings.
4. I want to have as many orgasms as possible.
You know what's better than any drug or any drink in the stratosphere? Orgasms. It doesn't matter if I give them to myself or if my girlfriend gives them to me. I want to experience as many mind-blowing, toe-tingling, earth-shattering orgasms as possible in 2016.
After all, orgasms are biology's most powerful form of meditation, right?
5. I want to leave the past in the past.
I'm sick of the past dictating my future. I'm sick of the pain of past relationships, the scary experiences I had in my early 20s, the decade-long wars against my body creeping their way into the present.
While I will never, ever forget the hard things that have happened to me, I refuse to let them keep affecting me the way they currently are.
You know why? Because I've learned this year that just because people have hurt us doesn't mean we have to hurt ourselves. The best way to get back at our abusers is to let all the pain make us stronger, fiercer and more empathetic versions of ourselves.
6. I want to speak up, even if my voice is shaking.
In 2015, I spoke up much more than I ever have. But I'm still not where I want to be.
A woman's voice is the most powerful weapon in the world, but girls are always taught to just "go with the flow" and be the "chill girl."
Well, f*ck that. I'm not chill.
How can I be chill when there is so much injustice in the world? I'm tired of not speaking up when something is wrong or someone is being mistreated. I'm tired of sitting on the bleachers. I'm a girl, and I want to get in the game.
7. I want to present myself in a real way.
I'm sick of everyone being one person on social media and an entirely different one in real life. Seeing a bunch of girls with six-pack abs under meticulously perfect lighting doesn't make me or anyone I know feel better about our lives.
I want to reveal the real me — in life, online, in my articles, with my friends. I want to talk about my good days and my bad days. To make authentic connections, even if it means revealing my flaws.
8. I want to be a rock for anyone who needs one.
It sounds like a cliche, but I genuinely want to be there for all the girls and boys who feel lost and unloved, self-destructive and scarred, traumatized and depressed and sick. Because I've been there. But I battled my demons in silence because I was too ashamed to speak up.
I want to be the big sister for them that I so desperately needed in the thick of my teens and early 20s. I want people to feel like they can talk to me in a real way and know that I will truly listen, that I'm rooting for them and even if I don't know them, I really f*cking love them.
What resolutions are you making to improve your mental health this year?