Why My Ripped Stockings Are The Perfect Metaphor For My Life

by Zara Barrie

My name is Zara Barrie, and I’m completely obsessed with and enamored of my stealth collection of TIGHTS.

Tights, stockings, hosiery -- refer to them in whatever way you so dearly wish -- as long as they make their way down the contents of my legs, they’re the object of my style adoration.

I don’t discriminate in my choice of tights either. I blissfully enjoy the sensual sophistication of sheer black stockings, bask in the punk rock, in-your-face sexiness of fishnets, find nostalgia in the retro glam of thick matte tights reminiscent of Twiggy and the late Edie Sedgwick (two of my style icons).

I get lost in the luxuriously seductive lure of lace and enjoy the sultry sweetness of my favorite see-through stockings, which are smattered, with a perfect pattern of tiny black hearts (tiny black hearts are a metaphor in and of itself.).

Tights make me feel comfortable in my sexuality, for I’m just the right amount of exposed.

Accessories are so very different to clothes. Accessories are what set women apart from one another.

Accessories are a direct reflection of a woman’s individuality, a homage to her life's experience, mile markers of the past that hold on to memories so precious she chooses to carry a piece of their sentiment with her wherever she goes.

And tights are my accessories of choice.

The irony is this: My tights are always torn.

Sometimes they’re smattered with minuscule little runs noticeable only to a highly sensitive, hypercritical eye. Other times they bare a slew of shameless tears exposing my surface of my bare skin.

Sometimes I cultivate the holes in my stockings, creating them myself, tearing into the fragile nylon fabric with my very own nails because the ever-wise phenomenal writer that is Augusten Burroughs once said:

Do not wait for the healing to arrive. It will never come. The holes will never leave or be filled with anything at all. “But holes are interesting things.

Big or small, self-created or by life’s happenstance -- I love my ripped tights. My ripped tights serve as the perfect metaphor for my perfectly imperfect life.

Because things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Sometimes when I’m sitting sleepily at my desk, my eyes will catch a glimpse of my thighs adorned in intricate lace stockings, and I find myself mesmerized by the intricacy of the fabric. Lace is beautiful, even with holes.

And so is life.

It took far too long for me realize this. I spent too many years attempting to cover up my flaws, my scars, my fears, my quirks, my soul-crushing shame and shackling anxieties.

It got to a point where my whole life felt like a farce.

I dangerously exhausted myself trying to achieve the “perfect” body, the “perfect” look, the “perfect” style and the “perfect” answers.

I felt like if anyone saw me as the imperfect creature I was, no one would ever think I was beautiful.

Society teaches us we have to emulate an unattainable, shiny, Barbie doll existence in order to be deemed beautiful, and we must be “beautiful” in order to be worthy of love.

When, in fact, the so very opposite is true. Truth is beauty, and truth is real, and real is flawed.

If people only love the perfectly curated version of me, they don’t really love me; they simply love the idea of me.

Save the fantasy of perfection for the silver screen; I want a real partner in my real life.

I want someone to gaze directly into my flaws, my scars, the tears in my tights -- and still find me beautiful -- because that is authentic love, the only kind in which I seek.

Because I’m both together and apart.

Though my tights are marred with smatterings of delicate tears, self-created holes and a slew of slender runs -- they still work. Flawed indeed, but gloriously functioning, just like me.

I’m not a perfect girl. I’m still haunted by painful memories of the past.

Some nights I find myself hopelessly sleepless, and some days I have to fight the urge to be self-destructive.

Other times I’m racked with breathless pangs of acute, ever-expanding pin pricks of anxiety that it takes everything within me to NOT pull my sheets over my head and hide from the cruel, cold world.

Some mornings I wake up with a warped body image, and other days I'm consumed with incessant, unwanted thoughts that torment my brain.

I’m generally a happy person, but on the rare days I feel hopeless or broken, I somehow always attain the wherewithal to get myself out of bed, get dressed, brush my teeth, make my way to the subway, hone in on my work, be a support system to the people I so dearly love, pay my bills and seek solace in quiet stolen moments.

My torn tights remind me I don’t have to be strung perfectly together in order to be alive, that I can, indeed, live an imperfect existence and still beautifully function as a human being.

My ripped stockings remind me it’s okay to not be okay.

Because I protect myself just enough.

My tights serve as a barrier between the cruel, cold world and myself. They protect me from the pressing chill of a New York winter and shield my skin from toxicities of the city.

It’s important for all women to protect themselves from the dangerous pitfalls of the world. The world is a scary place.

But when you’re wrapped up too tightly, swaddled in so many thick layers -- you’re staving out the bad, but you’re blocking out all the wondrous things too.

My torn tights remind me that while it’s necessary to be guarded, shielded and protected, I need to leave a little open space for new experiences.

Because the most sacred things are the most fragile.

I’m a visual creature. I love and need to surround myself with beautiful things: clothes, books, art, flowers -- expensive stockings.

My need for endless beauty goes far beyond the material. Real connections to genuine people are the single most important, valuable and irrepressibly BEAUTIFUL things in the universe to me.

My torn tights are there to remind me that beautiful things are fragile. They need to be tended to in order to stay alive.

They remind me that even though I know in the deepest part of my heart I'm a good person with pure intentions, I still carry the ability to hurt a person I care for, to ruin a precious relationship, to f*ck up something I loved and fought for.

My torn tights are the only things close to me I want to ever tear apart.

Because I want you to rip me a little more...

A tear in a stocking has a ripple effect. Once there is one tear, another easily manifests itself.

I crave my buttons to be pushed. I desire a person whose inherent mystique, thought-provoking opinions, wicked wit and fresh perspective obtain enough bite to tear a new hole in my stockings.

Rip me a little more.. I dare you.