Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been experimenting with my anxiety lately. In a non-pharmaceutical way.

Before Dr. Laura left for Europe—thankfully she's back and I have session on Wednesday, which will have to be conducted via Bluetooth as I will be making the perilous trek to Jax—she and Melnick had a chat and came to the same conclusions about me and my mishegas.

They concurred on one pivotal issue of mine: fear of success. This was a complete shock to me. Fear of success? In my mind it's always been a fear of failure. Natch, this revelation had me navel-gazing even more. Financial success? The respect of my peers? Fame? Power? WTF. Anyway, so the two shrinks agree. Stephanie has a paralyzing fear of success and that's what's holding her back from getting her second book out there.

Uh, does this make sense to anyone? If it were up to me, I'd say I'd always had more of a fear of rejection after the debacle that was Dishalicious, the book. Then again, after the Big C, I've had the attitude of "If you don't want me, go fuck yourselves." But it's easy to say that to regular people, to 'say' that or have that attitude professionally—to agents, publishers etc—not so much.

Soo after this bicoastal meeting of the minds ocurred, I had a lot to think about. I went into Chad that week. The pain in the scapula was back. That's where the stress goes now; right back to where the pain was post-mastectomy. Our minds and bodies are certainly in constant communication. I can fucking prove that shit after the past year.

So, Chad (acupuncturist for those of you not intimately acquainted with my 'team):

"So what's up,what's going on?"

"My scapula is killing me. What the fuck? Why is the stress still going there? Oh, and I'm peeing a lot. Plus I have this throat/cough/flegm thing that I'm hoping is just my period."

He does his feeling thing, seeing what energy-related vibes he can pick up.

"Well, that meridian is definitely blocked."

"But why there? Like what is that connected to?"

I'm paraphrasing, because I don't know all about "The Four Elements" and what each one means. I just listen to Chad.

Well, he says, the scapula is connected to the bladder meridian so the peeing a lot thing is definitely related to that. And this meridian relates to the fire element.

"And what's that one about."

"Like, your fire in life, your passion. Your body is telling you that you're not doing what your supposed to be doing. Or a path your supposed to be following." he says.

"Like my career? The work on my book that I'm not doing?"

"Could be that, could definitely be that."

"Dude, that's fucking weird," and I tell him that only that week did my therapists reach the same sort of conclusion. That I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing with the book because of my fear of success and I psych myself out and self-sabotage and make a vicious circle blah blah blah.

So I take all this to heart. That my anxiety is caused by the fact that I'm not doing what I need to be doing and therefore I reason that I can alleviate the scapula-centered stress by writing. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. And copied and pasted video dialogue and blogs and hunkered down—at least my version of hunkering down. In about two weeks the manuscript has gone from 240-ish pages to 290-ish. I've been cranking the shit out.

As in—leave it to me to be so literal in my interpretation of all this—when I feel the pain start, I sit down and work on the book. Really, every time. But the fucking ball of stress is still in my scapula and not only that, the throat thing is still there and now I'm so anxious I'm having night sweats. So, working on book—check. Acknowledging my 'fear of success'—check. Taking care of business—check. Alleviation of stress? No. My fucking scapula is KILLING me. Writing does nothing. Even Xannies and Klons are doing nothing. Now, I'm trying everything. I'm about to go to Equinox for the second time today for a yoga class.

And then another, even more interesting interpretation went off lightbulb-style in my head today as I was driving to the gym attempting to get rid of my stress.

What if—in addition to my career—the 'passion' in my fire element that Chad spoke of isn't all career-related. What if it's actually romantic passion he's talking about? (Both shrinks concur that I must 'get out there' re men again and stop "defining your identity with cancer.") Dr. Laura—I'm not kidding—encourages masturbation. While Melnick prefers to tell me, in nearly every session that "you need to get laid. Seriously, you need your pipes cleaned."

I've been brushing off that advice for more than a year now. "Getting out there"—how much do we hate that term—was the last on my list. I've de-feminized myself to the point of no return almost. If guys flirt with me, I don't even pick up on it. It's visceral. Like, the thought that a guy would even be interested in me doesn't even cross my mind. I don't notice hot guys. Nothing. I shut that part of my life down. Completely. Not purposefully, but having your tits chopped off is going to fuck with you in some way, clearly.

Saturday night while we were out for Laura's bach party, I was sitting at a club with the girls at the end of the night. This dude was dancing in front of me—we went to see the Spam All Stars who are def worth checking out—and turned around and asked me to dance. My first thought was: "me? Why?" I know, it's sick. I said something about my feet hurting but he kept asking and I kept saying no. I'm not a big dancer anyway and certainly not with strange men.

Lindsay was sitting next to me and said, "The next time a guy asks you to dance, you're dancing."

I'm not big on metaphors, but I think that's a pretty good one. And now I have that "I hope you dance" song in my head. Alright, no time to edit or spell check—I'm running to yoga.