"Stephanie, I think we have mice." My feet were up on the chair before I could compose a response. "Yeah, I really think we must have mice. There’s no other explanation for this." Phil then shows me a half-full pint of rocky road ice cream.
"THAT’S NOT FUNNY! Don’t do that! Did you see how fast my feet just went up?"
"Well, there’s no way I ate all that."
"Don’t do that! Why would you do that? If I opened the freezer and found that you’d had some ice cream do you really think I’d come to you and ask you why you’d been eating it?!"
"Yeah, but this was my ice cream, Stephanie. Yours is that one with the fruit in it." I might as well be living in office space. I want to stab him. I tell him so. "Leave me alone! I’m a total stress case and I don’t need you giving me shit about how much ice cream I’ve eaten. Do you know how surprisingly easy it is to work my way through a pint in one sitting? Now seriously, go away because you stress me out, and there’s not enough ice cream in our freezer to deal with you right now."
The fact of the matter is, I am ridiculously depressed. I am stressed out. The muscles in my neck feel like shells. I am miserable. I am stressed, so stressed, worried about so many things. Things I haven’t had the strength to write about. Things I’ve shared with only three of my friends and my father. The rest of my family, my friends, everyone… no one knows because I haven’t had the ability, the composure, the strength to speak, or write about it even. I feel like I’m failing at everything. And the last thing I need is another goddamn to-do list. Phil goes over things with me, things I cannot let slip. Have you paid this bill? Have you written this email? Have you contacted this one? Have you written that yet? I have way too much on my plate right now, and I need help. It’s not the kids, it’s all the work. It’s magazine articles, interviews, marketing, pitches, updates, and it’s all very taxing. I KNOW these are good problems to have. I definitely know. But I’m overwhelmed, and I don’t know how to get away, to take a break, to start over. I’m so frightened that my book sales won’t be what they should be, that no one will come to my readings, that I could have done more. That I won’t know what to do next. I realize this is the fear of almost all authors, even the best of them. Still, it all weighs on you. It’s self-imposed pressure, and in the meanwhile, there are more speeches to give, more interviews, more articles, more appearances, and less balance (whatever the hell that is). Ice cream isn’t the answer, but neither is hearing "ice cream isn’t the answer." I swear when someone says that, I want to pull out one of my childhood moves.
When my parents were away on vacation, and our housekeeper was staying with us, I took this clear baby bottle that belonged to one of my sister’s dolls, and I took a shit into the bottle. I crammed it in there. And to make matters all the more appalling, I then twisted the cap back on. I don’t know why I did this, other than wanting so badly to see Lea’s face when she realized her baby’s bottle was filled with human feces. It’s absolutely grotesque… and that’s how I feel right now… like I need my sister, like I need someone to help me laugh through all this and get to the other side.