A former Live Wire! host’s account of the year she spent facing the “sometimes crippling anxiety” that ruled her life.
Hameister had always been a “toe-dipper. A cringe-r. A wait-and-see-er.” Yet few people knew, just as they did not know that she struggled with generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. After suffering an especially massive anxiety attack in the spring of 2013, the author not only stepped down from her position at Live Wire!; she also decided to “do things that scared me and then write about them.” She began by facing her fear of enclosed spaces and the darkness by going into a sensory deprivation tank. Her success inspired her to push forward into another realm that was especially terrifying to her: dating. The 40-something Hameister, who had struggled with weight issues for most of her life, had only had relationships with two people, both of whom she met through friends. The author was able to find dates online, but her ever present neurosis led her to create a spreadsheet (that she later dispensed with) to help sort through and rank all her options. After enduring the agony of a Brazilian wax to boost her body confidence, she had encounters with an array of men, including a polyamorous “ethical slut” and a bald jazz DJ most memorable for his ability to see past Hameister’s uncontrollable nervous sweating. Her other “firsts” included a pot-smoking session that ended in hospitalization, a deeper plunge into the world of polyamory, a visit to a swinger’s club, an hour with a professional cuddler, and a class in oral sex. Her edgy adventures unexpectedly led to a relationship with a quiet father of two teenage children who gave her the acceptance she thought she would never find. The author not only chronicles how she faced her inner demons and won; she also offers a reminder that doing even the smallest thing to conquer fear “is enough to change a lot.”
A fresh, intelligent memoir.