This piece was first performed on September 16, 2021 at Parkside Lounge in New York City.

It is dedicated to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, five members of the US Supreme Court, and the 87th legislature of the state of Texas.

My body wants to bear children.

My body wants to bear children so badly, it will latch onto the tiniest seed of possibility, and it will grow a garden of it. I know this because it has tried. The body wants what it wants, and the body does not lie.

It is not a lie…


There’s no firm protocol for handling a relationship with a wayward parent. I’ve often wished there was, that in certain situations I could have looked at some flowchart optimized for a healthy father-daughter relationship — or at least peaceful coexistence — that would tell me what to do. I could choose from a list of finite options that, once chosen, stayed chosen. Those choices would have predictable, immovable consequences until the next choice is made. Much cleaner than the messes delinquent parents and their children tend to make. In my case, such a map might not have helped much anyway…


About a month ago, I shared a story about my recent bout with mania. It screwed up my life a whole lot! Since then, I’ve been slowly picking up the pieces — in my life and my brain. My workload shrank by about forty percent. I pulled out of an online certificate program that had just begun. My slow march towards health has also involved what I guess we’re now calling — thanks to the coronavirus — social distancing. This hasn’t been mandated by any institution, but it has been mandated by my own brain, and my own (temporary) limitations…


Let’s talk about mania, people! I was in it not too long ago. Someone once described my writing as “uncommonly honest,” so here we go, folks, an uncommonly honest conversation about my bipolar disorder.

Until January, I hadn’t had an episode in nearly ten (ten!) years. This was a big deal for me, and I thought my manic days were behind me. Bitch, you thought. A lot of forces contributed to taking me there, and they all pointed to the same basic idea: I needed to make some changes, and fast. I was so burned out, so lonely, and allowed…


Created by Freepix

The settling. The re-settling, letting nerves and bones and skin fall back into place. The watching. Resisting the urge to punish or force unnatural shapes at uncommon speed. It’s not waiting, this return to center, but to mistake it for waiting is easy. And the desire for easy is palpable. Pique energy and vigilant senses eventually yearn for a controlled fall. It’s physics, or something. But, keyword “controlled.” …


The protest started at 5pm on Thursday. By the time I got there at 5:05, a small group had begun to gather — chanting and holding signs in the air that read, “Kava-NOPE!” or “Believe Survivors,” or, my personal favorite, “I thought Republicans were anti-entitlement.” The police had set up barricades around the sidewalk and were monitoring the flow of people. A few people were exiting the area — coming from Trump Tower — through a small gap in the metal grates. …


It’s been a long year. For so many of us, I know, this year has dragged into eons, each day bringing new, impossible public challenges. And for many of us, these challenges have motivated — to educate ourselves on the issues, to speak truth to bullshit when it is rubbing itself in our faces. But we all know deep down, there is only so much we can do. What do you do when your President doesn’t know basic facts about legislation, or foreign policy, or anything resembling what it means to be the President? What do you do when he…


When I walked into the doctor’s office yesterday for a not-routine, but not-alarming visit, the nurse immediately directed me to a machine that looked like a teleportation device. Or a segway for a giant. Or…whatever. To the point, my reaction was a resigned sigh. I hate the scale, it is my arch-nemesis, etc. I offered to take off my shoes in a way that came off as politeness, but was really just meant to shave a few ounces off the number. The nurse gave me a casual, “nah, that’s fine,” and I stepped on. I was only slightly dismayed by…


Some days, home is the only place I don’t feel like bursting into tears. I fight them back on my morning commute, through the morning and into the afternoon, on my coffee break. Throughout the day, I smile at familiar faces: the Korean lady at my local bodega, the doorman of my office building. “Fine, thanks,” I respond to the friendly but inane and knee-jerk “how are you”s that pepper my work day. I know that none of them really want to know.

I lose myself in a late afternoon project, which helps, but as soon as I log off…


A dance between being tidy and being charming

Source: Stephanie Eisler

My first home renovation, a modest face lift to my “cozy” New York City bathroom, finished without a hitch. I’d heard all the renovation horror stories: unforeseen problems, lazy workers, collateral damage…I experienced not one.

After bunking with my mother for a couple weeks for the duration of the project, I returned home to re-nest in my shiny new bathroom. The process took a few days. First, I had to get rid of all of the odds and ends I’d been meaning to throw away — expired pill bottles, Birchbox samples I would never use, and a well-worn hairbrush all…

Stephanie Eisler Vance

Writing on modern madness, within and without. stephanieeislervance.com

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