We All Scream for Ice Cream

So my daughter N was diagnosed as pre-diabetic this week. The kidlet is not taking it well. But this I mean she’s been in a snot-covered, sobbing heap in her bed for the last two days, alternately fighting with me and begging me to take her to Culvers for the vanilla custard cone she’s been craving since it happened. I’ve stood my ground and not taken her, trying to explain that turning to food for comfort in this situation is the exact self-sabotage that got her into this situation in the first place, but she’s having none of it.

As a food addict for years, it’s painful to watch. I don’t have easy answers for her. I “solved” my food addiction by turning to a restrictive eating disorder. Now she watches me not eat, and says she wishes she had my willpower. I tell her not to wish that upon herself. The insides of my brain, when it comes to food, are not pretty places.  The obsession, guilt, circular thinking, anxiety, all focused around what I will eat, won’t eat, should eat, shouldn’t eat, can eat, can’t eat, did eat, didn’t eat, how much I weigh, did I lose weight, how can I lose weight, did I exercise, should I take diet pills, will they help, what will help, and most importantly when will I ever be skinny enough to feel comfortable enough in my own skin – all of this thinking is utterly exhausting. I wouldn’t wish it on my most loathed adversary, much less my daughter.

Yet, N already suffers from an eating disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, which is often overlooked and when not is often considered “less than” – less serious, less dangerous, less glamorous – the one I have.  After all, there’s no just released Netflix special on BED (and don’t even get me started on “To The Bone.”)  It’s frustrating and angering, because I see the aftermath in the way N views herself every damn day.  Her self-esteem is in the toilet. She cries when I take her swimsuit shopping. SHE WISHES SHE WAS ANOREXIC.  Her worth is so tied up in how she views her physical body.

This is not how I raised her, my little raging intersectional feminist activist.  She can quote MLK and Malcolm X, she loves Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter and primate retirement and body positivity and a million other social justice causes.  And she cries herself to sleep at night because she hates herself.  It’s a hard thing to watch as a parent, especially when my parent-guilt-o-meter is already on TILT for everything I’ve put her through the last year’s with my active addiction, ED, E’s death, “divorce” from S, moving, etc. I know all I can do now is love her and keep showing her I’m trying to learn to love myself.  Just keep showing her how to follow her own creek. Still it feels like pitifully little.

Sometimes I wish I could just buy her the damn ice cream.