An Ice Cream Ritual That Saved Me
an ice cream ritual that saved me
Let me tell you a story...
Growing older and more self aware, I can now see how much courage I had through out my teens and twenties. I would have never called it courage then. At the time it felt like I was in a constant state of anxiety, and under a mountain of pressure. I’ve never quite felt like I fit in. I couldn’t pin point where I belonged. I never really allowed myself to be me, but I remember looking at others and thinking, “how can I be more like them?”
My family split at the seams when I was fourteen. Everyone truly went their own way with their own grievances and their own pain and their own stories. Myself included. In the beginning I stayed, usually alone, in our big family house or with a friend. I was too stubborn to say that I was hurting, maybe even too unaware to know that I was.
Grudges were formed and never forgotten by most. I felt glued in the middle. A referee for both sides. The diplomat in an undiplomatic battle of the hearts and the egos.
I dated the bad boys as a form of rebellion, or what I know now was low self worth - we accept the love we think we deserve - and ended up the heart breaker.
I started being highly aware of what I was eating, studying how many calories or grams of fat each morsel contained. I needed to be in control of something, and as the youngest of four, food was the something that won out.
It was, what I now know, a quiet scream to be heard when I felt like no one could hear me.
I thought it was a secret I had with myself, but everyone could see it.
Everything was portioned down to the ounce. Processed food was my savior because the calories and fat content were always printed on the package, I didn’t have to research it. That wasn't the case with produce.
I remember these days so clearly. On the weekends it was always a little less food in case I would be drinking my calories that evening. Which lead to many nights of being blacked out and losing total control - the one thing I wanted in the first place.
I was down to 78 pounds in a 16 year old body. Nothing anyone could say would change it, I was in too deep. But when I really look back, all I wanted was for someone to say something, to knock me out of this game I was playing. To shake me up and say, "sweet love, it's all gonna be okay."
One evening, in our tiny first floor apartment, I was sitting on the floor in front of the dryer folding our whites. My dad got out of the shower and in the only way he knew how, he said “Michelle you’re going to kill yourself if you keep doing this.”
I was so angry with him. I remember telling him to stay out of it. These days I can only imagine what it took for him to actually speak up.
My parents brought me to see a nutritionist and I lied to her through my teeth. Classic. I manipulated my way out of seeing her again. Then I made a promise to my dad. We made a pact that every single night we would go get ice cream together. And we did. Every. Single. Night. For a little over a year. (Fun Note : We are both now super sensitive to dairy).
The thing is, I didn’t need someone to tell me how to eat, I needed someone to listen to me. I needed some one to share an experience with. I needed a ritual where connection was the focal point. I needed to feel safe. That’s what ice-cream with my dad every night was. We got into the truck that smelled like diesel, dirt, and "Armor All" wipes, put Delilah on 95.5 and listened to all the new love and love lost song dedications, and drove to get ice-cream.
I don’t know for certain, but I think that’s what kept me on this Earth plane a little longer.
A ritual - around the same time every night - where connection was the focal point. Someone to listen to me. And hearing other people share their stories over talk radio while Delilah chose their song, asked the questions others might have been afraid to, and shared any wisdom she had. I thought then, I want to be a Delilah.
And here I sit now, at 31, fifteen years and a handful of careers later, as a mentor, as what I call a self worth advisor. And as a woman who guides other women in how to heal themselves and how to find their stories around self worth and authenticity and love and unblock them.
I do this because I have lived so many lives in my young 31 years where I’ve needed help navigating through my own shadows and my own stories. I do this because I want to share what has helped me, so you can help you. I give you my entire tool box. I give you my undivided attention. I give you my honest opinion and practical advice.
All so that you can begin to see how worthy you are to live the life you dream to live. To get so clear that you begin to uncover your purpose and peel away the masks that hide your most authentic self.
All so that you can live a life where the high highs and the low lows become a little less drastic and you learn how to ride the waves of life in a more grounded, authentic way. And all the while cultivate a sense of beauty, vitality, purpose and freedom!