And as I sat and ate, I thought this.
'Ten years ago you couldn't eat ice cream. You couldn't eat it because it was so easy to throw up, that you could never resist the temptation, so you didn't let yourself eat it'**.
And I allowed myself a moment's satisfaction. And the dead weight on my chest lifted, just fractionally.
And then I thought about all that had happened in the intervening ten years. Things that the 24 year old me would never have believed she could get through. All the stuff you already know about. And in particular, I thought about a handful of days that were so much worse than this one and how it was days like those that had given me the resources I needed to get through days like today. I thought of staring at the ceiling in a Paris clinic at 6am and counting the tiles, willing myself not to think, just to keep studying that ceiling. I thought about sitting frozen at my desk in London consumed by dread and unable to move, wondering how I would ever move again. I thought going to the undertakers the morning before mum's funeral with my sister. I thought about standing on a traffic island on Wigmore Street with tears pouring down my face and a screaming, boiling hot infant strapped to my front, or trembling, in a basement in Lissom Grove, before going into group therapy. All the crazy, sick, sad, days.
And I thought that there would doubtless be more crazy sick sad days, but somehow it would be ok. And I remembered that getting through this stuff has made me a stronger, and more importantly, kinder person than that brittle, unforgiving 24 year old who wrote down her 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day every single day and wondered, secretly, whether she just didn't want to be happy. And who could never confide anything because it would be like admitting weakness.
And I finished my ice cream, stood up and straightened my shoulders, raising my chin slightly in defiance. And then I went back to the Corridor of Ennui and finished my office supplies platypus***.
I think we should imagine this scene set to a medley of Gloria Gaynor and Destiny's Child. Me, ice cream, horse statue, empowerment, inept craft. Waffle power!
* Belgian Government Health Warning 1: Ice cream does not contain fibre and is not one of your five a day. It should only be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced, boring diet. However it is really fucking delicious. Go on! Have some.
** Belgian Government Health Warning 2: Do not throw up your ice cream. It is wasteful and stupid and we will send Jean Luc Dehaene round to sit on you.
*** Ok, the platypus is really shit, but that is Not The Point.