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The Ice Cream I Eat Is Called Depression

When I went to the ice cream shop, I was faced with two flavors: happiness or depression. Most people probably chose happiness, but it was an expensive flavor, and anything full of so much sweetness is certain to make the teeth ache. When I saw people sitting in the ice cream shop, licking at their ice cream cones, their giggling grated on my nerves. The way they smugly gazed at me as if they were superior kept me away from where they sat.
Also, there was a sign on the window warning: Happiness--Eating this flavor may cause excessive smiling, resulting in fatigue of facial muscles.
It had been a long time since I have felt that kind of ache. With the rush of all that sugar in happiness comes a high that nothing can compare. But happiness is painful when you fall, and the crash can be far worse than the steady low of my typical ice cream preference. Part of me wants to try something different, but I am afraid I'm not ready to take such a big step.
Change can be scary. And exhausting.
The register for happiness was so much farther down the counter. Happiness would take more effort, the wait was longer, and just pulling myself this far to the ice cream shop was always challenging. I only had enough money for depression anyway. Why change my flavor preferences with all the uncertainty in the world? I know what to expect with my current flavor. It was safe.
Depression ice cream tastes like the salty sorrow of my tears and broken dreams. It is the bitterest of dark chocolate. This is the flavor of my soul. Someday I will have enough time, energy, money, and confidence to try something new. I will go to therapy, exercise, take medications, and choose to make changes in my life so I deserve happiness.
But I am not there yet.
Then one day, there was a fancy new flavor in the ice cream shop. I felt a spark of hope, something I hadn't felt in a long time. But I was also suspicious.
"It's French," the cashier said with a sardonic smile that was difficult to read. Her lips were stained multiple colors. Probably she'd sampled all three ice creams.
I pointed to the new flavor, intrigued. "I'll try the ennui."
It was the same price as depression. Also, it was bright pink. That color promised something different--but for the same price as depression. Once the creamy ice melted on my tongue, I realized the banal flavor was nothing lifechanging. Ennui hardly lived up to its audacious color and exotic name. It was just so blah. Like my life. Like me.
It was perfect.
The ice cream I now eat is a classy, French version of depression.
Ennui was a step up for me. I tried something new. It didn't kill me. I feel like I'm ready to take it to the next level.
I heard a new gelato store opened in town. Nothing says sophisticated, exciting ice cream like some of the flavors they offer. I'm willing to walk a few blocks out of my way to try the flavors: privilege, worry, and disappointment.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, June 13th, 2022
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