My book bag pulled down on my left shoulder as I trudged through the thick air back to my apartment. My temples pulsated with tension and sweat fell down my neck. I rummaged for my always-buried keys and heaved open the front door. Tossing the shoulder-paralyzing load onto the floor, I pushed myself to the freezer. Rather than collapsing onto the ice tray, I raised a fresh pint of mint chocolate chip over my head in triumph. I tore open the plastic wrapping, which always claims to be perforated but never is, and dug my spoon into the creamy surface. I leaned back in my chair and remembered why I believe that ice cream has healing powers.
I believe in ice cream because it never gets boring. When I need frozen medication, I am greeted by an array of flavors behind the frosty glass. Cookies and Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake, Rocky Road, or Coffee Heathbar—there is a flavor for every set of taste buds, even Rum Raisin, if you are into that kind of thing. A flavor can be applied to any issue or any problem. I prefer Black Raspberry Chip for depression, Mocha Swirl for frustration, and break out Cake Batter for emergencies.
I believe in ice cream because I can eat it with a spoon. Wouldn’t you consider the spoon the most relaxing utensil? Forks and knives are sharp, tension holding tools. With a spoon you eat soup, cereal, yogurt, comfort foods. Maybe it’s something in the scooping motion, letting all the tension out through the wrists.
I believe in ice cream because it brings me back to childhood. As I lick the Vanilla Chocolate Twist from the cone and try my hardest not to let any drip onto my tee shirt, I think about how this was once such a difficult task. With chocolate remnants at the corners of my mouth, and stains down my shirt, my four-year-old self concentrated on licking the giant mound down to the crunchy cone. My father offered to help, which benefited him as much as me. Going out for an ice cream cone was exciting, an after dinner treat for the simplicity of the childhood summer.
I believe in ice cream because it melts. It literally melts, from the frozen carton to a sugary cream, but it also simultaneously melts away my frustrations, my worries, and my stress. It gives me a minute to breathe, and to focus on digging out a peanut butter cup from its vanilla environment. I can forget about what may be bothering me while I lick a cone of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I can choose my flavor, let my tension out through my wrists, and let it melt on my tongue as I go back to the summers in the pool. I believe that ice cream has healing powers.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.