Archive for February 21st, 2017

Mildred

amywink February 21st, 2017

The day my mother had her heart attack, I was seized in a direct attack as my lizard brain rose out of stone with tyrannosaurus teeth and raptor claws, a new species Tyrannosaurus Mentis. . . .tyrant lizard of the mind. Trapped firmly in her jaws, I could not eat.

Specifically, I could not eat anything on her seriously restrictive diet. While I had always eaten relatively healthy anyway (I am a woman in America, I know about food “rules” and diets), this was different. I was frozen in front of food, as if one move would tighten her jaws. She first appeared when my oldest friends took me to dinner, I ordered a salad but forgot to say “chicken”. The pile of ground beef atop the salad laid before me turned the reptilian eye and I thought “I cannot eat that.”

No illness, no revulsion, no nausea, just the sudden clarity: “I can not eat that.”

Much to the irk of the waitress, I asked for chicken and sent it back, and waited. . . and ate.

But barely.

I stayed pinned in the jaws of my tyrant lizard for a few days as the other parts of my mind cogitated on how to cope with this ambush predator. Because, really, I needed to eat something. Not eating was not the better choice.

I developed a plan.

I named my tyrant lizard, Mildred, and welcomed her into my life. She was only doing what her nature prescribed and as she was clearly a part of me I could not excise, I determined to accept her. I let Mildred choose my food. I took Mildred to the grocery store and we read food labels together. Mildred got agitated at certain RDA values, shocking amounts of salt and fat. Sugar didn’t even make it to the meetings.

I told friends, “Mildred won’t let me eat that.” “Mildred won’t let be buy that.”

Mildred became a good companion at the table and the store, rolling her reptilian eyes at marketing ploys, offering a steaming huff at ridiculous portion sizes disguising realistic calorie counts. She evolved from her Cretaceous origins and became a pleasant presence, softly clucking her annoyance instead of tightening her jaws. I ate a lot of vegetables, some pasta, some chicken. I grazed happily with Mildred for a long time until she decided I was okay on my own and flew the coop.

The day I brought home Cheetos, I texted a friend “Mildred has left the building.”

Now, I eat healthy and well but I am no longer trapped in the jaws of a tyrant.