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December 31 2015


She’ll never know

Someday there will be a woman who, with her husband and maybe a child or two, will move to the village of Scarsdale and it’ll be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. When she crosses the threshold of her new house — maybe her husband will even carry her — that woman will know in that moment yes, she made it. She did what she had to do in life — education, work, staying out of trouble — to get to the place she wanted to be, Westchester County’s grand village in a park.

Sure, she had to go to her safety school for college, and sure, she, like many women, had to work twice as hard as the men around her to get half as noticed, but none of that will matter the first night she puts her children to bed in their new home, knowing the next day they’ll start plotting their own course to success in the nationally recognized Scarsdale public school system.

None of the things she’s overcome will matter to that woman once she makes it to Scarsdale. Except maybe for the eating disorder she never quite conquered.

She’ll never know that, say 20 years before she and her family moved in, there was going to be a place in Scarsdale where girls like her could have gone to get help with their eating disorders. She’ll never know the village in which she so badly wanted to live had a chance once to open its collective heart, just a little, and allow one of its finer houses to be used to combat — yes, for profit — something its residents all seem to agree may well be a plague amongst its own young women.

The Inquirer’s hypothetical woman will never know the place she so reveres once flexed its municipal and financial muscle to keep such a place from coming to be, and it probably won’t matter to her. She will have made it, you see, whatever it took, even if what it took was dragging anorexia or bulimia with her every step of the way.

That’s what some people think of Scarsdale.

But enough about hypothetical women and their hypothetical hopes and dreams. Perhaps the Inquirer should instead turn the focus of this space toward gambling, specifically toward making a bet with excellent odds.

The Inquirer wagers if the rest of this space were to address a young woman currently living in the village who is battling an eating disorder, the chances these words will find the eyes of such a girl is better than even money.

She comes from a home with parents who have achieved and would love for her to do the same. She goes to a school she knows is regarded as one of the best, so she’d better do her best to make sure she does right by its reputation. She watches her classmates achieve and knows, in this environment, that is the currency in which many of her peers traffic.

And still there are beaches to visit and bathing suits to wear. And there are the looks and glances from boys she sees other girls receive and hopes, even if she never admits it, she receives the right kinds herself.

There are times she thinks it would feel so good to just forget all of it and let go; not care about any of this stuff and just be who she wants to be, who she knows she is, inside.

But that’s not really possible. She knows that. She also knows that, as a brief respite, food can feel really good too. But the wrong food in the wrong amount can become an enemy of everything she hopes she’ll be able to be.

The physical causes of anorexia and bulimia aren’t definitively known. A trip to the Mayo Clinic website tells one that. But that same visit confirms psychological and environmental factors can contribute to developing them, especially in young girls.

There’s a young girl somewhere in Scarsdale right now who would have been a prime candidate for the kind of treatment facility its CEO said was just run out of town under a hail of threatened lawsuits. Someone reading these words will point out that facility’s officers said preferential treatment wouldn’t be given to Scarsdale girls when it came to filling the treatment center’s beds.

That’s true, but need that have been the case?

As some have reveled in pointing out, the company in question is a for-profit entity. The company’s placement process aside, who would be in best position to pay?

In the end, none of that matters though because, this girl, who lives in this village and needs the kind of help this facility could have provided, might have been watching while the adults around her discussed helping young woman like her.

And Scarsdale said no.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of The Scarsdale Inquirer. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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