Shh...shh! My experience with menstruation

“Shh! Shush!” Are these the first expressions that come to mind, when you think of periods? You are not alone. 

I was shushed so often that I thought boys or even grown men would never have heard of menstruation. “How would they know, if no one is going to tell them. Right?” I thought. It sounds childish now, but it made perfect sense to my tween mind. 

Running

You would be forgiven for not seeing modern humans as natural runners. We have moving walkways at malls and airports, elevators in our offices and apartments, all comforts designed to keep us from exertion. And yet, though we long ago exchanged brains for brawn, endurance running is as human as community or society, and perhaps an indirect progenitor of those other two.

Health education in China

In regard to health education, much of the information came from some brochures. I can recall reading some materials that came with the textbooks each semester in primary school. These materials talk about how our body grows, how we change from little kids to teenagers, and talked about girls’ period and such. And they also tell us about the damage of drugs. So that’s pretty much the first health education of mine. Schools were reluctant and by-the-book. 

What I learned in boating school is...

If you asked me to name the first things that come to mind when describing my childhood, I would tell you that they are the same things that I preoccupy myself with now: TV and Sports. The TV part is pretty straightforward. Watching my favorite shows used to be so automatic, I knew entire episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Spongebob Squarepants by heart. The sports part is a little less conventional. A highlight reel of my short-lived middle school football career would feature clips of my 7th grade self being annihilated by bigger kids in practice, warming the bench for most of the games, and ultimately quitting a little more than halfway through the season. 

Health Education: from India to Canada

I grew up in Bangalore, India in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a period of rapid growth and development in the country. As the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bangalore’s booming IT industry attracted foreign investment and brought about intense economic and social change. As a child, I was always told I was lucky to witness these changes. Our world was getting better and India was going to be a superpower soon! To my young mind, these were promising ideas but I could never imagine them into reality. If our world was getting better, why was the slum right in front of my school expanding every day?

Sex Ed

Growing up in a fairly conservative family in small-town Alaska one might make assumptions about the information and education I received about health, puberty, and sex. Luckily for me, those assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. As I reflect on my own growing up experience I realize how incredibly lucky I was to have such supportive and understanding parents, friends, and teachers. I was in third or fourth grade when my mom sat me down for “the talk,” which of course made me turn bright red and assure her I had absolutely no questions. 

The Candy Cane Journal

My eyes scan the bookcase for something to read, but nothing stands out. Of course, most of the books here in my childhood bedroom are meant for an audience younger than my college-aged self, but I wouldn’t mind reading one for nostalgia’s sake. 

I gloss over familiar titles and reminisce about my joyful days as a kid, when my eyes catch on a spiral-bound journal with red and white stripes. I remember this one – it always looked like a candy cane to me. I take it from the shelf and begin to thumb through its pages. 

Periods

When I was working with kids at a school in a Noida-based slum, I noticed that girls would miss school more often than boys. I wanted to know why, and casually I asked a group of girls. They just giggled and walked away. “What’s so funny?” I asked, but got no response. I tried checking with another group of girls, but got nothing more than giggles and embarrassed looks.

What I learned after meditating for 10 days

The bell sounds and 30 people sit quietly in a room without making eye contact. 

For an hour no one moves or says a word. The turn of a page would upset the stillness in the air.  

My eyes shield me and I see nothing but darkness. I try to focus on my breath. I don’t notice distraction creeping in. Thoughts fill the void. 

My internal dialogue: How long do I have to sit here? Ow ow ow my legs are going numb. That’s not normal. I wonder what’s for lunch? The tempeh was pretty good yesterday. This is stupid. I’m stupid. Why can’t I sit still without hurting? Why? 

Things not to say to people who’ve become healthy/fit

Since my senior year of high school I’ve tried my best to incorporate healthy choices into my lifestyle.  For the most part I’ve been pretty successful in implementing these practices as a permanent part of my daily routine.  As a result, I’ve lost a fair amount of weight and everyone, ESPECIALLY mothers, tells me about it.