mental health

What Health Education Taught Me

I was nearing the end of 7th grade when it happened for the first time. I was getting ready for school and glanced at my reflection in the mirror. Something seemed different, so I paused to take a better look. I look fat, I thought to myself.    

Something miraculous occurred that day, because my next thought was, No, I'm not fat, this is body dysmorphia. If I felt and looked normal yesterday, there is no way I could suddenly be fat today. I have my 6th grade Health class to thank for that moment.   

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.

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. 

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?