It was 9 AM on the first day of grad school. I was sitting there, looking into my cup of soggy 60 second cinnamon-flavored Quaker oats just having finished a call with my mom who swiftly reminded me of the importance of shamelessly piling mounds of almonds (badam) into any and every meal.
Each almond represented years of sacrifice, decades of generational beliefs about health and wellness, immigrant parental fears and hopes to have second generational children fulfill the American dream, and the integration of Eastern and Western medicinal practices. Where do we draw the line? At what point does our way of being or what we consider healthy behaviors feel ‘good enough’? Eat healthy, but enjoy those samosas and chai. Exercise your mind and body, but be sure to meditate and do yoga. Take breaks, but not too many breaks (do you ever work if you take more than one break?).
There comes that pesky word…BOUNDARIES. I always imagined a long piece of caution tape during a forensic investigation (Forensic files anyone?), perhaps the glaringly red pen marks all over your geometry test you never studied for (but likely were confused regardless). It is tempting to think in black or white, to see ourselves as either healthy or not healthy. What happens if we broaden ourselves to be and feel so much more? To acknowledge the complexities and contradictions that is this life of ours? What does it look like to set boundaries with yourself? Societal expectations? Cultural expectations? Dare I add rainbow sprinkles and turmeric to my Quaker oats?