Food and Drink and Love and Sex and…Health???

 So far, this blog is chronicling how I came to be interested in the topics of food, sex, love, relationship, health and nature – enough to link them in my book in progress, Licking the Spoon.  My first food was breast milk, the best food for an infant, only I don’t remember it.  What I do remember was the sexy feeling I got…

… from pulling my pants down in front of some boys on the block at the age of four.  Then came the California burgers, exotic Chinese food and even my grandfather’s canned chili and a glass of wine (which clouded my six-year-old brain so that I wasn’t sure how in violation of child labor laws he actually was.) 

 
When I moved to New Jersey for third grade, my mom aspired for me to befriend the rich girls.  But since we were far from rich ourselves, I felt more connection with a poor black girl whose brother was in a bromance with my cool main squeeze.  My mom officially ended things with that girl, but that didn’t stop me from risking my own rep, standing by her when she was being dissed at a party.

In the midst of that confusing quagmire, one of the rich girls introduced me to the wealth to be found in exotic, beautiful nature.  Although I’m sure there were unseen dangers, it seemed the epitome of simple harmony.  For years after, I would call up the image of that place whenever people became too overwhelming.

Nature lover, defender of the poor and black – I sound like a regular Gandhi, except that I feared that some unseen force in the Jersey town was actually turning me into a bad person.  The kind of person who killed baby ducks and humiliated weaker kids at school.  That shit cost me my man, my first heartache.

I was consoled, however, when I met my own bff.  And when we were ten we discovered that we were both budding sex fiends.  Strippers, masturbators, and sweet love makers, we took turns playing the girl vs. the boy in a kissfest as hot as Girls Gone Wild (when we weren’t busy playing Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard in a rousing game of Clue.)  That is, until my mom brought me to a screeching halt with the question, “Are you a lesbian???”  And I didn’t know.

So now you’re up to speed.  But the one topic in my list that I haven’t discussed yet is that of health.  My mom was a nurse, my grandmother was a nurse, and my grandfather was a doctor (not the one who fed me wine; the one who fed me ice cream!)  But what was health to me at that age?

Health was waking on a summer morning to sunshine and bird sounds, chest swelling to overflowing with the realization that soon I would be outside.  Health was the film of sweet child sweat that dampened my shirt as I raced with my friends to catch lightning bugs at twilight.  Health was building a snow igloo and then sitting inside, lungs seared by the cold, muscles tired, brain at rest.  It was hugging my mom and digging into a plate of her spaghetti.  It was avidly following each adventure of Nancy Drew and discovering my grandmother’s gilt-edged classics like Little Women and Robinson Crusoe.  It was taking pen to paper to document one girl’s experience of the world.    Health was falling into bed, exhausted at the end of a full day.

Health was everything.  But it was not even a word in my vocabulary.  Yet.

(Licking the Spoon, my book in progress, describes the many elements of
good physical, mental, social and sexual health.)

43 thoughts on “Food and Drink and Love and Sex and…Health???

  1. Am I the only one having flashback from childhood??? The experiences might be different but the feelings are pretty much the same…

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    • That’s a very profound comment, Naluce – that we may have different experiences, but the feelings are the same. We share the human experience no matter where we came from.

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  2. I have same experience when I was in childhood. My mom always tell me to play with those kids who looks like good kid, but i have never get alone with them. She should never judged a book by its cover 🙂

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  3. Moms always want there kids to hang with the “good crowd” whatever that means and us kids are always going to do what we want. When are they going to learn? haha.

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    • My mom pushed me to hang with the rich crowd, but what she didn’t understand was that it was sometimes embarrassing to be out with them and have no money. They were kind of boring anyway.

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  4. It’s true that health is everything in life, everything that makes you feel good and feel that your life is meaningful.

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  5. Oh my you have the most interesting and intriguing life, I really cant wait till your book’s released its going to be so much fun to read!

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  6. Now loose ends are finally being tied as I link this post to the previous one about the topic of lesbianism. That was definitely quite a story! I wish I had a BFF that was as close as you and your BFF… in a sense. XD Furthermore, I thought the idea of befriending a rich girl was a practice shared only among the Asian culture. Now, I guess not.

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  7. Wow! This made me reflect on my childhood and upbringing. And it reminds me of when my mother would only let me play with children who came from “good” families. I guess things are not really that different for most of us.

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  8. I am curious as if you remember pulling your pants down in front of some boys when you were 4 years of age or are you reminded that you did so?
    This article was very interesting! I never put into thought what the word health meant to me. It’s interesting that after reading “69 ways to lick the spoon in 2013) and this article, I have reevaluated how I look at many aspects of my life. It’s very true that health isn’t just about being healthy. On the contrary, it’s actually just about enjoying life.
    Thank you professor!

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    • You’re welcome Maria! And in answer to your question, I had a very clear memory of that incident (as well as many others). My memories go back to 3 years old and one at 1 1/2!

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  9. As your student I think it is so interesting to see the different side of your professors life. It seems like you had a fun and interesting life! Health really does relate to every aspect of your life and what really makes you happy.

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    • I agree! And I would have liked to know more about my professors, too. But many don’t want to share themselves personally.

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  10. I found it very interesting how from such an early age you were already exploring your sexuality different than the cultural norms. It’s interesting how each person’s sexuality is so unique to each individual person, in the way one experiences their first sexual encounters and the discovery of it as well.

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    • I agree with you! And it’s not unusual for children (even infants) to explore their bodies and sexuality, only parents are usually embarrassed and worried, and try to stop it.

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  11. It so interesting how a professor also has a life of there own. My professor is your very good friend naluce Manuela she is one awesome person just like I’m sure you are as well. It sounds like even though you had a ruff child hood you also had a beautiful one, and one that you can’t forget. I love the way you describe your mother as Marylin Monroe. I guess it true in what they say that we all start to have sexual experiences at a very young age. I’m just amazed in how you can remember it since you where just a kid.

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    • For some reason I’ve always had a great memory for the past. Maybe because I think about things that happened so often, and the memories become fixed. Yes, Naluce is a great instructor and friend. We worked together on getting your class online during this pandemic because I was already doing it!

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  12. what a surprise! i had the same childhood experience! not once in my life i’ve regret going with middle class people because they taught me a lot of things especially on how to be grateful and contented on what you have. i’ve made wonderful memories with them and i’ll treasure it forever!

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  13. This post combined everything perfectly! A lot of times when we think of “health” we take it as a medical term, but true health is comprised of so much more than that!

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  14. This post was such an eye opener! It is crazy to think that health truly is everything around us once we think about it. It really is our minds just being oblivious and limiting our thoughts to what we were taught “health” truly was.

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  15. After reading your story, I wish I could experience a little of these things, such as “hanging out with rich people” or “upper-class people.” As I lived in Venezuela, it was impossible to get together with rich people since the upper-class people were in the capital (Caracas) or in other big cities. However, I cannot complain because I always had the best. My parents work hard to give me and my sister a better life.

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  16. The blog is very accurate and could agree more to it. I like how to mixed all of it in one blog totally find it readable. Thanks for sharing the story … Nicely done!

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  17. This is my first time ever going on a website and read a blog but I must say for this being my first time I was really intrigued with what you had to say. I felt as if I could actually visualize your childhood as I was reading this. I can not wait to read more of your blogs to get to know more about your likings and past and current life experiences.

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  18. Hello,

    My name is Jacob and I love your blog about your story and a small lesson about health. This is my very first time actually replying to a blog in general. I learned so much of how health plays a role in life, even though I never really think about health. I love your story as well, how you chose a friend that you feel like you have a “connection” to. People shouldn’t decide what path or what friends you want to be with, it’s our decision on who we choose. Just like you, most of my family is in nursing but I chose a different path. Again, I love your story and the lesson about health.

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  19. Just reading since the beginning I swear to god that it was exactly with my childhood I had a friend that she was dark skin she wanted to experience different things but then in the last she told me that she likes me but she moved but my mom never told me to stop being friends with her.

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  20. It seems like when you were a young girl health to you was happiness, even though you didn’t know what the word was. But reading that last passage gave me some really bad nostalgia.

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  21. Wanted to check out older blogs to see what topics were on your mind at that time. I am glad I did. I can relate to how you gravitate to your childhood memories. Those are the best of times and to think we did not deal with any social media back then and we survived. Also, it is pretty amazing how you can remember when you were just 4 years old. Do you still keep in touch with any of your friends back then?

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