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.