Trying to follow a family recipe taught me how to deal with loss and separation

I learned about separation from a chef on YouTube. I was kneading dough to make pooris for my boyfriend one morning in our apartment in Washington D.C. The dough must be tough, he said, cracking at the skin, hardy but pliable. If the dough felt wet, the pooris wouldn’t rise…

‘How are you?’ is an intimate question that connects us as people. Why have we reduced it to small talk?

I’m Tamil so I’m used to callousness and candor. I grew up in the kind of infuriating society where people generously insulted, complimented, and relied on each other to get through the day. But when I moved to Washington DC, I recalled a lesson I learned at University back in…

Why are doctors and therapists unwilling to listen if mindfulness doesn’t work?

I didn’t know how much I hated the term ‘mindfulness’ until the day I fainted in my psychiatrist’s waiting room, six months after my daughter was born. I remember sitting there in that dreary office, my fingers trembling, watching her tell me that the Mindfulness Center out in Bethesda offered…

When I began to lose my hair to chronic illness, my body became a fascination for everyone I knew

I was sitting in Maude down in Old Herndon when the stylist walked up behind me. “Uhm. What would you like me to do?”

I watched her face in the mirror. I recognized the emotions she was trying to hide behind her mask. Confusion. Horror. Pity. …

And used three practical steps to write through crippling loneliness

“How will you handle isolation?”

I was struck when my editor asked me this question during a journalism fellowship interview in 2016. Back then, eager to get started on my writing career, I laughed. I’ll be fine, I said. To me, writing in isolation seemed like a dream come true…

Meera Vijayann

I write essays on health, culture, and womanhood. Published in Entropy Magazine, Catapult, the Guardian and more. On Instagram and Twitter: @meeravijayann

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