Growing up in rural South Carolina in an Indian-South Asian household makes for plenty of interesting stories but I had always been captivated by my culture, even while I would stick out like a sore thumb in my surroundings – the art, the history, the food, the languages. My mother was a homeopathic doctor in India before moving here in the 90s so whether it was taking a homeopathic remedy when feeling unwell, practicing Yoga in the mornings, eating Ayurvedic herbal preparations for improved digestion, or doing steam inhalations to soothe a cough, I always felt appreciative of having access to the knowledge of traditional medicines and wisdom passed down to me.
During my first year in undergrad and having limited access to resources, I had to visit the campus medical clinic because I was really struggling with anxiety, severe period pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and acne. I was prescribed oral contraceptives and was sent on my way out after a brief 15 minute visit. This was my first exposure to our current healthcare system and it left me feeling frustrated and as if my experiences were being dismissed.