Sally Wallace Lynch
Hi there. My name is Sally. I was supposed to be Sarah, but my dad accidentally baptized me Sally, which upset my mother. That’s pretty much how I started Life. Actually, my Life started before then when my mother “conceived me on the 9th day” of her rhythm birth control plan, which meant I was an oops baby. The fifth child of a tired Catholic woman, born on Sunday, she “gave me to God.” Then God gave me the wrong name.
My beginnings were rocky but my childhood memory holds snapshots of my best friend, Lizzie, riding my bike, playing on our “big rock”, riding our neighbor’s horses through the woods, saving dogs from being shot at the local dog pound. Outside was a refuge for me, and to this day, I cherish the natural world.
My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was twelve, and I remember beginning my journey to “fix him”. I read every book on nutrition I could find, and told him about how Linus Pauling recommended high doses of vitamin C to fight cancer. I read Frances Moore Lappe’s book, Diet for a Small Planet, and became a vegetarian, shopping at the local health food store where the tofu floated in the dirty jar of cloudy water. Here I bought my first carob chips and cans of tahini that I had to pry open with a screwdriver. The tahini was so hard that I would then use the screwdriver to mix it! Circa 1979.
I went to the University of CT where I studied nutritional biochemistry, and took a part-time job in the Lipids Laboratory, sweeping floors but eavesdropping on conversations about breast milk composition. Outside the halls of the building were signs for the Peace Corps. I had just returned from a junior year in France, and yearned for global connection. So, rather than join the ranks of a traditional dietitian internship, I found myself in a rural village in Papua New Guinea, with no electricity, shower, toilet or running water, managing a nutrition rehabilitation unit. For two years, I traveled to villages with the Maternal-Child-Health team weighing infants from scales we hooked to tree branches, and “teaching nutrition”. We grew prolific gardens, introducing legumes into a Paleo-eating world. Say what? We even built a small oven for women in the village to bake biscuits for additional income as our “empowering women with microbusinesses.” Say what again? White flour biscuits in a Paleolithic culture?
Let’s face it. The women taught me way more than I taught them. I learned to weave bilums, build a kick-ass fire, slay sugar cane with a bush knife, pick lice from a head and pee into the hole standing up. I learned that making money for them might mean getting a beating that night from their husbands. I mostly learned how little I really knew.
Humbled by my time there, I ventured away, after the biggest tribal fight broke out in Tambul (my home for two years), and set out on a deeper spiritual journey. Bouncing around the Pacific Islands to Malaysia to Thailand to India to France and home again, I rediscovered the power of prayer and grounded myself with an intent to serve in whatever way I could. I found a job with the Baha’i International Community at the United Nations, working primarily in the human rights arena, met Tim, my love, and pursued a Masters in Nutrition.
Fast forward. Three beautiful teenaged daughters, two unpublished novels, multiple jobs in nutrition, a thousand miles of running, a host of certifications from Hartford Seminary and the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy, diagnoses of cancer, autoimmune disease, hemochromatosis and 9 bouts of malaria, I’m living in West Hartford, CT, and starting the next phase of my life…
Doing what I love…writing, writing, writing.
And, hopefully, inspiring other women over 50 to empower themselves – body and soul – so we can emblazon our world with our gifts and talents.
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