Torn Between two Cultures

Earlier on this year I decided that I wanted to live a healthier and fit life. I have always eaten healthy and exercised here and there but realistically I know that is not enough. The stress of being a college student and trying to shape the direction of your future can be rather daunting. Matthew has been my biggest inspiration and motivation to embark on this journey. I see how committed he is, then I question myself, why can`t I be self driven like he is? So I finally decided not to keep making up excuses and take action.


For as long as I can remember I have always been slender, thin, skinny or whatever you may call it but I have always loved who I am and appreciated what I had. I always walk in confidence everyday knowing that there is only one me and I cannot let what other people think of my physical appearance bother me, allow it to ruin who I am as a person or dictate my life. True beauty is in the soul. When you are skinny and you talk about working out; what are you going to workout for they ask. People think you are mocking them when all you`re trying to do is be healthy.

 I feel that there is a significant number of people trying to lose weight as those trying to gain healthy weight and be fit. There is not as much awareness of people trying to gain some pounds and still be healthy without having an eating disorder. I strongly believe in being healthy and fit regardless of your weight.

All my life growing up in Zambia being thick or curvy has been the center of beauty for generations after generations. You have gained weight, you look very nice! This is one popular compliment that someone can give you in my culture. Every time my mother would say to me, “You need to eat more.” I could sense the desperation of a mother trying to protect her daughter from what society has in store for her to face. I always wondered to myself if I needed to be concerned as to why I have always been skinny but deep down I knew that I was healthy and there was nothing wrong with me.

When I came to the U.S, it was a hug life changing experience. Every single person I met was obsessed about their weight, diet and if they worked out that week or not. I kept asking myself, why do people want to loose weight so much here when they are beautiful? I then realized that what was considered beautiful in america is totally different from what I grew up knowing. Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was that I did not have to worry about my weight. At the back of my head I am thinking I need to gain weight.

This culture shock made me realize that what was important to me was to feel good about myself regardless of whatever beauty standards are out there in Africa, America, Europe, Asia etc. Once you learn to love yourself, it does not matter what everybody say. Everyone is beautiful in there own special way and brains are a huge part of it.