June 29, 2015

Excusez-moi, Madame [CAMEROON JUNE 2015]


As I try to settle in and meetup with work deadlines, memories of Cameroon keep replaying in my mind. Since this was a private family trip, I will not be posting pictures of my time in the country.
However I will speak on one of the many colorful experiences I had.

I was called FAT, every single day not just by family and friends who had not seen me in a long time but by complete strangers.

Each time the word was used to reference me, I cringed a little inside but smiled on the outside.This was a case of cultural differences.

In the US, the word FAT always reflects negative connotations in terms of a woman's beauty. In Cameroon, my size earned me the respect of the community because it marked the difference between a young girl and a woman. I was called Madame and "Aunty" because of my size. It was a way of acknowledging my womanhood while my skinnier peers where thought of as little girls and not necessarily given the same respect.

As much as I understood this cultural perspective, my western brainwashed sense of how a woman should look could not reconcile how I was called and treated. I felt honoured to be among people who embrace "thickness" but the american in me still wished I was as skinny and petite as my cousins.

So how did I deal with this?

 I hit the gym ASAP once back in the united states. lol. I know this isnt the right response.

 I should embrace my curves but I sincerely believe my curves have gone out of hand and need regulation.

I should come to realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and holds different meanings in different countries. I do sincerely understand that.

 But my reality is....I live in the USA. So unfortunately I have to live according to the norms of this society . From a professional development standpoint, especially for someone who works in the Exercise and wellness industry, how I look can greatly affect my marketability.

My weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey is meant for a lifetime.

All I can do is try daily, to honour my body by making healthy choices.

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