My name is Akata and I’m 15 years old. I used to live in a small village until my father got a new job and we had to move to the city. Part of me was sad about leaving my friends but another part of me was excited about my new adventure.
Walking into the unknown
I walked through the gates of my new school and felt a bit overwhelmed. I went from 10 people in a class to 50! Nobody informed me that city kids looked and dressed differently. After school I would see everyone quickly change into cool jeans and sneakers and there I was in my sandals and long skirt.
It was obvious to my classmates that I wasn’t from around here. My accent was different and so were my clothes, so people made fun of me just because they didn’t get me. I felt pressure to conform to their ways. The world can be such a strange place sometimes. They tell you to “be yourself” BUT try and fit in at the same time. They tell you to “express yourself and speak your mind” BUT it has to be in line with what is “acceptable”. It’s so confusing.
Mama to the rescue
My mum could tell that I wasn’t adjusting well into this new city life, so she let me in on a big secret. She told me that people will always try to dictate who we should be and how we should look but those things aren’t important in life. What’s important is having a good heart and believing in myself and abilities. Isn’t that so true?
Staying true to me
I walked back into school the next day with my head held high. I didn’t change my clothes or the way I spoke. When people laughed at me I just smiled back because I know I have and will always have worth. I am intelligent and strong and that goes a long way!
New environments can be challenging, but never be embarrassed about who you are. Stay true to yourself because there is only one you in the world and that’s special!