Last week after I was done working out with my friend, I decided to run across the street to pick up a few tank tops at the mall. It seemed silly to go all the way home and get fixed up just to drive back to where I already was. There was a big vertical stripe of sweat on my back, and I felt like I must look really nasty. As I pulled into the parking lot, I started to feel self conscious and worry about what people might think. I wondered if the salespeople would tell me not to try on the clothes. I started to worry about what other people might think too. Still, I grabbed my purse and headed through the door and up to the lingerie department.
I quickly grabbed the 3 tanks that I was there for and turned to find the register. As I turned, there was the sales lady standing right there. A little thrown off, I started to tell her that I was ready to check out. She smiled and said, "Would you like to try those on?". I felt surprised that she was asking me the very thing that I thought she would NOT want me to do. I quickly said, "Oh no! I'm sweaty and nasty! I'm sorry. It's just that I just got done working out across the street...". She cut me off and said, "Oh honey, you look just fine. You look like a girl that knows how to work hard!" I was so surprised. I felt myself smiling and standing a little taller. I paid, thanked her, and walked towards my car. Only this time...I wasn't embarrassed or rushing because of my sweaty shirt. This time I walked out with a new perspective.
I'm so grateful that the kindness of a stranger helped me understand what I should have already known. My sweaty tank top was a symbol of my desire to work hard and be strong. It was a sign that I didn't stop when it got hard or when it was hot. I kept going and I had the mark to prove it. I realized that my sweat was not something to be ashamed of but a badge of honor! Now, when I walk out of the gym or come off the trail after a tough run and I am sweaty, I try to remember that day and feel proud...not nasty!