SweatBlock Scholarship Runner-up #8

It’s time to reveal runner-up #8 for the SweatBlock Social Confidence Scholarship.

It’s a great essay that reveals some real human emotion and feeling regarding excessive perspiration and social situations. Thanks to Ashley of Marquette University for submitting the following essay:

I remember one day after gym class in 7th grade my gym teacher yelled at my friend and I for not looking like we were working hard enough. “Ashley and I just don’t sweat” my friend replied. Boy, don’t I still wish those words were true. Once I hit my puberty years, things started to turmoil. I went from not having to worry about sweating in gym class to sweating even when I was cold. Everyone who develops the problem of excessive perspiration goes through the struggle of doing whatever it takes to hide the embarrassment. It doesn’t make sense though. Everyone sweats, but everyone hides it and tries to run away from it like its some kind of contagious disease. Sadly, due to their perception of sweat, excessive perspiration can do severe damage to one’s self esteem, especially through the teenage years.
Sweating has such a negative reputation to it, its no wonder that everyone tries to hide it. The movies always display the excessively sweating fat kid that everyone makes fun of and the media will even put celeb sweat stains on the cover of People magazine. Being made fun of is what everyone growing up tries to avoid. And in order to keep away from this dilemma, sweat stains are forcefully kept under wraps. Unfortunately, its basically instinct for kids nowadays to grow up thinking that sweating is such a bad thing. With this, if you do sweat, it’s another flaw to add to that long list of things you hate about yourself. With the decrease in self-esteem due to sweating, many kids have a greater chance of being depressed or develop other self-harm mechanisms. This may be taking things to the extreme, but since excessive sweating does produce that lower self-esteem, it may be the only thing that tips a person over the edge.
Growing up, I remember thinking I was the only one with this problem and it made me think I was some kind of gross sweating machine. I would sweat for any reason or no reason at all. And the worst thing when you have an excessive sweating problem is that the anxiety and fear of sweating makes you sweat even more. Throughout high school, I was so afraid that everyone was judging me. I’ll admit, I was one of those girls who wanted everyone to like me and think I was perfect, but that couldn’t happen with this chronic problem of mine. The worst part of my day was gym class, where we had to wear these grey “Fit for Life” shirts. Sweat stains were as visible as pasta sauce on a white blouse. Failing gym was a better option than walking around my peers with dark circles under my arms (Don’t worry, I didn’t fail gym). I hated life with my condition. Therefore, I tried everything to stop it. Every deodorant, every pill, every cream, I had to get rid of it. I never wore tight shirts because it made it worse. Black and white became my best friends. I spent so much time trying to hide this epidemic over my life that I wasn’t able to focus on the more important things in my life.
After growing up a little more, I realized that I was not the only one with this problem and everyone had the same embarrassment over it. Also, I found that the more people I connected with about the problem, the less embarrassed I felt about it. It’s always good to feel like you’re not alone in a problem. I learned to control my sweating problem in a way that was manageable to my lifestyle. I don’t even think about buying tight clothing and I’ve come to accept my problem. Not worrying about it has made it less of an issue in my life.
With no doubt, sweating definitely makes you feel gross. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel like a gross person on the inside. Sweating means your human, and more teens just need to realize that. In most cases, sweating exemplifies hard work and that should be something to be proud of. I recently upped my work out regime and I could fill buckets with the amount of sweat I produce from it. Because of this, I gained a new meaning of sweat: renewal. Renewal of a new person I am going to become. It may take each individual going through the problem of excessive perspiration time, but with time people will find their own acceptance to the issue. The only way to overcome low self-esteem with sweating is to embrace and love every imperfection about you.