That’s right, you read sweat pink. I am deviating from my Florida posts a bit here to write about fitness for a minute (or 5). There is this pretty rad online website and community I found some time ago called The Fit Approach. It was created a while back by two women, who also created something they call Sweat Pink. I recently became a “Sweat Pink Ambassador”.
Its story lies in Jamie Walker, who one day found herself adjacent to a disgruntled man while waiting for the start of a race they were both entered in. She’ll have to forgive me for the variation of the event I am retelling here, but I’m going to add my own words a bit.
Upon going to a race, one of the other runners looked Jamie up and down.
“What pink shoes you have,” said the man.
“All the more bright for you to see me pass you bye,” Jamie returned.
“What loud hairstyle you have,” he huffed gleaming at her pigtails.
“All the more unique so you can tell who I am from behind,” she assured him.
The man continued to huff and puff quite into the start of the race–he was sure she would be not a good runner at all–until Jamie blew past him with ease. Maybe he saw her bright pink shoes or her swishy blonde pigtails, and maybe he didn’t. But not all the huffing and puffing in the world would matter, because she would continue to wear what she liked and kick ass while doing it.
Thus Sweat Pink was created, in recognition of all those athletic girls out there who also were, well, girly.
Things like this happen a lot in life. It would be conceited of us girls to say we had all the claim to it. The truth is we all are guilty of making assumptions; of attributing prejudice in replace of knowledge, and thinking it is one in the same.
Fitness is similar to this concept of rising above the opinion of others. It feels good because it involves overcoming a challenge. As The Fit Approach so elegantly put it on the postcard they sent me:
And it’s true. Fitness may even be one of the best ways to get that feeling; so many other challenges in life don’t always pose such a high percentage success rate. After all, even if you ask that cute boy next door out, it doesn’t mean he will say yes. Your body, however, will always react at least to some degree to the effort you put into it.
As a woman, I find I especially enjoy overcoming a challenge that isn’t expected of my gender. At times, I realize this isn’t always necessary, or that I am not the only one who has ever experienced prejudice. Yet it is there, none-the-less, and I am not sorry for it. Being female is a large part of my identity, and we should never ignore these aspects of ourselves. What we need to remember is there is more to ourselves and to others than these definitions. Gender, geography, culture, religion, and so much more blends together to become some of the things that describe who you are. But even they are not everything.
I joined the Sweat Pink community because yes, I am a girl. And yes, sometimes it is hard as a woman to be considered athletic, especially if you appear very girly in any way.
Yet I also love to run. I love jiu jitsu. I love just being fit and healthy when I can convince myself to stick to it. There is something rather exciting about putting on a pair of running shoes, headphones, a great playlist, and an open road or trail. I’m not particularly good at it, but I feel the rush of the struggle; feel the air being sucked in, and the sweat gathering on my forehead. Often there are times when I go out to start my run, and I wonder, “Why I am doing this?” I could be comfy inside in my bedroom, drinking a beer, and watching TV. I could read a book. Draw a picture. Tell my dog how cute he is, and make him tolerate my excessive hugging. But always, always when I am done I feel like I can take on the world. Every step is a triumph, every breath an appreciation of the effort I put in physically and mentally. It helps me to realize taking that one step can inspire so much more.
Beyond that, I love the community that is formed around things like running, fitness, jiu jitsu, or anything. When people have a commonality, prejudice goes away more easily. We are all encouraging to one another–all comrades. As I poked around the Sweat Pink community I saw this, just like I have seen in many other places. These are the sort of communities to make you appreciate society. As much as we can sometimes tear each other apart, build prejudices, critiques, stereotypes, and walls, we can also build each other up, too.
So I am pretty happy to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador, and don a pair of bright pink laces. I’ll see you on the road.