Don’t Sweat It This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Oh my God, oh my God, I thought. Not again. I was sweating. This may not sound like much of a problem to you. Everyone has a little wetness every once in awhile, like right before a math test. But I’m not everyone. For some unforeseen foolish reason, I was cursed with excessive sweating since the start of puberty.

I sweat when I’m emotional - really, really excited, really, really stressed. And I’m an emotional person. Every single personality quiz I take concludes with “passionate,” “intense,” and “emotional” to describe me. So, as you can guess, I sweat quite a bit.

Right before I had to go in front of the class and present some silly project I wasn’t prepared for with the hottest guy in our class, I smelled something. It was a familiar, gross smell that made me into a nervous wreck and sent my stomach lurching in embarrassment. My armpits were reeking sweat and used deodorant smell. A train of worries starting zooming 100 miles an hour in my head.

Can anyone else smell it? Do I have pit stains? Am I going to puke? Does anyone know it’s me? Am I turning purple? That is just another embarrassing quirk of mine. Instead of turning red or pink when I’m humiliated (like normal people), my face goes straight to some shade of purple. It’s not very attractive and my blond highlighted hair is not complemented by it at all.

I tried to take deep, slow breaths and get my hands to stop shaking. Stage fright at its worst, right here. Thank God I don’t faint. But I suppose I should also curse him for giving me these problems. Why couldn’t I have a more subtle hygiene flaw? But I couldn’t think about this any longer. Our names were called to come to the front of the class.

I stood quickly and took my notes before walking the walk of doom. My partner stared at me, embarrassed for me, I could tell. His eyebrows were sloped pityingly; my bored audience was whispering. I’m purple. I know it. I have sweat stains the size of Russia, and I’m going to die right here. I gave the presentation a little bit shakily, while willing my face to stop burning. My partner tried to make the best of it by taking over most of the speaking.

We finished our presentation, and the teacher asked if the class had any questions. My pits were totally soaked. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. My legs were quivering. I was gazing at the floor like it had a TV built right under my feet. This was the worst presentation ever.

An hour later, I was in a different class. Different people, most hadn’t seen my presentation. I was airing out my underarms and letting the pools of stink evaporate. This is much better, I thought. Even later will be better too.

Then I thought about how much significance that project would have in my life. It would be an okay story to tell during awkward silences, I guess. But I thought, When I get out of this grade, this presentation won’t be very important. I’d be going to college in a few years. No one would remember it by then, if any of them even knew me. And when I grew up, it wouldn’t matter.

So, I can sweat and turn into a grape as much as I don’t want. It won’t matter in the long run; I have a lot of life left. I learned, I suppose, that I shouldn’t dwell on the small stuff that I sweat.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 7:21 am
i love this so much!
grasslova said...
Mar. 21, 2010 at 1:01 am
NICE!! I can totally relate, :) I feel your pain! Excellent writing! Sensational! it's not easy to open up like that, it takes a lot of bravery to do that. Right on! KEEP WRITING!! you are amazing! way to get into the magazine! :)
Nessa said...
Dec. 28, 2008 at 6:45 pm
Dont sweat it! i doesnt matter, really it dont you cant control it, no one will even remeber, i really really like this story alot
keep writing!!!
( and i hate to admit it but i have the same problem too, so this story really spoke to me and i knew how you feel and can really relate )
Courtney H. said...
Dec. 14, 2008 at 12:55 am
wow i really like this.I have never had a problem like this before i but its so true when you said i have a whole life left.
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