“Self-confidence is the best outfit you can wear. Rock it and own it every single day”
Many days I can be seen wearing my running shorts and red lipstick, usually on a weekday when I get to enjoy an afternoon run after work. I come home and shed my work clothes as fast as I can and throw on my running shorts, anxiously ready to hit the pavement and run off any stresses the day may have brought with it. But my red lipstick stays with me. No, I don’t re-apply it before I head out the door; the color just lingers on beyond the 8-hour work day. So I confidently run, like I never have before…
Here’s the thing, it wasn’t too long ago that I wouldn’t have been caught wearing either. Nope. Not at all. NEVER. As far as the shorts go, it was a classic case of hating my legs. I always did…I was overly critical of them…of myself as a whole actually. And as far as the lipstick goes, it was a classic case of being extremely timid and overly concerned of what others would think. Wasn’t it too bold and daring for the person everyone (including myself) thought I was? I didn’t want the judgement, the questions, or the attention. So… I laid low in my neutral colored lipstick and my blue jeans or yoga pants, hoping to avoid the criticism from myself and others. But those days are gone (thankfully). It didn’t happen overnight, and I wasn’t even conscious of it while it was all unfolding, but recent comments from friends and even complete strangers have made me realize this major breakthrough I made somewhere along the way. In a way, it kind of feels silly to even be talking about this, but I have realized that it is actually all very symbolic for me. When I first started wearing my new lipstick earlier this year I was terrified. I’m not even sure what really lead me to do it after all these years other than being tired of holding back, tired of worrying about what other people think, tired of questioning every single thing and not living my life bravely and boldly, and the fear of getting older and wondering why I didn’t just wear the red lipstick in my youthful years.
Earlier this summer while attending a local play, a stranger complimented my red lipstick. I promptly thanked her, and also went on to tell her how much her compliment meant to me since I had never worn such a bold color in my entire life. I was still in that phase of slight unease where I was questioning my decision to wear it, and I wasn’t fully comfortable yet with the major change. She assured me that it was a beautiful color and that it looked great on me. What was a simple comment for her was a huge deal to me; it made me feel a little more confident, so I bravely continued applying it each day. I continued wearing it throughout the summer until it finally felt like my normal. The red was just…well…me! But it really all came together and hit me last week. I had stopped at the grocery store after one of my late afternoon runs so I was sporting my running shorts, red lipstick, AND a massive amount of sweat. I was stopped by one of the employees to try a sample of the dish she had prepared and I graciously stopped and accepted her offer. We started chatting, first about the food I was trying and how she prepared it, and then she specifically mentioned that she sees me there often in my workout clothes and my red lipstick, and she told me that she loved the color. She herself had on a bright, beautiful shade of pink and I immediately returned the compliment. But it wasn’t just her lipstick that was shining brightly, it was also her personality. She had a huge smile that made you feel welcome and want to keep talking to her. We had a brief but powerful exchange of words…just a few comments about feeling beautiful, being happy, and being bold enough in life to wear colorful lipstick. The conversation made me happy, and it also left me thinking. There used to be a day that I never wore shorts, and there used to be a day that I never wore red lipstick, yet there I was wearing both, with absolutely no worries or concerns. Running has done more for me than shape and strengthen my body. Running has strengthened my mind, my soul, and my confidence. It has allowed me to see life through a different lens, to take chances, and to be bold in life. Somewhere along the way I stopped looking at my legs negatively and started viewing them for the amazing gift they are. They move my body, they allow me to fly, and they never fail me. And somewhere along the way I stepped outside of my comfort zone, I stopped worrying so much about what others might think or say about me, and I confidently started wearing the red lipstick that I always wanted to try.
What I hope you take away from this post has nothing to do with wearing shorts or a certain color lipstick. It is simply this –
Sometimes we forget how a few simple words can make a big impact on others. Speak with kindness, give compliments often, and uplift each other, always. We are all in this together.
Be confident in who you are and be brave enough to do the things you have always wanted to do. Don’t let your own worries, fears, or criticism get in the way, and certainly don’t give others that power over you. Life is too short to live it in yoga pants and neutral colored lipstick. Be brave, be bold, and be the person you want to be…