Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Okay, guys. I finally have my feet under me and and thoughts in order. I had a whirlwind of a past few months while I’ve been relentlessly preparing for the Miss Mississippi USA pageant (but literally.. I was putting in 20 hour days to juggle school, work, and pageant prep). I wanted this last shot to be a no-holds-barred kind of thing. I had prayed and decided to give this dream one more chance to fly, and if God had other plans then that would be fine with me. My thinking was, however, that I was going to give God Every. Single. Reason. to tell me yes. I jumped into this dream wholeheartedly. I prayed and decided to give this weekend up to God. Halloween weekend was going to be the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, whether it was representing Mississippi in the USA pageant or completely redirecting my life to chase a new dream.
The weekend came, and if you’re a pageant girl reading this then you know how it goes. If you’re not a pageant girl, then the weekend is not what the movies make it out to be. I genuinely met a few girls who I just know will grow to be some of my best friends. We shared laughs and nerves and butt-glue (which is a definite token of friendship). We took selfies and shared insta-tags. We spent the weekend together, and we left our hearts on the stage.
As I walked out on the stage for the last time, I soaked in every second. I could spot my family and friends in the audience, and the world seemed to stand still for a while as I soaked in every moment. The adrenaline that being on stage gives me is an indescribable feeling.
When the time came and my name was called 2nd runner up, I was confused. I had performed to the best of my ability, and I fell short. I was convinced that this was my destiny, and I spent most of this week in a tub of ice cream wondering where I went wrong. It didn’t hit me until this Friday morning, nearly a week later: God said not right now.
Maybe this dream of mine will happen one day, but for now I’m stepping back and living the life that I think I’m supposed to live for now. I’m taking all of the things that pageantry has taught me, and I’m running with them!
Confidence. You’ll never know what it’s like to get on stage in your swimsuit and strut around to 2 Chainz or Bruno Mars and bare it all on stage until you’ve done it. It takes confidence to believe in your own opinions enough to try to share them with the world. Five Percent of the world has this same confidence that we who compete have.
Strength. Physical and Mental. I spent three months in the gym getting kicked around by a body builder until I could keep up. I hired coaches to criticize me and make me better. It takes strength to see your own weaknesses and make them better.
Leadership. I can lead a group into a dance or into lineup. I can take charge of the stage or of the group project in class because pageants have helped me find my voice. I’m not afraid to take control and work in a team. Others can depend on me because I’ve had to depend on myself.
Dedication. I’ve dedicated myself to a goal, and not many people can do that. I’ve dedicated myself to a dream and to a cause and that’s a quality that I can be proud of, one that that pageants have helped developed.
Faith. The most important; the one that fuels the above four. I have faith in God and in His timing. I’ve experienced firsthand how His nos can lead to a thousand better yesses. I’ve seen His work in my life through pageantry, and I’ve watched myself develop into the woman I always wanted to be, and I don’t need a crown to prove that.
Obviously these are only five broad qualities that could all be subcategorized, but the point has been made. I may be disappointed initially, but I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost through all of this. It’s been a beautiful chapter.