JULY 15 - Today was finals at USA National Miss. This week felt like it went on forever and when Friday hit - everything was on fast forward. Until I woke up this morning, time creeped at an agonizing pace. Oh for heaven's sake! Finally, it was time to move into the dressing rooms for Hayden's finals. As you may or may not know, I hate finals. I just hate the waiting to get to the end. I hate not hearing some of my TCM girls' names not called. I hate seeing their hearts broken. I had a feeling about Hayden. I had a feeling she would break top 15. I didn't want to count my chickens before they hatched, but I had a feeling. And I was right. Hayden did indeed break top 15. She was the second to last called. My heart was racing and yes, I was pacing in the back. I don't pace because I'm nervous. I pace because I hate the waiting. So they dismissed the princesses and I ran to the dressing room for the quick change to runway fashion. You know the drill by know. Evening wear was next. This was it. After Hayden left for evening wear - I wouldn't see her any more until after the pageant was over. Done. Final. She was beautiful in her evening wear. But today was just not her day. She was sad after the pageant. (I expected that. If she weren't sad, then it didn't mean anything to her and pageants were not for her.) Her mother, Lauri, hugged her tight. I stepped away for them to have a moment before I spoke to her. When I returned Hayden was in her mother's lap and I looked upon their faces. Hayden's had a little mascara under her eyes from her tears. Her mother had tears in her eyes because she felt the sadness from her daughter. Though this moment stung, this moment was important. It taught Hayden something about competition in the form of determination & ambition. It taught her perseverance through defeat. It taught her that nothing can hold her down if she wants it bad enough. So after I spoke to her, what really defined this moment for everyone was Hayden's friend she made at the pageant. I sadly cannot recall the child's name, she was Miss Keystone Princess, and she was a remarkable young lady who spoke words wise beyond her years. She told Hayden that her and her sister queens crossed their fingers for her to make top 15 if she could not. She told Hayden everything would be okay, that her tears and sadness were okay because not winning was tough. Then Keystone said the most wonderful thing, "Hayden, don't be sad. Look at me .... I didn't even make top 15 but I'm happy that you did. It's okay. You were great!"
Pageantry sometimes gets a bad rep. You've heard me say this before. You hear about crazy pageant and horror stories about pageants or competition. Yes, this has happened before - I won't pretend that's a myth. BUT there are many more pageant peeps who work very hard every single day to change that negative stereotype into a positive. When you see moments like the one described above, you realize just what powerful positive impact pageantry has made on these young girls' lives. How many times have you seen young people comfort and console others, even when they, themselves faced the same heartache? Just like Natalie and Miss Keystone, these girls put others before themselves because they cared about their pageant friends over their own sadness.
How many times have you seen young people know there is a lesson to be learned from this outcome that will help them be better for next time? Natalie and Layna Baker knew that lesson.
How many times have you seen young people obtain a new level of determination and focus to be better every day? - Just like Desi.
We all talk about broadening our audience to reach more people about our platforms - but how many people have you seen use pageants as an opportunity to openly share their love for God to and, in return, be His light for others? The Fresina's do, as well as UNM National Director, Jackie Watson.
When I told my mom the conclusion to our 19 day pageant adventure, her words were also simple: "Better luck next time." Honestly, I was kind of upset she selected such simple words to say to me. But I realized later on what they meant. In pageants, you can feel like you had the best interview and feel like you rocked your modeling and you were gorgeous in your attire - but still it comes down to luck. There is a panel of judges, all with different opinions on what "beauty" is - and that is okay. BUT if you compete in pageants, you MUST be okay with this panel making the final selection on the best representative for your competition group. You also have to be confident in your own performance because no matter the outcome, YOU have to feel like you NAILED every phase of competition. If you can do that, then you have already won. Remember in my first post, I stated that these competitions do not define you. It is what you do next that defines who you are.
Pageants may not be for everyone, but how will you know if you never even try? It isn't about the destination, but the journey so don't let the fear of facing defeat hold you back. It may just surprise you, and the experiences, the lessons, and the adventures may become your defining moments.