I'm sharing my pageant story for the first time on the blog! If you're just joining in, catch up by reading
Part 1 here. All of this will be included in an upcoming writing project, so your comments and thoughts are absolutely welcome; I'd love to hear your response! Enjoy Part 2!
Somewhere amidst the interview prep, gowns, hair styling and coaching sessions, I began to feel a sense of discomfort, but it was so slight that I couldn't have put a finger on why or where it was coming from. Brushing it aside, I kept training and rehearsing for upcoming pageants, but what I didn't realize is that slowly I was feeling the sense of inadequacy. The person that I was wouldn't win, so I needed to change things about me until I fit the mold of what they wanted. It wasn't that confidence was lost, but I changed so much of who I was to become this girl that would please the judges, one that would be "beautiful" on the outside, but looked, talked and acted like someone so different than the person I truly was. Now in the middle of all of this, I probably couldn't have told you that...perhaps I didn't want to admit it, or maybe the excitement and drive to accomplish my goal would have overshadowed that realization, and so it didn't really hit me until one particular morning.
I remember waking up, probably still somewhat half-asleep, and looking into the mirror across the room. Who is that?, I thought ..Wait a minute, that's me. I don't even know who am I anymore.. I didn't recognize the girl behind the mirror staring back at me, and it was at that point that the impact of that thought really clicked. I talked, looked and thought like a totally different person; the girl that was going to compete wasn't me at all, but rather a created "version" of someone who would do what it takes to win. I had allowed so much of who I was to change, and if my entire reasoning for doing this was to positively impact the younger generation, was my current example one worth following? I didn't think so. I felt empty and discouraged. In the middle of wanting to do something worthwhile, I'd lost my purpose and focus..and even my sense of who I truly was.
The dark-haired girl behind the mirror looked back at me that morning, and I realized that in trying to become 'beautiful', I had become like a Barbie doll, beautiful on the outside but hollow within. What mattered most wasn't the color of my hair, the perfect answer, or which gown I chose, but rather the person that I was, and if who I was wasn't good enough or politically correct enough to win the approval of the judges, then perhaps I was chasing the wrong dream.
With a pang of sadness, and little twinge of confusion, I decided to walk away from the pageant training. I had been so sure of this opportunity, and felt that God had opened doors in that area for me, so it was frustrating to see things not working out as I had thought...but that's the thing, I'd only been thinking of my timing and plans, not His. If only I had known that the doors were just about to swing wide open for another opportunity I never saw coming...
to be continued..