I know… I don’t look like your typical pageant queen.
When I was a little girl, my mother and I would watch the Miss USA and Miss America pageants every year. As an analytical junkie, even at a young age, I would have my pen and paper handy to write down the scores and track who I thought would be crowned the winner.
I dreamed of being one of those girls on the stage competing for the ultimate crown. As I got older, I realized that the Miss America pageant probably would not be in my future because I didn’t have a talent, not a talent that could be showcased on a national scale. So that left me dreaming of becoming Miss USA.
One year, a girl friend brought to my attention that this year was the last year I was eligible to compete in the Miss USA pageant because I would be too old the next year. I was a little shocked because it never dawned on me that competing would not be an option. I also never took competing very seriously so I was at a cross roads. What would I do? Would I take a leap of faith and step out on the stage? Or would I continue to dream of being crowned Miss USA?
Well, if you’ve read any of my writing, you already know what I did… I filled out the paperwork and started shopping for an evening gown.
Needless to say, it wasn’t that easy. There is so much that goes into competing in a state level pageant. I had to sign up for walking classes, dance classes and start a specialized work out routine to create tone and slender muscles instead of bulky muscles. I was working out, walking like a queen and eating as healthy as possible. I found the perfect red evening gown and had rhinestones added to the bodice and scattered around the ball gown skirt. I found the perfect sun yellow bikini and learned how to apply make-up for stage appearance.
I was ready.
The weekend arrived, I checked into the hotel and was confident that I could possibly walk away Miss Tennessee USA.
And then reality set in. My competition began to arrive. I thought I was serious about competing in this pageant but most of these girls were super serious. There were a few amateurs like myself but it was clear from the beginning who would win. She had been Miss Tennessee Teen USA and had competed in pageants all of her life. The rest of us were accessories. We knew it and she knew it.
I enjoyed the experience and met a few great women. However, I realized that I’m not a pageant girl. It takes a lot of hard work to produce the show that you see on television. Although I am a great interviewer, I am not a great pageant interviewer. It seemed that the answers I gave in the individual interviews were not the types of answers that they were looking for (and I will leave it at that).
The most surprising event during this experience was them announcing the Top Ten. No, I didn’t make it. And… I cried. I didn’t know why I was crying because I wasn’t surprised to not make the cut but something inside of me caused a rush of emotion. It was like I had reached the end of the journey and I wasn’t wearing a crown.
As you would expect, my family and friends were waiting for me after the pageant with hugs, congratulations and flowers. Once I came back to reality, I realized that I had done it. It didn’t matter whether I won or lost (winning would have been great) but I put forth the effort. I knew there was a possibility that I would not walk away the winner but I was determined not to spend the rest of my life wondering, “what if?” Now when I watch those pageants, I don’t wish I were on the stage or wonder what it would be like because dared to try.
I’m sure there is something in your life that you want to do but aren’t sure if you should or if you can. My advice… as long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone… try it. Go for it! What do you have to lose? You may be afraid but I promise it won’t be nearly as tough as you imagine. You will probably learn a few things about yourself along the way but guess what? If you don’t try it, then you will never know. Do you want to be on your death-bed filled with “what ifs”?
Don’t just dare to dream… dare to do it!