Updated: Sep 18
“The doors will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.” Tony Gaskins
Being almost born on the baseball diamond, you could say was a foreshadowing of my life. Since the ripe age of, well...0 I have been around and enthralled in sports. I played basketball, track, volleyball, softball, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, you name it. I was gifted the ability of athleticism. Many of us can find ourselves being influenced by our families, their interests and activities. Sometimes this is a great thing, sometimes it's not. For me, I loved sports and the values it taught me along the way. However, my college basketball career ended and I craved this need for something else. I wanted to continue to improve who I was as an individual. Then came my first pageant. Talk about challenging yourself to something that is totally what seemed to be polar opposite. But, I was bold. I took a risk, I knew this was something I may not be good at or understand completely. Failure and risk have been two things that I have been afraid of in life. We all have things that scare us or that even stop us from pursuing something amazing. All it takes is one leap of faith, one decision to be bold, to shape the course of our paths.
"The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description." - Steve Maraboli
I learned a lot about myself and my abilities while I started my first pageant. Many people don't take the time to understand what a pageant encompasses. I was one of those people, but I am now forever changed by being a part of one. Whatever it may be that you are thinking about doing, I bet it will be worth it. No matter what people's "opinions" may be, fight the negativity-bias, know it is okay to fail, don't underestimate yourself and just do it. Taking a risk or leap of faith empowers us to establish new limits in our mind.
"Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process."
One bold move, and I was blessed with surprises every step of the way. Among the numerous beneficial and absolute awesome parts about competing in pageants, the best may be making life long friends with other women who can push us, inspire us and encourage us through all of our life goals and aspirations. We don't compete against each other...we compete side by side with each other and ultimately the only person we compete against is ourselves, to be the very best, most true, and authentic versions of us. From there, it is truly the judge's decision, they know what is needed for the following year and who is ready to take on the challenges and commitments that lie ahead for the new title holder. The majority of my dearest friends today have come from competing and I could not be more grateful for that.
All of a sudden this great risk, became one of the best rewards in my life.
As an athlete, musician, artist etc. we understand how to be a team player, be dedicated, be on time, be confident, be a humble winner and gracious loser and be self-motivated. After competing in 3 pageants I finally saw that these pageants were just as valuable if not more than sports were to my life. It is important to be a multi-dimensional individual and challenge ourselves to try new things. Just like practice is crucial to future success in games, practice is crucial to success in a pageant. Just as I have acquired valuable traits from my years playing basketball, I have also honed my interview, on stage presence, confidence and public speaking skills through competing in pageants. Who wouldn't want to practice and continuously become more polished in these skills to benefit their future? Not to mention, I learned a lot about myself in the process. I've failed, but persevered. Because of this incredible risk I took, diving into something I did not know anything about, I stand with confidence knowing those failures brought me to where I am now. I know who I am and whose I am and I'm proud to have the opportunity and responsibility of being Miss Wisconsin USA 2019.
Embrace who you are, not who you think you should be.
The women I have had the opportunity to meet are tremendously smart and ambitious especially when it comes to pursuing careers or philanthropic work. The grit and confidence portrayed in them would shine through in instances where one would have 30 seconds to answer a question on stage, drawn at random and stared at by thousands of people. For one of the first times in my life, (aside from my amazing family support system) I was surrounded by women who wanted you to succeed just as badly as they wanted to succeed themselves.
One of the greatest things pageants have the power to do is to give women of all ages a voice to make a change and be passionate about a purpose. The greatest part is that pageants help teach us to embrace who we are as individuals and be confident and comfortable in our own skin, just as God made us to be. You and everyone else reading this, embrace the fact that we are all uniquely and wonderfully made. I am imperfect and so are you! Imperfection makes life interesting and it makes us all different. Let's not focus on the idea of perfection that society creates. Let's instead focus on being our perfect selves, which is going to look different for everyone. If we were all perfect, we would all be the same and what fun would that be?
It's not always easy to have courage to try new things. Courage encompasses risks, vulnerability, strength and disappointment. Without courage it is difficult to grow in our journeys. Being bold will build self-confidence and self-respect. We should all have the courage to believe in ourselves. We can all learn to be imperfectly, perfect and comfortably being the person we were created to be, not the person the world wants us to be. Taking risks opens you up to new challenges and opportunities. Push yourself to learn something new, out of your comfort zone. Be bold today and every day, leading an authentic life, unique to you.
Your Girl Next Door and So Much More,