Little Miss Sunshine: Pageant Beginnings

This post was originally for last week but I wanted to tie in the past and the current with the Orientation happening so I switched my posts. But that’s ok because life is all about being flexible and adaptable! Something I learned from a very inspirational lady named, Joy Baldridge.

So today we’re talking about my pageant history, which seems like a whole other side of me.

See there are so many different parts of me and so many stories that I had a hard time picking which ones to share first but I digress. Maybe I’ll have to write two books!

selective focus photography of three disney princesses figurines on brown surface
Photo by Jennifer Murray on Pexels.com

I started pageantry at the age of nine with Cinderella. I placed 2nd alternate, my favorite outfit was a pink frilly dress and I played “My Heart will go on” on the piano. It didn’t matter to me that I hadn’t won because I was glad for the experience to be over. It is nerve wracking to perform on stage in front of hundreds. I didn’t understand why my mother was pushing me into these uncomfortable clothes, and forcing me to go on this stage and embarrass myself in front of people and be judged for it. I told my mom I never wanted to do this again.

Four years later, my mom encouraged me to enter the Our Little Miss pageant. I didn’t want to do it then either but I thought maybe I didn’t give it a proper chance the first time. I did not win the first year I entered. Many people were hoping I would win  including my mother but I believed I couldn’t win because I was still very shy and inexperienced. Or so I thought. Some of the parents came up to me afterwards and said that I didn’t win because I was heavier than the girl who won and that was the only difference.

Now I had never been a skinny person but at the age of 13, this was the first time where I would become conscious of my body being different from others. And that the difference was not in my favor. My self-esteem plummeted after that. Before this moment I thought I was just as good as everyone else and that I just needed more practice. But people were telling me essentially that it did not matter how well I did because as long as I was fat, I would never succeed in beauty pageants and life in general really.

Body weight became a defining factor in how I would approach situations in my life moving forward. But I take this time to applaud the Our Little Miss because the pageant itself celebrated and praised girls for their talents not their size. I didn’t want to re-enter but my mom encouraged me once again. Bless her heart, she has never given up on me. So I went back into the pageant the next year and won the title for my age division. Universal Beauty Queen for the age 13-14 division. She was right after all.

I was supposed to enter Miss Teen Cayman Islands when I graduated from high school but I received a full scholarship to school in Canada and would miss the Miss Teen Cayman experience.

Then I entered Miss Cayman Islands in 2014. According to members of the general public who made comments to me afterwards, the reason I didn’t win was because I wasn’t small enough. I didn’t lose enough weight. And it felt like my experience in Our Little Miss all over again. Outwardly people didn’t know how much their words affected me. I kept my smile. On the inside I felt like I would never be good enough, I would never be pretty enough because I wasn’t tiny enough to be liked by everyone. And you know what? This annoyed me. I excelled at everything in my life. I had accolades abounding but yet I would be held back by superficial perceptions of beauty?

I felt like giving up. Then I came across what would be one of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”  When I first read it I didn’t think I could be amazing at all. No matter what anyone said to me. All I knew was that in my view I was fat, frumpy and poor.

I used to pray to God to make the suffering end. I asked God, when will I finally have peace inside? When will the problems end? When will my life be normal? When will I be skinny? When will I finally be happy?

But eventually, it started to sink in. In the year 2016, it was like an epiphany and I realized something. That I didn’t need to be rich or skinny to be happy. I was enough as I was because I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. My family, friends and supporters knew this all along but I had to believe it for myself.

close up photography of person holding crystal ball
Photo by FOX on Pexels.com

Once I accepted these things the haze I told you about at the start of the last blog began to clear. Looking back over my life, I realize that my mom encouraged me to do a lot of uncomfortable things. I resented her at the time for doing them. But now I see that what she did was out of love and a desire to see her children be successful and do great things. She knew we were destined for greatness and wanted to do everything she could to help us reach it. But she knew like Rajat Dogra said “great things did not come from comfort zones”.

With this new acceptance of reality and what it meant to experience challenges, I entered the Miss Cayman Islands pageant again, which was no easier. It is never easy to stand on stage in front of people and open yourself to public critique but I was ready for it because I wanted to be great. Now I am standing (technically sitting at my computer desk but you get the picture 🙂 ) here as Miss Cayman and I am so proud of myself to achieve such a high honor to represent my country.

This blog was a lot longer today but this part of the story couldn’t be broken into smaller pieces.

Hope you enjoyed!

I welcome your feedback so please leave comment in the section below.

Until next week!

 

1 thought on “Little Miss Sunshine: Pageant Beginnings”

  1. Wow..!!
    Loved reading and knowing your journey..
    “My heart will go on” is my favourite song too.. And you playing or singing at such a tender age in front of audience does bring nervousness but eventually confidence comes..
    Finally you have won.. And you are truly beautiful at your heart as well..
    Keep inspiring!! And cheers to your mom…
    Be happy!!
    Thanks for sharing.. 👍

    Like

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