When I was 17, I started competing. I had NO IDEA what the organization was about or what was going to be in store for me. Some people are blessed with the ability to walk into this organization and leave with a title right away. For me, it was quite a bit different. My very first pageant was Miss Finger Lakes 2005 and since then, I have competed in 15 local pageants. After about three years of competing and not winning, I had lost sight of the real meaning and purpose of the Miss America Organization. I decided to quit, I simply could not take standing on the stage one more time and not hearing my name be called. I had failed myself.
The day of Miss Finger Lakes 2008 (I was not competing), I ran into Sue, Gary, and Shelby, my second family from the Miss Thousand Islands Organization, and after our conversation, I had completely lost my defeated mind-set and was, yet again, filling out paperwork for my next pageant. This time however, things were going to be different. I was no longer going to show up unprepared; I had a dream and was going to do everything in my power to accomplish it. After competing for a few more titles, I was not discouraged. The setback was only further motivation for me to work harder.
That next year, Corri Dartnell and I decided to get an apartment together. We were the perfect match, we were no longer competitors, we were a team. Everyday there was a different aspect of competition that we focused on. Our poor neighbors must have been so confused by the constant noise of high heels, classical singing, and large banging noises (aka me falling off the balance beam). I am so grateful to have her in my life; I could not ask for a better friend.
As we stood on the stage this Saturday during the crowning and I heard the names of the runner ups, I started to get upset. I hadn't heard my name called and was sure that I, once again, didn't place. When my name was called as Miss Finger Lakes 2010, the only thing that stopped me from falling to the ground was that my dress was so tight that it was impossible to bend that much. At that moment, a six-year dream of mine had finally come true. As hard as I tried to stop them, the tears were inevitable.
Congratulations to Jennifer Starkey, Kieren Sheridan, Corrine Dartnell, and Chelsea Prophet!
The reason that I wanted to share this story was because it really shows that if you are determined and work hard at something, then you can accomplish anything. You are the decider of your future and you can only truly fail if you stop trying.