Am I Good Enough?

A few months ago I competed in a local pageant (a preliminary competition which allows the winner(s) to advance to the 2017 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant which then goes on to Miss America), completely on a whim. I made the decision to compete about a week and a half before the actual competition, I wasn’t actively training/dieting, I didn’t have any new wardrobe nor did I really know what I was getting myself into.

Needless to say, I loaded up my Ford Focus at 3 am to depart from Omaha, Nebraska and made the four hour trek to North Platte, entirely unaware of what would unfold.

I can’t help but to chuckle when I think of how many opportunities have come from me just saying, “why not, I’ll do it!” Whether that be a job, volunteer or networking opportunity, or in this circumstance, a pageant. I’ve never really had to search for opportunities, they just sort fell in my lap. Which in hindsight, I am very thankful for.

On February 5th, myself and two other young women were crowned at the Miss Gering/Miss Twin Rivers pageant. Prior to crowning, I stood on stage thinking of all that I didn’t do so great on in the differing areas of competition, such as misspelling a word in my monologue, not knowing the answer to some questions during my interview, or not being toned the way I would have liked to be in my swim suit. Nonetheless, I masked all my insecurities and doubt with a smile – just as any proper pageant girl would. The teen contestants were crowned first and then the Miss contestants took to the stage.

The first name was called.. nope, not me. Okay, cool. Morale was still up there!

*applause, cameras flashing and cheers from the crowd*

The second name was called.. again, not me. Morale plummets. Only one more tittle.

*applause, cameras flashing and cheers from the crowd*

At this point I say to myself, “Well Devin, ya did good.” I continued to clap and smile while the remaining contestants anxiously awaited the last crown to be given out.

“And your Miss Western Nebraska 2017 is contestant number 9, Devin Owens!”

*applause, cameras flashing and cheers from the crowd*

Morale… Woah – say what? 

When my name was called, I was genuinely shocked. I sashayed forward in my ill fitting gown and thanked the judges, as another title holder bobby pinned the crown atop of my head.

Soon after my fellow sister queens and I were in front of dozen of flashing cameras. Everything after crowning moved so quickly, from my official head shot to signing paper work, I didn’t really get a chance to take everything in until I was driving home.

That’s when it hit me (for the first time), I am going to Miss Nebraska.. excited or scared?

I look at the girls who have been competing in pageants since they could walk or have competed for the title of Miss Nebraska 2, 3, or even 4 times and couldn’t help but to feel like an outsider.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, growing up, I didn’t watch pageants on television or really know anything about scholarship or beauty pageants. Considering that, I began to question my validity in competing; was I as hungry for the crown as other competitors, was I taking up space in the competition, was my lack of experience in larger pageants detrimental, was I even a “pageant girl”? All these questions and more filled my mind with doubt and made me believe that I wasn’t enough to be the next Miss Nebraska or a title holder at all.

The two previous pageants I competed in, I didn’t place last, but I was never first or walked away with the crown. I sort of fell into the middle, which I associated with being “okay”. Sort of like the judges were like, “Eh, she’s cool, but not it.” I held this I’m just “ok” mentality with me for a long time. I knew I was talented, but not as talented as her, or I knew I was pretty, but not as beautiful as her. It was a constant cycle of never feeling enough, and boy, was it crippling. 

But in the mysterious and wonderful way that life works, I was asked one question that made all of this pageant stuff – make sense. 

Devin, do you want to be Miss Nebraska?

As odd as it sounds, no one asked me this question before. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the preparation, local competitions, events, appearances, what you’re going to wear, your talent and so forth that you can forget why or even if you want this job at all.

So I paused, thought about it, and then said yes. I am a firm believer in timing and things happening as they are supposed to. I won the local title for a reason and now will give all I have into being Miss Nebraska. If I am called for this job, I am prepared for it, if not, I can accept that it wasn’t meant for me. Being Miss Nebraska stopped being about me and started being about the people that have impacted me once I made the decision to say yes. This is a job and platform that has the opportunity to make a world of difference in our state and across the country.

I’ve never felt like a pageant girl and that’s where my doubt came, but I always knew that I wanted to give, and that’s where my confidence came. Knowing such made sense for me when considering if I wanted to compete. Pageants aren’t about the crown, the title or even any of the perks, it’s about the impact you can make on the lives of others. That’s what I want to do and that’s why I will always say yes to being Miss Nebraska.

I want to serve as a constant reminder to anyone who has ever doubted themselves, that you are enough. Just the way you are.

 

As always,

Devin J.

 

 

 

 

 

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