How A Personal Tragedy Helped Me Find My Inner Queen
International Ms. 2017
One beautiful May evening in 2014, while I was sitting on the steps of my best friend’s house, I responded with the normal, polite “Oh no, I’m fine. Thanks,” when her neighbor approached me to ask if I was ok. Only, I was the farthest from ‘ok’ than I had ever been. Waiting on her front step for her return home I sobbed uncontrollably, I felt as if my life was falling apart. When she finally returned home she invited me in and I began to tell her what happened. Just one hour prior to this, my husband had asked for a divorce. My world was rocked to its core. Hours passed as we shared a bottle of wine and I shared my thoughts and fears. When I felt like it was not possible to cry anymore, I gathered my strength and returned to my house, only to find an empty and cold shell of a home we once shared. There I stood, my life’s slate forcibly wiped clean, I knew my life would never be the same. That evening felt like it stretched on forever.
The weeks that followed were more challenging on my emotions than I am proud to admit. As a school teacher, summer had arrived and school was out; each day was spent wandering the home we once shared in a fruitless effort to carry-on with life. Every mundane task from laundry to cooking and even watching TV was sheer agony as I was constantly surrounded by our things which triggered memories of better, happier times that were never to return. During this time I had never felt more lonely, lost, or terrified about what my future would hold. What had my life come to? I found myself an over-worked, underpaid, overweight, and under-appreciated 29 year old who was facing 30 as a divorcée.
Finally, unable to sit any longer in [formerly] our home to wallow in my despair, I decided to leave the house for a bit. With no destination in mind, I aimlessly drove around town until, almost by fate, a traffic jam had forced me to sit stationary in front of a local gym. As I watched youthful, energetic people through the window during their daily work out, I realized that they have something I was missing – passion; passion for taking care of their bodies and passion for pushing their limits. Without even realizing it, as if on auto-pilot, I had parked my car and walked into the gym. From that day forward, the gym became an escape from my sorrow. I began spending 2-3 hours each day just walking on the treadmill while watching programs on the mounted TVs to pass the time. After a while, as my body slowly acclimated to physical activity, I began losing some weight and feeling healthier. For the first time in a very long time, I felt positive.
With my new body and newly found passion for pushing my limits, I confidently competed and on the final night, which just so happened to be my 30th birthday, I walked on that stage as if I owned it. That evening, to my surprise, I was crowned the winner! As the new queen for my home state, I was to leave in 5 months time to compete nationally; and so my journey continued! Hard work and passion were needed more than ever to prepare for this competition. As nationals approached I found myself 70lbs lighter and 8 dress sizes smaller than that dark night in May, only one year before. With my blossoming confidence, I competed and placed top 16 nationally in the Ms. United States 2015 pageant. Subsequently, I represented my home state in the International Ms. 2017 pageant in New York City in September of 2016. Here, my passion and positivity helped me rise above and win the title of International Ms. 2017!
it was in that traffic jam, stalled in front of a gym in the summer of 2014 where I had my epiphany. I changed my point of view from helpless victim of one of life’s pitfalls to proud orchestrator of my life’s path. I realized that, while this unfortunate life event happened, I needed to take responsibility of changing the things that I could in order to create happiness. Integrating a passion for caring for myself and for pushing my limits, as well as placing focus on positivity in my life have been the drivers of my success story. While I would never wish a heart-breaking tragedy on anyone, it was the catalyst that helped me take control of my life and my destiny. Without this personal tragedy, I likely would have never found my inner queen. Many philosophers throughout time have noted that there is a close tie between the power to destroy and the power to create; when faced with life’s challenges we must ask ourselves which we will allow to be acting forces in our lives.
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