State pageants are going strong and since winning the Teen title, I've been asked many times 'How many times did you compete for the title?' - when I respond and say once, some are surprised because they know IJM is a pageant that draws competitive contestants and others are excited to know you can win on the first try.
Last fall I competed in a pageant I had done before and placed the same as the prior year. It was a hard loss for me. I had worked for a year and did no better and no worse. I had to learn that it wasn't because I did poorly, but because I just wasn't what the judges were looking for that day.
After a few months of tough reflection & little nudging from family & friends, I decided to try 2 pageants - back to back weekends. I didn't know much about either and this was unusual, my mom has a fairly strict policy of 1 big pageant a year, but she knew it would lift my spirits.
Guess what? The first one I did, I placed 1st runner-up and this time I was able to brush it off and move on to IJM the following weekend. Going into the Virginia IJM Pageant, I only expected to do my best. I had known losing pretty well at this point so my mindset was to have fun & learn from the experience. Nothing, no part of my wardrobe was different than the weekend before. Just my mindset.
And then I won the IJM VA Teen Title (amongst other awards too!) - I was shocked. But appreciated it more because it came after difficult losses.
I knew in preparing for Internationals, I'd have to have that same relaxed mindset in order to do my best. I had learned that being myself truly was what mattered. I couldn't lose myself in who else was going to compete with me - just stay focused on my personal goal.
IJM is competitive but first, it's fun, fair, and a true experience of a lifetime. Relax into the experience and embrace it for all it is. I definitely enjoyed my state & International pageant experience more by being relaxed and just being myself. That sounds cliche' but it's oh so true!
Be Bright & Sparkle!
IJM International Teen 2016