Relax & Be Yourself!

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!

Lexi Crosen
IJM International Teen 2016

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