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Pageants are my happy place. Where is yours? Show your support by Sharing the Blog!

How do you do it? That’s stupid. You must be a bitch. These are all things I hear regularly when I tell people about my hobby. I’m a pageant girl. I have been for years. I am combating the stereotypes one comment at a time.

Over the years, pageants have gotten a reputation as shallow and pretentious. Pageant girls are supposed to be dumb and mean… catty and just overall not nice people, but that could not be further from the truth.

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I can say of all the years I have done pageants I have only experienced MAYBE five girls like this. Actually, I have made more friends in pageants, girls who live all over the country, than I have in my own school. The stereotypes pageants girls get… Look around, you will find more people who fit this description in your school than you will on that stage.

As someone who struggles with depression the name calling and shaming is a hard pill to swallow. Pageants are my love, but they are also the source of some of my greatest pain. I always have to think twice before posting about my favorite thing to do because I need to mentally prepare myself for the negative comments. I can’t talk about it without hearing the whispers behind my back. People can be so cruel and we have to just take it? How is that fair? If someone says or does something mean and you respond, somehow you are the bad guy? How has society messed this up SO much?

Pageants have had such a positive impact on my life. I also suffer from anxiety and pageants have helped control that.

When you are standing backstage and are getting ready to walk on that stage in front of the judges, audience, and live feed camera, you can feel your heart in your throat. However, by putting yourself in a situation that causes anxiety it puts you in control. How you handle that situation is what really matters. Do you run and hide? Do you go crawl up in a ball and cry? No.

This is what I do on a daily basis when I feel anxious. I cry A LOT. Ask my boyfriend, he’ll tell you all about it. When I’m in that moment I go through my breathing exercises. I have these little things I do to collect myself and relax, so when I’m at home and feel anxious, I put myself in that place. Like I am about to get my chance to shine in the spotlight and somehow that helps.

pageant 2Pageants are an amazing hobby to have. They teach girls responsibility, time management, communication skills, and friendship skills. They help when you get older and are going in for your first job interview. Pageant girls know how to land the job because they have been nailing their pageant interviews since they were 3 or 5 years old, but what you don’t expect to hear is that pageants help with mental health, but they do.

If you’re feeling depressed, there are 20 other people, same age as you, who want nothing more than to make you feel better. Whether that’s putting on your favorite dress or going for ice cream. When you’re feeling anxious, just imagine stepping on that stage and feeling all your anxiety immediately leaving your body. Think about how amazing it feels when you walk down those steps knowing you left it all on that stage. Pageants help you grow as a person and help you develop into someone who beats the stereotypes. They give you a confidence no other organization can give you.

Being in pageants has given me a support group so big it’s almost overwhelming. Thanks to the relationships I have made in these amazing organizations I have learned that I don’t have to be alone. I don’t need to be sad anymore. Even when I am sad, or anxious, or nervous, or overwhelmed I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only person going through it. I have found people going through the same things as me and we work through them together.

Thanks to pageants, I have friends that call if not every day, every week to check in on me to make sure I’m doing alright. I used to not want to be alive. I wanted to leave this Earth because I was so sure the world would be so much better off without me. I was so sure my family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and everyone in between disliked me SO much that I didn’t mean anything to anyone, that if no one ever saw me again it wouldn’t even be noticeable.

beautiful girlsNow, thanks to pageants giving me a title and making me a role model, I have had the opportunity to start a nonprofit for other young girls going through the same things. It is a forum for people to talk about their problems, concerns, or just talk about what’s in their head in a safe environment. It’s a place where you can post anonymously or publicly. You can comment and reach out to others only after your comments have been approved. A place where all the hate on the internet is blocked out.

Some people are too scared to ask for help. Some people don’t realize they need help. This forum I am creating is a place where you can figure it all out. A place where you don’t have to be alone. A place where you don’t need labels to get the attention you need and deserve. Just because you haven’t been officially diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression, doesn’t mean you don’t get sad. It doesn’t mean you don’t struggle. Maybe something significant happened in your life and you’re just going through it right now. Maybe you just need a place to vent without being judged or criticized.

Too many of us hear “you’re not depressed” or “stop being so dramatic” or the worst one, “You’re fine” when you’re just not. This is a place for those people to come forward and speak their mind, speak their truth and be finally heard. Pageants have given me the chance to start this amazing project. I will have the opportunity to go out in my community to talk to young people about their problems. I am someone who can relate because while I’m a few years older, I’m still a kid myself. I’m still growing up and know what it feels like to be a kid in today’s society.

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Pageants are FUN. Pageants are OPPORTUNITIES. Pageants are FAMILY.

Pageants are amazing and don’t deserve all the hate. Pageants may have a bad rep but that doesn’t mean I have to live that. Pageants are a place to express yourself and a place to be who you really want to be. Maybe you like getting all dressed up but also love sports. Or love doing something that gets you down and dirty. Pageants have a place for that. It is a place to be recognized for every part of you, a place where you don’t have to hide or be scared, anxious or depressed.

Pageants are my happy place. Where is yours? Show your support by Sharing the Blog!

Source: CureUp

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