Confidence Is Everything

I could hear the crowds quieting and announcements starting. I felt as if my hands should be quivering or my heart rate speeding up, but that didn’t happen. I could feel my stomach tighten before I stepped on stage, but as soon as I walked into the light a smile covered my face and confidence spread throughout my body. One foot gracefully placed in front of the next, step, pivot, turn; just like we rehearsed.

The elevator ride to the lobby seemed to drag on forever. The door opened, and I saw the lineup of girls. Immediately, I began picking myself apart. Her shoes are way nicer than mine. Her hair is amazing. I wonder if she can tell that I’m wearing extensions. Look at her tan. Theres no way I can do this. Are they all as nervous as I am? I had never felt so insecure in my life. I had no idea that this short weekend of the Miss Teen Canada-World provincial competition would change so much.

“Girls, put on your heels. Don’t take them off.” we were instructed by the choreographer. We began to learn the opening number, but all it taught me at first is that I have two left feet! To make everything worse, I was to be in the centre of the stage. Soon, the numbness of my strappy silver heels overwhelmed my mind rather than my nerves about dancing, and I had learned the routine and even made some friends. As the day went on I became more comfortable, and found myself asking question or stating my opinion, when I usually would’ve remained quiet. I began to reach out to other girls to make friends and try to make them feel comfortable instead of being uncomfortable myself. I was completely unsure of where this newfound confidence was coming from, but I liked it! After lunch we were taught how to walk with grace in a gown, strut with confidence in a bikini, and sit properly for an interview. By the end of the day I changed from four inch heels to five inch heels, a part of my interview attire. The table of judges was set up at the very back of the ballroom, meaning I had to walk in those painful contraptions for what seemed like ages. I slowly lowered myself into the chair, placed one leg over another as I was taught, and my interview went surprisingly well; answers seemed to roll off of my tongue without effort. I sighed a breath of relief after the first day, said goodbye to all my new friends, and took my heels off as soon as I got out of that room!

The next day was full of rehearsals, hair and makeup, and girls praying they wouldn’t mess up. All day, each girl would come out of hair and makeup looking transformed! The day felt too short, and soon we were huddled in the back hallway waiting to go on stage. Every spare minute I had I was practicing the dance routine, or how to stand and pose. The clock struck 7:30 and we went on stage. The opening number has become a blur to me; I know I didn’t mess up and smiled the whole time, but I forget the details. The bikini part was next, and instead of feeling unsure of my body like I had expected, I walked with all the confidence I had. The evening gown portion of the night went well also. I felt as though I was walking with poise, I kept a smile on my face, and I didn’t trip on my dress. Next, was time to announce our platforms to the audience. I remembered to speak loud, slow, and smile, smile, smile. Finally it was time to line up to find out which girls would move onto the national competition. As I took my place on stage I was expecting to stand there in anticipation, and could only concentrate on the numbness that was quickly taking over my feet. While this thought consumed my mind, the girl next to me gave me a nudge and said, “that’s you, go!” I almost didn’t believe her until I felt my new crown being placed on my head and saw the red roses being presented to me by the former Miss Teen British Columbia. It was the best feeling in the world. For the rest of the night I could feel the radiance of the crown, and the confidence in myself that I had just discovered.

In just one weekend I learned so much about myself, and the importance of confidence than I had in seventeen years. I realized that I wasn’t as shy and insecure as I always felt. Being in the pageant taught me that energy wasted in self criticism is just that, a waste. My time is better spent accepting the things I cannot change and continually striving to improve the things I can. I have been so busy preparing for the National Miss Teen Canada-World 2012 competition with volunteering, planning fundraisers, getting involved in the community, and doing interviews, but it is all worth it. Through this experience I have discovered how to step out and become a leader, have confidence in any situation, and walk in unnaturally high heels.