Be Proud of Who You Are

10448179_10152875008248659_8538628945407709887_nCue the cheesy “You can do anything!” and “New Year, New You!” articles. January always seems to be full of them 🙂 I know that topics like these can seem super cliché and overdone but having recently experienced what it means to be proud of myself and become a “New Me,” I wanted to share it with you and hopefully encourage you as we get into 2015.

As a brand new titleholder, I was immediately bombarded with a lot of information, well wishes, and responsibilities. Add that on top of leaving home 3 days after winning to finish my last semester of college in a different state. I’m sure you can imagine how exciting, surreal and overwhelming it all was. It’s not that it wasn’t fun; it just felt like a lot to know about and respond to at once. This is my first MAO title so I had no idea what the contestant portal was or what my “crash” was 😉 I’m your typical STEM student who knew more about bacteriophages than butt glue!

Feeling as if I had two polar opposite sides to my personality created this split in heart. I felt like I had to prove to my friends and family that I hadn’t changed and become a self-absorbed princess overnight like movies and television like to portray pageant winners. I wanted to show them I’m still the same nerdy Diamond who likes sci-fi novels and graphic design! But as a role model and representative for all of San Diego County, I felt like I needed to prove I was the perfect winner, who posted great selfies and was a seasoned pro (even though I’m not). It isn’t that anyone put these pressures on me – it was what I perceived people would want from me.

Well this stress only lasted about two weeks before I talked to my mom about it (aren’t moms awesome?!) and she gave me a great pep talk about Just. Being. Me. She said, “Just be Diamond. They chose you as their winner for a reason. You showed your true personality in that interview and that’s what they liked.” That helped me so much because it reminded me that no one is asking me to be different than I already am. The “Diamond” in interview mode is the same “Diamond” in student mode – she just talks about different things. And looks a whole lot nicer for interview than for class!

I share this story to encourage you. Who you are is good enough. You are truly special, unique, gifted, intelligent, and graceful. You might be quirky or composed; goofy, or sarcastic. That is awesome! And I mean it because you have to be proud of yourself and be your own cheerleader sometimes. When we’re proud of who we are, it naturally shines on the outside. And it’s that very glow that the children who want to wear our crowns, the organizations that ask us to speak, and the judges that decide our next step in this journey notice and fall in love with. You GLOW girl!

The next morning after talking to my mom, I made a cup of tea and the message on the bag said “Be proud of who you are.” It was like God winking at me. I know my Miss San Diego and real families are so so proud of me and wouldn’t want me to change. I don’t want me to change either.

Here’s to a new year filled with love, family, and pride in who you are. Maybe for the first time, your “New Year, New Me” will actually be “New Year, Real Me.”

So much love,
Miss San Diego 2015