Hi! My name is Cristina Bequer and I am proudly representing Culver City this year at Miss California. When you ask most people if they have ever been teased, more than likely their answer will be yes. If you ask someone if they have ever teased someone, again their answer will probably be yes. If so many people have been affected by teasing or bullying, why do we continue to do it? I would like to share my personal experience with bullying.
I remember when I was little, I would change my opinion or beliefs in order to fit in. I thought if I said and did the same thing others would do, I would be “popular.” This never really worked and I remember crying because I felt left out. I quickly realized that I needed to be myself, and as I got older I grew more confident. I kept myself busy with various activities and I started finding the ones I really enjoyed. I learned to portray myself as a confident individual due to my success in some of my activities. I was actively involved in dance, piano, 4-H, kung-fu, and any sport that was offered in my town.
When I started high school I started to get bullied. Thankfully not in a physical way, however I was bullied by adults. I was excluded from activities, told that I deserved to fail, and told I wasn’t meant to play a certain sport and should probably quit the team. I am thankful that I had as much family support as I did, because they kept my head up and encouraged me to stick to the things I enjoyed doing. I loved 4-H and when I got into the ring, I knew that I had to portray confidence in order to place well. The year that I won first in advanced goat showmanship, I was approached afterwards by the Miss Blythe directors. They asked me if I was interested in competing in the Miss Blythe’s Outstanding Teen pageant. I had never thought of myself as a pageant girl, I didn't know how to walk in heels, do my makeup or own a ton of dresses. But I decided to give it a shot and I ended up winning my first pageant. I had no idea how much of an impact the Miss America Organization would have on my life.
Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to hold three titles (Miss Blythe’s Outstanding Teen 2012, Miss Blythe 2014, and Miss Culver City 2015.) Not only have I learned the confidence in myself, but I also realize that this job allows you to be a role model and public figure. You have the opportunity to make a difference during your year of service. I was able to gain confidence by being involved with different activities and clubs. I learned from a young age that service is very important. This is why I choose my platform of Youth Volunteering. Not only am I able to work with children to build confidence, but I get them involved, have them try new things and also make new friends.
I will admit that I was never popular throughout school. I wasn’t the cheerleader or the star athlete (the stereotypical people who I thought had their lives together and wanted to emulate.) Instead I was myself, and looking back I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. Throughout my young life I have learned that it is more important to be yourself because there is no one else like you. We each have something unique that we have to offer.
One last thing about bullies-and this is important. If you or someone you know is being hurt by a bully, get help. Your parents, guardians, school counselor, neighbor, administration at your school, basically any trusted adult can help you get it to stop. Don’t put up with any type of abuse. You are worth protecting.