They always tell you that ‘all good things come to an end’ or that ‘life is greener on the other side.’ But to be completely honest, I’m not too sure if this is an end that I am ready for or a bridge I’m willing to cross.
Just one year ago, I earned myself the title of Miss Teenage Ontario and a spot to compete for the title of Miss Teenage Canada the following summer. Little did I know, the next year of my life would be the most challenging, different, and life changing years yet.
I’ve repetitively expressed my sincere gratitude but haven’t exactly touched on what I’ve taken away from this entire experience (which is probably enough to keep me writing for another year)!
Inevitably, the friendships that I made are what I cherish the most. From a room of timid strangers, to a group of sisters who require a blow horn to be silenced, we have created a community of loving girls who are there to support one another regardless of the circumstance. Naturally, you would expect a lot of competition amongst us girls; yet, you didn’t see that at all. Instead, we helped each other through our lows and cheered each other on through our highs. To this day, we have a group chat of over 50 girls that never stops. I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t envisioned these girls being at my wedding one day or traveling the world with them. This is truly a one of a kind sisterhood that I will always be apart of.
Aside from the incredible friends, I’ve been given a chance to define who I want to be and where I intend on going in the future. Miss Teenage Canada’s saying, “be your own kind of beautiful” speaks to me on a completely different level than it ever did before. It takes a lot to speak in front of an audience, let alone brace the stage in a bikini, and with that being said, I’m proud of myself for finally being able to feel comfortable doing so. It’s one thing to, shall I say, “suck it up” and do something. However, it’s completely different when a person comes to terms with the given situation and truly embraces it… something that I have learned to do a lot this past year. Societal pressures will always be present, but it’s what you choose to do with those pressures that will define who you are as a person. You can either decide to wake up with a smile on your face, or lay in bed hating the day away. I’ve learned that if you don’t wake up with a smile on your face, you’ll never know how many opportunities are out there waiting for you.
I am more confident. I am more accepting of others differences. I am more driven to succeed. I have gained 90 new sisters. I am Michela P. and I am proud of that.
And, yes. I did learn and gain all of those things from a ‘beauty pageant’.
To the next titleholder,
I hope that you take on your reign with an open mind and heart just as I did. I encourage you to immerse yourself into your community and learn from them. No matter how smart you may be, never forget that there is always more to be learned. You are a beautiful young woman with a bright future, so don’t allow the comments or pressures from others add a single wrinkle to your face. Above all, be a role model for the young girls who have no one else to look up to. Trust me, that is the most rewarding feeling you will ever feel.
I look forward to being at the Miss Teenage Ontario competition this weekend to meet every single one of the delegates who have already accomplished a lot by being selected to be there. Breathe and be you, that’s all the judges are looking for.
As much as I dislike the word goodbye, I suppose this is it.
Being Miss Teenage Ontario 2015 has brought such happiness to my life and it was a pleasure to represent such a wonderful province for an entire year. Thank you for supporting and loving me throughout this entire journey, I promise to continue doing great things.
So for the last time,
Michela P. – Miss Teenage Ontario 2015♥