I wrote in my bio page at the beginning of this year, “Opportunities don’t come with their value stamped upon them (Maltbie Babcock).” Little did I know just how right I was in this prediction. Sitting here writing this final blog I don’t even know how to go about summing up my experience as your Miss Teen North Dakota International 2012; but I’m going to give it my best shot. Looking back on it, the entire experience honestly feels a little selfish…now just hold on, let me explain… amidst the act of giving back to others we sometimes forget about the repercussions those experiences will reap upon us. I learned so much more about myself during my reign than I ever anticipated I would. I learned that it's okay to let your confidence shine through, it isn't regarded as self-arrogance, or being conceited, it simply helps show everyone the real you. I think that was the biggest obstacle I faced when preparing for the state pageant; delving deep down and finding out that I was completely and 100% comfortable in the skin I'm in, and that that is exactly what helps make you look beautiful in the eyes of others. I also learned that what you do with your time here on Earth really matters, and that we impact each other to an extent more than we will ever know. I have a best friend who never used to wear her seat belt in the car. I told her I wished she would wear her seat belt all the time; however the one thing I asked of her was to at least wear it whenever I was in the car, because she really mattered to me. While I was at Nationals I received a text from this best friend; she told me she now wears her seat belt every time she’s in her car, not just when I’m riding with her; and she said she does it because of me. She told me that the little things I do make a difference in not only her life, but in everyone else’s. As I read, and re-read her text I realized that I was accomplishing exactly what I had set out to, and I felt a sense of fulfillment.
The moments throughout this year that really impacted me were ones that, in the scheme of things, probably seem miniscule to any outsider looking in. It was during these times I felt as if my soul was on fire and I could finally understand why God graced me with this title. These experiences won’t make sense to just anyone, but they are what makes each Queen’s reign special. We each have these little moments that we will cherish for a lifetime.
I would have to say the night I was crowned probably is the epitome of my collection of little moments. About this time last year I vividly remember a phone call I had with my aunt. It happened the second I got in my car after I was crowned. I said to her, “Jared was with me tonight, I could feel him there with me, and he was proud of me.” She told me I was right, and that everyone was proud of me. I can’t begin to thank my support system enough for ALWAYS being there for me. I also can’t thank my aunt, uncle, and cousins enough for allowing me to spend my year sharing Jared’s story and the importance of the Graduated Driver’s License Law, and what it meant to our family. I struggled a lot this year with some guilt; I didn’t think it was fair that I was here and Jared wasn’t. One of my hardest times dealing with this was in Chicago at Nationals. My Aunt Debbie came all the way from California to support me and my guilt had reached a whole new level. As I sat and questioned why I was even there, I was reminded that it was okay to hurt a little sometimes, but that in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t change what had happened in the past. I was told that I was doing a good thing by sharing my family’s pain and struggles so as to prevent the very same pain being inflicted upon anyone else. That is what Jared would have wanted. My aunt herself told me this, and I wish I could express what it meant to me having her in Chicago; I honestly can’t even put it into words. I am far too blessed with the amazing family I have. They are some of the strongest, most admirable people I know, and they challenge me to be great every single day.
My blog, along with my reign, is coming to an end. And although the thought of ‘passing on the crown’ is a tad bittersweet, I know that it’s time to let the next Queen embark on her own journey. This reign has helped me grow tremendously as a person and none of it would have been possible without the amazing International Pageant System, my lovely directors, my knowledgeable coaches, trainers, friends, family members, and even those crazies who call themselves my fans! You are the reason I’ve grown to be the person I am today, and for that I am forever thankful.