Miss Congeniality

I have not, nor have I ever been, a “girly-girl”. I am a girl, and I do have my girly moments, but I don’t wear dresses very often and I don’t usually wear make-up. I don’t have a lot of shoes or purses, it takes me about 10 minutes to get ready [if you exclude the 45 minutes it takes for me to get out of bed]. However, I’m not exactly NOT girly. I like cheesy, girly movies and television shows. Purple is my favorite color. I dance around singing Top 40 songs alone in my apartment.

My gay-best-friend once said it best, I think – he goes, “For some reason, it’s not that surprising that you’re gay, but it’s not obvious. You don’t have a butch energy.”  I look like a girl, I act like a girl, I’m just not particularly girly. I never have been.

I was going through old LiveJournal entries [painful as they tend to be] and I came across something that made me laugh. When I was 17, my mother somehow convinced me to be in a beauty pageant. I had just about the lowest self-esteem a 17 year old could have, but my mother used the “great for your acting resume” tactic to get me to agree to it.  I don’t know if it was actually “Miss Teen Boston”, or if it was just a prelim to that, but I remember the experience well. I remember talking to the girls at rehearsals and feeling so disconnected from them, but trying really hard to fit in. I remember learning how to model-walk: strut, strut, strut, pose, turn, pose, strut, strut, strut.

I remember doing it for my mom. I remember knowing that the way I looked in a dress shouldn’t have been determining whether or not I won a prize. I remember secretly hoping I’d get Miss Congeniality because, honestly, that’s the prize worth winning – an award for your wit and charm, not just your looks.

Anyway, I fortunately wrote something in my horrid online journal immediately after this show, and it reflects the day exactly how I remember it. So, please excuse the lack of capitilization, poor grammar and train-of-thought mentality, but enjoy the musings of an average girl after a beauty pageant.

Subject: “miss teen boston…….i am not lol”

hi my name is valerie and I’m contestant number 159.
nice to meet you, you’re fat and ugly, no one likes you, go home.
thank you! it’s been an honor.

Don’t let me put myself through that again. I so would rather have been at baccalaureate.
I was hot and tired and my feet were (and ARE) killing me, I was bored out of my mind surrounded by gorgeous people who’s lives REVOLVED around things like this. when I didn’t make the top 10 I was like NICE I CAN TAKE MY SHOES OFF. and also WOO I NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN. while other girls were like WAAH MY LIFE IS RUINED WAAHHH I SHOULD HAVE WON I’M PERFECT WAAHH.
shoot me.

Of the brief moments I remember about that experience, three short flashes come to mind.  The first is the aforementioned training session. Where I not only was taught to walk in heels, but taught how to walk in heels. A skill I don’t tend to employ very often. The second was actually being on stage, and for the first time in my life, not wanting to be there. Between recitals, plays and musicals, I had been on stage quite a lot by that point in my life, and always cherished every moment of it. I’ve been told that, even times that I remember being utterly terrified, I have a stage presence some fail to develop.  But that one day, that one experience, I was praying for it to be over soon.

The third was the moment I described in my journal. I was standing in a narrow hallway. Bright white, lit by harsh fluorescent lights. Girls in various stages of undress scattered throughout. Some girls squealed at the joy of moving on, many girls sobbed at their dreams being crushed. I found my mother and headed towards her, stopping as I reached her to lean against the wall and quickly remove the high heeled shoes that were digging into my feet. I looked around at the sob-fest around me and rolled my eyes. “Thank GOD this is over. My feet are KILLING me. Can we get out of here?” My mom chuckled and turned to lead the way.

I vaguely remember her complimenting me on this. She thought it had to do with my ability to take things in stride. Though I do tend to possess that quality, I think that this just wasn’t my thing. It never made any sense to me.

Though, honestly, I’m glad I had the experience. I’m glad I don’t sit around and wonder what it would be like to be in a pageant. I’m glad this brief glimpse into what pageants can be like has steered me away from watching shows like Toddlers and Tiaras.

Though it obviously, at the time, was a bit of a hit on my already disturbingly low self-esteem, I think it was good for me in the long run. Now, as an “adult”, I know that I’m not this deformed creature I made myself out to be in these journals. I’m not exactly super-model pretty, but us people in the real world, I’m alright. I don’t need any people on the board of some pageant committee to validate my self worth.

So, no. I’m not a “girly-girl”, so to speak. I don’t watch Miss America pageants – hell, I don’t even own a bottle of hairspray. And even now, as a more confident person, if you made me enter a pageant, I would only be looking forward to when I could take off my heels and put my jeans back on.

~ by Valerie Anne on 10/08/2011.

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