I think the title of this blog can pretty much sum up what this entire blog will be about. This crown has changed my life.
Trying to explain to people how much of a difference this organization (Miss America) makes in our world today is easy - You can easily Google "Miss America" and see that this organization has provided over $45 million in scholarships to its contestants. You could find how much money contestants raise for the Children's Miracle Network. You would see that this is the largest scholarship provider for young women and is one of the longest standing traditions in American history.
But what you can't see and what you can't Google is how much of a difference this organization has made in my life. This is my best attempt to try to open my heart to all of you through the media so that you can see what is at the core of this organization.
My life changed drastically when the Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen crown was placed on my head, but to say that that was the only moment that changed my life is a lie. My life has been changing since I started competing in 2009 and I have decided that instead of going on and on about every little thing that has been changed in my life I will share with you ten of the most important moments or things in my "pageant career" (if you will)
Most important moments or things:
1. When I asked Christ to be my Savior. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life and one that I will treasure forever. Asking Him to be my Savior was like releasing 15 pounds off of my shoulders and handing it over to Jesus. I never felt so light in my entire life.
2. My Father being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Yes I know that sounds strange but as I think about that moment I realize that without this disease so close to my heart, I would not have nearly as much passion for my platform. I can't imagine having anything but Alzheimer's for my platform. I've learned to look at Alzheimer's, not as a roadblock, but instead as an obstacle to overcome.
3. Being first runner-up in Miss Minnesota's Outstanding 2011. This was quite possibly the lowest point in my life. I had felt like I hit rock bottom and if any of you know what that feels like, it is the worst feeling in the world. Yet, it was an eye-opening moment in which I realized that life is so unfair sometimes but it is in those times that you must turn to Christ for He is the rock. In the words of J.K. Rowling "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life on". The Lord never once turned on me and was (and still is) a constant motivator in my life.
4. The moment when I realized that I may never be Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen. It came about a month before I actually ended up winning MMOT 2012. I was going through old emails and came across an email from "The Pageant Planet". Steve Roddy said that "you have to find peace in knowing that if you don't win the crown, you are just as successful if not more so because of your effort and the lives you have touched." You have no idea what it felt like to have this statement hit me so hard. Not only is it true, but so inspirational. I found peace in this statement as I led up to the moment that ultimately let me on the journey I am on today - being Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen.
5. Of course the moment I was crowned Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen. I was given the honor to travel this state and to grow the Outstanding Teen program but I've remembered to not take any appearance for granted. My goal has been to touch a life at every appearance and make Minnesota proud of the teenager they have representing them.
6. Meeting Stacie. For those of you that have had the opportunity to meet and work with Stacie, I know that she has touched your life as much as she has touched mine. The servant-leadership and the kindheartedness she exudes is one to look up to. I'm so thankful that Stacie has continually picked me up, even when I fell and felt that I could never stand back up.
7. Receiving 28 hand written letters from the 5th graders at Roseville Elementary School a couple years ago. It was at this moment that I realized I'm making a difference in this world. Every single student thanked me for coming in to speak to them about Alzheimer's and told me some of the things they learned. It changed me life because it finally hit me that there is incredible power behind a voice that chooses to rise above the doubt that many people throw at you. I was told many times that getting children to relate to Alzheimer's disease is close to impossible, but receiving these letters proved to the people that ever doubted me just how wrong they were for believing children wouldn't understand Alzheimer's.
8. To those that have reached out to me and have told me how much my blogs give them inspiration. It is because of you that I continue to write these blogs. To be honest I did think many people read my blog, but lately many people has stepped forward and thanked me. I'm incredibly grateful to you if you have. I feel that I was put on this Earth to not only make a difference, but also inspire others. My hope is that each blog can give just bit of inspiration to those of you who are reading this now or who have read in the past.
9. The people I have met through pageants. I was going to say the friends I have met through pageants but decided to say people because I have certainly drifted away from people I thought were my friends. I'm grateful for both the friends I have met and the people who I've drifted away from. There's a reason each of you were placed in my life. I was on Twitter the other day (which reminds me... follow @Mmot12 on Twitter!), and read a quote that went something like this; We met for a reason. Either you are a blessing or a lesson. There have certainly been more than a couple people throughout my pageant career that fall under the "lesson" category and I wanted to take this time to say that I'm sorry but sometimes things don't always go the way we planned them to go. There is a thing called forgiveness and I hope you can accept my apology and move on. Life is too short to talk bad about me or put down the very organization that has pushed me to be a better Bailey. I may have changed since I started I competing but I'm still Bailey - I'm just a better version.
And finally that lucky number 10 goes out to those who never once doubted me and the things I wanted to accomplish. Life is so great and I'm so happy I have all you here supporting me and my journey. Special thanks goes to my Mom and Dylan for being my two best friends. Mom, you have sacrifced so much for me and have never complained about any of it. Dylan, you never fail to make me laugh when I'm having a bad day. I thank both of you for supporting me in more ways than one.
With all my love,
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2012