This summer marks 10 years since I served as Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen. Frankly, it does not seem possible. A decade has passed since my life changed trajectories. I won Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen at 14 years old.
Prior to competing in the teen pageant, I was one of the shyest young girls you could meet. I barely spoke, and even when I did, I did not say much. I was timid. At 13, I stepped foot on the Miss South Dakota pageant for the first time. I played Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the piano for my talent and wore a Pepto-Bismol pink dress for evening gown. I was completely out of my element, but something felt right. I took the next logical step of faith – signing up to compete at Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen 2008.
Over the next year, I let my actions speak for me. Countless hours of platform work, talent practice, and interview prep ensued. One year later, I was crowned Miss SD Outstanding Teen 2008. The year that followed was filled with personal growth. I was no longer timid. If I decided I was going to do something, by golly, you better get on board or get out of the way. That is living.
As I get ready to compete at Miss South Dakota this summer, I am trying to take time to reflect on the person I am and the person I want to be. 10 years ago, as a fourteen-year-old teenager, I acted. I never stopped to question if I was on the right path. I never stopped to ask, “Am I good enough for this?” I just did. I acted and never looked back.
Over the five years I have competed in Miss South Dakota, I can’t say I have always acted the same as my 14-year-old self. I often questioned my worthiness. I often questioned if this was the right path for me. You would think I would have learned by now – that is no way to live. I pray I can embody the person I was at 14 for the rest of my life. Fearless. Courageous. Faithfull.
Ten years went by in the blink of an eye. The Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen and Miss South Dakota Organizations have changed my life and taught me to charge, full-speed ahead, because living life timidly is no way to live.