June 22, 2009

The Finale.

I'm probably not making this any easier on myself by prowling through the videos of the 2008 titleholders being crowned on TLC.com and currently watching a dvd of Miss America. But at the same time, it's kind of like I'm being surrounded by the gals that are going through the same thing. So, here it goes ...

(I just stared at a blinking cursor for about 5 minutes.) Last year right about this time I was one of the lucky 52 ladies crowned a state representative in the Miss America Organization. But, it didn't just happen. I started competing in the Miss America Organization 4 years ago. I won some, and lost the big one. Twice. Perhaps losing isn't the best choice of words (sorry, mom!). Rather, I participated in complete self-improvement course, and took in a lot of scholarship dough being third runner up two years in a row at Miss Virginia. I pulled myself up by the boot straps and moved to a box, or er I mean a studio, in NYC.

I won Miss Brooklyn (which the Miss America girls thought was fairly hysterical based on stereotypes given to the big BK). And I got heat because I was actually from Manhattan "by way of Virginia". Then I won Miss New York. And man did the storm begin. "THE GIRL FROM VIRGINIA!" I've learned to take that in stride and I'm proud to say I have totally learned how to deal with criticism of all kinds. But, ps, it still isn't nice! Several people both here in NY and in Virginia (slash a LOT) have asked "do you secretly wish you were Miss Virginia?". My answer has not wavered one bit. No. God had totally different plans for me. I grew a lot in Virginia. But I blossomed here in New York. And there have been many, many people that have pushed me forward in this process. And I take pride in knowing I've given all of myself to this job. But this job is much bigger than me. It is not defined by power or prominence, but rather by people. So please allow me to give them a shout out ...

Tom Whitfield. You have played such an instrumental role in my journey towards allowing myself to feel comfortable in my own skin. What an unbelievable feeling it is. Just keep those coffee cups coming. ;)

Tim Morehouse. I'm so happy to be able to call you a friend. Not because of your status as a silver medal Olympic fencer, though that is cool, too. But because of your determination, insane work ethic, and consistent ideal of putting others before yourself. Thank you for taking me under your wing.

Tim on the left, Jason on the right. Both Olympians. Both fabulous.

Wendi Gruninger, phone calls, phone calls. Thank you for your love, friendship, and belief in me to do whatever I set my mind to.

Chip and Scottie, I love you both so much. Phone calls at midnight, break ups and new discoveries, y'all are always on the other line. You two will remain my big brothers far beyond pageantry. But, please, for Pete's sake, lock Abigail up. I kid. I kid.

Fake smiles don't look like any of us. But, okayyy. Maybe you two like good. xoxoxo

Pi Phis and Belles alike. WOOOOOHOOOO!! I love all of you from the bottom of my heart. Carly, Liz, and Allie: LALA4LYF.

Miss NY girls that have been with me each step of the way. You girls know who you are and I thank you for your support on this journey. But please know, you will be my friends far beyond Miss NY. XOXO

Ashley Wheeler. Thank you for always being on the other end of the line. I will never forget our New Year's Eve pep talk as I cabbed it uptown. Those memories will continue to accumulate. I just know it. I'm sending positive mental vibes and virtual hugs your way as you give up your crown this week.

Ellen Carrington. Although I'm really sad you said I've lost my Southern accent, I still love yours. Thank you for being genuinely interested in what is going on in my life. The good, the bad, the ugly. Give Grant a hug for me, and come visit SOON! (You too, Emily. Or you're dead meat!)

Kate Marie. Girl. Thank you for pitching Paul to me like some kind of product. But also, please thank your boss for the amount of time he allows you to be on gchat. Seriously. Those talks were a source of sustainability for me throughout my year. Thank you, thank you, thank you. But, I see you soon anyways. So, I'll give you a hug in person.

To the whole Miss NY board, each of you has played an immeasurable role in my success. I cannot begin to thank EACH of you enough. But, the program, my speech, and thank you letters will all be made public this week. Lots of love to each of you.

KATE. Holy crow. Read the program. And listen to my farewell. But, hey, basically, thanks for changing my life. And life trajectory.

My Paul. You're crazy for sticking around through all of this. But because you did, and for many, many other reasons I'm crazy for you. Thank you for always holding me accountable and being there for it all. Not just for the fun times at Miss America but everything in between. Because those are the moments that really matter. I am 110% sure I won the boyfriend lottery.

Sorry ladies, hands off. He's mine.

Bryan, Laura, Shannon, Tracy, and Natalie. I just started to tear up as I wrote this part. I hope each of you knows how much I look up to you. The examples you set in your daily lives has encouraged me to strive to better myself on a consistent basis. Bubby, I meant what I said in the Miss America program book.

Mom and Dad. Thank you for allowing me to dream the wildest of dreams, and to sincerely believe in them with me. I've never felt like there was anything I couldn't do and that is a direct reflection of how I was raised. I can't wait to spend a big chunk of July with you. Thank you for not giving me away when I was 4 and running around everywhere.

Mom and Pops.

Finally, everyone at Hampton Baptist, thank you for insuring that I knew who got me here. There are many people here that did. But we all know this is all part of a larger plan for my life. I thank each of you for allowing me to realize that someone much bigger than me is molding me into the woman I should, and will become.

PS: Some more but I'm pooped. Have a good day on your far side, P. :)


Danette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danette said...

You have no idea how much joy you have brought to our family in the past year. Watching you grow into the Miss NY that you are today has been amazing.

We have so enjoyed working with you and know you always have a home away from home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Your future is bright - and we consider you family - I hope I can make it out there for the pageant, but if I can't for some reason, know that I am there in spirit and our paths will cross very soon once again.

Love and Big Pageant Hugs,
The Grosvenor's
Danette, Mark, Tiffany and Stacie

Becky said...

What a sweet post to your blog.
Enjoy your week. Mrs. Sig

Bryan said...

Plus, I know you were very motivated for success because I refused to come to a single pageant unless you hit the big time. Personally, I thought you were the best one up there but I guess not being an Olympian/Celebrity Hair Dresser/Actor/etc. means I'm not qualified to make that judgment.

Beth said...

Hi Leigh-Taylor!

We met you last night at Prime 677 (Karen was the 5th grader who came up with you to meet all the contestants).

She was very impressed! Thank you for sharing that time with her!

Beth and Todd Silaika