As a lot of y'all know, I was on the board for the Miss New York Organization so, specifically, I could help with preparation for the new Miss New York. But per usual within the pageant world people start to point fingers and accuse state organizations of "fixing" the pageant so their "chosen girl" (these words in quotations are some of my favorites on the message boards) wins. It really is quite an odd concept and I'm fairly sure it happens in some states across the country but I have to say ... not here in New York.
The board issued a "Code of Conduct" to battle these accusations and prove to the local boards that this behavior is not tolerated within this state organization. The only problem is, as a board member I wouldn't be allowed to fraternize with any of the gals I competed with. Or, that competed this year. Breakdown: choose between being on the board or maintaining friendships with, in reality, any potential competitor (ie: a girl in the city/state between the ages of 17 - 24).
When I was confronted with the option to remain on the board or to retain these friendships the choice seemed very clear to me. I will of course maintain the untouchable relationships on this board and offer myself in any capacity that they would all want/need. But, I believe in the value of these friendships I have developed - and those that will continue to grow. Today I had lunch with Miss Vermont, Ashley Wheeler and her new fiance Michael. Later today I received this text without having mentioned this situation: "I have learned a lot about friendship in the last year and just want you to know that I value your friendship like we have been friends for life. I think you're an amazing woman and I love you. PS: this is not a mass text." The beginning part was for serious ... the end was a twiddle of an inside joke.
So here it goes:
Dear message boards,
Rip me all you want. I couldn't really say this when I was Miss New York because my mom would have hunted me down (but now she has her pom-poms out). You can continue to call me ugly, overweight, dumb, whatever you'd like ...
But, if you have any self-respect and respect for others please do not question my integrity and that of my best friends. I'll spell it out for you a little bit better ... Claire Buffie didn't manipulate me into a friendship. I've gotten pretty good at being able to tell who is doing that. And her mom doesn't send me a monthly check (though, JoJo, I wouldn't send it back ... jk jk). And no, I didn't help her get ready for Miss NY interview. She did that on her own. But what she does give me is a daily rejuvenation. She can sit and just talk with me. About anything. We can also just sit and not say anything and still feel comfortable. She loves me for who I am, quirks and all. She is selfless beyond recognition. Claire Buffie will be standing at the front of the church when I get married.
Beyond the veil of pageantry I find real life to be ever so becoming.
With Much Respect,