I struggle with being a perfectionist. As a perfectionist, I often only take very calculated risks. Entering contests, playing the lotto, and throwing caution to the wind and just going for something stresses me out because I cannot control the outcome.
I recently entered the maurices Main Street Model contest. To catch you up if you have no idea what I am talking about:
The retailer, maurices, is hosting a “Main Street Model Contest” where they claim that they are looking for every day women who represent the maurices brand to be in their next ad campaign. What really caught my eye about the contest is that the winners are able to chose a charity in their community to be given a $7,500 donation.
I made it through the first level of the contest where the public is able to vote for you. Unfortunately, I did NOT advance to the semi-finalist level.
For the first time, when it was about ME, I struggled but I stayed positive. It is easy for me to stay positive about something for you but when it comes to me, that is a whole different story.
People kept telling me that I was going to win. I smiled on the inside and I really started to believe it. I did my very best on the bio, in my photo shoot and in my video submission. I was very meticulous about the details: wardrobe, hair make-up etc. I even agonized over what I was going to say in my monologue on the video.
When everything was submitted, I felt good about it. I had given it my best. I did everything with excellence.
As such, I should have advance to the next level right?
When I read the generic email that they sent me to tell me that I did not advance to the next level; I felt raw. Honestly, I felt like 17 year old Katina who did not make the homecoming court.
Then, I felt stupid. Stupid for even entering in the first place. I knew all the winners last year were half my age and they followed suit with that this year. (The oldest semi-finalist is 25).
Then, I felt embarrassed. Now, I would have to tell everyone that I did not make it. Now, I am going to have to explain to people that I failed.
Then I started “shoulding”: I should have straightened my hair. I should have made the video shorter. I should have said more about the charity in the video. Blah, Blah, Blah.
Then, I felt angry. Angry with myself for being positive and hoping for the best. Ah yes, the negative self talk twin started immediately. “See, this is why we don’t enter these types of things? They are a big waste of time. Why did you even THINK that you could win? You are old, black, and short…….so NOT America’s picture of beauty.”
Yes folks, I went THERE and in a millisecond. It didn’t take me all day to get in a deep dark pit.
So I sat in my mental dark pit all while remaining stoic on the outside. My daughters hugged me and cried about me not winning. I patted them on their backs but no tears were falling from my eyes.
My hands were shaking and my throat was dry but I was at a loss for how to express how I felt. Tears may have helped but I seriously felt like that at 38, with all the great blessings I have, I should not be crying about not winning a modeling contest.
So, I sat there. I was embarrassed to even be sitting!
We just happened to be on the last leg of our spring break vacation while all of this was going on so I really tried my best to put on a happy face for my girls. I muddled through dinner, yes I will have another corn fritter and by the way, I will also have a REAL COKE! (Take that!)
I also “liked” and responded to all of my facebook well wishers who responded to my “I didn’t make it” status post.
Later in the evening, I checked my email and found an email from one of my fitness class participants:
“I just had to let you know how much i appreciate you and your kind spirit. I was in tears on Saturday evening after reading your blog on the site. i hadn’t read it before, and found it to be a wonderful pass time. your examples of life situations were real, and my tears came from the scriptures that you placed after each to help understand and know that HE is still there in the midst of it all…….I thank you for your honesty and not being ashamed to “let your light shine”. I pray that you will continue to be voice to HIS people b/c we need it.”
WOW! Divas, even before the contest, I had already written this blog off. I don’t get a fourth of the comments that other bloggers do, so I had just assumed that nobody even reads what I write.
Then it hit me. God HAS commanded me to let my light shine. Letting it shine means that others will SEE it. Some people will be drawn to the light, some will merely notice it, and in the case of the maurices judges, some will NOT like it. My job is to not be ashamed of it!
The simple reality is that failure is so NOT fun but it IS a part of life. How we handle failure is very important to our spiritual life and is an indicator of our level of maturity.
So, once again, I have another opportunity to put on my big girl panties! No more negative self talk. No more feeling stupid. I am disappointed but NOT defeated.
Here are the facts:
The competition is over and it did not go the way I would have wanted.
I have NO idea how many women may have been encouraged to set a goal or dream a dream because they saw me enter a national model contest with my old, short, black, and not size 2 self!
I love this quote by Tim Tebow: “I have so many things to work on, and so many ways that I fail. But that’s what grace is all about. and I constantly wake up every morning trying to get better, trying to improve, trying to walk closer to God”
Proverbs 24:16 – “Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them.” (CEV)
Divas, have you ever failed and thought it was the end of you and then God showed you that it wasn’t? I would love to hear about it! (Put it in the comments section!)
This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell at Things I can’t Say!