**Someone has already copy and pasted the orginal post for the world to see so I guess I might as well repost. I'm being wishy-washy today!! I am not ashamed of my honesty. What I said was being twisted a little and I was being accused of things that I did not do. It just turned into a mess! :) I just wanted it all to go away so I deleted the post. Before you read this just know that I did not cry in the banquet room! The only person who saw my tears was my sister. I was not a sobbing mess. I just simply let my emotions out and cried a little in the bathroom and in our hotel room. I figure the damage of this post is done so...here it is, again.
"When you engage in a work that taps your talent and fuels your passion--that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet--therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul's code.
Stephen Covey, The 8th Habit
Tuesday night we all attended the keynote speech by Stacy Julian (who is hilarious by the way.) and this was a quote that flashed across the screen. I read it and got chills. I read it and thought to myself I'm on the right path.
I'm just going to be honest. That is all that I know to do. If I can make it through this without crying it will be shocking. So far anytime I have talked about the outcome, I have cried. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Maybe I'm a sore loser. Maybe I didn't realize how much I wanted it, until I lost.
I am crushed.
I would assume that any person that wants something so badly would be crushed. The title, the money, the "celebrity" aspect wasn't what pushed me to enter or even compete. What was fueling my fire was the feeling that I was doing exactly what I should be doing. I felt that within this was my voice, my calling, my soul's code.
Before I go any further I do want to say congrats to the winner, Elizabeth. I didn't get a chance to talk to her as much as the other girls but from the time I did get to talk to her she seemed very nice. She will fill the role well and I'm sure the next year is going to be exciting for her. Again congrats on a job well done.
The day of the announcement I was surprised that I wasn't nervous until it was time to get ready. Right before Stacey and I left our room to head to the banquet I got a text message from Mike - "I just wanted you to know that I love you and I'm so proud of you." It was very comforting to know that although he wasn't there in real life, he was in thought. He later told me that he was nervous too.
When we got to the banquet room I was feeling that nervous knot in my stomach. They had set up the room so nicely with each of us finalists having our own table with our picture and a sample of our work. We ate a really nice dinner...well, I should say everyone else ate a really nice dinner because I could only manage a few bites of mine. I was getting so nervous at this point.
We were each asked to come up to the stage, one by one, and talk with Lisa Bearnson. I had no idea we were going to be asked to that...the nerves got ten times worse. When it was my turn I was surprised at my calmness when I got on the stage. I felt like I just stood up there and had a good chat with a friend. Ali Edwards was awesome and gave me some very nice words of encouragement when I walked off the stage.
When it came time for the announcement of the winner, my heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to burst. When I saw that it wasn't my picture or my name on the screen I was nervous again. How was I going to make it through the rest of the evening and not cry? How was going to make sure that everybody only saw my happiness for the winner? Well, I didn't do a very good job and I know that. I tried so hard to put on a happy face for Elizabeth but I know that my smile was shaking.
They asked us all to gather around for a group picture and about 20 camera flashes were going. I was thinking I had to get out of that room. I was going to cry any second. I know I did not look good in those pictures. I was biting my lip trying as hard as I could to keep in all inside. After the pictures I walked over to Stacey and said "I'm going to cry." and there the tears came. She pushed me out of the room and I went in the bathroom. I'm so mad at myself that I cried. I know I had to have looked like a sore loser and a baby, and I am ashamed for that. I've always been a sensitive person and it was too hard not to take it personal. I made my way back to the room and was embarrassed. I was the only one that had to leave the room. My hope was that everyone just thought I needed to use the restroom. I don't think they did. Brian Tippetts, the editor-in-chief, made his way over to me, hugged me, and said "You should be very proud of what you have accomplished." His smile was comforting and what he said was right. I've had an amazing last few months and I'm not going to forget that.
For the rest of the night, (Not at the banquet!!! In the privacy of my hotel room!!) I cried anytime I talked about it. I couldn't even call Mike to tell him the news. I sent him a text message that said, "I lost. I can't talk about it right now." Two hours later, I called him and cried again. I was starting to feel like Amber on Big Brother...and I couldn't stand it when she cried! Thank goodness this wasn't a reality show...the general public would have hated me! :)
So now it's all over and I just have to move on from it. There's nothing I can do. I put everything I had into my entry, article, interviews and work. It wasn't what they were looking for and I'm okay with that now. It doesn't mean that I should give up. When something like this is over and you are still determined and passionate about it, why would you give up? Maybe something else is in store for me and I looking forward to find out what that might be.
I'm not posting this for pity or sympathy. I just simply wanted to tell my story. Writing about things, good or bad, has always been my way of getting things out that I can't say. Writing and scrapbooking have become my therapy. I feel ten times better just by writing this blog entry! (Even though the second half of the trip wasn't the greatest, the first part was and I'll share that with you all soon!)
Thank you so much to everybody's nice comments and support throughout the contest. It was so nice to come home to that and it really made me feel better.