So… some real stuff. Today I was doing the extremely dangerous activity of comparing myself to other delegates. Let me just say that if you ever want to make yourself entirely fearful of how obvious your shortcomings are, this is a very fast way to do it. I will never be as __ as the other delegates in my category. That’s a terrible self-talk.
Part way through my self-induced panic attack, I decided to drop out of the pageant. I mean, why go when I will never measure up to what these other competitors are born with. What business do I, a labour activist, have pretending I belong on a pageant stage.
insert wild-eyed panic and phenomenal self-doubt
Finally, I talked myself off the ledge and got myself back under control. Find my why. Find my why. Find my why. WHY am I doing this? Why did I start on this journey?
I entered this pageant for a lot of reasons. Most of them had to do with the pandemic and needing a goal that was bigger than the things I couldn’t control. But that’s not why I am spending hours of my life preparing and working towards the goal of stepping on stage.
Every pageant competitor will say she is there to be a role model for other women. Yes, that’s also why I am here. Let me explain how that looks. This is my WHY.
Labour activism (you know… the place where I have built my life?) requires women to be as tough as nails. The labour movement is dominated by male leaders. The people on the other side of the table are a collection of men in suits. To be a woman in the labour movement, you need to be bold so you can claim your space at the table.
In 2019 when I entered the Miss BC pageant, I learned about another skill set that I didn’t know about: confidence. That’s not the same as boldness. It looks the same. It’s not. I realized I am bold. I also learned that I will look to others for confirmation of whether or not my boldness is appropriate. That is where confidence is needed. Confidence is inside. It doesn’t need external affirmation.
I want to model for other women, particularly the women I represent in the labour movement, what it is to be confident. Many women activists already have this in spades. They are the ones who helped me advance. But there are more women who have yet to tap their own potential and find their own belief. These sisters are my “why.”
If I panic, drop out, flee the pageant scene, I demonstrate that when the going gets tough and self-doubt creeps in, the tough can hidey-hoe it over the horizon like there’s a fire chasing them. If I do this one thing… this big scary one thing… and I bring my best… then I am indeed being the role model I want to be.
Maybe the pageant is beyond my skills. I don’t know. Today I have a lot of fears going on. But I do know that bringing my best means dealing with my fears and bringing the best version of me I can be. The role model I am is the one that does her best. Not the one who runs when it gets hard.