"I won’t wish you luck, because i think it’s rude to wish somebody luck on something that they have worked hard for. So instead, may i say to you…may your results be a direct reflection of the effort that you have put."
As I flipped my calendar to today’s date, I realized that it is March 15th! Immediately my smile widens and I have a better hope for the day. It’s not because I am traveling back to school (Lord knows the school work that awaits me has nothing to do with my smile). It is for the sole reason that quite some time ago I decided to treat 15 differently than the rest of the numbers. Back in 2009, I competed for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Throughout the process the number 15 popped up in mysterious ways, causing me to call it lucky. I was 15 years old, my Birthday fell on the 15th day of the month, I was picked 15th in the contestant lottery, the final night of the pageant fell on the 15th of August…you get the idea.
Ah, to be 15. I won an evening wear preliminary award and placed 1st runner-up. But was that because I'd deemed 15 a magic number? Let's hope not.
While most people claim to have a lucky number and consider it fate or some kind of divine intervention, we never seem to question why we lean on numbers to give us an extra boost. I certainly had never questioned this phenomenon until today.
Before this, I had been leaning on that lucky number 15 to make me feel more confident in a higher power’s plans for my destiny. “Well surely 2015 is going to be my year.” Did you know Miss Gloucester County is listed 15th on the Miss New Jersey website (www.missnewjersey.net) list of contestants? “It’s a sign!” I think I’ve got news for myself and a large portion of society: it’s not a sign. No number, lucky or unlucky, can change the results of hard work and cold hard determination.
After realizing this, I have decided that while 15 will always be special to me, it will not become a crutch on which to attribute my successes or blame my failures. While I may let myself have a mental party when I notice the number 15 sneak into my life, I want to use it to better myself. 15 will no longer be my “lucky number,” but my motivational number. On the 15th day of each month I will make an effort to better myself in some way, not only as a competitor, but as a human being.
With that being said, Happy March 15th! Today I choose to focus on being more vulnerable. As a self-proclaimed ice queen, I am known to keep my emotions at bay and my weaknesses private. It wasn’t until my last choreography session that I realized this was holding me back. While I may see my emotional “stability” as strength, the inability to express my emotions is holding me back from fully performing my Miss New Jersey talent selection. Not only is vulnerability an asset to dancing, it is necessary to relate on the human level. I have always stressed how important the ability to relate is for titleholders, but until today I have not realized the connection between openness and being relatable.
Mackenzie and I made friends with our train conductor on the way to my choreography session in NYC! I am absolutely thrilled with my completed choreography. Now, it's time to add a little emotion and passion for the final touches!
For the rest of this month, I vow to be more open, expressive, and decisive. Rather than being afraid to admit my weaknesses, I will accept them as part of who I am and work toward making my weaknesses my quirks. Miss New Jersey is not meant to be a perfect person. She is strong, flawed, genuine, and relatable. Rather than making my goal perfection, it will be to embrace the qualities that make me Brenna. I hope that these efforts, not the number 15, will help me to be a better me and a better Miss New Jersey candidate.
One of my favorite shots from a school visit over spring break! Talking with my Kindness Kids and answering their silly questions reminds me what it was like to be unafraid of failure. As a 21-year-old, I look to them for encouragement!
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All my love,