Sunday, April 6, 2008

I'm going to Miss Virginia!!

How can I ever hope to explain what this past weekend was like? A whirlwind? Crazy? A little overwhelming?

The entire week leading up to the pageant I didn’t allow myself to think one negative thought. I was so lucky because my inbox was full of encouraging emails from people all over wishing me lucky; my voicemail each day had a nice message from somebody. It seemed like a lot of people were pulling for me, and that really helped boost my confidence for Friday night.

For whatever reason, it seems to be my “thing” that things come at the last minute. Randolph-Macon, Virginia Tech, Miss Commonwealth

Friday was really wonderful. I told myself all year “don’t cry if you win, it will probably look ridiculous and dramatic in pictures”. But I couldn’t help it come Friday night, when I heard my name called I just started shaking right away. I felt like my knees were going to give out as Hannah pinned the crown to my head. Julius was trying to take pictures as my eyes got redder by the minute from tears. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. It was so rewarding to finally experience that moment that I have seen so many others achieve- and it is now easy to understand why it is so special for each person. It’s a big achievement and one filled with excitement. I guess the 11th time is the charm.

I am obviously excited, although it really only set in this morning as I was driving to North Carolina to fly to Vegas. Even after the pageant, I felt like it wasn’t real; some friends came and were taking pictures, but it didn’t really set in that I was really going to Miss Virginia. My roommate in England was there squealing and taking photos and it just didn’t feel quite real!

Even the next morning, as I found myself among 25 women who seemed totally prepared to go to Miss Virginia, I felt like an onlooker. It was overwhelming at the workshop. Thank goodness the Miss Commonwealth director, Jimmy, kept making me laugh because the other half of me was freezing up in fear of trying to accomplish so much in so little time.

Now that I am sitting in the Greensboro airport typing up ideas and paperwork, it finally feels real. I told the judges in my interview that I was confident that I could make the most of this title between now and Miss Virginia; now the “overwhelming” feeling has subsided to a strange calm- I feel totally capable of doing this. It will be difficult, but no more challenging a feat than some other things I have come up against. I know I can handle this, and I have more excitement than I could have imagined- that combination of determination and excitement has pushed me through all year and I’m going to need it between now and June.

It will certainly be challenging but I am up to the challenge!

There have been SO many people who have refused to let me give up even in those moments I felt like doing so. I could never hope to thank everyone who made a suggestion, helped me along to a change, encouraged me, and let me know they believed in me- you are great in number and I appreciate you all more than I can explain. Having such a huge support system always gives me that extra push I need to do my best.

Now on to the exciting news! I think the Miss Virginia production is going to be incredible this year. They are making it very “viewer friendly” with the opportunity to allow the public to get to know the contestants more during the Saturday night telecast than ever before. Of course, this means more work to do for the contestants, but I think it will allow more people to feel like they know the girls and the woman chosen as Miss Virginia. It manages to capture the exciting parts about Miss America this year while keeping the glamour that we love.

The most rewarding part of the workshop yesterday was truly listening to Hannah speak about her experience as Miss Virginia. Everything she said really resonated with me and confirmed that I am following my dream; her speech gave me the motivation to keep accepting all the papers they were handing out and the outfits they were listing that we needed to find! I am also really excited about the contestant lottery; I’ll be performing last in each category, with talent on Thursday night and the other categories on Friday. My roommate is Miss Virginia Beach, Shannon, and she seems like a real sweetheart.

When I know more I’ll share about the 11th contestant to be chosen as the people’s choice by internet voting. I’m counting on my broad reader base to click on my name come June!

So, my life is going to be crazy. I told my mother before this weekend that I would have a lot on my plate if this worked out, and I certainly do. Someone last week told me that April is always the worst month of the year; history has filled the month with bad memories. For me, however, I’ll be thrilled with April 2008. I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue two of my dreams. I’m so excited that at times I feel like I could burst. I’ll be competing in a pageant then beginning graduate school in the fall- both of my interests seem to have met and aligned themselves, making for a very exciting time.

More updates soon!


Megan Wombacker said...

I am SOOOOOOOO proud of you!!! Congrats Laura!!!

Heather Benza said...

Congratulations!!! I'll be sure to check back so I can vote for you in the viewer's choice competition.