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Miss Teen

I was Almost Miss Teen America

by Deborah Cruz

Only the Awesome can be Miss Teen

What the hell does Miss Teen America have to do with anything? I’m not revealing another diagnosis, eating disorder, deep dark secret from my childhood or a life altering loss. In the last year, I’ve revealed so much of myself to you all that I’m pretty sure that you all are searching for the world’s smallest violin to play me a song. Recently, I even got the “Aww, You have been through a lot in your life” comment and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. I laughed.

I have been through a lot. We’ve all been through a lot but in the grand scheme of life, I am one lucky bitch. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and folks, I am not dead. So that makes me superwoman, right?

There is a secret that not many people know about me. I am not even sure if the Big Guy knows about it. For some reason, I find it super embarrassing and it is one of my life-defining moments.

I was a contestant in the Ms. Teen pageant way back in the 80’s.

Go ahead, laugh if you will. I know it’s shocking.

It is so NOT like me. Miss Teen contacted me. I’m assuming that some teacher nominated me or I was the butt of some Carrie like joke. Anyways, I was flattered. The validation of being invited to compete for Miss Teen was intoxicating. If it had been a debate, writing contest or a nerd bowl, I would have pursued it like a heat seeking missile but a competition based on looks scared the shit out of me.

I loved the shopping and primping in preparation. I loved feeling like a princess. My routine to sing “Burning Up” (I would have been better suited to sing “like a Virgin”) by Madonna was perfect.  I think I performed that routine complete with a wink for my Kirk Cameron poster about a million times. (I am humiliated to be telling you all of this but I can’t stop. This blog is my confessional).

But when it came down to crunch time, the stress of being judged on my looks and the very real possibility that I might lose was too much for me. I backed out. I came up with some excuse to not attend. Quite frankly, the stress had my stomach feeling pretty sick.

Yes, I quit. I choked. I was afraid to lose. I was the smart, funny girl that everyone liked because she was polite and “sweet”. I was not the pretty one.

There was no way I believed I’d win Miss Teen.

I didn’t go and that started my cycle of saying no before I could be rejected. Living a life without trying may be unfulfilled but living a life of trying and failing was terrifying. What if I allowed myself to believe that I could win and wasn’t good enough? I couldn’t take the risk.

For the last 25 years, I never gave myself the chance to fail. I quit trying. I was afraid to chase my dreams. I was afraid to get my hopes up about anything because I didn’t want to be let down.

That has changed with this blog. I’ve had this blog for over three years and I have been taking risks with almost everything I post. You people know me. I’ve pursued my dream of becoming a writer relentlessly and even when I was beating on doors and no one was answering, you were here to listen. I love you for that.

I’ve wanted to make my living writing and write a book for a long time and I think I have finally come up with a pitch that is unique to me. This is me looking in the face of failure and saying, “Fuck you! I’m trying anyways. Failure is not an option!”

I can’t live half alive anymore. After all that I have been through, I know I am strong enough to survive a little rejection and to keep on going until I succeed. I’m not sure what to do next. Anyone have any pointers? I’m afraid of failing at my dream that I am more afraid of never having tried.

What are you most afraid of? What was your Miss Teen in life?



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Galit Breen 2012/10/09 - 4:59 pm

I love your honest, and I love that you’re diving into you.

My guess is that it’ll be a fabulous place to be (and grow!)!

Can’t wait to see your shine!


Deborah Cruz 2012/10/10 - 11:52 am

Thank you so much for your kind words and support, my friend. I miss you and your beautiful words. XO

Jess 2012/10/16 - 11:54 am

Love I bet you would have done it and kicked ass! You are too beautiful!

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[…] never been a fan of beauty pageants, especially for children. I understand competing as a teen for scholarships but there has to be more to it than just the way you look. Give me a nerd bowl any […]

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