Life lessons

After yesterdays minor break down, my mom and I had a long talk about how sometimes I feel stupid compared to my peers because I’m doing all the pageant stuff and they’re focusing solely on school.  And she pointed I’ve done stuff with that that most of them will never get to do. Experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Since my freshman year of high school, I’ve always loved working with organizations that help those with special needs. So when I was approached to help out with this one, I fell in love.

What they did was host a pageant for little girls with special needs, mainly autism and down syndrome. They got their hair and make up done, competed and were able to win crowns.

This is Andrea. She was my buddy. My job was to coach her, motivate her and make sure she realized what a princess she is. I loved her. She and her family spoke mainly Spanish with a few English phrases, while I speak mainly English with a few Spanish phrases. But somehow, we spent the whole day together learning about pageants, laughing, playing games and competing.

The thing that’s incredible about these girls is that to them, you really are a princess. And you’re hanging out with them. So they glow every time you enter the room and say their name, or compliment them. I was at the Special Olympics a few weeks later, and one of the girls who had been crowned came sprinting across the field to show me her medals. Then dragged her friends over to introduce them to the princess who crowned her.

Every girl deserves at least one day in her life where she feels like a princess. And talking to these girls and their mom’s, you realize bullying is still everywhere. These girls don’t get that special attention. So they finally did. And when Andrea was named Little Miss Sweetheart, I lost it. I could not have been more proud of her for going out there and working her hardest.

As I was leaving with my sisters, she and her family came up to me for hugs and thank yous. Andrea grabbed my hand, put it on her heart and said “Feel how happy it is? It’s that happy because a princess came and helped me be a princess just like her!

At the pageant Sunday, one of the judges asked me if I thought it was better to have life experiences or a formal education, and I said both. You can’t understand the life experiences without a formal education, and you can’t understand the formal education without real life experiences. Experiences like this one, that completely changed my life and the value of my impact are things I will never ever get out of a class room.

So maybe it’s okay that it’ll take me an extra semester or two to graduate. And okay to not compare myself to the peers who do nothing BUT study. Because I’m doing what makes me happy. I’m making an impact. And I’m learning about life.


Gentri said...

So amazing, Anna! I love this. :) What a sweet moment and I'm so glad you shared it with us. And I absolutely love your answer!

Gentri said...

So amazing, Anna! I love this. :) What a sweet moment and I'm so glad you shared it with us. And I absolutely love your answer!

Brittany said...

I think it's great the opportunities that pageants have given you! You should be so proud of that. I totally agree with your answer. I have taken an extra year to graduate too, and it's all worked out for the best. I have a much more clear career direction than my classmates seem to. It's funny the difference a year makes. I was bummed at first, but I think it has really allowed me to grow.