When I was a little girl my mom entered me in the Little Miss Parkway Village beauty pageant. I'm not really sure why she did but I remember knowing, even as a young child, that there was not a chance I would win, let alone place. In a homemade dress with short, unruly curls I was no match for the adorable little girls with big hair and fancy dresses. I remember well how excited I was that our host was Trent Wood, the host of Memphis' TV program, "Looney Zoo." My contestant number was emblazoned on a giant cardboard lollypop. There was no prize for me that night, but I did go home with a consolation goodie bag.
After years of struggling with my weight and low self-esteem, particularly in my teen years, my sorority elected me to represent them in our college pageant. By then I had lost some of the weight I had gained in high school. With a month's membership to a local fitness salon, an hour of lap swimming daily in the athletic center pool, and a strict diet, I managed to drop four sizes and pour myself into a size 8 swimsuit with matching pumps. My talent was singing and I even arranged the music for my song, which was disastrous. But it was a great experience! Even though I neither won nor placed, I learned a lot about poise, makeup application, and choreography. It was great fun!
As I sit on my couch tonight watching these beautiful young women from around the world I am so thankful I am not one of them! I can't imagine the pressure they must feel to achieve the kind of physical beauty that has brought them to this year's pageant. When I think about what has it cost them in money and personal sacrifice to achieve such poise and perfection suddenly I realize I wouldn't change a thing about myself and the life I am blessed to enjoy!
I may be fifty pounds overweight (at least), have gray hair, and sing like a bullfrog on a hot summer night, but I am beautiful to the God who created me. My joyful noise is music in his ears and he rejoices over me with singing. My hands bear the scars of one who has served and worked hard and my fingernails will never be long. But I have learned to see myself the way he does and to love the skin I'm in.
Beauty pageants will always have their place and there are those who will use their platforms to do much good in this world. I will tune in year after year and root for my favorite contestant. But I will never feel the need to compete with others or to be anyone but myself because I have already won the heart of my God, and he is the only audience that matters!
Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com