The first time I stood on the Miss North Dakota stage was 5 years ago.
It was 2015, I was a teenager and had recently finished my freshman year at Concordia College, and Donald Trump was not yet on anyone’s radar of someday becoming President of the United States.
My first time competing at Miss North Dakota I arrived by train from Montana where I had been in staff training at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp to become a camp counselor. I remember hopping off the train wearing my chacos and gym shorts and driving to the Williston State dorm where all the candidates were staying. I recall unpacking my multiple suitcases filled to the brim with six inch heels, makeup products, and sparkly dresses and hurrying off to meet the other candidates that first evening of Miss North Dakota Week.
Boy, what a full six days that followed.
Somehow, I made it to finals night without breaking an ankle — and was announced as a top ten finalist, and eventually top five. By the time I was called into the top five, my hands were shaking and my armpits were dripping with sweat. I remember barely hearing a word of my final onstage question. What I do recall, is blanking, pausing for what seemed like an eternity, and then recovering with the words: “Wow, that was a brain fart. World peace!” (The video still exists on my personal Instagram account).
Obviously, I did not win that night — which is why I’m still here and competing one more time (woo!). I share this as a reminder that sometimes you’re not going to get it the first time. Or the second, or even the third. Or maybe even the fourth. But along the way you’re going to learn a LOT. And you’re going to meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that are going to be stories that you will tell for the rest of your life. So keep at it! Timing doesn’t always play out the way we originally want it to and sometimes (OK, oftentimes) things don’t go the way we would like, but ultimately things have a way of playing out the way they’re supposed to. Whether you’re a believer or not, I believe that God’s hand is in everything and that his timing is perfect. Trust that fact.
That’s my Ted Talk for today, folks — that you should keep going at it. And I’ll be right there with ya — going at it, too.
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.