The night of October 18th 2014 is a night I will never forget; not because I became Miss San Luis, but because it was the first time I ever experienced bullying.
After a lifelong battle with my own insecurities, I seeked the Miss San Luis stage as a way to display my raw and authentic self. I pushed myself out of a deep and dark comfort zone I created to prove to myself that I AM fearless, strong, and beautiful. Growing up I lacked self confidence and I avoided anything that involved attention. Looking back at my childhood, I always said I wanted to be Miss Universe, but as an adult I realize what I really wanted to be was confident.
The night I won Miss San Luis I felt unstoppable. I had finally reached the peak of the mountain of which I only used to stare at from the bottom. I felt fearless, strong, and beautiful for the first time. I got home and started going through my messages and tags on social media. I was overwhelmed with love from friends and family, which I am still grateful for today! But then I saw one negative comment, a negative comment strong enough to kick me down to the bottom of that mountain. An anonymous Facebook user posted on a page used to glorify pretty girls in my hometown. This anonymous user said I was the ugliest and fattest person alive, and that I was a horrible representation for my city. My heart sank and I automatically started crying. My biggest fear had come to life, my insecurities were real and other people could see them. I immediately regretted winning, I regretted competing, and I regretted getting out of my comfort zone.
I did not know how to handle negative comments because I had never exposed myself to so many different minded people. All I could think of doing was giving back the crown and crawling back to that safe space I created. After crying for what felt like hours, I finally made myself stop. Why was I crying over a negative comment from a person who did not have the guts to insult me using their real identity? Why was I crying over ten words when I had people calling to congratulate me? Why was I crying over the opinion of someone who is irrelevant to my life, when my family was clearly proud of me? I started scolding myself because I knew I was stronger than this! I pulled myself together and said I would NEVER cry over someone’s negative opinion of me.
What I though was the worst night of my life turned out the be the best night. I opened my naive eyes and realized that not everyone is going to approve of you; someone somewhere will always find a flaw about you. At the end of the day you are the only one living your life, you are hiking in your own boots, and it’s up to you if you will let a pebble get in the way. That night I made a vow to never limit myself by doubts, to never let anyone put me down, but most importantly, to always love myself.
To this day I do not know who made that comment, but if you do, please forward this message to him/her:
Whoever you are,
I want to thank you. If it wasn’t for that negative comment, I would not be who am I am today. You made me realize that I am fearless because everyday I live knowing people will have different opinions of me, but that has not stopped me once. You made me realize I am strong because I am climbing up many mountains and nothing can push me down. And you also made me realize that I am beautiful, in so-many-ways.
I never shared this story because I do not like to be perceived as weak. But as I was writing these thoughts down I realized that this is not a sad story, it is an empowering one. Anyone that is going through self doubt, bullying, or any other situation that has you feeling down; I feel you. But you have to trust me when I say YOU ARE good enough, you DESERVE happiness, and you WILL get through this funk. Just. Keep. Climbing…