What to do when you return from a pageant when you don’t win?
Congratulations you survived pageant week! I’m so proud of you! I had a panic attack mid-week on the bus, cried all day on finals day and had a dissociative experience during on stage question. And it was still one of the best weeks of my life to include making two new best friends that I’ll keep for life! I’m hoping yours was less dramatic than mine, but equally amazing in the grand scheme of your life.
Leaving for pageant week, you’re on a big high. All of your family, friends and sponsors have sent you off with well wishes and your dreams of coming home with a brand new title are so close you can almost touch them.
Coming back from a big week like this without that title can be a hard transition back into your normal life. I’ve put together some tips to follow to help you through this difficult time:
Take time to mourn your dream. Allow yourself to be sad in the first few days or week back. You worked so hard for that competition, and no matter your placement – first runner-up to not making finals – you are likely not really feeling whole right now. And that’s ok! We are all humans and are allowed to feel sad. Use this time to eat some of the things you haven’t let yourself have in months and catch up on sleep!
Get back into your normal routine after a few days. After you’ve worked through the emotions, put the Netflix remote and pint of ice cream down and back away from the couch. It’s time to put your trainers back on and get back into the gym and back to your normal routine. I know for me I don’t feel whole until I’m doing the things that keep me whole – and that’s working out, eating healthy and going about my regular routine!
Refocus on what you were doing it for in the first place. The point of pageantry is our platform and community service work. So, reconnect with those organizations and find times to go back out to volunteer. Start working on your platform work even if you are never going to do another pageant again. This is the time to reconnect with making an impact in the world while you still have your title and a “platform” to do it.
Look for appearances that will feed your soul. For me, these are the ones that allow me to work directly with people who get excited to see a beauty queen – no matter whose standing under the crown honestly – but it makes my soul happy, and work with my platform (see above). I love to go to the honor flight greetings and welcome home the WWII veterans coming to tour the memorials and work booths providing mental health screenings with Mental Health America.
Thank your sponsors again. I know this one you’ve already done, but when you get back you should thank them again to let them know how you did at the pageant. I made a second thank you card with my headshot, my placement and a thank you note on Canva. They now have a printing option with free envelopes, and $20 later I had new post-nationals thank you cards. I just wrote a short personal note on the back to each one. Because quite honestly, I would not have been able to even go to that pageant if it wasn’t for each and every one of them. So, two thank you notes is not too much to ask if you ask me! (And if you did not place, you can simply say, "without your help, I would not have been able to compete on a national/state stage without your sponsorship.")
Remember, no matter what give yourself grace. Right now, you are the best version of yourself, and you shouldn’t let yourself slip out of that when you come back. Quite honestly, you shouldn't let five individuals define you as a person! Only you and God can define who you are, So get out there girl and figure out what you want to do next. Find your next passion project and dedicate your focus into that going forward.