I was in the newspaper twice this past year. One I announced, and the other I didn’t.
The one I announced was in September, when I was the recipient of the 2019 Woman of the Year award by Women on the Rise. The other was in April, when I was given the title of the 2018 Miss Micronesian Beauty.
Side note: I realized that I haven’t done a personal post in a while, and this next year I’m gonna make it a priority to do more posts like these so that you guys can get to know me more!
Okay, back to the newspapers- I didn’t announce my Miss Micronesian Beauty award for this simple fact:
I am not proud of it.
The definition of proud is: “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions”
And by winning an award for my appearance- what should I be proud of? What effort did I put in to receive this award?
Now, don’t get me wrong- I was flattered to have been given this title.
But the thing about outer beauty is: People are born with it.
I was born with the genes people find “attractive”. I did NOT work for my “beauty”– I was given it. Therefore, I cannot use the word proud to describe winning that title.
Ladies, I cannot stress this enough:
Your outer beauty is meaningless compared to your inner beauty.
Let me tell you a short story that made me come to this conclusion.
A little background: My mom comes from a line of pageant women, because- I’m not gonna lie to you- my grandma’s genes are poppin.
My mom was runner-up of the Miss CNMI (the group of islands I’m from) pageant and my grandma’s sister actually won Miss CNMI and went on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in the 80’s.
My (grand) aunt:
Pageants were a family thing so naturally, when I was asked to compete, my mom encouraged me to participate.
When I was 14, I entered the Miss Teenage California Scholarship pageant in LA.
(I couldn’t find actual pics at the pageant, but this was me trying on my dress after it came back from the seamstress)
For those of you not familiar with pageants, each candidate has to raise a certain amount of money to participate.
To fundraise, I chose to sell pre-made cookies at the local community college by my house.
On the first day, my 14 year old, naive-self decided to sell these cookies in my normal school attire: sweats, athletic shoes, no makeup, and my hair tied back.
The entire day goes by, and I literally sold zero cookies….
I kept getting brushed off, people would cut me off in the middle of my spiel- “Hi! I’m fundraising for-NO THANK YOU”
Some would even pretend to have tunnel-vision when walking past me, knowing I knew they could see me in their peripherals.
I left campus that day feeling discouraged.
I came home to my mom, defeatedly asking “How am I supposed to sell ALL these boxes?”
She replied, “How about this- you try again tomorrow. But this time, you do your makeup, wear your hair down, put on a dressy outfit. Go to that same spot.”
Not convinced of her point, I told her that wouldn’t work, and that I literally stood there all day with no bites.
“Just try it,” she insisted.
So I went back the next day, dolled up from head to toe, feeling like Beyonce in that Crazy in Love music video (you know, when she struts down an empty street with those denim shorts and a white tank?) Girl… Yes. I was her, she was me.
And you know what happened? Those cookies were selling like m-f’en HOT CAKES.
People were ACTUALLY listening to what I had to say, they weren’t blowing me off. Some even took the time to sit down and ask about my goals for the fundraiser.
….what a concept.
I sold a box of 100 cookies in ONE hour, and even had to call my mom up to bring the rest of the stash, because sis was a COOKIE CONNOISSEUR at this point.
You want cookies? I HAD EM.
By the end of the day, I hit my fundraising goal and I was SO proud. I even held the stack of money to my ear like I was some kind of rapper in a music video.
When I got home, my mom sat me down and gave me one of the most important lectures of my life to date.
“I’m proud of you for hitting your goal. But I wanna leave you with a much more important lesson from this.
You only sold your cookies because you changed your outer appearance. People only gave you the time of day because you were attractive on the outside- nice hair, cute outfit, all dolled up.
Unfortunately, people out there are shallow.
They treat you nicely because you’re pleasing to the eye, but what if you’re not? Would you get that same treatment?
You saw that answer just the day before, selling at that same spot and no one batted an eye. People walked passed you like you didn’t even exist.”
“Asia… outer beauty fades. We’re human- our metabolism slows down, wrinkles form, our hairs turn gray.
You are beautiful, yes. But if we’re so focused on what we look like on the outside, what happens when that’s taken away? When it fades?
You know what doesn’t fade? What doesn’t change like your appearance?
Your humor. Your humility. Your compassion. Your patience. Your emotional intelligence. Your authenticity and honesty. Your courage. Commitment and consistency. Your desire to do better and BE better.
Everything that’s made from the heart.
THIS is why it’s important to strive for beauty that can be FELT, not beauty that can be seen.”
After she said that, it was like that scene from That’s So Raven where everything freezes and the camera closes in on her eyes, and she gets a vision.
I was woke.
Ever since that day, I did my best to focus my energy on becoming more beautiful on the inside, rather than out.
Ever since that day, I really wanted to develop my inner beauty and let it shine.
To wrap this post up, I will note that another important reason I really value inner beauty is because when my cousin died, I would often picture my own funeral in my head (by the way, people who’ve been through a loss will tell you that this is a common thing to do).
I would picture things like: who would be there, and more importantly, what people would say about me during my eulogy.
When you pass away, would it mean more to you if people at the podium said things like:
“She was so gorgeous, she had THE best hair. If she was walking down the street, she would catch the attention of anyone passing by, because she was SO stunning.”
Or would it mean more to you if people said:
“She had the most beautiful heart. She was so kind. She uplifted the people around her. Her energy was contagious and she always went out of her way to make people smile.”
“What do I want people to remember me by? What legacy do I wanna leave behind?”
And then when you decide, put it into action.
Because intention is nothing without action.
The great Maya Angelou said,
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
Harness the light from within yourself and share it with the world sis.
Last year, I was in the newspaper twice. One I announced, and the other I didn’t.
Now you know why.
If you enjoyed this post, you’d love my [Dear Mama: A Letter to My Mother and Her Words of Advice] post! Also, to access the newspaper articles (and other features), click [HERE].