Winning Isn't Everything

It was after midnight and I was scrolling through my Instagram when I noticed an advertisement for the everyBODY Model Search Contest, hosted by MarlaWynne Fashion and Plus Model Magazine. It caught my eye and something compelled me to go check it out. After reading all about it I decided to enter. Why? At the moment, I really had no idea other than it seemed like a great opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience, and I wanted to be part of something that celebrated women of every size!

I've been on the "plus size" end of the scale, the "thin and fit" end of the scale and everywhere in between. My weight and my body image has always been a struggle for me and I am finally realizing that no matter what my weight or size has been I've never been happy with myself...until now. Am I at my ideal weight? No. Ideal level of fitness? No. Ideal size? No. Thigh gap? Nope. But I'm happy with myself because I love WHO I am. Nothing else will ever make me happy if I am not happy with the person that I am today. I have hated so many things about myself over the years and it never got me closer to my goals, I never gained any confidence, I talked negatively to myself all day long. When I got thin, I still saw myself in my old skin and I always wanted to workout harder, lose more, tone more etc. I was never happy with the outside, because I never learned to love who I was on the inside. That's where it starts. REALLY! The day you decide to love yourself right where you are, everything changes. 

The next day, I woke up ready to announce that I had entered the contest and then the reality of it hit me and I had to do the hard part... ask for support and votes from my friends and family. This part was scary. I overthink these kinds of things and I can start to let my own self doubt and insecurities take over my thoughts and play out these scenarios in my head about what people might say or think about me and my actions. It's that self sabotage thinking that used to hold me back from doing the things that I wanted to do but I try to catch myself in those moments and stop it before I give it too much power over me, so I swallowed my fear (and my pride) and I went public. I took a deep breath and I shared my contest entry to my Instagram and my Facebook. There was no turning back. I was going to be all in until the very end. 

The first day was the hardest. I got the most negativity within the first couple of hours of going public. I felt like I had to defend myself and explain why I felt compelled to enter. Why did I think I deserved to win? Was I REALLY that happy with myself and my body? Was I doing this for attention? These questions made me uncomfortable at first, but by answering them, I felt empowered. These questions lit a fire in me. Do I consider myself more beautiful, more qualified, more of anything, than any other woman out there? No, but I am enough. We are all enough. We all have our own unique beauty, and yet we all have our own struggles. I don't want to live in that place where I have to compare myself to anyone else in order to think I am "good enough" to enter or "better than" to win. I am happy just knowing that I seized the opportunity and gave myself a chance. 

I got through that first day and I shared again, and again. I was completely blown away by the support that I received in those next couple of weeks. I had friends cheering me on, voting for me, sharing my posts. I couldn't believe it. My heart was so full. The kind words that people shared with me, the personal stories, the understanding... it all made it worth it. I gained so much from this experience, because my focus wasn't just on winning. Would it have been amazing to win, absolutely!!, but I entered because I don't want to be the person who holds me back. I don't want to be my own worst critic anymore. I don't want to be the one who sabotages my dreams. And I don't want to be afraid of losing, but instead, I want to be proud that I played the game. I have said for a while now, "don't be afraid to fail, be afraid of not trying. If you don't try, you fail by default." I hope that the next time you see an opportunity present itself, one that you think would be fun, exciting, worthwhile, that you go for it! Give yourself a chance! 

Congratulations to the "wynners" of the everyBODY Model Search Contest, Marjorie Burnett and Meara Oberdieck!!! 

Thank you for being here!
Xo, Leticia