I’m a pageant lover….I’ve run in one, I’ve judged one, I watch them and I totally support what they represent and the amazing gift you get by being involved whether you win or not. I never went to prom and it’s probably the one thing from my high school days that I truly feel like I missed out on and it’s something that weighed on me for years after the fact. Silly I know but I wanted that whole getting my hair done and dressing up experience. When I was in my 20’s I met a girl who ran in several pageants and she talked me into running….finally I could have my prom experience! Talk about putting yourself out there, I was surrounded by beautiful talented women all who by the way had past pageant experience. It wasn’t the best time in my life for running in a pageant, I had lost my job and was trying to keep my shit together from a breakup. Somehow though I put my game face on and for 3 months I attended cocktail parties, went through etiquette classes, sat through interviews with judges, answered the dreaded fish bowl questions, visited schools and nursing homes, was in a fashion show and met people that have forever changed my life. Those 3 months taught me so much about myself. I have a voice and I can stand up in front of room of 100 people and talk and know that that I’m not going to die of embarrassment. I’m just as beautiful and talented as all of those other girls that were running even though I didn’t have the past pageant experience that they did. I never imagined how much I would gain from just being a candidate, I found Myself and the self-esteem that I had been missing. The night of coronation I got to experience “My Prom” I had the perfect gown, my hair was done and I was ready to cross that stage with a new confidence that I’ve never had before. There were 4 princess and 1 queen crowned that night, never in a million years did I think I would be one of the girls that was crowned but I was. So for a year I dedicated my life to being a princess, for every event I dressed up, put on my sash and crown. We attended even more coronations, parades, dinners, and parties that I ever imagined, the final count came back at more than 400+events for the year. I traveled and met thousands of people along the way and hopefully left a lasting impression on some of them. During my reign I built a relationship with the other 3 princesses and queen, we truly became a Royal Family and I love them just like they are my sisters. I’m sharing all of this with you because last week I got together with my Royal Ladies and as we were gabbing away catching up on each other’s lives I blurted out “I’m doing IVF.” In the past I’ve been very selective in who I share my journey with, it’s only been a select few. I’ve reached a point where I’m tired of keeping this to myself, I want to tell anyone and everyone who will listen. They were super excited for me but what touched me the most came from my friend Stefanie, she said to me “having a baby will be the biggest jewel in your crown.” OMG she just melted my heart and made me tear up, I am going to cherish those words for the rest of my life because she’s so right. Infertility, the miscarriages and surgeries have brought me to such a dark place but I’ve survived…John and I have survived and when we start our IVF protocol next month I’m going go in there with so much hope and believe with all of my being that my jewel is awaiting us.