Many people followed my journey to Ms. World Universal and shared with me that they loved my red dress. But what they did not know about the red dress and teh shoes, was the story behind it. The evening gown that I wore at Ms. World Universal was red, and, on the bottom, it was embroidered with The Gift of Life in purple. No one saw it, but I knew it was there. It was a reminder that you do not always have to share with the world the charitable deeds that you do. Sometimes you work for a charity and help others without anyone knowing about it. That was the rationale for putting the embroidered Gift of Life on the front inside layer of my dress. After God, the Gift of Life was on stage on my dress before me.
The red shoes that took me on the walk across the stage were made for me by my sponsor Angela Nuran Shoes. She has been making these shoes for each pageant that I have been in. But this time it was different, they were red. They reminded me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when Glenda said to her “you always had the power to go home to Kansas.”
So likewise, for me, I had to believe in myself. As I look back, I always had the power to make my dreams come true. Many times we think we are not good enough and that we cannot shine in all that we do. But we are all winners, you may ask how, and the answer is simple. It takes a lot of courage to stand on a stage in a short cocktail dress, fitness wear, and an evening gown, with hundreds of people looking at you. It takes a lot of confidence to sit in a room with 6 strangers and share who you are and why you are passionate about your platform in 5 minutes via a question-and-answer session. Finally, it takes love, love of yourself, and love of others to be compassionate about the people on that stage with you vying for that same title.
What many people don’t know about me is that some days I lack the confidence to get up in front of an audience to dance. I have danced most all my life on and off. I was never encouraged to dance and I have had some pretty tough teachers that did not encourage me either. Most of the time you never see me dance by myself it is always in a group or at a minimum with a dance partner in a group of many.
For the past twelve years, this song has been on my heart. I was not sure why or what I was to do with it. But I kept hearing this story about Esther. Even my husband shared the story with me and encouraged me to watch the movie. I have watched bits and pieces of it but not the entire movie. I wanted to read the story in the Bible for myself. When I read about Esther’s journey, I was amazed. However, I still did not know what this song had to do with me I continued my life.
One day I was approached by someone to compete in a small pageant. I thought honestly I was done with pageants after winning Ms. World Universal Elite. But I signed up for fun. I saw that they had a talent portion and thought well I will sign up for modeling, photogenic, and costume, and that is about it as I don’t have a talent. The next day, all I could do was think of talent. I thought to myself “have you lost your mind” you don’t have the talent to dance alone. But the song “Un Viaje Largo” translated into English as “A Long Journey,” kept popping into my head. The song kept gnawing at me until I asked my dance teacher if she thought she could choreograph something to this song and if she thought I could dance it since I have not done lyrical/ballet in about 4 years. I have only been doing tap due to my busy work schedule. She said of course she can choreograph something and of course, I could learn it. She said I will teach the first 1/2 in one hour and the 2nd half in the second hour then you will have it to practice. I thought, my teacher, has lost her mind! You see, what you did not know is that there were only three weeks left before this show.
So here we go, I learned it on 7/18 and practiced with her on 7/19. Then she left on vacation but said send me videos when you practice. So I practiced three times at our church community center for 1 hour, the rest of the time, I practiced in my head. On the last day of practice at the community center, my shoe broke and I thought that is it I can’t do this. My husband was not having it, we drove to the dance store and found the perfect shoes to dance to this beautiful song in.
When I arrived at the competition, we were told that we would have practice time on stage, but it never happened they had technical difficulty with the music. So I ended up practicing on my own with another contestant playing the song on my phone so I at least had practice time. I prayed before I danced at practice and before I went on the show. One of the things a good friend of mine who watched the dance at the community center said to me was you have the dance choreography, your feet are pointed, everything is great, but I need you to dance it now. She wanted me to feel the music and share the story so that when people watched it they understood what the journey was. I prayed for God to give me this ability to express myself through dance.
That day of the show, I was backstage stretching while others with talent were just milling about. I was one of the only dancers in my group. I continued stretching and marking the dance in my head. That made me nervous and I started to hear voices in my head that said you are not good enough, you are kidding yourself that you think you can get up on stage and dance to something you have not danced to in 4 years, you will not win. I started to walk off the back of the stage but one of the ladies in another division came up to me and said I saw you practice and I felt that you were anointed by God so I am going to pray for you. Now she did not know who I was, nor what I was dancing to or why.
So it was finally my turn. I prayed to my friend’s prayer for me that I pray whenever I get nervous and want God to take the lead. God before me, God behind me, God to my right, God to my left, God above me, God below me, God surround me with peace and allow me to do Your will. As I walked on that stage, I was not looking at how many people in the audience were watching, I was not looking at how the judges were reacting to my dance, and I was not thinking about the MC and the DJ that were on the stage busy reading their scripts, I was not looking at contestants on the sidelines practicing their own things. I was thinking about the long journey that I endured in my life with, bullying, ridicule, never being good enough, never being praised, never being supported, abused mentally by teachers, bosses, kids in school, ex-spouse, and co-workers. I was remembering the journey of carrying a child in pregnancy and three months early finding myself on a death bed about to lose my life and my baby’s life. But seeing through this journey the light of Jesus that guided me, that allowed these tests to become my testimony, that allowed me to live to share this story today with you, that allowed me to have a voice for premature babies and their families through The Gift of Life a non-profit I created with my husband, and to let go of the past that made me hide in a cocoon.
I was able to grow through God’s mercy into the woman that I am today. He removed the shyness even in dance. I felt no fear, I finally reached the path that I was to be on. I am finally able to use my voice to help others. I may not be the perfect speaker, the perfect dancer, or the perfect anything, but I know that I am made for such a day like this.
I hope you enjoy the dance, it was recorded from the stage on my phone as the show was not recorded for us. But who knows maybe one day I will perform it somewhere and you can see it live or on a professional video. I merely wanted to share the message.
I want to thank my dance teacher Stacy for teaching me the choreography and giving me the confidence that I could do this. She believed in me and for that, I will always be grateful. I also want to thank my former ballet teacher, Ms. Trish, she was a tough teacher but she became a friend, but when it came to dancing, it was serious work, however, she gave me the foundation that I needed to learn ballet and to work hard for what I wanted, she gave me the opportunities I always dreamed of dancing in shows. Finally to Ms. Norma my other ballet teacher, God Bless her, Ms. Norma always made sure that we had valuable lessons in dance and that we looked great in all our dances. When I look back at our numbers I am proud to have been her student. There are always teachers that stay with you throughout your life and these were mine!
Thank you for supporting my journey. I look forward to seeing everyone this coming November 19th 2022 at our event Miracles of Christmas