2018

Growth.

This was my theme song for this year. I know it’s not a song, but that is not the point. My theme word. Yes. That’s it.

We have come to that point in the year where everyone reflects on the past 12 months of life. We make resolutions, sets goals and decide what mindset to have entering the upcoming year.

I heard a statistic the other day that stated only 8% of us who make resolutions fulfill them. With my only resolution being happiness in 2019, I HOPE it sticks.

As for 2018, it’s time to say goodbye. I am pretty sad to see it go, but I know there are some bomb plans in store for 2019.

I created a better relationship with my body, mind and soul. I loved myself harder and more consistently than I ever have before.I forgave myself when I fell short. I learned not to overly criticize myself.

I listened to what God had for me, and put my 100% faith in His plan for my life. Even when it didn’t make sense in my human thought.

I was forced to be the most confident me, which turned me into my most confident self. I have done things in this year that I never thought were possible.

In 2018, I said yes to far too many things. I wore myself thin. From this, I learned to say no. Sometimes you need to take a step back and practice self-care. I am learning to prioritize my goals and better decide where to spend my energy.

Health = Wealth

I made it my goal in 2018 to pursue a healthy life style. I was getting prepared for Miss Iowa 2018, which meant strutting my stuff in a two piece and six inch heels (yikes) – but it was about so much more than that.

I wanted to fall in love with myself – fully and whole-heartedly.

I found a trainer, (thank you FOREVER Triona) and a consistent workout buddy (Ruby, you are God-sent.)

From January to June, I was ON IT. I was consistent. I was SO proud of my progress. My 20lb weight loss was achieved with a healthy lifestyle and a better self-care regimen.

After being Miss Iowa for the past six months, however, I let go of some of the good habits I formed. This is something I am working on in the second half of my year, as well as MAKING time to take care of my body. I want to be proud of myself again. But, I also know that patience is key. So, pray for me ya’ll.

Dreams and Goals

I grew in my career goals immensely. I created broadcast content of my own for the first time ever, and it was life-changing. This got me to the big screen as a reporting intern – live shots and all. (Forever grateful for my KWWL experience.)

I worked so hard to better my craft. It was so fulfilling seeing my improvement over the year and I can’t wait to keep growing.

Then, there was Miss Iowa.

In July 2017, I was crowned Miss Clinton County 2017. Little did I know how life changing this experience would be – one I will forever be grateful for.

One of the first things that my director Jeanne asked me was how serious I was about being Miss Iowa. I was all in, and worked endlessly to be the best version of myself.

I can’t thank the Clinton County board, Marisa and Josie enough for spending the year with me. You all listened to my crazy ideas, came to every appearance possible and acted as the best support system.

During my year as MCC, my biggest goal was to grow the message of How About H.O.P.E. And, I did.

I started the University of Iowa Out Of The Darkness Walk. I spoke at various suicide awareness and mental health events, and connected with so many individuals who fight suicide and stigmas daily. My organization grew, and continues to blossom into more than I ever imagined.

When I walked into Miss Iowa week, I knew that it was all in God’s hands. I prepared, practiced and prayed. My goal was to be myself – to speak my truth and share my story.

After walking out of my interview, I was filled with so much peace. We talked news, hair, goals, proudest moments, and why I was ready to take on this job. I remember happy crying with our Miss Iowa board member Sandy. It was something I will never forget.

The preliminary competition started and I was blessed with this.

And then, ya girl lost her mind.

There was a time where I didn’t think I would ever fit the “pageant” mold.

But – there is something beautiful about finding confidence and loving who you are. In that moment, I knew that being 100% Mikhayla was all I needed to do.

AND THEN YA GIRL WENT TO MISS AMERICA.

I’m not sure if it will ever set in. I almost don’t want it to. Miss America was so much bigger than me. I am just hoping my grandkids think I’m cool when I am older.

I could write a novel about my experience – (blog post series coming soon) – but we don’t have time for that now so I will just share some of my favorite moments with the women I will carry with me forever.

My Tribe

This year more than ever, I felt the overwhelming support of my community, friends and family.

Ya’ll dealt with a lot of craziness.

Thank you for EVERYTHING. I am blessed. I can’t say that enough. I have THE best support system. I wouldn’t be me without you.

To the two boards I got to call mine this year, you are so appreciated. You put in countless hours to make the Miss Iowa Program shine. You make this experience worth it.

In the same year, I learned who my friends weren’t.

True friendship is being offered just as much support as you are giving. You deserve just as much love and energy that you put forth.

This is something I am working on and still processing. Losing people is HARD. But, God knows why things happen. He understands. He has my best interests at heart. Having that faith brings me peace.

Future

So, what’s next?

Lots of big things are in store for 2019. I still have 6 months left to make a difference with this crown. I feel so secure in my current purpose. I can’t believe that my year of service is half gone, but there is another woman who was meant for this job. I can’t stop destiny.

I am look forward to finishing my undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications this fall at the University of Iowa. I am excited to be back with my fellow Hawkeyes, embracing all that the UI has to offer.

In 2019, How About H.O.P.E. will pursue 501c3 status as a non-profit organization. SO excited for these next moves with my girl Simone as we continue our advocacy and growth!

Lastly, I will continue to follow God’s plan for my life – whatever that may be. I will keep you all posted. Until then, I am enjoying the ride.

Thank you 2018.

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