Even after all the preparation and help I gave to Melly, I was the one who received a lot more from Melly than I gave. She inspired me with her bold confidence. That’s right, someone who is classified as disabled inspired ME to be more confident. Wait a minute, wasn’t I supposed to be there helping HER to feel and look her best? Melly is absolutely unapologetic for being who she TRULY is and doing what she REALLY wants to do! Now, you might think that all the Miss Amazing participants want to be accepted just like everyone else in the world, and for some, that’s true. But, Melly showed me that each of us should celebrate ourselves, just as we are, and we should not be afraid to stand out. For the evening gown portion of the pageant, Melly decided that rather than put on a sparkly, spaghetti-strap dress, she would instead wear a Princess Leia costume, complete with a light saber!
“Wow,” I thought to myself, “I would never have the guts to wear something so different!” But, Melly did it, and she didn’t just wear the costume, she became Princess Leia, and the judges and the audience loved it! And most importantly, Melly loved it!
I think about what it must have been like, and still is, for all of the Miss Amazing contestants growing up and going through school. I’m sure they were bullied, avoided, stared at, left out, and isolated because of what they COULDN’T do. But, what if we tried to learn about each other before we judge? I went into the Miss Amazing pageant thinking I would be mentoring a girl in a pageant, but Melly turned out to be MY mentor as someone who is confident in who she truly is! Melly is not trying to be someone else, and she inspired me to be less afraid in everything I do, and less concerned about what other people think.
I challenge everyone to take a moment to meet someone new or learn something new about the people you see and go to school with every day. And taking inspiration from Melly, be yourself, and don’t ever let anyone bully you into being anyone other than who you truly are - AMAZING!