Our whole lives we're encouraged to progress. In school we progress through learning the basics, then intermediates, then advanced levels; in our personal lives we progress through maturing relationships with family, friends, and loves; in society we progress our rights and the humanistic values that make our world and our neighbor's world a better place. It's a mark of personal growth to progress and it's a mark of personal pride to progress too.
It is a lifetime honor to be crowned Miss Gay Missouri America and, yes, I count it as major progress. After competing and learning for years, my consideration of progress was to enter MGMA again to register my progress with an expert panel, well-qualified competitors, and mostly myself. I knew that to figure out what progress I had made in pageantry was going to be difficult, but I knew that what I would learn from the experience--win, place, or show--was going to hold a very real mirror to my evolution.
Was I going to positively appreciate what came of myself and my performance if I did not take the crown? Was I going to stew on the ways that I gave away points by not considering every nuance of my performance, every syllable of my interview and onstage answer? Yes, I was going to do that. But I also challenged myself to let the chips fall and consider what progress I made to be present at MGMA 2022 no matter the outcome.
Now today, I'm considering my progress again with preparations for Miss Gay America. As exciting as it is, I want to focus on how I take myself and my elements to the grandest competition as a road of progress. I want to consider my progress and take pride in what I have accomplished. Then I'll be able to show the panel my real self in interview, I'll be able to shine in evening gown, and in talent I'll play my clarinet with nothing held back because I'll be present to show off my passionate progress.
I challenge you to consider your progress. One of the reasons why I feel strongly about this mode of self-evaluation is because of a bit of encouragement I received in my day job recently. I was encouraged to consider my progress from yesterday to today. Was I better than only yesterday? Surely, I can think of how I progressed (or regressed) in the span in just 24 hours. That made me think that, yes, it is very important to have goals so as to plan where you're going, but you will only get there if you consider your incremental progress.
Consider it as you think of your next step in competition. For my dazzling sisters vying for the position of Miss Gay Missouri America, have you thought about the way your prelim will progress you forward? Have you thought about how you'll progress that prelim pageant by running or even winning? Have you thought about how your personal story of progress will be what wins MGMA for you? Well, I did. My honest heart was never forgotten for one moment in the interview chair nor on the Arts Asylum stage as I competed while showing my progress. It was not easy--it never is. But it is always worth it.
Help me progress and I'll help you.
With much encouragement,
Miss Gay Missouri America 2022
This is the official blog of Tajma Stetson, MGMA 2022