In your twenties, the amount of growth you endure is intense. It is almost like you go from feeling like you know it all to knowing nothing at all. I thought I had my life all figured out, that I would have some sort of opportunity after Miss USA and it would set me up for success regardless of the outcome, that it would be my way out of living an average life. Then everything came to pass and I realized while standing onstage waiting for states to be called that I did not want it at all. I didn’t want another contract or to be bound to another team of people that control how I am portrayed in every way. 


I prayed the night before finals in the shower that God would make whatever happens make sense, because it did not seem like I would be happy with either outcome and I was so confused. I had worked seven years for the moment I was living in and as much as I wanted to be there and had put the work in with no regrets, I knew something in my heart had changed.


Reflecting on my journey these past few months, I realized that my favorite part of the whole experience was literally designing my wardrobe, flying to Los Angeles and working with high end designers. These past few months have been odd because they felt slow, almost as if I was doing nothing, which I cannot stand. Anything average is not for me, I will do it if necessary but it is not where my heart is and I will not settle for it. While I originally perceived my destination to be something completely different, God did give me exactly what I prayed for that night, clarity and redirection.


I hate losing, obviously, but when I walked offstage I realized I just wanted my family, I wanted to take my heels off and I wanted a margarita. I love the little things in life, I love having control over my choices and the things I do, I hate having a boss, I like being a leader and I am fully capable of doing so. I was reintroduced to the perspective I was originally given by God, an optimistic outlook with the determination to do whatever it takes to get to the next level. For so long, I was trapped in the belief system that in order to reach the success I wanted, I would have to have some sort of miracle happen, but I have always had what it takes, it just took losing the basket I had all my eggs in to remind myself that I am capable of forging my own path regardless of any circumstances.


I saw a girl from high school before Christmas and when I said “Hi” she said “sorry you lost your thing” and I just looked at her like… what? When you are from a small town, people will always pray on your downfall and capitalize on the lows of your journey. We are all given dreams and aspirations in life and if you are still here, it is because you have something to offer this world. Each life has a purpose but you have to do some soul searching to find it. Some people are okay working a desk job, others want to be doctors and some want to be the writer of their own story. If this is you, a lot of people will not understand your book until the last chapter, the one where you achieve all the things you always knew were possible for yourself.


I have realized that through tough times, people come and go and each season comes to pass. Some people are around for a chapter, some stick along for the ride and those are the ones you take with you to your final destination. The ones that believe in you when no one else does or when you can not believe in yourself. One of my favorite speeches by Steve Harvey has a section where he talks about how every person is given a gift, he explained how his is his ability to make comedy out of nothing. We all have special attributes, talents and gifts. I personally believe that in order to tap into these wholeheartedly you have to go through trial, you have to learn who you are through experience.


I am young, even though I feel like my life is on the brink of expiring and I have achieved nothing, I know that is not reality. I have put pressure on myself by myself and honestly, in my little world, nothing I do will ever be enough, unless someday something is. I am sharing this because we all have turning points in life that bring us to our knees and you have to be resilient to get back up and try again, you have to try again. 


My creativity is my gift, I did not realize how unique that trait is until after Miss USA. I am bold, I do not care what people think, I am weird, loud, and I do not take no for an answer, and if I have to I hate it. In my downtime I was re-inspired by the old me, the way she used to think, and her ability to make opportunities out of nothing despite what anyone says. Anyone can do this, it is just up to you to make the choice and understand that there is not a shortcut to success.


I wake up inspired by the future me, the one with a family and children. It has never been about me, anything I do is driven by my purpose, the unconditional love I have for the people close to me. I want to lead a life where I can take care of not only my problems, but also lift the weight from the shoulders of the people I love, that is what keeps me going even in the midst of uncertainty and doubt.


This is just a reminder that even when life shuts down dreams you thought were definite, it is for a reason. When you get knocked down you have freewill to decide if you stay there or get up and figure it out. The dream is inside you, but it is up to you if you take it to your grave or bring it to fruition. That is what separates one from being average or being influential. 


Nineteen year old me did not know what she was doing opening a business, I just knew I had a vision, now that I am older I know how to execute. Cheers to new beginnings.


Xoxo,


Mackenzie 

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3 comments

  • Jasmine Wu: September 14, 2023
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    Girl! You won you state USA pageant at such a young age, that is winning is ways you can’t imagine! Many girls work their entire lives to even place at a state pageant. You should be so so proud of yourself for everything and for inspiring the girls that are also struggling with their health, physically or mentally. You have accomplished so much as a business owner, social media influencer, and this is only the beginning of what’s to come. Pageants are one small part of your journey and for you to make memories and self improve but you are way more than just that. Don’t let haters get to you – why let someone who doesn’t know their worth try to define yours, your personal faith journey is inspiring and God will make way for your dreams!

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