• brejaminperkins

Almost Does Count

We've all heard the saying ALMOST DOESN'T COUNT.

Courtesy of Youtube/Brandy

There was even a hit song by one of my favorite artists, Brandy, titled "Almost Doesn't Count" on her Never Say Never album released in 1998. Long live the 90's!

Anyway, as much as I love Brandy and still enjoy the song... I no longer agree with the saying. I'm sure we're all guilty of believing it to be true at one point and have probably applied it to situations in our own lives or someone else's circumstance. But I'm thankful to now have a more positive outlook on what is often viewed as a negative connotation.

Recently I competed a second time for the job of Miss Arkansas USA, as Miss Capital City 2018, and the opportunity to represent my home state on the Miss USA stage. For those who may not know, I've been competing in pageantry for 5 years now. The decision to go at the dream again was not at all easy, but most certainly worth it.

I suppose you could say I walked into the competition a bit differently than previous years. I didn't muster up the faith or encouragement to compete until late August, pretty last minute considering the pageant was scheduled for October. But God came through with the push, so I knew He'd see me through.

After competing three years in the Miss America Scholarship Organization and placing 2nd Runner-Up to Miss Arkansas 2015, then finishing in the Top 10 last year at Miss Arkansas USA 2017... honey, I'll admit I was both exhausted and a little discouraged! I won't get too deep, but I will say this in hopes of motivating any girl or young woman pursuing similar goals, or any goal really. Pageants are subjective. You can't let one group of 5-6 judges (regular people) and their opinions, or lack of, determine your worth, your value, or stop you from going after an opportunity if its something you truly desire. I believe it's more fulfilling to try and fail than to live with never trying at all.

This year I was honored to place 1st Runner-Up to our new Miss Arkansas USA, Lauren Weaver. We stood there together as the last two, holding hands in anticipation, and I was nervous yet peaceful at the same time. "His will" were the last two words I said out loud. The verses below are just a few that helped guide me through preparation and continue to guide me in life.

Special thanks to The Royal We in Conway, AR

for always making sure I look and feel my best!

1. "So don't lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you" -Hebrews 10:35-36

2. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" -Philippians 4:6-7

3. "No weapon formed against you shall prosper" -Isaiah 54:17

4. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, whom shall I be afraid?" -Psalm 27

5. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" -Proverbs 3:5-6

I pray those words bless you as much as they continue to strengthen me.

The night before my family and I headed to Fort Smith for the pageant I had a dream but didn't tell anyone about it, not even my mom. In all my years of competing, I've never had one like it before so I was a little shook! And I can't even recall the entire thing, but I do remember at the end I had on the sash as if I had won... but no crown. It was really strange and that part confused me. As I walked into competition I was confident things would work out in my favor this time because my dreams said so, right? God is so funny.

I've always dreamed about what this would be like!

Forever humbled by and thankful for the moment.

In hindsight, I now better understand what that dream actually meant. Of course, the job of Miss Arkansas USA is what each contestant who enters hopes to walk away with, but that's not all I hoped for. I prayed for grace and peace to cover my mind and heart. He did that! I prayed for the ability to have fun and not take myself so seriously. He helped me do that and paired me with a roommate who was so carefree and infectious to be around! I constantly prayed over each and every interview. He blessed me with the Interview Award! We often get so caught up in what we didn't achieve, we forget to be thankful for what we did accomplish. I may not have walked away with the crown, but I walked away a winner in the eyes of the only one who matters and in the eyes of my support system.

And sure thoughts like this filled my mind at some point after it was all over, "Can the auditors count? Do they like me, but think I'm too short? How many points was I off? Am I not good enough for Miss USA?" I AM HUMAN TOO! I admit and acknowledge my truths because I want other girls to know they are not alone in these crazy feelings. You and I are enough. You and I are beautiful. You and I are strong. And, you and I are capable of conquering and changing the world! So snap out of it sis and put your big girl panties on.

I hoped to be the first African American Miss Arkansas USA our state has ever had. Maybe I will achieve that goal, maybe I won't. Maybe I will compete again, maybe I won't. Either way, I can rest at night knowing I gave my all trying.

Let my journey be a reminder when you feel you didn't conquer what you set out to accomplish. Success isn't always defined by what's on the surface.

And always remember His will.

Stage full of BOSSES

Let's get it! Let's go!


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