Once upon a time, I was crowned Miss Australia, a social victory that many secretly covet. To be publicly told you are beautiful enough, popular enough, liked, seen and heard. That you are ‘influential’.
Like a princess, I had gorgeous designer dresses, amazing jewellery and perfect hair but the more I was “looked at” the less I was seen for who I was.
I had to be what they wanted me to be. My body, with all its uniqueness squeezed and sculpted to fit into an ideal that wasn’t real in the first place. That daggy kid chasing to keep up with her big brothers had to disappear in order to keep up the illusion.
Yes people stopped me in the street, took photos and asked me for my autograph, I was ‘famous’ but I most certainly wasn’t fulfilled. People weren’t interested in me they were interested in a sash and a tiara.
The world might of known of me, but it didn’t care for me… if anything, it wanted me to falter so it could dissect my downfall on glossy pages as cheap entertainment. It was exhausting trying to maintain a fantasy that only bred deeper insecurity.
Beauty, fame, followers - it is a slippery slope with instant gratification at the top and self-erosion at the bottom.
Precious girl, I have stood where you think you want to stand and I can tell you it’s a trap. Pretty and shiny, sure, but the best-laid traps always are.
At first it might seem fun to be famous but imagine not being free. Imagine not eating in public for fear the paparazzi will snag a shot of you with sauce on your face. Imagine your private life being published for someone else’s profits, or wondering if people are only nice to you because they want something?
Imagine being looked up and down by people blatantly hunting for your flaws. You can see their minds ticking over deciding whether you’re ‘hot’ enough to match their expectations of a model, of a celebrity, of a beauty queen. Sadly, 99% of the time you will disappoint them. It’s not your fault, it’s just that in the flesh you are not an airbrushed fantasy, you are real, and that simply doesn’t match the fake fairy tale.
Still want to be an ‘It’ girl?
Yeah, me neither. Feeling fatigued I hung up the high heels for a pair of boots, quit the catwalk and broke a new trail as MissAdventure.
I like it better.
I set off to explore all the corners of our wild planet and experience life. I swam amongst icebergs in Antarctica, laughed with people who didn’t speak my language, stood atop mighty peaks and suffered humiliating failures. I picked myself up, dusted off and started again more times than I care to count.
All the traits I love about myself, (and I do love myself) my bravery, my resilience, my grit, my presence, I didn’t learn on the catwalk. Indeed, I didn’t even learn them, I earned them, one by one, out there in nature by being tried and tested.
I invite you to do the same. Embrace an adventure that challenges you, where the facades to ‘fit in’ ‘to please’ ‘to be liked’ drop away. It’s easy, all you have to do is come outside. Mother Nature doesn’t care whether you have pimples or wrinkles, nay she likes you better when you have sand in your hair and sweat on your brow. You won’t be judged out here. She’s an equaliser, stripping us raw and giving us a tangible opportunity to get to know ourselves without any of the bullsh*t.
And it is when you know yourself that you can truly love yourself. No amount of token phrases, feel good memes, or cute slogans on t-shirts will make you believe it, until you experience it firsthand. It’s the earning of it that makes it stick – it’s who you discover yourself to be in the trenches, in overcoming obstacles.
It is when you will feel the strength in your body, when you flex your humility and experience your innate power that you will believe in your capacity for great things. The best bit? You can trust those traits to carry you through no matter what curved balls life throws at you.
Adventure is a fast tracked lesson in solid, unshakeable self-love, self-worth and self-confidence. It
will teach you who you are and what you are worth, far more deeply than your follower count ever could.
Take it from me, an ex beauty queen, it doesn’t matter how beautiful society says you are, it still won’t be beautiful enough so don’t waste your precious time trying. The irony in seeking validation by pretending to be someone else is far too costly. Richer. Prettier. Thinner. I don’t care what it is, tying your worth to your appearance is like drinking tea out of a chocolate tea pot, it sounds sweet but it’s about to get messy real quick.
Instead, switch your focus, be thankful for what your body can do rather than how it appears. Let it scale that mountain, hit that trail, swim that sea, you’ll see.
In my eyes, being ‘Brave is the New Pretty’ anyway.
The world is yours to explore please don’t miss the opportunity by playing it small.
With dirty feet and camping hair,
x MissAdventure, Caroline.