‘Everything has changed, & yet I am more me than I have ever been’
I saw this quote recently on Instagram and instantly connected with it…who knew it would become my inspiration for my first blog post…
Now bear with me, I did go on a bit of a keyboard rampage with this entry, so make yourself a cuppa and settle in because this may get a bit tedious…
12 months ago my life was changing direction, and it was completely out of my control. There was a higher calling for me and the universe was redirecting my path, I just didn’t know it at the time….
Exactly 1 year ago today I was in Sydney, standing on stage as Miss Australia International 2016, giving my farewell speech and ready to hand my crown over to my 2017 successor…
I have been heavily involved in pageantry for most of my 20’s, I dedicated my life to competing, volunteerism and advocating for various community groups and charity organizations… it totally consumed me, I lived and breathed it.
At that point in my life, it was what I did best and it gave me purpose. Pageantry gave this once shy girl a boost of confidence and a voice to be heard! Throughout my pageantry career I was fortunate enough to hold two Australian National titles, Miss Galaxy Australia 2014 and Miss Australia International 2016 along with competing in National finals of other systems such as Miss World and Miss Humanity. I was flown interstate and overseas numerous times with my duties, and got to assist many charity organisations. It was truly a crazy and incredible experience.
In this kind of environment you need to be confident, but not cocky. You’re also a brand ambassador for various hair & beauty products etc, so this means posting selfies and photos on social media every day promoting these products which can come off as a little self-obsessed in my opinion… I always tried my best to stay as grounded as possible and not let things go to my head. It was a very fast paced, ego boosting industry to be in.
During this point in time I had a full-time job, and I was also running two pageant systems… one which I ran as a business on an international level where I travelled to the UK yearly, and the other was a small pageant in my community which was part of our annual community festival which I gave my time on a voluntary basis. (How did I do it? I have no idea, but I did it)
Toward the end of my last reign as a title holder, I began to feel like I was slowly falling apart. It was almost like I was shedding my skin like a snake. I found myself becoming more stressed, I was constantly emotional, and I started to feel the weight of the crown and my duties. I didn’t know what was happening to me because I always kept myself together, I always just handled everything, putting on a smile even though I was highly stressed out… something was happening to me and I couldn’t explain what or why.
Once my title was passed over, and I was back home in Melbourne, everything began to change… and it was out of my control. The universe stepped in and it took away everything pageant related from my life, whether I liked it or not.
The pageant system I ran, their international head office closed down and my Australian franchise foreclosed, and the community pageant I ran was sabotaged by a colleague and I was voted off the board. Both completely out of my control. This all happened within 3 months of each other. It was a really stressful and emotional time and life as I knew it for so long, was done!
I was lost! For years I had been moulded and shaped into a ‘perfect’ Jesica. Don’t get me wrong, I was always my true self and everything I did was authentic and from the heart, but I had to refine myself, always putting my best foot forward, always ensuring my image was clean and professional and it sometimes meant doing things I didn’t necessarily want to do, but this was my job and I had to work for it.
I don’t regret any of those years, infact they were some of the best years of my life, and I experienced so much. At that point in time, I was meant to do that, but now it’s no longer for me.
Now, you might be thinking I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but pageantry was my everything, and when your everything is taken away from you, you have nothing left. The feeling of emptiness, failure, and defeat quickly overcomes you when you’re in this position. I had been living and breathing this for years, it was my identity…
So now that everything pageantry related was finished and gone, who was I without it? What did Jesica like doing in her free time (free time… what was that, I never had that…) it was so overwhelming and confusing that I fell into a black hole. I shut everyone and everything out for months, including my closest friends! This was rock bottom for me. I just didn’t care about anything anymore, I had no motivation and i felt really isolated and alone. One day I woke up and I decided I didn’t want to feel like this anymore, so I went to see my doctor. It was the best thing I did! She listened to me, and we discussed what I could do to help get back on track. (FYI I’m so proud of myself for asking for help when I needed it)
After spending a number of weeks on my own, pondering about my life journey and what was next for me, I started doing more of what I loved. I started going to my yoga classes more frequently, and I learnt how to meditate which really helped me with my anxiety and just reconnecting with myself.
Life was slowing down and I started being more mindful about the things I was doing. Cooking and cleaning became my meditation rather than a chore, and slow mornings in bed with a cuppa became the normal, rather than a luxury. It took me a good 6 months to get to this point, so it didn’t quite happen overnight.
I started decluttering my home, throwing away clothes and possessions I didn’t really need anymore, especially everything pageantry related. I began reading more and learning about crystal healing, and getting intouch with my spirituality, changing my diet to a more plant based way of living, and spending more time out with Mother Nature.
It’s amazing how much life changes when you really slow down and go back to basics. I have discovered that in these practices of intentionally devoting time to create sacredness and tranquillity in my environment, I am so much more happier and at peace.
I’ve learnt to rest and nurture my mind, body and soul, forgetting about materialistic things and people that do not serve a purpose to my life, and listening to the Universe and Mother Nature. For the first time in my life I actually feel free, grounded and more connected all at the same time.
Doors closed so new ones could open, and my recent marriage is proof of that. My now husband and I have been together for 10 years (we got married on our ten year anniversary) and throughout our relationship we had never really thought of getting married, more so my husband didn’t really believe in the sacredness of marriage, so we decided we were just never going to get married… It’s funny how once the doors closed on my old life, the doors to holy matrimony opened!
Life now is completely different, I am so much more at peace with myself… I could go on and on about the different ways my life has changed, but what matters most is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
I’ve had friends drop off over the last year because they couldn’t handle my change… apparently I’m weird now (their words, not mine) or pageant friends who now want nothing to do with me because I no longer hold any value to them… but you know what, as much as it disheartens me, I’m totally ok with it!
My heart and my lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and as we get older we all change anyway! Life happens, relationships fizzle out, we change our hair style, we go from being meat eaters to vegans… everyone at some point in their lives will change. So when people criticize you of changing, they really need to have a good look within themselves. I have changed in so many ways, but I’m still me, I’m just a better version…And I like her! ✌🏻
I suppose the message in this blog post is to say that if you’re feeling like you’re coming to a fork in the road with a career, relationship or just life in general, don’t be afraid. Have faith and let go of what is no longer serving you, because once you close the door, it leaves space for new and incredible things. You just need to be open to believing it. Sooner or later the Universe will step in and make it happen anyway.
The universe always has your back, and it will always guide you to where you need to be. It will always show you, you just need to look for the signs.
Ps. If life is overwhelming you and you’re not sure where to turn, I encourage you to go and have a chat with your local doc, they will gladly listen to how you’re feeling without judgement, and can advise you on what steps you need to take to get you back on your feet again. There’s so much to live for!