A colleague once told me that my autobiography should be called “Mustaches and Tiaras: How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan.” Since I have yet to write my memoirs, I dropped the ugly duckling/swan part and swapped it out for the much simpler “Mustaches and Tiaras” and then made it a blog.

Last week you met my mustache. Today, it’s time to introduce you to my tiaras. I am a two-time homecoming queen. No, I did not repeat my senior year of high school. Both the high school and college I attended had homecoming courts and, consequently, homecoming kings and queens. How did becoming a two-time homecoming queen happen to me? Well, people voted and I won. Which for me, someone who forgets to look in the mirror every morning and sweats a lot, was nothing short of a miracle.

It is much easier for me to talk about my mustache than my tiaras. Telling stories about myself for the sake of laughter comes naturally to me. My mustache, along with my other quirks, allows me to tell those kinds of humorous anecdotes without sharing too much about myself personally. But my tiaras? My tiaras are a different story.

Divulging my two-time homecoming queen “title” to others is such an odd thing to do. It was never my intention to win a crown, let alone two. Being part of homecoming court was victory enough because I was able to spend time with some enjoyable people.

Upon further reflection, I am not embarrassed about winning these tiaras. My tiaras, to me, now signify something greater than being someone who is well-liked or popular–which is certainly not how I identified my theater geek self anyway. Rather, they remind me of a time wherein which my love of self was realized. As my faith in God and my love for other people grew my senior year of high school and in college, certain attributes began to arise within me. We do not always talk about the things we like about ourselves, but my tiaras are begging me to do so. Not for bragging purposes, but to encourage each of us to recognize our gifts and talents and use them accordingly. Here are three unique qualities my tiaras taught me about myself:

I am confident.

Confident would be the last word used to describe Tiny Tone. Throughout grade school and at the beginning of high school the words “shy” and “awkward” come to mind when thinking of young me. Once I began to realize that life is complex and confusing for everyone, I started to care less about what people thought of me and more about how I treated the people around me. Funnily enough, my confidence in me reflected my ability to connect with others. This is still true of me today. I feel most confident when lifting others up through encouragement and consistently showing up for them. 

I am self-aware.

Joining the fine arts undoubtedly assisted me in the self-awareness department. Self-awareness involves our knowing and understanding of our personality or character. Towards the end of high school and all throughout college I found my voice through consistently performing and WOW was I outspoken. With my new found voice came my realization that my large personality would need some tailoring. Fortunately for me, there was no shortage of mentors and friends who taught me how to edit myself while still allowing my voice to be heard.

Knowing more about who I was allowed me to learn more about my true character. Self-awareness played a key role in my discovering my passion for other people. Self-awareness also displayed my character flaws, showing me the many times I was wrong and teaching me that it is okay to be wrong. Self-awareness ultimately demonstrated that owning my wrongdoings and admitting my faults was a must to discovering my true purpose in life.

I exist to connect with people.

People are my jam. My tiaras of confidence and self-awareness led me to authentic and long-lasting relationships. When I finally arrived to a place where I understood myself and was brave enough to face rejection and brokenness within relationships, I was able to make meaningful connections with others. People are my passion. Without my tiaras, I would have never found my purpose–engaging in significant ways with others. As a result, my tiaras gave me an attitude of gratefulness because I now have a greater understanding of who I was made to be.

Friends, what are your tiaras? What are the qualities that you like about yourself? Do you like yourself? What are the attributes that are so uniquely you? How are those attributes that are so uniquely you contributing to making our world a better place? It’s okay to tell ourselves that we are good at certain things, that we have purpose on this planet, that our lives have meaning. My hope today is that you would like yourself and once you like yourself, that you would explore what makes you, you. And once you discover your tiaras, let them reign. The world shines a bit brighter when you do.

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