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Mallory Hagan

Today was a much better day. This morning I was a bit sluggish getting out of the door for church, but once I was there I was so excited for the message. I arranged to meet my new friend, Jody, before the service, so I arrived around 9:30 to grab some coffee and take a moment to soak in the atmostphere. Mosaic has this amazing relaxed feel with tables, benches and couches outside to hang out and mingle, so I took a moment to just sit and think while soaking up the warmth of the sun. It was a peaceful, pleasant way to start my day, to say the least. When Jody arrived, we made our way in and found a seat. I think I have discovered that, at Church, I like to sit right up front so that I feel like I am actually in the praise band. Haha! I’m finding, too, that I LOVE Christian contemporary music. My Mom and I discussed while she was here that we found ourselves getting lost in the music and ultimately choreographing a dance in our head…. I like to dance in my head. :) Each week Erwin’s sermon is a chapter in his book, so I will wait to share my thoughts on today’s message, but I am interested in many points from Chapter 3, Iterpretation: Translation of Life. I read this chapter twice because I wasn’t sure that I fully understood the point he was trying to get across the first time. Also…I was mad. See previous blog. ;) Anyway, as you can imagine by the title, this next thought process is about the way that we truly interperate our lives, our memories, our path and our relationship with God. Erwin gives a few stories to illustrate his points, but in the beginning he talks about the way that Film Makers/Directors are (in his opinion) some of the most amazing communicators because they have the ability to relay so many messages in one work of art. He goes on to say: 

Films like The Tree of Life, Life of Pi and even Avatar forst us to face an important insight about human nature: trust is not nearly as powerful as interpretation. … The farther we move from truth, the more unhealthy we become. The more we live in truth, the more we find wholeness and become our most authentic selves. 

It’s crazy how simple that seems, but really think about it. How often have you told someone the absolute truth, but the way they interpreted what you said dictated their attitude moving forward? Erwin says that we are interpreters because everything that we encounter is processed through our previous experienes and perceptions. And, it goes without saying, that the second thought conveyed above is one that we could all stand to read to ourselves in front of a mirror on a daily basis. Being your authentic self is not always comfortable. Often, being who we really are leaves us feeling vulnerable, open and exposed. But isn’t it so much easier to just be honest with yourself and those around you than to spend the rest of your life pretending to be something that you’re not? Doesn’t that get tiring? In true Mallory fashion, this blog alone is an attempt to continue to be and find the most honest and truthful version of myself. Every day I struggle with saying what I really think and feel (and risk being judged), or living up to the expectations that people have of me because I was “Miss America.” I mean…. what is that, anyway? 

There are so many wonderful women who are a part of the Miss America Organization, but, apparently, too many of them are facing the same identity/life/goal challenges that I am post “title.” Today I have the pleasure of seeing “my Miss America,” Laura, for lunch in Santa Monica. The Miss America sisterhood is one that is truly remarkable. The support and encourgament from the other women who have walked in those shoes is unmatched, but there’s something different about the women who have experienced it in this decade.

With Laura at lunch today. 

The Miss America Organization has grown, changed, evolved and molded over the years in to something completely different than it was in it’s “hey day.” The reality is that we now live in a world with the Kardashians (who are famous for no reason and have millions of fans/followers), social media and over-exposure. People would rather see the likes of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna than ever care about “Miss America.” Sorry if that was a hurtful truth to you MAO fans, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, the only way I see to go about changing that is to actually let Miss America be human. Oh, and to let people know what she’s doing. I can’t tell you how many people around the country that I met who actually participate in the Miss America Organization who have no idea that Miss America does not travel with a hair and makeup artist. Laura and I spoke in depth about our experienes today and I kept coming back to the thing that bothered me the most….people just had no idea. And worse? You’re not really allowed to tell them. I’m not sure if any of you followed my 30 Day Blog during this past summer during my reign, but I remember, once, writing something to the tune of “I was having a hard time today actually mustering the energy to be ‘Miss America’…” ….. one day, out of thirty, I actually expressed the fact that I was human and did NOT want to do what had to be done that day. I felt that way on several occasions, but I (strategically) chose to only express it once. I was asked to remove that portion of my blog. 

It’s hard for people to know our authentic selves if we aren’t allowed to be our authentic self. As I sat and pondered why I was so “over” my year last year, I also began to think about how driven I was as Miss NY. I had plans. I knew exactly what I was going to accomplish each day and I was ready to make those things happen. It’s crazy to go from that to having very little say in the things that happen in your life on a daily basis. I mean, my biggest choices were which of my four Ribkoff dresses I would wear that day and what I would order for breakfast (if I woke up early enough). I don’t mean to sound as though my experiences did not offer some INCREDIBLE opportunities for growth, networking and knowledge. I’m simply just trying to shed light on the fact that it’s hard to be person…a human…and spend so long being incapable of being the authentic version of you. I mean, I know girls in this organization who are not allowed to chew gum. I’m sorry…. WHAT? Like. I can’t. <—Insert meme here. 

However, there’s a passage in The Artisan Soul that says “be informed by your experiences, but do not be controlled by them.” And so I will not. There is much to look forward to in the future and much to be grateful for in the past.  As I continue on this journey, there are a lot of emotions that are sure to surface, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: 

We live in the crucible between the promise of who we can become and the reality of who we have been. We exist between trajedy and triumph, failure and success, life and death, hate and love, and this in-between can be like an abyss where we feel lost and torn. It is here, though, in this tension that we find the most interesting people. These are not the watchers who never risk stepping outside the confines of their own safetey to experience life at its fullest, nor are they the wallowers trapped in the quagmire of suffering. Instead they are artisans who refuse to embrace life as anything less than the greatest work of art. pg. 79

I’ve been asked time and time again why I chose to move to LA. Hell, I’ve asked myself time and time again why I chose to move to LA. This passage gave me all of the reasoning I needed. I moved to LA because I am an artisan of my own life and I refuse to sit idly by and watch other people live out the dreams that I have. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes it means you get uncomfortable. Sometimes it means you have a change in course or goals. But…I’m not afraid of stepping outside of the confines of my own safety to experience life at it’s fullest. 

You shouldn’t be either. 

Proof that the world is a work of art.