It all started with this desire to try out something new. Her therapist had thought it, a good idea, for her to channel her depression into anything that would get her back into the world.
But what world would she fit in? She had asked her therapist. What world would help her forget her reality? What world would give her the creativity she needed to get out of her crappy job and crappy boss? What world would not see right through her like her ex did? In what world would people see her as one of their own?
Not some oversized girl with unkempt hair and shabby clothes. The tall, weird girl that was annoyingly shy, clumsy and never kept time for anything, the girl that had never been on a date because she was considered a shame to any guy that would be seen with her in public, the girl that craved attention, love, friendship, romance and happiness at the very least, in all forms.
Her therapist had suggested she tries to take control of her extroverted spirit. Since the introverted side seemed to be pulling her, more and more, into depression and darkness. The alone time she spent with herself no longer became her peace and neither was it a time of solitude. Her therapist had casually explained her need for diversity, with being in physical contact with people, to listen to their stories and create a multitude of stories that would fit with her crazy imagination. Perhaps she could become a famous novelist from that leading to hitting two birds with one stone.
She now had to choose. From joining a new marketing firm, a beauty pageant, a creative writing contest reality show or stand up to her own boss (the most disliked idea). Her therapist had written out the four options on individual square manila papers, folded them in equal proportion and laid them out in front of her patient. Her patient picked them up, shook them vigorously and threw them back on the table. As she picked the folded paper she prayed that she would just be heading back home to Googling current jobs in the marketing industry.
Destiny had something else in store for her. She was going to join the yearly beauty pageant that year. She had laughed incessantly as she stared at the manila paper. Her therapist thought she had been possessed by a whole new being. It was the first time she had heard her patient laugh out loud. Her laughter was rich and abnormally loud but peaceful and contagious too. It made her face light up to show a tiny dimple on her cheek. It exposed her immaculate white teeth and “Damn!” he exclaimed, “What a nice smile.” They both laughed despite the fact that her therapist never knew what was next in their plan.
I am going to join the august pageant she said and smiled again. I cannot believe this. She had told her therapist. Her therapist had given her an assignment to Google the requirements for the pageant for her time was up.
After settling down in her apartment she opened her laptop and Googled beauty pageants. She read all the information on the search engines that was before her eyes. She opened her Instagram account too, and stalked previous queens to know their lifestyle before and after, YouTube proved to be another important tool for she watched the interviews, the interrogation, their beauty with purpose missions and by the next morning she had generated all the information she needed to prepare for the beauty pageant in the next three months.
She started with losing all her black and grey self-cautious clothing, all the baggy jeans, loose tops, grandmother sweaters while purchasing colorful trendy clothes. It is a good thing she had a savings account with little money to spare after covering her expenses. Accounting class had proved beneficial after all.
Next was to make a weekly appointment with the hair stylist at a local saloon near her home. The stylist had asked her why she hadn’t applied any styles to her black and rich hair.
Not to mention the physical exercises she had to do both at home and at the gym after work. Those were hectic, the burpees, rope skipping pushups and so much more. Her trainer was merciless. At the end of the first week shed wanted to give up because her whole body was aching. Her walking style was even worse than usual.
Her dieting too had to be reformed. She had to go vegetarian for the three months before the pageant. Bye-bye to the appetizing lunches at work or sugar and any high calorie foods because she had to lose about forty pounds to be fit for the model size beauty queens always had.
Like any human being, she would cave in to her temptations. She would miss her appointment at the gym, eat fries with chicken and pork that was her favorite and on most days she would cry herself to sleep wondering if all this would be worth it. If any guy like… her therapist maybe would notice her as her not the perfect human being she desperately needed to be at the moment. She would overthink and over dwell on the, if’s. If she had been born rich, an extrovert maybe she would not have to struggle with finances and her crappy job, social anxiety and possibility of her having bipolar disorder.
She struggled mostly with acceptance at work. Despite her new look, no one seemed to acknowledge her differently. She now had to struggle with jealous female workmates as she’d finally conquered attention of some male co-workers, the rumors and hearsays and constant remembrance of her previous look her shabby clothes and most of all her inability to formulate an audible and correct sentence in proper English. The meanest comment was a sticky note she found at her desk one morning, “No matter how much you fix yourself, you’ll still be the clown of the company.”
Two weeks prior to the first set of interviews, she visited her therapist again. At least he seemed pleased with her new look. He silently hoped to maybe ask her out once she’s out of the frenzy she was in. Besides doctor-patient relationships were not professional. For now, he had to train her on her speech and eliminate the shyness and insecurity and snobbishness, for her to pass the interviews and get recruited for the boot camp before the real unveiling of the twelve contestants from which the runners up and the Miss Uganda would be selected.
Her therapist had told her,” Push yourself harder and Do not give up.” For her to make it to the top she was relying on herself for she did not have a social circle to depend on.
Let us just say her hard work paid off. She managed to charm the interviewers with her speech. She also managed to make three friends and acquaintances with the rest of the contestants. Her beauty with a purpose project managed to get her in the top five contestants and the media considered her quite the catch with her natural beauty and a possible winner.
Now as she stood on stage, holding hand with her fellow contestant, her final competition, eagerly waiting for the announcer to declare only one of their names as the final winner, she had a flashback and was well pleased with her accomplishment. She definitely was not the scared, attention seeker, oversized girl that sat in the beige chair in her therapist’ office, depressed and wishing for a major breakthrough in her less than ordinary life. Her, secretly fancying her therapist and wondering whether she would ever be worthy of his attention beyond his professional grounds.
Would she be crowned the August Queen that year? Even if she was not crowned that, she knew, after this night, she had a shot with her therapist.
"The winner of Miss Uganda 2024 is...Anastasia contestant number three." She did it
Why wouldn't she?