I’m about to reveal one of the most uncomfortable facts about myself… I used to be a pageant girl. Go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait.

In any event, what does that have to do with “the hair cut that changed my life?” Nothing and everything.

I wasn’t the brainiest girl in high school.  Senior year I think I ended up with a C+ average.  Upon bringing that report card home I was informed by my parents that I would have to pay for my own college until such time that I was a solid B student. So, not having any money of my own and being a rather impressionable girl I let a pal talk me into entering a beauty pageant to get scholarship money.

One thing you need to know about me… I am the cheesiest of the cheesy. (Think: Velveeta) Therefore, I won and earned myself a college scholarship.

(I’m getting to the hair cut part…. promise.) Being in the pageant world is a little bit like getting a tattoo… you can’t just do ONE. Two Miss Maryland teen-ish titles later I was feeling pretty good about myself.  A little too good about myself. Ahem.

At this point I had found my groove in college (paid for it myself) and had enrolled in Towson University. So in my infinite brilliance I decided to “treat myself” to a good haircut before heading off to the big university. A “good haircut” =  the kind of haircut that occurred at an honest-to-God salon instead of the Hair Cuttery. Yes, this pageant girl had no money and therefore no stylist.

WORST. HAIRCUT. IN. THE. HISTORY. OF. THE. WORLD.

Think – FEMALE MULLET. ((shudder))

So there I was, little miss former beauty queen entering her first semester of college, rooming with some gorgeous girls and …. well, CONFIDENCE DESTROYED. (Yes, it really WAS that bad.)

Here is the best part – I had no option but to throw myself into my studies. Aced every class. President of the National Broadcasting Society, President of the Public Relations Student Society of America…. all around annoying over-achiever.

It shaped my life in a way that nothing else ever had or has since. I no longer relied on my looks to get me anywhere. As a matter of fact, they were never in the equation. (College guys, well, they asked me who my ROOMMATES were. I became the gate-keeper for the hotties.)

I graduated from college with high honors. I had a job before my final semester ended.

I’m convinced this was a God thing. See, in high school I was very average and extremely awkward. I kind of came into my own right around the time the pageants happened. And I think that I COULD have gone the wrong way with that. Instead, you could say that God intervened and opened my eyes to some valuable life lessons on the value of education, the dangers of being superficial and the importance of being humble.

They were lessons that I never forgot…

How about you? Did you ever learn a lesson the hard way?

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