The Audacity: Ms. Veteran America 2021

A month ago a friend of mine texted me and told me I should compete for Ms. Veteran America 2021. I told her no, but that I was flattered. I was quick to turn it down because I didn’t consider myself even relatively close to the level of qualified to compete for such title. Why not? I haven’t had a combat deployment. I’m not some PT stud. I’m only an E-5/Sergeant (but the promotable kind at least), and getting my command to approve such a venture seemed highly unlikely. She kept on about it, and I did some thinking... and I changed my mind in a matter of an hour. Literally. 

That same day I got my application done, and reached out to my commander for approval. They said “absolutely!”, the kind of support that switched me from first gear to five. Within two days I had my headshots (thanks to a coworker who moonlights as a wedding photographer) and my bio submitted, and I was selected to be a semi-finalist for this years competition. My life went from pretty busy to holy heck what have I gotten myself into all because a friend from basic training (8 years ago!) saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. 

For New Year’s I announced that my resolution in 2021 would be more charity work. I had no concrete plans or ideas at the time, so it’s ironic that now all of my free time is focused on advocacy and charity work (well, non-profit). The person crowned Ms. Veteran America is the official spokeswoman for Final Salute, Inc., and you bet that they will be looking at how capable each contestant is at campaigning, fundraising, and advocacy. I’m not at all experienced in running a big fundraiser, or selling things to raise money, or marketing on social media platforms, but I am resilient and up for the challenge. Where I lack in technical experience and credentials I make up for in audacity, supportive friends, and optimism. 

Did you know the way we talk to ourselves is the most important communication we have each day? If you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t. Don’t let the society’s standards tell you what you are capable of, show them.