• Dr. Marilou Ryder

Natural Beauty

As a fat, pimply thirteen year old I remember watching in awe as my older sister walked across the stage to compete in beauty pageants. Oh my God, I thought, how could I ever complete with that? I never believed I was pretty or for that matter think I would ever be beautiful. Now fifty years later I look into the mirror and see lines, gray hair, and a sense of self; a very confident woman. This self-confidence came from setting clear goals, a lot of hard work and due diligence, not being afraid to takes risks, and most importantly... seeking out positive role models in my life. As a former school superintendent, published author and now associate professor, I have touched the lives of many and received considerable feedback; most of it positive. One thing I now know for sure... my sense of beauty comes from the self-assurance that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I recently had to give an important speech and on the day of the event a big, red pimple presented itself smack dab on my nose. As I walked across the stage to deliver my message I thought back to those days of my sister and the beauty pageants. I was having a good "hair day", my outfit felt good and my spirit was glowing. Walking proudly toward the microphone, I felt the radiance and satisfaction a pageant winner must briefly experience. It was at this moment I was pretty darn sure that I had finally come close to winning my own beauty pageant.

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