(Back in March 2020, when the coronavirus forced countries around the world to halt activities once considered normal, I penned my thoughts on what the “corona”originally meant to me.)

Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

Not too long ago, when one spoke of “corona,”  it was accompanied with a smile, dreamy eyes and excitement — especially from young girls brought up in a culture where outward beauty is praised and extolled.

It was something every girl, young lady, and feeling “girl” aspired to have.

Well, even mommies and grannies aspired having a “corona” too, what with the different beauty pageants that became (and still are) the staple of every town fiesta celebration and school intramurals or founding anniversary. A pageant (often a battle of beauty and brains) is oftentimes the highlight of activities launched by cause or civic-oriented groups which has never ceased to fascinate viewers of different age groups, shapes and sizes.

And yup, this “pageant bug” bit me, too – back in those days when one could still dream big and fight hard enough without fear of being bashed over your frailties and imperfections.

I had my share of the coveted “corona” in some small-time pageants and lost in others. Well, you win some and lose some, so they say.

Miss Campus Girl, 1987.

I was 15 when I last wore a “corona.”

Nope, I didn’t grow taller than what I had hoped I would. Neither did I get more eloquent. Nor poised. Nor queenly.

Looking back, it was not the triumph nor defeat that mattered.

It was the fact that I did not balk at the challenge.

It was the grit, the courage and the competitive spirit that I displayed and have since remained with me (long after the crown lost its faux luster) that mattered the most.

Overall,  I treasure the experience of fighting, and of either winning or losing. These pageants which I consider a microcosm of life taught me quite a few things that I would otherwise have missed had I allowed fear to reign.

Win or lose, stay poised. Keep your sense of balance.

Smile even if your heels ache.

Nope, you can’t get the crown unless you fight it out, up to the end.

If you fail, charge it to experience.

It’s the sum of your experiences—good and bad—that makes the beautiful you.