It is spring of 2021, and I have begun the process for preparing for the pageant in August. There is just something about the sun coming out and the life that emerges that makes Spring exciting for me. There is a rush of new and renewed energy, and I am feeling all of it!
I have tried so many new things in the last month, and while the butterflies were there through the process, I was so glad I did it. An example, I can give: we started going to a rock climbing gym as a family. Now, I am extremely scared of heights, and while I know that the harness is there to secure me, I am still so afraid of falling. My son wanted me to climb next to him, which I did. I got about 2/3 of the way up and decided it was time to come down, but I could not JUST LET GO and trust the harness system to catch me. It felt so unnatural and counterintuitive. I held on tight for minute after minute. My husband had to come up to my level and talk me through it. My heart was pounding, and I could hardly breathe. I determined that I was not going to trust the system from that height, so I climbed down and gave it a test closer to the floor. I was grateful to have my young kids with me that only wanted to go a little ways up and jump down because it allowed me to get used to the feeling of being caught by the harness.
Another visit, I was determined to go to the top of one of the easier courses because for me, I was going to overcome this fear (maybe not of heights, but definitely of trust). So, I got to the top, freaked out a bit, and climbed down to a comfortable place. I tried repetitively, and each time, I just COULD NOT bring myself to take the fall. In transparency, to this date, I have only allowed the harness to take me down from about half way up, but I WILL get there one day.
While there have been other new experiences, this one has been sticking out to me because it is much like my pageant preparation. There is a set of butterflies in my stomach just thinking about sitting and answering questions in my interview, walking in a bikini IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, and gliding across the stage in a gown. There is strategy to doing well, and Mrs. Georgia America is truly about outer AND inner beauty. I have to learn to face the anxiety, breathe, and allow myself to stay in that moment rather than avoid and retreat. So, I will practice putting myself in situations that raise my anxious feelings and staying present. I will also be giving myself GRACE for where I am right now.
God has been talking to me a lot about GRACE recently. He even gave me a lovely acronym: Giving Radical Acceptance of and Caring for Each other. When I give grace to myself, I am radically accepting every part of myself and still choosing to care. When I give grace to my friends and family, I am radically accepting where they are in their OWN journeys (because they are not mine and never will be) and choosing to care and support them however I can. And when I give grace to the acquaintance or stranger, I am radically accepting the UNTOLD story of their own struggles and choosing to care for them.
These grace talks with God have led to starting Evenings of G.R.A.C.E. I am so excited that we were able to get the first event going so quickly this May to benefit the Faddis Family–a family that I do not personally know but are definitely in need. They have gone through so much from what I gather from my friend who connected us, and they are currently in need of $15,000 to replace Matthew’s teeth after a long struggle with severe chrohn’s disease. The event will be a catered dinner accompanied by a performance by the students at Dance Tech & Talent. For more information please visit our Event Facebook Page.
In 2019–I was afraid to be seen. I hid behind my husband. I let him be in the spotlight. I feared someone noticing me, calling me forward, and then being disappointed that they ever had given me a chance.
Thankfully–there were people in my life that saw me anyway and continued to call forth the good things God placed within me—the beauty He bestowed upon me as a woman—and the fierce love I have for those I lead.
“But you own a company and lead a team… didn’t these people see you?”
Well… vulnerability is an interesting journey, and I am not quite sure where or why I began to hide who I am. Childhood Experiences + Teenage Stupidity + Sexual Trauma + Career Decisions + Getting Married + Becoming a Mom probably all had their ways of communicating expectations to which I couldn’t measure up. To be fair, these factors did not actually communicate the expectations, but rather, my perception of who I SHOULD be considering all the things in my life led to a pretty grotesque view of a Brittany Mae Browne that just simply did not exist–and really would never be able to exist because I was not designed to be her! (wow that was a long run on sentence)
I am in the process of unlearning, relearning, and just good ole fashioned learning who I am designed to be throughout my lifetime.
I am unlearning the characteristics of stiff, rigid, shy, unavailable, depleted. I have been all these things for years now, and I just can’t anymore.
I am relearning the characteristics of creative, colorful, spontaneous, interested, and open. They’ve always been there and would peak out from time to time in the last decade, but I am freeing them more and more each day.
I am learning the art of presenting myself externally as a full reflection of who I am internally.
The 2020 Mrs. Georgia America Pageant was a wonderful opportunity to showcase how far I have come in one year. Maybe it was a quiet transformation to most. Certainly strangers would have no idea.
I am looking forward to competing again, to sharing a weekend with other beautiful and inspiring women, to spending invaluable time with coaches and mentors in preparation, to connecting with the Kennesaw community in meaningful ways, and to documenting the process diligently.