Pick Up Your Crown

Hello everyone!

I’m back loves ♡ and so sorry for being MIA! School has been so busy and I’ve been trying to get adjusted to my schedule and get back into the swing of things. I’m happy to be back and I’ve missed you all! Can’t wait to catch up with you!

So, I did a thing. I applied for homecoming court, yikes right? I know I know, what happened to the Chan that doesn’t do things for attention. She’s still here! I just really thought It’d be fun but… let me fast forward to the end and tell you that I didn’t make it to the next stage. But ya know, I’m actually very happy I didn’t. I was nervous about applying because I didn’t want to be back in the space where freshman Chan was, desperate for approval and validation from people who really don’t…matter? Okay, everyone matters — but you know what I mean.

I talked to God about applying and He was incredibly encouraging. He mostly wanted me to remember to be true to myself throughout the whole process, and I was. I was intentional about making sure that I was as honest as possible because in the grand scheme of things, it’s more important to know who you are and be comfortable with that opposed to trying to convince other’s that you’re someone else. It’s better to show you than tell you so below are a few of my application responses!

Why would you be a suitable candidate for the 2019 Homecoming Court?

I would be a suitable candidate for this year’s Homecoming Court because I would help keep the Court grounded and remind us why we are all here — to be ourselves and truly showcase our Niner spirit. It is important for us all to remain true to ourselves throughout the entire process, so that we may be the light that others are seeking. Being on Homecoming Court is not about showcasing your popularity, but being a beacon of hope for someone whose shoes we were once in. Someone who is seeking acceptance and approval in one form or another. Someone who wants to be themselves, but isn’t sure if that’s enough. I also want to help create a culture of community within this year’s Homecoming Court. We are not each other’s competition, we are each other’s family, fellow Niner’s. I want to bring love, laughter, and light into our community and stake our claims once again. Most importantly, I offer friendship. I am someone who has experienced their share of humbling lessons about the significance of pursuing people, and I seek to foster an atmosphere of vulnerability and friendship wherever I go. 

What achievement are you most proud of during your time here?
The achievement that I am most proud of would have to be the creation of Queens in Spring. Queens in Spring is a ministry that began as a seed and flourished after through various seasons. After attending LeaderShape my freshman year, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection. There was a task at LeaderShape in which we were instructed to think of three words that described our values. My three words were authenticity, community, and love. I didn’t know it then, but those would be the words and values that truly shaped my time here. I’ve struggled significantly with my identity over the past couple of years. Coming into college, I was incredibly insecure. I didn’t know how to answer the question “who are you.” A simple, but complex question. I wanted to answer it by listing things that defined me: running for class president, wanting to join a sorority, being president of several organizations. While those were great goals, it wasn’t until I realized that I was striving for validation, that I truly got to know who I am. Who am I? This is a question that so many people strive to answer and I’ve seen people place a false identity on themselves, forcing them to ascribe to an “imposter self” that they struggle to live up to. My imposter self was someone that believed that the only way she would be loved and appreciated is if she appeared to be someone who was desirable. It wasn’t until I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus, that I decided to discover who I truly am. I wanted to be on leadership but I couldn’t ask people to follow someone who didn’t even know who she was. Let alone, I couldn’t ask people to follow Jesus or believe that He loves you as you are, if I didn’t believe it myself. So, this meant letting go of all of the things that I let define me and just truly letting myself “be.” I noticed that when men and women are insecure about who they are, they tend to project that with pride disguised as confidence. It became my mission to help people, especially women, deal with this insecurity in a way that encompassed authenticity, community, and love. I believe that it’s important to surround yourself in a positive community throughout all stages of your life and being authentic helps people truly know who you are, not who you want people to think you are. This helps foster an atmosphere of love. For this reason, I began leading small groups that encompassed me and a few friends meeting at least once a week and simply live life together. They became spaces of vulnerability and growth. Queens in Spring is about embracing your true identity while not destroying your imposter self, but loving on it. This fosters an atmosphere of self-love, not self-depreciation. I am proud of Queens in Spring because I am going into my fifth semester of leading a small group and even took it beyond campus over the summer. 

I want to continue to encourage women to find the beauty in each season. This is a journey that I am passionate about sharing with others. It’s important for all of us to recognize our identities and live in the present. 

What do you bring to this campus that sets you apart from the student body?

I am someone who cares deeply about truth and authenticity. Before filling out this application, I resolved that it was more important that I am vulnerable and transparent than someone who is intricate and opaque. I was once someone who could be compared to an open book with no words, and I’ve come a long way since then. I care deeply about the person beneath the mask, and not the mask itself. I’ve found it difficult to be the person wearing the mask which is why the past few years here, I’ve made it a goal of mine to pursue the person beneath it. I’ve been able to meet so many beautiful people on this campus who simply wanted someone to pursue them, to show them that they were important. That they were enough. The only way for them to take off their mask was for them to trust me, by taking off mine. I am the person who would rather lay down my false image, to help someone love their true identity. 

What does being a Niner mean to you?

Being a niner means “staking your claim,” or “walking in your purpose and living in your truth.” It is easy to get caught in the comparison trap, I can personally attest to that. However, once I recognized that I would never be in an environment like this again, an environment that offers a space to not have it all together and to take time to find your truth — I began to take advantage and truly appreciate it. Being a Niner means discovering your “why.” Before we can do anything in life, we have to start with why. I have been exposed to many different community service initiatives and networks that have influenced the way I see life and allowed me to be in a constant state of gratitude and service. I wanted to attend an HBCU for undergrad, and for a while, I was resentful of the fact that I came to a PWI. It wasn’t until I chose to shift my mindset and truly open my eyes to the blessings around me that I was able to truly appreciate the way this school has and continues to push me outside of my comfort zone. Being a Niner forces me to embrace the fact that I felt inadequate around other black students which is why I constantly strove to be “the best.” Believe it or not, attending a PWI has truly helped me be comfortable in my own skin and accept the fact that I am my own person and if there was already someone exactly like me, then God would have never placed me here. This campus has truly shaped my “why,” and it has a lot to do with helping people discover there “why” as well.

Rejection stung a bit because it felt like “wow God, Can I have anything?” But I shook that off because I was proud of myself for even applying and being able to recognize how much I’ve truly grown. I have to continue to trust that God has good things for me. The theme of trusting God seems to be coming up a lot and He recently revealed to me that while Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen,” in order to have hope you have to place your trust in God. I believe that fundamentally, it’s a lot easier to place your hope and faith in someone if you trust them.

So, over the next 40 days, I will be surrendering a part of my life that I haven’t been trusting God with while also asking God to help show me how He sees me through His eyes. I would love for you to join me!

Remember that you’re not alone and to find joy in whatever season you may be in.

Pick your crown up, Queen

Love,

Chantel ♡

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