Loving yourself is a journey. It doesn't happen in a day, or a week, or even a month. It's a process where all the labels and titles that you found worth in are stripped from you and you are left with just yourself. You are not “Alisa the President” or “Alisa the Captain,” you are Alisa. Discovering who “Alisa” was wasn't an easy process. For years I found worth in labels, but I didn't find worth in who I was. I took pride in my accomplishments and awards, but I didn't find worth in my individuality.
Two years ago, I asked God to take me on a self-love journey where I could discover who I really am. At that point in my life, I didn't have any titles or labels defining me, other than being a college student. And as I dove deeper into my relationship with Him, I started to see myself through His eyes. I began to see the beauty He sees when He looks at me. The bondages and chains that inhibited me for years were broken and I saw myself in a different light.
I deleted the pictures off of my Instagram, and also deleted all social media apps from my phone. I wanted to focus on me and God, and not what others thought of me. Two years later I've grown tremendously. I can look in the mirror and honestly say that I love the woman I see. I love her spunk, ambition, and a genuine heart for others. She's intelligent and she's going to change the world.
As women, we have to believe we are exceptional individuals before anyone else will, and I knew that if I wanted to start competing in the Miss America Organization I had to genuinely love myself. I went into each and every area of competition with confidence, knowing that I was being my authentic self. I didn't change, I simply showed them who Alisa is.
As the competition concluded I was ecstatic. I knew that I competed to the best of my ability and I couldn’t help but praise God. Two years ago I wouldn't have been able to compete and I was so thankful for the progress that I made. In the end, I walked away with the title of Miss Central Pennsylvania 2018. I'd been dreaming about this moment for three years and now it was my reality!
Throughout this experience, I've learned to embrace each and every moment, and trust God along the way. And even though I'm always thinking about the future, it's so important to live in the moment and know that God’s plan is bigger and better than we could ever imagine.
Next Stop: Miss Pennsylvania!