A Confession, or Two, and an Epiphany

By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.

I am a closet pageant queen.  There, I said it.  From the age of 16 until I turned 21, I coveted a sash and crown.  Then, when I entered law school at the age of 22, until now, at the age of 50, I hoped no one would know of my pageant past.  I mean, how can a beauty queen lawyer be taken seriously?!?

But, after practicing law for 25 years, and hitting the big 5-0 milestone earlier this year, I have come to embrace this past.  I realize that this is actually something about which I should be proud, not ashamed.  So, why do we as humans do this?

Plain and simple, people are mean, and people are judgmental, and people are hurtful.   It is a natural protective mechanism to try to avoid exposure to anything that could harm us.  And while I was able to keep hidden my pageant queen past, I have not been able to avoid other areas of emotional challenges.   Like everyone, my life can be tough and there is no escaping that.

I absolutely love what I do for a living.   I revel in helping others, and leaving them better than I found them.   However, divorce law is difficult.   It is extremely difficult.  In addition to all the areas of law we must know, and the Rules, this is a highly emotionally charged arena.  Opposing parties can get very angry at their spouse’s lawyer.  The clients can  reach their breaking point, and end up taking it out on their lawyer as a safe haven.   The worst part of this area of  law, though, is immature, ego-driven opposing counsels who use personal attacks.   I did not go to law school and incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to be personally attacked.  Yet, it happens.

I am one tough cookie.   I can handle whatever is throw at me.  I am also very protective.  I do not want my staff impacted and I will not allow them to worry.   That is my job.   So, I try to stay two steps ahead and strive to be the smartest in the room, as I brandish my tough exterior to the world.

However, a country song that I heard on the radio really resonated with me.  It in fact led to an epiphany for me.   It made me realize that the world will not end if I start showing what is under my skin.   And if I continue to try to keep up this strong façade, my health will suffer.

Homecoming Queen?

Sung by Kelsea Ballerini

Hey homecoming Queen
Why do you lie?
When somebody’s mean
Where do you hide?
Do people assume
You’re always alright?
Been so good at smiling
Most of your life

Look damn good in the dress
Zipping up the mess
Dancing with your best foot forward
Does it get hard
To have to play the part?
Nobody’s feeling sorry for ya

But what if I told you the world wouldn’t end
If you started showing what’s under your skin
What if you let ’em all in on the lie?
Even the homecoming Queen cries

Hey homecoming Queen
How’s things at home?
Still walking on eggshells
When that curtains closed
Did your Daddy teach you
How to act tough?
Or more like your Mama?
Sweep it under the rug

Look damn good in the dress
Zipping up the mess
Dancing with your best foot forward
Did you want the crown?
Or does it weigh you down
Nobody’s feeling sorry for ya

What if I told you the world wouldn’t end
If you started showing what’s under your skin?
What if you let ’em all in on the lie?
Even the homecoming Queen cries

Yeah, what if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall?
If you lost your composure, said to hell with it all
Not everything pretty sparkles and shines
And even the homecoming Queen cries (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Oh yeah
Even the homecoming Queen cries (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
(Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

Hey homecoming Queen
Why do you lie?
When somebody’s mean
Where do you hide?

So here is another confession.  I was my high school homecoming queen.  And I was the state homecoming queen – that’s right, Miss Colorado Homecoming Queen.   And I am now admitting that even this homecoming queen cries.  When somebody is mean to me, I am no longer going to  hide.  I am not going to just let people assume that I am always alright.  I am not going to just play the part.   The world is not going to end if I start showing what is under my skin.  In fact, I will be happier and healthier.  So, yes, world, even this homecoming queen cries!

I do hope that any of you who are reading this will look inside yourselves, as well, and see, that it is okay to show your vulnerability.  It is okay to ask for help.   It is okay to cry.   We can cry together.