I was excited and nervous...but more excited. I felt pretty good about my speech. This is where I shine. I'd practiced my speech a hundred times. Meticulously timed it over and over. I was ready. As ready as I'd ever be.
We went in reverse order, so I was near the beginning. I would have preferred being closer to the end so I could hear the majority of speeches, but oh well.
I got up there and did my thing. I messed up slightly near the beginning, but apparently no one noticed except me. I recovered. I got through it.
No. Do away with false modesty.
I rocked that thing! The applause vibrated in my soul.
Everyone did really amazing. It was so great to hear everyone tell their stories and talk about their platforms and their passions. I've said it a thousand times already, but what an extraordinary group of women.
After speeches and dinner were complete, there was almost an audible exhalation. We all let go of the pressure we'd been carrying every since we entered the hotel. Judging was over. There was nothing to do now but live in the moment and enjoy it for the amazing, beautiful opportunity it was. Our laughter was carefree, boisterous and unashamed. Many of us went up to Temple to have a drink and some dessert. I had a lovely time with Ms. California and her companions. We ate oysters, drank, then had a little dessert. We talked, we laughed. I don't even remember what we talked about--but I remember the feeling; the giddy anticipation of the culminating moments to come; the knowledge that we'd never be the same.
It is a strange feeling to be in the moment, knowing that moment will change you forever. Embracing that moment is indescribable.
I didn't take many pictures that night, oddly. But here is my husband, me, and Courtney, Ms. Wheelchair Maryland.
You all know what comes next!