Monthly Archives: March 2016

My experience at an Arizona Polling Place

An open letter to the lady in the polling line,

Okay I get it. Polling lines are ridiculously long and I respect the fact that you have “been waiting in line for over an hour in the sun” but that does not, under any circumstances give you the right to be all high and mighty when the polling place workers ask you if I may go in front of you because of my disabilities. I’m not able to stand in line any longer after being here for an hour, and asked if I could be moved up just a bit or have a chair. And just because I am “so young” does not mean I am not disabled. To all those that don’t understand invisible illnesses, I may look young, I may look healthy, but getting up in the morning is a obstacle I have to face every day. My life isn’t easy, and I make the best of it. But people like you, with your narrow minded opinions and views are some of the things I must fight every day, and yes I can still hear your mean comments behind my back.

I almost gave up because of you. I almost said,  “You know what it’s not worth it to be looked at or to be talked about like this to vote. I don’t need to go through this. Then I stopped my self, and in the span of a few breaths realized that this is just one more obstacle in my life battling my disabilities. After taking that moment, I lifted my head and decided that I will not let people like you bring me down. I will not let my disabilities get the best of me, and I promise even people like you, to not use my disability as a crutch. To everyone else- vote. Go to the polls and make those polling lines ridiculously long. Do your civic duty and work towards making our country move in a positive direction. And please remember to be kind.


The 23 year old with Lupus, Fibromyalgia and faces discrimination everyday, I forgive you.

My experience at this polling place was not the first time I have encountered discrimination for looking like I’m not disabled and I know it definitely won’t be the last. Every time I park in a handicap parking spot, or sit in a handicap spot at a show, I endure the disdain and hate of the people around me. The whispered insults and people who assume that just because I “look normal” means I am just being a jerk and using this space because I’m lazy. I have fought this my whole life, trying to explain to friends why I don’t want a hug, that I am in pain and cannot stand to be touched. Trying to explain to teachers, coworkers or employers why I have to use a cane on some days or am not able to hand write my notes. I have dealt with these doubts, taunts and bullying for over a decade, and yet I still get up in the morning and face a new challenge everyday. So for those reading this:

To those with disabilities- own your life, your body and your illnesses. They do not define you, they make you stronger, make you fight for the things your believe in, and never make excuses. Do not allow your disability to run your life or to bring you down. You are not your disability. You are a strong capable person who must overcome some incredibly difficult life circumstances.

To those without disabilities- if you see someone doing something that you have a negative reaction to, I implore you to take a moment, switch gears and wonder about that person’s life circumstances. Be kind, be open-mind and most of all, be giving.

To everyone reading this- Do not sit idly by and let hate and discrimination take over our world. Stand up for what is right, what is good, and what will unite all of us in this country. Stand up for yourselves, your friends, and the stranger on the street. You never know what someone is going through, and sometimes, the smallest thing such as a smile or s helping hand can make a world of difference to someone like me.

Finally, to the Poll Workers at The American Legion Matthew B. Juan Post 35 specifically Mr Russell- the kind man who stood up for me against a handful of people, thank you. Thank you for believing in me, and for doing something not many people would do. You are the kind of person I hope to become. May you have a great life and I hope to one day pay back the kindness you offered to me.


I love being outdoors when the weather is nice, and to the untrained eye following my Facebook, I look like a fairly active person. Every weekend I try to go out and do something, and generally I make that goal. I’m not stupid about my adventures, though; here are some examples of what I do for fun:

  • Look out mountain: a 2.5 mile walking trail around the little rock hill Arizonans call a mountain. Totally flat trail with a well kept walking path.
  • Superstitions: plenty of flat trails, well maintained. Also not a huge challenge.
  • Lake Pleasant: it’s like a quarter mile walk to the lake. It’s nothing.
  • Monteczuma’s Castle, and the petroglyphs nearby: not even hiking by the most generous terms. Boyfriend wore flip flops to see the castle.
  • Tubing: seriously, you lay in an innertube and drink, on a river.
  • Rennaissance Festival: an all day thing, probably the most taxing activity on this list. I watch the shows so there’s a lot of sitting down, and I try to stay in the shade as much as possible. I needed a day of rest after this.

Now, these are all outside and I love the weather and nature, and these little trips give me an opportunity to relax and recharge. They usually only take up half the day (unless there’s driving). You can be active and enjoy nature and go on little day trips without ruining yourself, if you’re smart about it. Don’t be envious of those annoyingly active face book posters- go out and be one yourself! Just be smart about it, don’t let your pride ruin your health- you can have fun and go on adventures without hurting yourself.


Car rides

I ended up taking basically a 5 hour car ride- maybe 6 hour?- on Saturday, and then I pulled a shoulder muscle pushing away the resident Great Dane who has NO respect for personal space. Three days later and my knees are still swollen from being stuck in the same position for 5 hours, but thankfully the migraine from the pulled muscle only lasted a day.
Thank goodness it’s spring break.
No words of advice or wisdom here, just sharing so you know you’re not the only one taken down for days over something mundane.


Sucking up my pride and telling my guy I needed a walk-break (or three) was a huge help, and was only embarrassing the first time.



I get by with a little help from my friends

Since the announcement that I planned to compete in mrs sMrs. Arizona America, everyone and I mean everyone, I have spoken to has been incredibly supportive. I have been blessed with amazing friends, colleagues, and professional associates. It is my distinct pleasure to announce that I am the newest Mrs. Scottsdale 2016. Last week, Diane Ritter, the director for the Mrs. Arizona and Mrs. Utah America pageants, held the first workshop for the Mrs. AZ America competitors.

At this first meeting, attendees included the current Mrs. Arizona America, prior Mrs. Arizona Americas, new local titleholders, and pageant sponsors, including Kelly Wisnieswki (make-up artist extraordinaire) and Wendy Carlson (the spray tan queen). Continuing my stroke of luck, my pageant mentor is Mrs. Tracy Elliott, Mrs. Arizona America 2007. She is such an inspiration, so kind, practical, and knowledgeable.

Following this meeting, I booked Kelly for make-up which pleased my husband to no end as it now means I will stop buying lots of new make-up stuff and watching thousands (okay hundreds) of YouTube videos trying to learn how to contour and highlight and all that jazz. I learned that I do not like the look of long, wavy, glorious pageant hair on me, so no extensions. I simply will rely on Alex Baudoin at Jo Paris Salon to keep me looking hair fantastic. And Kelly will style it on the big days, so I should be great-t0-go. Also, connected on social media with several of these phenomenal women, such as Kim Summerall Jones, a co-competitor.

Things I am learning – (skip this paragraph if TMI) – waxing….eiyiyi – never done it, about to learn. Wendy put me in touch with Laura so um. yeah. Also, tanning and skinny tanning. Wendy truly is the spray tan queen and an international print model. I do have a solid base tan on my own, with my natural olive skin tone, I rarely burn and my body needs the Vitamin D, and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Personal training: I had been researching this place near me Fitness by Design. As I was teetering (I have lost 8 of 24 pounds on my own, only 16 to go), I had a groupon pop up for $300 of services for $66. David Ashley (Pastor Pump) is seeking a master’s degree in Divinity – which was a sign, and then when I called to speak to them, his wife Holly is a former Miss Arizona. It’s fate. So I had my first evaluation, fat measurement (actually in range now for my height, but want it to go much lower), and he kicked my little tail with some of those exercises. Then, I sold my first ad to Mark Monson of VIP Mortgage! woot woot. Last, I had a wonderful session with my friends Laura Lawless Robertson and Alane Breland who helped me learn to walk right, stand right, and practice interviews…so reminiscent of both of modeling back in high school and the many competitions in law school.

I have challenges, I know. Not least of which, I was in the hospital just a week ago. But here’s the thing, I am more than my disabilities and I am more than what I do, be it job or volunteer. I am a person of value all on my own and I want to feel that deep in my cells.

I am Brilliant, Beautiful, and Bold. Girls rule!

So it is all falling into place. Getting into the healthiest shape of my life, finding support in every direction, and feeling the love. That’s what this is about, right? It would be amazing to win, but it’s going to be amazing simply to make the journey. I am pumped!


- How much do you know?

at the Heart of Privacy

K Royal (@heartofprivacy)