Author Archives: K Royal @HeartofPrivacy

Intl Pageant Day – why do I do pageants?

168425-I-Need-A-CrownI needed to get into shape (or so my doctor kept saying). I’m very competitive, but not at all athletic. So why pageants? Well, Mrs. pageants generally have an age range from 19 or early 20s till….. whenever. So put my middle-aged, overweight self next to a 23 year old who just left the Miss America Organization, and well… I’ll get into shape.  I am still working on it.

It’s not easy. My entire life (up until about 32), I was skinny. We’re talking 5’7″ and less than 100 pounds. In my late 20s, I was about 110 pounds – after two kids. I never tried to lose weight. I never exercised. And I durn sure did not eat healthy.

I have some wins though – I lost about 30 pounds. I went from osteoporosis to osteopenia. I came completely off Plaquenil and Methotrexate (considered lifetime meds once you go on them for Lupus / Sjogrens). Getting diagnosed with Celia Disease made me straighten up the nutritional plan, as did having a high A1C (shows blood sugar over time – diabetic….). My A1C is normal now. If I can do this, so can others with disabilities.

So I walk and I work out (I kinda fell off the working out, sorry, David Ashley, the Pastor of Pump). I eat healthy (most of the time). I have a hard time eating healthy when I travel, although I do manage to keep exercising.

But there is something else – the reason why I keep competing. The women (and men) I have met are in general, Fantastic. They get it. They are people of strength and beauty, goals and dreams. People that work to help others. I have met very few shallow, back-stabbing, pouting, shallow, what-you-think-are-pageant-girls people. Okay, there are some, but I am pretty oblivious to backstage politics. I just like everyone. And I try to help everyone and assume others do the same.

If you’ve every wondered….why does she do this? This is why. For my own health. To encourage others. To Live Out Loud. To be uniquely and unapologetically myself. To be among strong people who are helping the world.

Lots of love,
K Royal
your Mrs. Arizona, USA Ambassador 2018

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A cat has 9 lives…

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Just over a year ago today, I was hospitalized for sepsis and acute renal failure – just after I had a kidney stone. It’s not the first time I have faced death and laughed in its face (okay, it’s really been more exhaustion, but laughter sounds better). Most of these have been due to Lupus and its natural complications, but at least one was not. If I were a cat, I think I would be dead already. 

 

This does tend to make cherish life even more.

As a hospice nurse, I learned a lot about living and dying; regrets and memories. My patients taught me a lot and those lessons stick with with me. Humility. Worries about family. Responsibilities. Joy. 

But somehow, when faced with it myself, I don’t think I portray those heroics or acceptance. I don’t want to go gently into that good night. I’d like to claim that I raged and raged, but found myself without the rage, as well. Having survived them all (so far), I find that I slip gently back into “normal” with a few more conscious moments of what life should be about.   

Life is messy and chaotic, fraught with emotions – both good and bad. Living is being present – day-to-day, planning, reacting, regretting, rejoicing – in things both small and tall. Life is what we make it. And if we think that facing death has an impact on us; well, it does. I thank God every day I wake up. Pain is merely a symptom that I am breathing.

People often ask where I find this unceasing energy and “perkiness.” It is not unceasing. My family can attest to that. But there is some truth in it. No matter where. No matter what. No matter when. There is always something good, because I am still there to experience whatever it is that is happening. It may not be a pleasant occasion (the death of a loved one comes to mind), but I knew that person, loved that person, and was loved by that person. That is a blessing.

So I am grateful to experience this thing called life. “Electric word LIFE it means forever and that’s a mighty long time.” No matter how long or how short a time we have on this earth, it’s a mighty long time to immerse ourselves in living. Don’t just survive. Thrive.

 

Surreality – Ms. N. America Elegance Universal

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Just your typical poor country girl, nurse turned attorney from Mississippi wandering around Europe and France wearing a sash…. We were at Buckingham Palace on the 20th anniversary of the day Princess Diana died. Then two days later, we drove through that tunnel. We’ve been up in the London eye, seen the most glorious sites of London and Paris, and been waved/honked/whistled to/at by people of all ages and walks of life. One of my favorites was the firemen in a truck with the sirens on headed to an emergency who smiled and waved out the back window.

It’s surreal.

I am not what people think of when they picture a “beauty queen.”  Heck, I’m not what I think of when I think of a beauty queen. I’m just me, looking for a larger forum to impact lives one person, one day at a time. I would not consider myself inspirational, but there is no doubt that my story, my life has inspired people.  And they have gone on to do incredible things.

 

Me?  I’m just being me. At times, that meant surviving one day at a time. At times, it meant fearing I was about to die. Or that I killed my kids (in a horrible vehicle accident we were in on a frozen bridge). And at times, it meant achieving a dream. My dream when I was about 25 was to be able to walk into the local superstop and buy a coke without balancing my checkbook first. True story.

 

Now my dream is to live a life that personifies authenticity, passion, and vibrancy.

and I’m in Europe, with a group of amazing women, experiencing surreality.

What is Your Dream? Dare. Dream. Believe.

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30 days until the official start! Some of you know me well – and know that my dream is helping others succeed, no matter their dream. In particular, those in a disadvantaged position have challenges to overcome and may well be in the position I was in – what is a dream when you’re just trying to get by a day at a time?  So what is your dream?  Tell us your story!

Did you have a dream that you accomplished?  Did you abandon a dream?  Small or large – others can learn from you.

My dream when I was a single mom back in MS was to have enough money to walk into the corner store (SuperStop back then and there) to buy a coke without having to balance my checkbook first. DONE. I took the long, winding, dark path to get there, but done. I have more dreams and more plans. and I’m thinking of starting a resource site for dreaming and succeeding.  Specific dreams would be addressed, such as applying for college/grad school, getting a promotion at work, etc. Right now – it’s  still just a dream.

I don’t want to do what I think people need. I want to do what people need and that only comes from them…you.

It’s also fabulous that I landed in a system whose motto is Dare. Dream. Believe.

One month – Ms Universal starts in London

20374421_489637154733906_2781906428927675516_nOh my. When I started competing in pageants (April of last year), I did not envision this. Ms.North America Universal Elegance. I mean, I wanted to win, that’s why I started competing. I needed motivation to lose weight (down 35 pounds) and the appeal of a larger public forum to reach people was very enticing – I want to help others! But now, I am headed to London to compete for the global title. Or is it the Universal title given the pageant name? 

Can you see me as Ms. Universal Elegance?

Kinda really cool. Seriously cool. Elegance means I’m over 45 and only compete against other women over 45 years old.

Do not get me wrong – the weight loss is not for vanity, it’s for health. Not all overweight people are unhealthy and not all skinny people are healthy. However, my weight was unhealthy and impacting my daily life. I am now off supposedly lifetime meds of plaquenil and methotrexate (for Lupus), building muscle, and frankly, able to walk down the boarding ramp to an airplane without assistance or pre-boarding time. Three years ago, that was not the case.

After the national competition, I came home and went off the healthy eating for a week – we’re talking whole, gluten free pies from Piefection, multiple servings of cheescake, and chocolate!! – then reality kicked in and I go back to healthy eating, which my body does so much better when I eat healthy. I am almost completely a non-processed food person.

So today, I have one month to go. Still working out. Still eating healthy. Still excited!

Determination

Determination. Got things to do – people to see – work to deliver. Yesterday, I joined my husband at a local restaurant and our daughter along with her boyfriend, joined us. I had a “spell.”  That’s my word for something weird happened, but not enough of something for me to go to the hospital.

There were physical and mental things happening, but nothing too serious.

No hospital. Why? Because I’ve been often enough to where I know/intuit what they can investigate and what might be life threatening and what is just my lupus body being weird. Very little is more disheartening than being told “Yeah, you seem to have something wrong with you, but nothing we can find. As you are allergic to most pain meds, take some Advil and don’t call us.” I don’t take unreasonable risks.

The determination in the title comes in this morning. I have goals; I have a job. I got up, slowly, and got to my office for work – the commute up the hall is brutal. real story. I also made it to my physical training. I was 5 minutes late and went very slowly. low weight with fewer reps. But I did it. A couple of hours later, I felt back to “normal.”  Maybe a little exhaustion like the body went through some hard, physical labor yesterday, but that’s all.

My conditions may get me down from time to time, but they are not taking me down without an epic battle. So far, I’m winning.  Yeah, I change up the plan, but don’t we all?  It’s not giving up the end goal, it’s just changing tactics according to the environment changing around us to get to the goal in the best manner possible.

Pleased to be your Queen!

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This past week, I competed in the Mrs. USA Universal pageant in Reno, NV. You may recall, that I have competed in two prior pageants starting just last year – Mrs. AZ America and Woman of Achievement. LOVED all experiences.

 

 

I started because I needed to lose weight. I am not saying skinny is healthy, nor am I saying overweight is unhealthy – but my extra weight is unhealthy. It is diabetic weight. I do NOT want to be diabetic and I had about 50 pounds to lose. I have lost 34. woot woot!

Due to losing weight, eating healthy, and being more active – I am now building muscle and am off what was supposed to be lifetime meds – plaquenil and methotrexate. Can we say “good googli moo?!” This is amazing progress. And I feel better than ever!

The pageants motivate me. I don’t lose weight to compete, I compete to lose weight. And I was the highest scoring woman over 45, so I won Ms. North America Universal Elegance (Elegance being their new division for over 45 years old). I came incredibly close to placing overall, competing against young, gorgeous, intelligent, talented women. I felt like I held my own and not totally a fish out of water.

In fact, I am DANG proud of how I did.

and now I get to go to London to compete for Ms. Universal Elegance. Regardless of how I do there, I now represent this fabulous continent from Mexico to Canada. wow.

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at the Heart of Privacy

K Royal (@heartofprivacy)

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