What Being 'Queen' Really Means To Me

What Being 'Queen' Really Means To Me

And it's not just about the crown.
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First, if you're reading this, I would like you to know I'm not writing this article to get thousands of views, but I'm writing this article for me.

This past weekend was a whirlwind full of emotions from nervousness to excitement to happiness to relief all rolled into one. And if you haven't heard or really don't know me, it was because I was crowned the 2017 Michigan Sugar Queen, an honor that means the world to me.

Now many of you would assume the sole reason behind my interest in the title would be for the scholarship money or the crown, like many of the other women were; however, that is not the case for me. To be completely honest, the crown and the scholarship were only added bonuses because being crowned Queen means so much more to me, something that money cannot buy.

Leading up to the crowning, I was full of anticipation. This was something I had wanted for a long time, ever since I was a little girl sitting at the parades and watching the beautiful queens ride by on their floats and imitating their perfected Queen waves. If you asked eight-year-old-me, I would have said I wanted to be Queen for those very reasons, the crown, the wave, and the beautiful dresses. But nineteen-year-old-me has something different in mind.

Nineteen-year-old-me wanted to be Queen to represent the lifestyle I had grown up in and fallen in love with. Growing up a farm kid, isn't always easy, but it surely is one of the most rewarding lifestyles a person could have. The lessons learned are something you can't get anywhere else, I mean where else could you say you learned how to prepare the perfectly cleaned and prepped sugar beet for your local county fair?

But in all seriousness, the lessons learned are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. From learning the ropes of what hard work truly means to learning the values of family time and the creation and maintenance of strong bonds between loved ones.

Therefore, being Queen is much more than the title and the crown, it's representing the Sugar Beet Industry that has shaped my life, as well as the countless other of farmer's lives who spend their lives laboring away in the fields so people worldwide have food on their tables everyday to eat. Being Queen has given me a voice to educate and advocate for the agricultural industry, which so desperately needs a voice as health-crazed individuals, without the scientifically backed research, try to shut us down. And finally, being queen has given me the opportunity to give back to a company that has already taught me so much.

I am beyond excited for the opportunities that are to come and the people I will meet along the way. All I ask, is that you don't judge me or jump to the conclusions by the crown I wear, but for the knowledge I share. I can promise you that I'm not just a pretty face.

Cover Image Credit: Kayla Ratajczak

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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