|Discovering the New Tami |
Miss Teen USA BLOG by Tami Farrell
Winning the title has meant leaving home and taking on adult responsibilities. But it took a trip back home to reveal how far that transformation has taken her.
It is midnight on a Sunday in February, and I find myself gazing out my upper Manhattan bedroom window, staring at the New Jersey skyline. My music is playing softly, and the rest of the apartment is silent. My mind is racing with so many thoughts. Lying across my bed on my back, my head turns, and my eyes rest on a small collage I have created on my wall (left). A menagerie of pictures of my family and friends, postcards, movies tickets, and some of my favorite quotes, it symbolizes the places in my life where I have been and where I am now as Miss Teen USA. I stare at each picture as if I were going back in time to each of those moments.
During the holidays, I went home to visit with family and friends. Though it had been only a short time since I was home, I had forgotten some of my small family traditions, like baking cookies with my Grandma and staying up late Christmas Eve to wrap presents with my Mom. I spent my nights there catching up with old friends and discovering new ones. Life seemed surreal. How could I have forgotten so much of what I had been doing for only the past 19 years?
It wasn’t long before I climbed back into the skin I didn’t realize I had shed. All it took was a half-hour of hugs and kisses from my Grandma and a little arm punching from my brothers to bring the routine back to life. As the new year approached, I begin to focus a little more on the reality of what was happening in my life.
|Tami at Phoenix, OR, Culver Field with Pirates teammates. |
Since becoming Miss Teen USA last August, I have gone from a small-town girl to a big-city woman. While I’m away representing the title, my Mom is not around to remind me of the small chores I used to do, nor do I get to argue with my brothers about whose turn it is to take out the trash or use the bathroom we shared. Away from home, it’s left up to me to get to work on time, to figure out how to get around the city using my New York City maps, and even to remember to eat. That means I’m doing my own grocery shopping, paying my own bills, and even balancing my own checking account! I also have gone from a girl with dreams of traveling the world to an instant member of the frequent-flyer club. I am easing into a crazy world that most of us know as adulthood.
The past several months have been an incredible experience. I spend my days going to acting school, juggling fashion photo shoots, attending movie premiers, and volunteering with amazing groups like ShiNE (Seeking Harmoney in Neighborhood Every Day), an organization that helps young adults deal with issues such as drug abuse, low self-esteem, and family difficulties. I have been given a chance to explore my dreams and to pursue my future.
In the process, I have learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I have grown up and matured in so many ways, yet I still feel like a child at heart. I feel as though I am at a transition point in life. My dreams have been handed to me, and now I must deal with each of them carefully, for the results of these decisions will quickly become the foundation of my future. With time speeding by until the moment comes to give up my crown, each day is like a trip to my favorite restaurant (Serendipity 3 — a cool, teen-friendly old-time ice cream and candy shoppe), and I want to cherish every opportunity on the menu.
|Tami’s reading her favorite magazine - Pageantry! |
While I was home for the holidays, I realized how much I had changed. While I’ll never give up the chance to sit on my Dad’s lap or play-fight with my brothers, standing in the wings waiting for her grand entrance is the new “me,” an independent young woman. As I sat on the plane returning to New York, I watched through the window as my wonderful hometown grew smaller. At that moment, I felt so blessed by all that God has given me, and I am excited to see what my future holds. I realized then that I was saying good-bye to the little girl in me, and embracing the young woman whom I am only now coming to know.
Miss Teen USA 2003 Tami Farrell writes this column exclusively for Pageantry magazine. The popular Miss Oregon not only won the national title last August, she also captured the Miss Congeniality Award as well. As a youth advocate focusing on self-esteem, anti-violence, and anti-drug issues, Tami is working with organizations throughout the U.S.A. to help communicate the importance of safe living, educational, and social environments.