Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#242: The Rose of Tralee

A friend of mine in Ireland introduced me to this fantastic "pageant". I use quotes because it is nothing like an American beauty pageant. In the Rose of Tralee there is no swimsuit or evening gown competition or official talent section. It is, rather, women who look like you and me, dressed beautifully, who are interviewed for about 5 minutes or so by Dáithí Ó Sé (the host) after which they do something: sing a song, recite a poem, one woman jumped rope, Irish dancing, a science experiment.

My friend bugged me about watching it and I had no interest in a pageant. Although I understand that anything we do can either build us up or bring us down, for me pageants have always brought me down as I embark on a terrible journey of comparisons with women in which I always lost. Pageants just feed my insecurities that I was not good enough.

I opened my mind, however, and watched. I was AMAZED! "Roses" come together to compete from various geographic locations. There is a Dublin Rose, for example. A Mayo Rose, a Texas Rose, a Sydney [Australia] Rose, and so on. I was expecting something very American and what I got was truly wonderful. These women do not look like American super models, although they are all delightfully beautiful. They look like real women I know; they do real jobs and they have many wonderful dreams and ideas and creative things to share.

What [else] really struck me is that every Rose had a tremendous amount of family present. This is a really, really big deal and not to be missed by any members. It's taken me over a week to watch the two episodes on reply on the RTE Player because I found myself feeling deeply sad during some parts of the show. I think this is because I wish I was closer to my own family, and I have felt on the outside of almost everything every since I can remember. There is a deep desire in me to belong to something bigger than me, and the kinship of the whole of the Irish people is one of the main attractions to spending so much time there.

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