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A Love Letter to Cheslie Kryst

Dearest Cheslie,

I never had the honor of knowing you personally or even the opportunity to be in your presence, and yet your impact on me is profound. I never hugged you or felt the warmth of your spirit, and yet you inspired me. I never got the chance to tell you how you empowered me. I never got the chance to exchange ideas with you. I never got the chance to let you know how badly I wanted to emulate you. I never got the chance to tell you the way I felt loved and seen by you.

If I were being honest with myself, part of my draw to North Carolina was to vie for the title you held and have an impact like you did. What an honor it is to even walk the stage you did, to be in the room you were in, to be interested in and passionate about the same things as you. I related. . . relate to you so deeply, in so many ways. I am guilty of putting you on a pedestal and having high expectations of you. I was blinded by social media, even though you told us not to be. I remember watching you on the Miss USA stage and you were my immediate favorite. You were effortlessly perfect and the most notable Miss USA. . . seemingly so anyway. I guess we never know what goes on after the cameras turn off.

You carried the weight of the world. . . you carried the weight of the world with grace, fortitude, fearlessness, and iconic style. Cheslie, I am sorry. I am so sorry that the pressures and expectations outweighed the beauty and joy your brought to every person you encountered. I wish I could have been near enough to notice. I wish I could have said something to change these circumstances. I'm sure a lot of us have a long list of wishes and shoulda coulda woulda's. . . and yet, you found your own way out of this madness. I hate that it came to this. I hate this world didn't give to you what you gave to it. And I can only make assumptions. I can only imagine. I have no idea what life was like for you. I just hope that you are indeed at rest and peace. While I and so many others long for your earthly presence, your impact, influence, and legacy will live on forever. Thank you Cheslie, for being an inspiration, an advocate, a change maker, a role model, an icon, a hero and so much more. You had such a beautiful soul with a presence that will be missed so much more than I think any of us realized. I continue on in my endeavors in your memory. I love everything you were and everything you will be. . . even in your absence.

Thank you, Cheslie. You have always been loved deeply.




Hey There Beautiful Soul Sisters,

A few months have gone by without word from me. But I needed the space and time. The last few months have been a whirlwind of good, great, and not so great (posts to come about all of this, I promise-- cuz I have a lot to write out). But I wanted to dedicate the next post after my hiatus to one of my earthly heroes, Cheslie Kryst. I couldn't grapple with everything else going on with, near, and around me, without giving proper credence to an event so tragically impactful to my being.

I've been nervous about sitting down to write because grief is heavy and I'm tired. Acknowledging loss and the void it leaves takes insurmountable courage, so here I am. . . trying to be courageous. I know this is unusual with regard to my regular posts, but I needed to do this, to create this space. This was for me, to acknowledge my grief and what I've been holding for the last few weeks. Maybe this helps you somewhere along the way, if so, I am humbled and grateful. Thank you for bearing with me. Here's to the beauty and the journey that is to come.

xoxo, Jess


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