You Are Needed Here
**Trigger warning: suicide**
I have written and re-written this newsletter at least five times. I didn’t send it out yesterday because I still didn’t feel confident in what I had to say. But I don’t want to let perfect be the enemy of the good, so here we go.
The suicide of Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst is completely devastating, and has brought pause to myself and countless others. I spent about seven years competing in pageants, from 2012 to 2019. I have looked up to Cheslie for years. She was beautiful, brilliant, strong, generous, bright, and joyful. Tributes pouring out this week emphasized her virtues. She showed very few, if any, signs of sadness and depression, even to those closest to her.
Cheslie earned an MBA and her law degree, and after serving as Miss USA and placing in the Top 10 at Miss Universe, spent the past few years as a correspondent for Extra TV. Her social media was covered in travel pics, stunning profiles, and action shots with celebrities on the red carpet. To anyone on the outside (including me), she was thriving.
So what happened?
I don’t know, and I don’t think it will ever make sense. But I do resonate with something she wrote in an article last year: “Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?”
Anyone who has pursued a dream or a goal, and eventually achieved it, can relate. I remember when I won the National Sweetheart Pageant in 2019, a crowning moment that I thought would be the pinnacle of my life, I stood on that stage and felt so little. I thought this was going to be IT. Of course I was proud of myself and honored to have won, but it was just another experience in my life that reminded me that achievements and accomplishments cannot fill the deep longing of our hearts – the longing to be seen, known, and fully loved.
Only Christ can fill that void. Only He can respond to that longing.
I’m not saying we should stop striving for success and reaching for our goals. It’s important to work hard and pursue excellence. I just think that, as a society, we expect achievements to make us feel whole. A relationship. A new job. A degree. A recognition. These things are good – they are gifts from our loving Father – but they are not the ultimate good, which is Christ Himself. They will never fulfill us like He can.
I cannot imagine the agony and pain that Cheslie experienced to lead her to this decision. It must have been unbearable. I’m praying for her, her family, and her loved ones at this time. Depression and mental health are serious and important topics, and conversations around them are essential.
If you are ever struggling, if you’re losing hope or need someone to talk to, please reach out – to me, to family and friends, to a priest, to a counselor, to anyone. You are far too important and far too loved to suffer alone.
Please know that you are in my daily prayers. You are loved, wanted, and needed here.
- For a special intention
- For a community member experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one
- For a community member who is sick
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.