Princess Leaves Castle Behind

The day before princess bootcamp, a week of summer practices for the Puyallup High School Royal Court, I had made the decision to not participate as a contestant of the Princess Selection. Simply helping with stage direction or making copies was something I felt more comfortable doing because of my shy exterior.
The idea of giving a speech or an impromptu answer on stage was frightening to me. I have always been soft-spoken in any situation where I thought many people were looking at me. Speaking in front of a crowd of hundreds of people is something I had never done before.
It was my mom who convinced me to walk into the first day of bootcamp open to anything. She claimed I was selling myself short but I thought of it as saving myself from complete embarrassment. I never once thought I would ever make it to Selection Night confident as ever and end the night being crowned but I was.
Since that night, my life has changed in so many unexpected ways.
My spring weekends are filled with princess tea and library visits. Young kids hug me the moment they see me. The princess carpool rides range from being a therapy session to a 10-minute nap opportunity in between events.
I have developed the habit of waving at strangers so much so that I find myself doing it even out of the dress. Late night auctions include competition between princesses wanting to sell the most raffle tickets.
Tide pens save my life after every lunch stop because it is guaranteed that I will have a small spill.
Dozens of people congratulate me on achieving such a high honor and a few share their stories of how the Daffodil Royalty program has influenced them.
This program has opened my eyes to what this festival means to so many people in my community. Personally, I have found a sense of belonging.
The Daffodil Festival is powered by volunteers. From Daffodilians to chaperones to princesses, hundreds of people devote a massive portion of their lives to the festival because of shared admiration.
Gaining so many friendships within the princess court has been the sweetest of all of the benefits. Each of them have taught me so much and they all hold a place in my heart.
Girls like Taychell Lott from Franklin Pierce who taught me what it feels like to have a friend you’re so in sync with it feels as though you’re inseparable and that I am not as nearly caffeine addicted as her. Raegan Frasier from Orting, who makes me want to tackle her with a hug every time I see her, taught me how to laugh at myself and love myself at the same time. Yennhi Truong from Mount Tahoma taught me how to stay positive in my weak moments and that taking a nap in a Mustang is sometimes necessary. Katie Gilbert from White River who showed me how to be confident and unapologetically goofy especially if there is a karaoke opportunity. Chloe Sawyer from Eatonville and Jessica Daub from Chief Leschi who show off their dance skills daily while also teaching me to use my voice with intent and purpose because what I have to say is important. And so many more girls who have influenced my life in countless ways.
This group of girls have become the support in my life that I hadn’t known I needed. I cannot put into words the amount of love and praise I have for these amazing young women. They are each a blessing in my life that I never want to live without.
This program had given me the opportunity to serve my community, but I think I was the one who has gained the most out of this bargain. No matter how many hours in a yellow dress and horribly uncomfortable shoes, it will never surpass how worthy I deem this experience and these relationships.
I hope the next time you see a Daffodil Princess you recognize the gleam in her eye that lets you know that this is more than just about a dress or a tiara. It’s about bringing people together who have a shared love for the community and each other.