Every once in a while, and more frequently the older I get, I realize that certain ships have definitely sailed for me, never to return to port. I say it today because, since the weather was horrible, and I'm so busy doing a kazillion things at school, I didn't vote in the primary that was held in our state. I feel a sense of failure, as this was not a deliberate choice, but much more of the lame "my life got in the way of my democracy" kind of thinking, but there you have it; the polls are closed and my vote was not cast. So, as I was cooking dinner after getting home from school at 6:30, I was feeling a little guilty and beating myself up about it, and this thought actually entered my mind: They can use this against me if I ever run for office.
I'll never forget the day I realized that I would never be Miss America. I was 26 years old, and although I had never entered a pageant in my life, mostly because I had no interest in them, I felt a sense of loss when I understood that particular certainty of my future. Watching Miss America was a family thing for us; we liked the pageantry, and we liked the prediction-- we sat there with paper, pencil and popcorn, poised as those 51 girls walked across the stage to pick our top ten based solely on their appearance and self-introductions. We kept score until the end, too, of what, I'm not sure now.
And so it was on one such evening in September, when I sat in my living room washed in the violet light of the television and upholding the family tradition, that it became clear to me that, No, Tracey, anything cannot happen. You will never go to Atlantic City and compete in a swim suit for this sash and crown, much less win it.
Since then, I've given up on a medical career and one in law as well. And now, today, based on my voting record, I probably won't hold public office, either. Dang. Another door closes.