the girl behind the pen . . .
the story of my journey
i first want to start off by saying thank you SO much for being here! the love and support i have received in the months leading up to this launch has been overwhelming and i cannot thank each and every one of you enough for all of the messages and comments you’ve sent! i am truly honored to be a part of the poetry community and to have been granted the opportunity to connect and bond with so many of you that i otherwise would have never met or even known existed in this world. it all feels so surreal and it is extremely humbling.
this may shock some of you but my name is NOT eleven (LOL!) although at this point, i kind of wish it was. my name is danielle but i go by dani or d. i was born and raised in the suburbs of philadelphia (USA) and i currently reside in the city. today is indeed my 31st birthday and if you have not guessed by now (i get questions about this all the time) i go by eleven.twenty.four because it's my birthday! i have always treated my birthday as a monumental holiday (i usually celebrate the whole month LOL) so i figured what better day than today for this launch!
i first started writing when i was of age to actually write in complete sentences. i found the best way to practice was to write my mom poems and notes, especially when i was angry with her. i would leave them under her pillow or in her makeup drawer (the element of surprise was key) to express my outrage or feelings of injustice. she deemed them ‘nasty-o-grams’ and she even saved some of them as if she knew this moment was coming and could use them as a reminder of how far i’ve come ( *eye roll* )! stay tuned because i will be sharing some of them on here! i must admit they are pretty funny. from that point on i always found myself writing. in my junior high and high school days i would spend my summers writing fiction stories or poetry. when it came time to go to college i knew i wanted to be some form of a writer (i initially thought journalism) however i was quickly talked out of that after constantly hearing “how will you make money doing that?” or “writers can’t support themselves.” some people take others' doubts and use that as fuel to prove the naysayers wrong. i on the other hand grew resentful. i was angry that so many people got to do what they love and be successful and i was handed the talent that would leave me living in somebody's basement for eternity. i dropped my pen and it took me over 10 years to pick it back up.
i ended up going to college and graduating with a degree in communications (studied radio broadcasting) and i landed a job working at a radio station for 5 years until i realized people in radio don't make any money either (again- eye roll) and got a job doing medical billing. flash forward to today and i am still in the medical field working full time for Drexel University although anymore i spend more time brainstorming ways to get out of corporate america than i do actually working.
so how did i get back into writing you ask? well right before i turned 29 i found myself being everywhere society said i should be at my age (career, roof over my head, food on the table, bills paid, etc) except i was stuck in the same “situationship” i had been in for over 5 years and i was feeling completely stagnant and unfulfilled in my life. i did not want to go into the last year of my 20’s doing the same things i had been doing since the beginning of them.
i ended up parting ways with my “ex” and while it was devastating at the time, looking back it was everything that i needed. i am so grateful for those days because i know without a doubt i would not be here today, doing what i love, if i didn't go through that. i started small with just writing in a journal each night before bed and before i knew it i was spending every ounce of spare time i had writing. at one point i had multiple journals and notebooks going at the same time. it was as if my mind and my hand never spent a day apart. they picked up right where they left off and the rest is history.
last october i finally decided to take the jump into social media and began posting my work publicly. at first i was just posting and not using hashtags or really engaging with anyone. i was just really trying to get into the groove of sharing my vulnerabilities and not being afraid to open up about my story. i am generally a very guarded and private person so this was a huge challenge for me in the beginning. in january of this year i participated in my first poetry challenge and that’s when i really started to engage with others and post with hashtags. in march and april i partnered with another poet and we hosted our own monthly challenge which resulted in the creation of Tribe of Poets. for the last four months i have been running Tribe by my lonesome as well as organizing different contests/challenges, participating in collaborations all throughout the community, and running my own personal poetry account.
i get asked all the time how do i manage doing so much and i would be lying if i said i don’t struggle some days. it is a ton of work but i have never felt more fulfilled than i do now. for the first time in my life i am doing exactly what i want to do so i take the hard days in stride because the beautiful ones are just that - beautiful.
so what’s next for me? i have so many plans and projects in the works and if i told you them all now there would be nothing to surprise you with! for now i am just going to focus on this blog/site, continue to write and create, and see what my future holds. i am a firm believer that you must speak the things you want into the universe. the universe will do all of the work for you and it will always bring to you what is meant for you at the exact time you need it. while you wait it’s your job to stay positive, stay moving, and stay open!
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love & light,