'Empathy and Eyebrows': Why Your Bounce-Back Game Needs to be on Point
Originally appeared on CultureFeed.co 10/27/2017
Before she was known for her controversial antics on Bridezillas and her apperance on the first season of Marriage Boot Camp, Danni Starr was already a seasoned radio personality who'd been hustling in the industry since the age of 19. Like everyone else, she has a story to tell, and, man, is it a good one.
As one-half of DC's 93.9 WKYS's The Fam in the Morning show, Danni has expanded her career visions and has authored her first book: a series of essays entitled "Empathy and Eyebrows: A Survivalist's Stories on Reviving Your Spirit After Soul-Crushing Sh*tstorms."
Never afraid of sharing her opinion and stating her truth, I had the pleasure to sit down and ask Danni about her life, her book, and why she felt it was important to tell her story. Fact or fiction aside, Danni's true story is raw and uncut. There are many moments in this book that will have you feeling like, "Yeah girl, me, too!". There is something refreshing and comforting about a story that when you read it, you find yourself laughing, crying and every other emotion in between. Check out some of our conversation below:
What made you want to tell your story and why now?
For me, writing has been such a huge part of who I am, I just never did it publicly. I always knew I wanted to write books, and I felt the best way to start to write books was to tell the story I know the best: my own.
What do you want your readers to take away from reading this book?
I have had a lot of sh*t storms. I feel like I have the ultimate bounce-back game. I have been through a lot, but seeing what I’ve been through and also seeing my drive to continue to succeed and to continue to want to do good things for people, I think that’s the most important story. To inspire other people. I wanted people to feel things.
Was telling your story about divorce a form of therapy for you or something that you felt others would relate to?
It was a little of both. My divorce was really the catalyst of finding myself because I had completely lost myself within the marriage. I wanted to touch other women who have felt the same way. Even women who aren’t divorced asking themselves “who am I?”. I wanted to give them a reason to remember who they were before they were parents and before they were married.
What has the reaction been by others that are included in your book?
My relationship with my dad is complicated, but it’s beautiful. It would be a disservice to not include those stories. I wanted to be real in my feelings and truthful to myself.
As an empath, what do you find are the most challenging aspects of being empathetic?
Not knowing how to self-protect sometimes. I am really good at hearing and feeling other people’s stories. A lot of it comes down to protecting my energy and what is worth feeling that way about and not being able to shut it off. I know that protecting my mental health means more to me than anything else, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. We’re going to feel that deeply. I wouldn’t trade it because I care about people, and I care about the world. I like caring about people.
Postpartum anxiety and depression: was there a moment where you realized it was happening?
Postpartum anxiety is the evil step-sister of postpartum depression. There was never a moment where I thought "this isn’t normal." In the moment, you don’t see anything different, you’re just going through motions. In your mind everything seems normal. I didn’t remember what normal looked like. We have such a huge stigma on mental health, and they think women are just being emotional. These women aren’t crazy! I have to keep talking about it because we have these horrible stigmas about mental health, and people are dying.
On sexual assault and male-dominated work places:
There’s strength in numbers. The only reason Lupita came out and told her story was because others were telling their's, too. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with that, but it’s even worse when we have to be silent about it after that. We have to take the power back.
Advice for those looking to get into a radio career:
Interning is an extremely valuable way to know if this is something you really want to do and that these are the people you really want to be around. Millennials don’t seem to have the drive that we had. I worked for free for years. You do all the things that help you get better so that you can have a morning show. You have to want it, you have to be hungry, you have drive, and you have to go for it. It also good to have amazing mentors.
What’s one question that no one has ever asked you and how would you answer that?
I would want people to ask about overcoming negative publicity and negative reviews. How do you stay grounded? It’s hard to put yourself out there in media. It’s not for the faint of heart.
One quote from the book stood out to me: "A season person who I allowed to occupy lifetime space." How do you recognize who is who?
I don’t think it’s that hard to recognize. Those types of people will give you every reason to walk away from them. But because of the type of person I am we think we can love hem through that and change them. At a certain point you come to a realization that you can’t keep being that person for everybody and no one is that person for you in return.
Make sure you check out this amazingly written story. You feel like you are just chopping it up with an old friend! The book is available in paperback, digital and audio versions via Amazon. Get into it.