I don't watch a great deal of local television so when your episode of Dr. Phil exploded into memes and videos I had no idea. You didn't even show up on my Facebook feed. In fact, I had no idea who you were until January when, at a high school sporting event, someone poked fun at your now famous catch phrase and mentioned that you'd be back on television.
Curiosity got the best of me and searched Dr. Phil's site to find your episode and your Instagram feed. I was deeply saddened by saw and yet thankful you were getting the opportunity to choose a different path for your life. After all, you do have the choice to decide the course of your actions.
That was the last I saw or thought of you until this morning. I had the thought, “I wonder how Danielle is doing?” Of course, it didn't take me long to find you online again. This time a horrible Youtube copy of your second appearance on Dr. Phil filled me in (as much as a month-old, edited talk show can fill you in on someone's life.)
I love your hair curly, it fits you well.
But I'm not writing to complement your hair style. I'm writing with a sincere heart to let you know you're not alone.
My life up to age 13 was a saint's life compared to yours, yet I see similarities. Even though on the surface we have two completely different lives with completely different experiences, I can't help but see the underlying roots, the similarities that spurred us each down our dark paths.
We must all own our choices in life. This is something I've been teaching our son: good choice, bad choice. But often times the path we chose to take in life is prompted by circumstances outside our control. We absolutely have a choice but behind the scenes, our family life, our friends, the actions of others present us with automatic responses that just seem right when in fact they are very wrong.
When I watched you on TV and on your Instagram, I don't see a hellish whore as some have called you. I see a girl looking for acceptance. I see a girl looking for her identity and finding a facade that works to cover up the raw truths. Likes, hits, and views are like a high that temporarily make us feel legit but it quickly fades and when we're alone in our rooms there's that nagging pain deep down inside that just won't won't go away. Fame, money, attention, boys – none of it will make it go away.
My father left my mother when she told him she was pregnant. I've never met him, not even once. The lie that men were users and walk-away Joes was solidified in my life from an early age and it turned into a “use or be used mentality” for me in my early twenties.
I gravitated toward the very thing I hated the most.
I found myself living a persona that wasn't really me but served the purpose to help me fit in. It flew in the face of everyone who loved me like a big middle finger but to hell with them. The inner little girl in me was hurting and I wrongly thought only things that hurt me more could numb the pain.
When I look at you I see this version of me.
The manifestation of your pain, anger, and guilt are different, but the roots are the same. The rejection, the abandonment, the shame, the loneliness, the desire to just be loved and accepted – they are very real and very raw. I believe that is the driving force behind your outward actions, attitude, and behavior.
The biggest lie you face is the lie of identity. Especially now after your 15 minutes of fame (or maybe a lifetime, who knows). Becuase now everyone in the modern world can “know” who Danielle Bregoli is. They can watch you, listen to you and judge you. They expect you to be a certain way and you either need to keep up the game or learn who you really are and to hell with what everyone else thinks. Yes, that's what I said. You see living a life in disguise puts power into the hands of those around you. What they think about you controls who you are.
Danielle, you don't have to live this way. When you know your true identity, when you see who you really are, your value and worth, you can live free from what others think and what happened to you in your past (by force or by choice). This clip is 5 minutes. It's worth a lifetime.
Your identity is found in the One who knew you before you were born. The one who has watched every moment of your life, cried with you, rejoiced with you and died for you. You are princess Danielle. A daughter of the King. You might have heard that we're all “just sinners” or “we're all wretched sinners”. While we are all sinners and fall short on a daily basis I do not believe we are “just” anything. God gave up his most valued Son for what? For nothing? No way! You don't pay a high price for nothing, you pay a high price for something you see value in. He sees value in you, Danielleand He paid the highest possible price on Earth.
I wish I could hug you and pray with you. I wish you'd see how beautiful and precious you really are. I pray you find this truth. It's never too late.