Something amazing happened today.  Sara Fryd asked for my name in response to a comment I left on her blog.  It is the first time this has happened, and quite frankly, it scared the hell out of me.

When I decided to start a blog, I knew there was no way possible for me to disclose my real name. I had never shared anything I wrote, other than a few poems with family. (In fact, prior to blogging, I had written just a few poems, and they are included in the early posts on this site.)  Putting my name on my words was the equivalent of committing ego suicide—after all, I am no writer, just a wannabe. Yes, on my “about” page I invite critiques, good and bad, but the truth of the matter is that a negative comment would have crippled me. It would have been the final nail in my coffin of self-doubt I had constructed over the years.  But I had to write, it was just eating at me for so long that I had to start putting words out there, or risk what felt like a brewing spontaneous combustion in my gut. So I became Calliopespen, and in choosing that name not only did I hide my identity but I also subconsciously took no credit for anything written—after all, I’m just a scribe for a Muse that visits every writer.  Totally safe.  Anonymous.

Since blogging here I have met the most talented writers, prolific and filled with the spirit of generosity.  Not a day goes by that I am not immensely and immeasurable grateful for being a part of such a wonderful community. It has been a life-changing experience for me.  And today, because of an ordinary question, I recognized the fact that I have been a coward amongst the brave, and a deluded one at that. I can hide behind a penname, but that gossamer veil of anonymity I have wrapped around myself will not stop an arrow from piercing my heart—it only makes it harder for me to embrace people.  I thought of the many writers I respect and realized that the vast majority of them have one thing I don’t—a name and a story.

I’m not sure if it’s because I no longer fear criticism the way I used to because I’ve been the fortunate recipient of praise, or if it’s because I have grown and matured since letting my words flow…but whatever the reason, I don’t want to be Ms. Anonymous. I want a name, and I want a story. I want to jump into this ocean of talent and not just get my feet wet standing safely on the shore. I want to take credit for my successes and failures. I don’t want to be a coward.

My name is Danielle Cross. I live near the Atlantic Coast in the Northeast US. I am 38 years old, a wife and a mother of two beautiful girls who are growing up entirely too fast. I am a Talent Acquisition Consultant by profession. I want to be able to call myself a writer but I can’t seem to utter those words in relation to myself.   I have never been published, but it has been my lifelong dream to write a book.  Someday, with the help and encouragement of wonderful people like you, I will.

I realize this sounds completely self-indulgent and probably a bit silly to people who have not suffered from the same fear of failure that has plagued me. I actually hope that most people reading this will not be able to relate because it is such an awful feeling.

Sara, thank you for asking me who I am.  I am quite sure you didn’t realize the power behind your words. They liberated me. It’s Independence Day. 🙂