Dani Decker is an Honors College freshman hoping to double major in Creative Writing and Political Science. She is an avid poet and she is transgender.
“I didn’t realize I was trans until I was in tenth grade. I was a very tomboyish girl so I didn’t realize it was even possible to be trans, nobody told me that I could be,” Decker said.
As far as the challenges Decker has faced, she deals not only with challenge from the outside, but also challenges from within herself.
“Not only do you have to deal with the gender dysphoria, not only do you have to deal with hating what you are, for at least the first part of your transition, you also have to deal with society hating what you are. It’s almost constant and if it’s not coming from someone else it’s coming from you,” she said.
Poetry appeals to Decker. “It’s raw. You don’t have to make a character you don’t have to make a story, you don’t have to make a plot. Everything doesn’t have to make sense. You can do whatever you want with it in whatever way you want to do it and it makes everything fall into place. And yet everyone understands what you’re talking about. And even if they don’t, they understand what you mean. It’s beautiful,” Decker said.
Generally speaking, Decker wants her poetry to relate. However, she also wants to add something to her work that makes it unique.
Decker referenced a poem she wrote where she went back in time and talked to a previous self and her girlfriend before a breakup.
“It was a love poem essentially, it was a remembrance of love, but at the same time it held my specific understanding of what went down and also of who I changed to be,” she said.
Decker’s favorite poem appeals to the sense of rawness that draws her to poetry.
“Of my poetry I genuinely love “You Broke Me.” I was
extremely angry, especially after feeling all that [the breakup]and not coming out to my parents and not coming out to society but coming out to somebody who I thought had loved me,” Decker said.
She went on to explain how writing the piece let her vent her emotions.
“It was essentially emotional vomit on a page, five pages of working things out. The poem’s probably my favorite just because I did a lot of soul searching through writing it and it helped me move past a period of my life that was really dark,” Decker said.
School contributes to all of this in Decker’s life, not only because those she went to school which helped her become who she is today, but also because she feels it opened her eyes to the world around her.
“I feel like the more schooling you have the more likely you are to realize that you’re not the only person in the universe, which is coming from a narcissist,” she said.