Real Life: The Millennials - Brittany's Story

Millennials are today's young adults - those born between 1980 and 2000. Often called the more derogatory "generation y", Millennials are the more sophisticated of this group. Countless research articles have been done on this generation, these children of technology. Experts across the boards agree on one thing: Millennials wait for no one - they make things happen.

Meet Brittany Danley, a young woman who has experienced more in her first quarter century than many people do in a lifetime. She gives new meaning to the words "strong woman".

"I come from a small town in Georgia. I was raised with two younger sisters, and two loving parents. I helped take care of my sisters, getting them ready for bed, getting them on the bus in the morning for school, and making sure they did their homework. I’ve also had a job since I was 15. My parents made sure we always had food on the table, clothes to wear, and that we were showered in love."

"At 15, I was told I had endometriosis and may never be able to have children. Because I was so young, it wasn’t a big deal, but as the years have passed it has been on my mind more and more. At 22 I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, yet another barrier to having kids. A hysterectomy may help, but until I am able to try and have kids, I will continue to endure the pain in hopes of one day holding my own child in my arms."

"Growing up I was very active in sports: gymnastics, dance, and tennis. I always struggled with my weight. I was made fun of and compared to my younger sister, who was taller and skinnier. I began starving myself and purging occasionally when I ate. Over a two-year span I gained over 100 lbs. and became extremely depressed. Everyone just assumed I was lying about my eating or workout habits because I had gotten so big. 

I contemplated suicide quite a few times. I never felt that anything I did was good enough for anyone - what was the point in living anymore? In high school a good friend of mine took his own life. He was popular, athletic, loved, and friendly, so we were all in shock. All of the people he left behind were hurt and confused. I knew I couldn’t do that to my parents or friends. Medication and counseling helped a lot - I started to try new things, and meet new people."

Britt shows the world what she's made of

"2012 was the worst year of my life. In a month’s time I lost my job, lost my spot in the PTA program in Savannah, GA, my car was totaled, the “relationship” I had been in for five years ended, my parents were fighting all the time, and worst of all, my little sister was on life support due to a battle with drug addiction. Thankfully, my sister recovered, and shortly thereafter I made a decision to start over. Within a week I packed up all of my things and moved to Charlotte, NC. 

I still struggled with my weight until I moved to NC, where I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was put on medication and had surgery to remove some of the endometriosis and cysts in hopes to help my chronic pain. I will ultimately need multiple surgeries due to the nature of the disease. But my weight was finally manageable and I have been losing weight ever since."

PTA school graduation, 2015

"Since moving to Charlotte I bought myself a new car, graduated from PTA school, made numerous new friends whom I love dearly, started dating again, and am finally able to feel happy in my own skin."

'There used to be a time when I couldn't look in a mirror without wanting to shatter it. All I saw was someone who needed to lose weight, who was ugly and unworthy of being loved. I fell in love with the first guy to pay me any attention, but it was for all the wrong reasons. I put up with being disrespected because I didn't have respect for myself. I was ok with being second choice because at least I was some kind of choice for someone. It took me a long time to realize I deserved better in life and love.

Now I look in the mirror and see someone who would do anything for the people she loves; someone who will accomplish all of her dreams. I see someone who is beautiful in her own way. I see someone who is thankful for waking up each morning."

"God has a plan for me, and there will be hills to climb and dark times to find light in, but I know that I have the strength and courage to accomplish the things in my life I set my mind to."

"My parents taught me that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, or what kinds of material possessions that you may have. What matters is how you treat those around you, how you see yourself, what you do with all you have been given. What matters is how you feel at the end of the day. Did you try your hardest? Did you try and better yourself? Did you help those who needed it? Did you make sure that those you love know you love them?"

Brittany pays tribute to her hero

"My role model and hero was my Aunt Alisa. She had a kidney transplant at 18, was diagnosed with melanoma multiple times, survived breast cancer, and ultimately passed away at 36 from cervical cancer. She spent her life loving every minute she was blessed with. She was so strong, yet so kind. She was my best friend. She was one of the brightest human souls that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I miss her every day, but she is the reason I keep fighting.

I am determined to leave my mark on this world. There are still days where I feel like giving up, but life isn’t easy and waking up everyday is not guaranteed. So I remind myself that I have a purpose. I have fought too hard to give up now."

"The quote that gets me through is: 'We walk by faith, not by sight', 2 Corinthians 5:7:

“Strength is not measured by how much weight we can lift,

But by the weight we can carry on our shoulders,

And not be crushed beneath it…

It is not the length of time you can hold your breath,

But the moments when you can’t breathe and you still survive...”
Brittany Danley

"My advice to other young women? You have been given one life. Live it to the absolute fullest. Go after what you want, and if you fail, try again…never let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough. Fight for what you believe in and never settle for anything less than you deserve."

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