Friday, August 26, 2016

THIS is why I blog

I will be the first to admit that I grew up extremely nerdy. I absolutely LOVED school! I woke up every morning eager to learn, and I couldn't get enough. In fact, I can still remember the days I would cry because I was forced to stay home because I was too sick. I was so proud of having perfect attendance, and I didn't realize there was even the option to not do your homework until I was in high school. I even asked my parents to enroll me in summer school programs, even when I was already excelling beyond my grade level and it wasn't required. I still highly value education and do my best to continue to learn in every aspect of my life. Hopefully this gives you enough background to where my story begins.

Learning HTML
When I was 11 years old, while other typical 6th grade girls were concerned about their acne, getting braces, & figuring out how to get their crush to notice them, I was busy teaching myself HTML. (Yes, you read that correctly. I taught myself HTML when I was 11 years old.

The first website I created and managed was titled "Neecie's Mystic Universe". (I know right? My eleven year old self was IN LOVE with that one! LOL) The layout was simple, and the font was adorable and rainbow colored. My content included a lengthy biography describing myself (hair color, eye color, my likes & dislikes, etc.), random fictional stories and poems I had written, and these digital dolls (pictured below) that I would create and/or customize by request. 

It was hosted by (now apparently?), and despite the constant, annoying pop up ads, I was so proud of it and myself! Everything my audience saw was coded by me. The website design and content was created and shared by me, and not many eleven year olds at the time could say that. I eagerly logged on every day to see numbers on my my guest counter go up and check for any new entries in my guest book. 

Keep in mind, at this time, my parents limited my computer usage. (As any good parent should with all the technology preventing kids from playing outside nowadays!) I was only allowed on the computer for 2 hour blocks of time according to a schedule that my dad had created. I was so obsessed with my website that I begged my siblings to give me their computer time slots. My younger brother always gave up his time willingly as he never wanted to use it anyway, but my older sister often said no just to spite me. (Mind you, she wouldn't even use her time on the computer. She just didn't want to let me have hers! Older sisters... So mean!)

Silly Little Girl
The summer before I started high school, I decided my website needed an upgrade. It had to grow and change, just as I was transitioning into a new school. This is when "Neecie's Mystic Universe" evolved into "Silly Little Girl". 

Also, around this time, I received an offer to be "hosted" by the owner of "". I forget her actual name, but I do remember that she was a bit edgy and obsessed with Linkin Park. The only thing that mattered to me at the time was that she saw potential in me and my website. She wanted to give me free web space under her domain, and thus, I was officially pop-up ad free at "". 

My content was new (more short fictional stories, poems, etc.), and my layouts improved as I learned more HTML as well as simple Javascript. I was thrilled each time I updated my layout (Silly Little Girl version 2.0, 3.0, so on and so forth.) Whenever my closest friends were absent from school, I'd spend my entire lunch hour in the library coding away. 

As my focus turned to prepping for the SATs and applying to colleges in my Junior and Senior year of high school. Silly Little Girl began to be more and more neglected by me. I also became more active in Dance, Cheerleading, Drama, as well as other clubs. Updates in content became few and far in between, until I was forced by my host to relinquish my domain space due to inactivity. In the years following, I focused majority of my creativity into Dance. I didn't focus on coding or writing again until my first semester in college. 

Writing 101
One of my 1st memories in college was my first and last day in my Writing 101 class. After brief introductions, we were given a short story to read and were asked to write a brief in-class essay before leaving. I was the first to finish, and in the time it took me to walk back to my dorm room, my professor had emailed me to inform me that he was moving me into a more advanced Writing 10 class instead. 

I was ecstatic to be writing again, and even after getting my writing prerequisites for my major, I still took creative writing classes just for fun. I've always valued any way I could express my creativity. With so many thoughts constantly floating around in my head at any given moment, I felt an irrational need to express myself in any way that I could be it through writing, dance, and eventually vlogging and creating YouTube videos. 

Denise Joyce > MorganFreeman7
Most of you know the story behind my psuedonym "MorganFreeman7". For those of you who don't, when I initially launched my YouTube channel, I wanted a way to explore YouTube realm while remaining anonymous. This way, in the case that my videos and channel was a complete disaster, I could delete it without being embarrassed or anyone knowing. On the flip side, I fell in love with creating new video content and as my channel continued to grow, I knew that I wanted to re-brand. MorganFreeman7 was a mask I had been hiding behind. I wanted to be ME! And I wanted my audience to know the real me as well. 

I initially started this blog on June 8th in 2011, as a supplement to my YouTube channel, whenever I got too busy to film. It was meant to be a place for me to stay connected with you all. If I wasn't uploading videos, I was usually blogging and vice versa. 

I eventually revamped my blog and created the layout you see now, including the logo you see on my YouTube channel as well as in the lower right-hand corner of my videos. I want to grow my personal empire as ME! I want you all to think of "Denise", not Morgan Freeman when you view or interact with my content. 

Self-expression is a powerful tool, and I think it's the most effective when you're truly expressing who you are. MorganFreeman7 was a mask that represented my fear, my hesitation, and my self-doubt. Though it will forever be part of my story, I think this blog and me choosing to re-vamp, re-launch, and re-introduce myself proudly and fearlessly is the most important part of my story.