The Bang-Ups and Hang-Ups Are Necessary: An Interview with Dayle Fraschilla

Dayle Fraschilla WriterThe music pulsates as my pen glides across the page / Feeding to my one true escape.” — Dayle Fraschilla

Dayle Fraschilla, 32, has two messages to share through her story: “it’s never too late to work hard for what you want in life” and “don’t let the naysayers squash your dreams.” Only a year and a half ago, she was still working an unfulfilling customer service job, but she has now revived a lifelong dream and is well on her way to financial freedom in a career she’s passionate about.

Check out this reading of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss, which has inspired Dayle on her life journey.

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Read on for Dayle’s story and then check out her blog, “I Shall Be a Toad.”

“Bang-ups and Hang-ups Can Happen to You”

“My life didn’t quite turn out the way I had planned,” Dayle reflects. “That’s not all surprising, is it? Does anyone’s life ever turn out they way they plan it?” Her childhood and adolescent years were far from typical as she managed anxiety disorders, started yo-yo dieting at 12, began smoking at 14, lost her mother at 16 to melanoma and had a father who was in and out of her life. Even so, Dayle was never one to feel sorry for herself. “When those bang-ups and hang-ups do happen, we’re caught off guard and frequently end up feeling sorry for ourselves,” she relates, referring to the life lesson she learned from Dr. Seuss. “It’s important to remember that these things happen to everyone and we will move on.”

Dayle’s fighting spirit is what has carried her through as she explored her passions while dealing with all that life threw at her. There’s a fearlessness about her, unafraid to take any detours needed to find her calling. It began with degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology, including an endorsement in Special Education. Although she loved teaching and working with children, Dayle quit after a month in her first real teaching job. “It took me a grand total of 4 weeks to decide that I was not cut out for the politics of teaching,” she explains. Life would change when she had a child a few months later. In the next few years, she would waitress, teach at a preschool, spend a year unemployed, start and end a jewelry business and work as a shift supervisor at Rite Aid. This is why: “Life took on a whole new meaning and I spent the next several years in one dead end job after another because all that really mattered was that I was able to provide for my child.”

Dayle and Abby

An Inspirational Stranger

“I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. I had been writing for seven years, but it was at that moment that I knew I was meant to be a writer,” Dayle says when her fifteen-year-old self handed her mother an original poem; it was a look of pride. “I dreamt of being a writer, but had those dreams squashed by certain naysayers.” It was the reason she left writing behind and shifted her focus to teaching even though she loved the years she studied creative writing at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. She lived and breathed in words, but life would get in the way for a while.

“As I neared my 30’s, I began to think it was too late for me,” Dayle admits. “And then I remembered someone.” It was a memory of a senior citizen she met when working in a deli during college: “She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful smile and a radiance about her that was difficult to miss,” Dayle remembers. After a lifetime as a housewife and mother in a near 50-year marriage, she decided to enroll in college at 74 years of age with an empty nest and a husband who had passed away. “She graduated the year before I entered college and started a job for the first time in her life. And she was happy,” Dayle relates. “So who was I to think I was out of options at 30 years old?”

Life Is About Challenges

Spurred on by the memory of the 74-year-old college student, Dayle took her first step. “I started looking for ways out, for new changes,” she says. “It wasn’t long before I quit my dead end job. I picked up my laptop and decided that I am a freelance writer.” Then, there was only one more thing she needed: “the words of my mother many moons ago: ‘Dayle, you can do anything you want to, as long as you work hard to do it!’”

Dayle’s boyfriend would play a key role in creating this new life. He was a history major who stumbled upon writing and has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. “He showed me that it really is possible to have a career as a writer,” Dayle says. With the examples set by a woman she barely knew and a woman she “loved more than life itself,” reminding her that “it’s never too late to work hard for what you want in life,” Dayle’s freelancing career became real. She picked up her first freelance project in copyediting, began securing regular gigs and has now surpassed her income working in customer service with Rite Aid. Not to mention the fact that she has made drastic lifestyle changes to eat healthier and quit smoking for good. Life is about conquering challenges and continuous growth after all.

How can you revive the dreams that naysayers squashed?

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  1. Posted August 24, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Dayle’s story is so inspiring…and I can relate. I loved reading for as far back as I can remember. I wrote my first novelette at age eleven. The teacher informed me my title should be changed because it gave away that the main character dies. I pointed out that the story opened with the murder and flashed back in time to then unfold to solve it. Duh. I recently blogged about my grade ten English teacher who put an end to my creative writing. Years later, when I found myself struggling to get out of the dark hole of grief, I asked myself what it was that engaged me as a child. Writing was one of those things I still cared deeply about. I am so happy to hear Dayle listened to her muses and followed her heart. What a success story! Great blog post.

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink

      Oh, this story gave me ‘goosebumps’ and ‘tingles of joy’! Samantha, thank you so much for presenting Dayle Praschilla to me and others. What a remarkable woman, determined and bold in her desires to succeed at her life passion with so many obstacles in front of her.
      Dayle, you are truly an inspiration to me. This story has renewed by zeal for my own life passion and I will never again have a ‘pity party’about the state of my own life. Your mention of the 74-yr.old woman returning to educational pursuits and employment is amazing and heartwarming, encouraging to say the least!
      I wish you all continued success and am certain it will follow you wherever you go – your attitude is tremendous, a real example for all of us. Many thanks!
      Barbara Deer

      • Posted August 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Barbara, your energy is what brings even more value to this article! I desire to have your passion for life and learning! =) Thanks so much for your comment!

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Tambre! I loved learning this tidbit about you! I always knew that you moved me as a writer, but I had no idea that writing was a passion of yours! =) Haha! That silly teacher. =P We have to be choosy about who accept feedback from. =P Thanks so much for reading this post and for sharing a bit more about yourself! Love getting to know you better! =)

  2. Posted August 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I think Dayle’s story inspires many. I love the Zeussness of this post because Geisel proved that even if you did one job you could still live your passion and that always matters. Now the challenge as a writer getting paid.

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      It’s true, Roberta! Your comment prompted me to read up a bit more on Giesel’s history and I love how he filled his life with creativity of all kinds! =)

  3. Tammy W.
    Posted August 25, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    “Does anyone’s life ever turn out they way they plan it?” Probably not! These are great life lessons and fabulous reminders. Thanks for the inspiration, Dayle & Sam–not to mention Dr. Seuss!

  4. Jessica
    Posted August 25, 2011 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    I agree that for many, life doesn’t turn out as planned. It’s inspiring to have stories like these as a reminder that for those of us who don’t have it all in order yet, its ok!

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Jessica, it’s so great to meet you and thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I love that this story was able to inspire you as those are the stories I try to put together. =) After all, I “don’t have it all in order yet” either. =)

  5. Posted August 25, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    An inspirational read Samantha, thank you for sharing. I must say that it can be difficult to keep those naysayers at bay. It seems at times people mean well but they don’t realize that positive thinking and expression is so much more productive.

    We all have dreams but it is those that take action and do what it takes to make those dreams come true. No excuses and only positive thoughts are my motto. I’m sure glad to see others make it through the struggles and keep seeing a positive and successful outcome.

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I guess life was never meant to be “easy” in that sense, Lynn! Instead, we can take the naysayers and use them to our advantage — they can be motivational forces and we can learn a lot from what they say and don’t say!

      You make a really important distinction there — there are dreamers who just dream and there are dreamers who take action. I want to make sure that I continue to make my dreams come true and Dayle has inspired me to do so too! =)

  6. Posted August 25, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I am so glad you are doing this, Sam. I’d love to vote for you in a Really Awesome person contest. You’d so get so many votes.

    I’m glad there are more and more out there embracing their dreams. I also have a strong feeling on this one axiom: the ONLY time it’s too late to do something is when you’re dead. You can’t do anything then. Before that: just do it, and screw the naysayers. They are usually jealous that you have the gumption to want to dream and try it.

    Petty things are for others. Believe in yourself and DO.

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Aww, thanks for saying that, Stu! You know, I’m now realizing that putting these interviews may not only be therapeutic for me, but also for the interviewee in helping them see how amazing he or she truly is! At least, that’s my hope in putting the article together. Now if only I was a better writer. =P

      You are a true example of how it’s never too late! I should suggest that to Nike as a modified version of their motto: “Just do it and screw the naysayers!” Hehe! Love it! =)

      • Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        You have a way worth words Samantha, I couldn’t have said it any better! Point well spoken and point well taken.

  7. Posted August 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I love “Oh,The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. Dayle’s story proves that you can make your dreams come true if you are willing to work hard and be determined to succeed.
    You are never too old to follow your heart.
    Thank you for this inspiring story, Samantha.

    • Posted August 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Janette, I hadn’t read the story for so long, but I love that Dayle reminded me of it — it’s soo inspirational! =) I can just imagine you reading to your children in the library! Thanks so much for the comment, friend! =)

  8. Posted August 27, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    What an inspiring story! If Dayle thought it was too late at her age, what is it going to be at my age?…
    It is never too late to follow your dreams…and I am glad that all turned out so well for her!

  9. Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful and inspiring story. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks Samantha and Dayle!

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      I’m so glad, Lalia! =) Putting these interviews together always uplifts me too! =)

  10. Posted August 28, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    A wonderful inspiring post. Congratulations to Dayle. I’ve found that part of the success of achieving your dreams is reading about those who have. It spurs us on to see others who have arrived. These posts are so uplifting Samantha! Brava!

    ~cath xo

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      Wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way, Cath. Maybe that’s why I’ve been on a roll lately — taking the time to put together stories of others is totally inspiring and possibly contributing to my mini successes. =) Thanks for your comment that totally uplifted *my* day! =)

  11. Posted August 28, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    A very inspiring post. Hat off to you Dayle. It is great that you went after your dream and achieved it. It is never to late. You must have a great sense of personal satisfaction now. Sam, thank you for bringing these stories to our attention. I think they will inspire others to “go for it”

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much for your positive feedback, Mary! =) Dayle’s story really inspired me too since I feel like I’m also entering the writing scene kind of late in the game. =)

  12. Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


    I totally second Stuart on this – “I’d love to vote for you in a Really Awesome person contest. You’d so get so many votes.”

    *You* inspire me! Who would have thought that one silly little contest could have opened so many doors?

    Thank you to everyone for your comments! This article and the response it’s generated has truly warmed my heart.

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      AWW, that’s SOO sweet, Dayle! =) Just knowing that you would vote for me makes my day! Hehe! =)

      I know eh! I keep thinking about how grateful I am that the “silly contest” happened. =)

      And thank *you* again for agreeing to share your life and inspirational story with me and others! =)

  13. Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Samantha – A wonderful piece of inspiration that has stayed with me every since you wrote, especially the part about Dayle’s inspiration from the stranger. Amazing what can fuel changes in our lives. Thank you for a thoughtful piece. Dayle’s story is a wonderful reminder of that quote that I will paraphrase – it is never too late to become the person we might have been. -Alexandra

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      So great to be in touch again, Alexandra! =) Isn’t it beautiful to remember those life-changing moments? And it’s why we need to keep our eyes open for inspiration! =)

  14. Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Great story!
    I am so glad I accidentally found Dayle’s post on a website where she wrote a story against tanning. Who knew that finding that one story would lead me to finding such a great writer friend who inspires me and has so much in common with me?
    She is an awesome writer and an inspiring person and truly deserved for someone to do an article on her. Thanks for honoring her like this and you seem like a great person yourself!

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Sounds like you serendipitously met Dayle just as I had! =) I love when life is so beautifully unpredictable that way! =)

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Sharon! It’s so great to meet you! =)

  15. Posted September 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Reading about someone like Dayle who is making a new start and taking up the challenge to follow her true path in life is both inspiring and motivating. I can relate closely with her dream to become a writer and also the way she has turned her life around. Loved her story about the 74-year-old woman as that truly illustrates that age does not have to be a limitation.

    • Posted September 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      I thought you might like that bit about the 74-year-old lady, Pennie! =) I also found various similarities with your story and you continually inspire me too. =)

2 Trackbacks

  • […] 8/24/11 — Here’s the link to the article I mentioned above My 19th birthday; around 175 […]

  • […] This is the article that Sam created from that piece – as well as other conversations we have had and other blog posts I had written. The article and the comments that followed have both made my heart smile. I mentioned this article in my birthday post last week, but I wanted to share the piece that started it . . . And if you haven’t checked out Sam’s article yet, please do . . . Any comments/shares/tweets on her article will be greatly appreciated! […]

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