The Girl who fought for her Dreams A Series of Vignettes

Brianna

Brianna was my given name. Based solely on the fact that it flowed well, it was the name I would live with for my entire life. I have been told that a list of names was curated, and Brianna Rose Ankstitus was the final decision on who I was going to be. Dad joked that he wanted me to be named Nicodemus, if I was a boy, that is. I’m quite glad that it hadn’t worked out, even though it was the name given to one of my ancestors. I’ve been told I could have been a Kandice, but they feared that I would have been dubbed as Candy. Candy’s too sweet, it’s something that I could have been made fun of for. When I was younger I would spend time thinking of all of the names that made up Brianna. I had a list; Bri, Anna, Brian, Rianna, and Ann. I quite liked my name, actually. I'd only met one other Brianna, and I didn't see her often.

I only wished there were a bit more meaning behind it. I remember being in CCD when I was young and how we spent an entire class dedicated to the research of each student’s names and the catholic meanings behind them. There wasn’t any information on my name. The closest one to it was Brian, a celtic name, meaning high or noble. One person cannot be defined by a set of adjectives, there aren’t enough to pay anyone justice. The ones in the book just don’t fit. That Christmas, Santa brought me a wonderful frame with a certificate inside, defining me. It was so close to representing who I was, that it was as if he really knew me.

I have always loved more obscure names and the way that they roll of the tongue, as opposed to the most popular names of a child’s birth year. My name ranked eighteen on the top girls names list for 2001. Uncommon names are interesting and they spark curiosity whenever someone new glances over them for the first time. With these names there’s a worry about how others might try to spell the name on a day to day basis, whereas popular names are usually spelled the same way every time.

Names are something that are carried for an entire lifetime, and it’s unfortunate that they aren't something easily controllable. It’s up to the parents, no matter the bearers opinion. Brianna has become part of my personality. I have built a reputation around it that is to precious to shake. I wouldn’t change it for the life of me.

An Endless Galaxy

My room has morphed over the years to reflect my personality. The room was decorated for my birth by my mother and Memere. Not by me. Not in my own way. Fuzzy baby pink carpet matched perfectly with painted furniture. Little trinkets including a carousel horse and a porcelain doll of a girl with my age on it, given to me by my godfather, sat upon the bureau. There’s a bookcase overflowing with tales read to me each night. Stuffed animals sat upon every space with a vacancy. A wooden desk with a fascinating roll down cover is next to my bedside, adorned with leopard print sheets. Two windows facing away from the sun let in little light. I can remember debating with Mom about how I wished to paint the walls in blue and orange stripes, my beloved opposite colors. Looking back, I’m quite glad that I hadn’t, for now I am older and have new visions. The room is my own, but when I was a young girl it didn’t represent me.

As the years have passed, the colors change to more vibrant hues. I matured, and the way I displayed my passions did with it. I took it upon myself one vacation to paint an entire wall in galaxy. I wanted to make the room my own. Stepping into the door, on the left wall is the massive painting. A dark navy covers the wall while speckles of white resemble stars in the purple and pink gaseous nebulae. I poured hours of work into the piece, and it’s a constant reminder of the work and dedication it takes to accomplish your greatest dreams. Fairy lights dwell along the walls. Lining shelves are mementos of times in the past and activities I hold near and dear. The tales of princesses have been replaced by novels of fantasy and magic. The rolling cover on the desk was removed, revealing a paint splattered and cluttered place of concentration and productivity. My room is home.

Nashoba Soccer Fall 2016

When You Lack The Confidence...

It’s difficult to be confident. The people that surround me are always one step ahead, and I fear the step that I have to take to catch up. Sometimes heights are just out of reach, figuratively and literally, but work is the only thing that can take me there. I’m a soccer goalie, and a short one at that. I fault myself for never having the experience that others do and being far too “vertically challenged” to reach my goals. It’s quite ironic, I’m a short girl that can’t even touch the crossbar, but what’s to stop me?

The bus chugs along while the team talked up a storm. As usual, I can't stop thinking of negative possibilities for the day’s game. I'm pretty good about vocalizing my stresses to my close friends in order to relieve my brain for a short while. I spend some time unpacking my deepest thoughts, only for them to find their way back into my head for the next day. When teams are of great skill compared to our own, the pressure gets to me. I ponder what would happen if I fail to block a shot. Emma stands beside me through all of my shots saved and all the shots scored in my net, or in front of me to be more accurate. Emma is the team’s sweeper, meaning she’s always the last line of defense before my hands. Emma took a magenta sharpie and scribbled something on my arm.

She said, “Don’t look at it until you need it most. But… if you want to you can look now.” I roll up my blue sleeve shielding my left arm from the sunlight. On it was a quote about failure, only that failure was incorrectly spelled as “failer”.

“Well if you can’t spell failure correctly, I guess it doesn’t exist,” I jokingly remarked. Taking that same sharpie, I scribbled something on her forearm, too; “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.”

My coach has often told me that believing in yourself can dramatically improve your performance. I will catch every shot that comes my way, even if they’re just out of reach. I’m a little short for the position that I play, but so be it. Just jump higher a little higher than the last time, that’s all I have to think. I have things that I need to overcome and believing in myself is the first step.

Hands

My mother has distinctive hands. She and I are both petite people, as she might say. Her nails are always extraordinarily long, and are nearly never painted. Mom has always been a person to love to garden. Hours upon hours out with the vegetables and flowers. Roses and daylilies and tulips line the pavement that wraps around the house. She spends hours spreading red mulch around each plant’s roots, blanketing them from specifically beneath them. In days past she has explained to me that she used to garden with Memere, her mother which she so adored. It is said that the two of them looked like twins, and I inherited the blue eyes to continue that tradition. During spring and summer the grass is always cut to a tee. Fall is for planting tulip bulbs to enjoy in the coming spring, though at times her work is futile due to hungry squirrels. Once, she explained, that as she was planting her tulip bulbs that she could watch a young chipmunk sitting on the front steps to the house, watching her and observing each location that she buried potential food. It was quite a surprise when the many bulbs she had planted refused to sprout from the ground, only to find that they had been, in reality, became rodent food. Fall is also for raking leaves. Raking, raking, raking. Our house is on the corner of Kaleva and Perry, something that has always been quite annoying to my parents. When the wind blows, a mass of fallen leaves crosses the street and settles down in the yard. It’s always Mom’s mission to keep the lawn clear, even though it just comes back the next day. Every morning the same hands give me a big hug when wishing me a good day at school, and the same hands make dinner in the evening. Hard working hands keep the family together. Hard working hands are loved.

Mom and I - Disney World April 2016

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