I’ve had a lot of time to think lately , as I am home all day, about who I am and who people think me to be. I find that there’s a large discrepancy between the two. People come into and out of our lives at various points and save our parents and then our spouse there isn’t anyone who has been around through it all. I have felt at times that I, as a recent stay-at-home-mom, am looked down upon as someone who is uneducated and not driven. Or, if not looked down upon then just not respected. I wracked my brain for some sort of document that could elaborate on the noteworthy things I have done in my life, a video, a song, a resume anything that could say to the world “Hey I’m somebody!” But, there isn’t anything like that. While I wallowed for a week or two thinking how unfortunate it was that the “world” doesn’t really know who I am I realized that what was important was that I knew who I was. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend. I am so many things and in each of these roles there is love. I love, I am loved. And, that is what is important to know. But, it is also important to share your talents, to be proud (but not prideful) of your accomplishments, and expand on life experiences. So, who am I?
In a nutshell:
I am a daughter of Susan and Francisco Brionez. Born and raised in a diverse home in Fairfax, Virginia with my three siblings: Jae, Lindsay and Javier. Oh where did life truly start for me? Maybe in high school where I participated in sports or when I turned 12 and started the “Young Women” program at church. I can see how each action in my life has brought me to where I am. It’s like a game of chess. Each move made, strategically or carelessly, impacts the rest of the game.
I played soccer as a youth but developed Osgood Schlatters, an inflamed irritation of a ligament at the knee and took up volleyball thinking it would be less traumatic to my knees. I played through high school graduating with my school’s “block record.” I continued to play in college at Southern Virginia University as well. I swam for Lake Braddock High School and on my neighborhood team excelling at butterfly and freestyle. Until a year or two ago I was a member of a record holding relay team at Parliament Pool. Lastly, I threw shot and discus. I joined track thinking it would help me stay in shape for volleyball by causing me to run. I wanted to do hurdles. On the very first day of hurdle practice, about five minutes in, the coach sent me to work with the throwers. It was the best thing he could have done. I placed in countless meets and in multiple district and regional competitions taking me to “States.” I was the top girl discus thrower and one of two top shot putters at school. My senior year, a short time before the final few meets, I was hit in the shin by a discus. I teammate had thrown it and I was standing in the field. I remember crumpling to the ground after impact, unable to stand on my leg, as the pain swelled and thinking, that was it. All I had worked for had culminated in this- the inability to even participate in the final meets. But, I worked my hardest to heal my ankle and I competed on it bandaged up. At districts I threw and remember walking out of the discus circle in tears because of the pain but it wasn’t going to stop me. I threw again and it was enough to progress me into Regionals. I scratched (decided not to use) my final throw, went to Regionals still on a bum leg and made it to states.
I got into all 6 universities I applied to but decided to attend the small little known liberal arts school run by LDS values- SVU. I let my athleticism define me until one day in Fall of 2009. I did not make the volleyball team my second season at SVU. To this day I am bitter about the decision that was made and resent the coach that made it. I can’t watch a volleyball game without thinking what could have been or why it was me that was cut. I sat there on my bedroom floor that day, crying to myself, and wondering who I was without volleyball. After so much effort had gone into playing for so many years why was it cut short? I still don’t know but I trust that every move in life was exercised for a purpose. Although I can't see the grand painting yet I know God's hand is maneuvering the brush.
Since I had more free time I took up a part time job as an after-school counselor for the YMCA. I also answered calls for a domestic abuse hotline and volunteered at a Women and Children’s shelter. I was an RA and also received multiple scholarships paying for nearly all of my schooling. I took a month study abroad to Madrid, Spain and became fluent in the language (most of which I have completely lost). I majored in Family and Childhood development studying various aspects of family life and dynamics as well as parenting, child development, marital counseling, and psychology and minored in Spanish. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts in just 3 years taking minimal summer classes. I married my high school love 9 days after my 21st birthday. We have been together since we were 14 years old and at least once daily look at each other in awe. We wonder how could we have been so blessed to have come so far together, to have a beautiful daughter, a life, a home...
The more I write the more I realize that trying to explain who I am really does less to define who I really am than I had hoped. I am who I am. I spend my days cooking, cleaning, wiping baby bottoms and making goofy faces just to see a sweet little smile. I may not be a nurse, yet, (it’s on a back burner- a pretty far back burner) because I’m living the life I’ve always wanted. And in reality it doesn’t matter who I have been as long as I’m a little better each day than I was the day before.