30 Day Lady Positivity Challenge- Day 25

by - Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 25- Someone who radiates warmth and love.- Bryana

I feel like a lot of the recent topics have had to do with how loving the woman is, but I think seeing how loving someone is, especially if they are courageous enough to show that love in a way that makes them really vulnerable. I picked my soon to be sister-in-law Bryana for this, because she is definitely someone I see as really warm (yet also tough enough to be a great match for my brother) and brave enough to make herself vulnerable for love and family again and again. 

I first met Bry 7 (!!!) years ago when she started dating my brother. My first memory of her is running around a walmart (??) with TP, The Boy, and her. They met in the lobby of the Barrow preparing for the audition, and their relationship has survived multiple moves back and forth between Franklin and LA since then. I have always been struck by how sweet and open Bry is- she gets along really well with my Mom, and I think that is because they are both so willing to put how they are feeling right out there. She and I have always gotten along, but I think we continue to get closer, and as a pair, they are consistently there for us when we need them, which I now realize is a rare and wonderful quality to find in family. I could not be more excited that this person is joining our family. 


Over the seven years I have known her, I think Bry has only become more beautiful, because she keeps gaining confidence about who she is and what she wants. I feel like a younger Bry would try to be agreeable, but now you always know exactly what she thinks.  Bry is super super pretty- she has light hair and really pretty eyes, and I feel like she is one of those people who always looks cute and put together, even when she is going casual. She has a seemingly cool coloring, but I think she has a very warm aura (like maybe orange?). She makes friends really quickly, and I think part of that comes from the fact that she just always seems open and friendly. She looks like a person you hug. She is pretty short, so maybe that has something to do with it- the door she is standing next to is for "kids only" (Bry, you know we love shortness in this house!).

I just took this picture of them at the LA Zoo on our last visit last month, and I just think it is the sweetest.
Thomas and Bry are such a sweet couple, and when you are around them, it is very clear that they love each other (without it getting creepy or alienating for those of us around them... come on, we have all known those people).  You always have the sense that they really have each other's back, and that they love one another for exactly who that other person is. I think that when they moved in together, their relationship settled into a really solid and inspiring team dynamic, and I am happy and relieved my brother has such a devoted and supportive person on his team. Even in their rockier phases, Bry has been a solid rock for him and never seemed to waiver in her commitment to the relationship. And neither of them ever made a secret about how they felt, which I really admire.

Bryana's openess and lovingness makes her incredibly vulnerable, and yet she had the courage to approach a career where there is a lot of rejection, stagnation, and just putting yourself out there in a big way. I am always impressed by she and Thomas's willingness to put themselves out there in such a big way (onstage and off), but they are both really talented and creative. I think she loves what she was trained to do, but I think she also has a deep sense of what her true priorities are. My sense is that there is nothing more important to Bry than her family and that as she starts a (2 person, no one read into this) family with my brother, helping that unit thrive is her number one mission.

I think Bry understands family as something you do, as something you work towards, and as something that can be an uphill battle worth it every torturous step of the way. This woman LOVES her family, her nephew, her siblings, and her parents. Like so many of us, Bry's family has a complex history and its share of problems, but even when I suspect I would have bailed, she always sticks with them. I am happy to see her stand up for her own health and wellness more and more, but I think she is still incredibly considerate and kind to her family. It is so touching to see how much she loves her nephew or how excited she gets at the chance to come home. It is also neat to see that even with a complicated past with her family, Bry makes time and effort to connect with all of them, and it seems like that serves her well. I am also always encouraged to see how committed she is to TP's family, especially my Mom, as they remain super tight.

A perfect example of who Bry is would be her love of animals. Even though Bry has her own health problems and struggles, I think she really likes to focus her love and effort on others, and expects very little in return (I mean really, how much can Darla the Guinea Pig show you love back? Though I am sure she is mostly not totally afraid of them/ maybe slightly fond?). I could find no pictures of her with her new guinea pig baby, so we will have to settle for this old picture of her dancing at Grammy's. Bry is a hardcore animal fan, so she just loves all dogs especially and has real empathy for animals of all kind. I do not get this, and mostly do not care for animals, but I can see how this side of her shows just what a loving person she is.

She is also very cute and silly. This picture didn't really work anywhere in particular, but I feel it should be said that she is also a lot of fun and generally willing to look silly and nerdy, which is an important skill if you are going to hang around this group! She is also very encouraging to others, and on her own blog she is willing to talk about her own body positivity and struggles with the hopes of encouraging other women. She just isn't afraid to be open in that way!

In the past few years, being the two chunks of our family on the West Coast has given us the opportunity to spend a lot of time together, and I have seen again and again how much this girl loves her family and friends. I think she would literally do anything for her two younger siblings, for her parents, and for Thomas especially. TP and I both are really lucky to have partners who are invested in making our immediate family stay close, despite the distance, and I really admire and appreciate Bry's efforts in that especially. Bry has been there, and you can see that she knows that being in a family and loving somebody can break your heart, but she still leaps on in. She still jumps to help with a birthday at home or spends what teensy bit of money she might have on a birthday present or plane ticket, expecting very little in return. To me, that is a pretty spectacularly strong person, and when that strength comes from love, it is pretty much unstoppable.

I think it is this reason that Bry and Thomas have so many friendships that become intense really quickly. She is so open and loving right off the bat, and I get the sense that she likes people before she dislikes them, but I think people sense her incredible depth of loyalty. That she is truly crazy loyal, and they somehow know this and want to be around it. I don't think of loyalty, especially the kind built of love that can really break your heart, as a quality often discussed as valuable in most contexts, but she has it in spades all around. Once she has decided she cares, it is damn hard to stop her! That is love and warmth at a profound level, and that is what makes her so gorgeous.

So here's to you, Bryana, for having the unbelievable courage to chase your dream across the country from your safety and most of the people you love, for being the kind of person who thinks of visiting me in October, for being the absolute perfect partner to my sweet brother, who is also so loving and warm (you two are like the living couple version of a hug), for bringing us cupcakes when we come to visit, for taking the megabus all those times, for being deeply committed to Disney Princesses and Once Upon a Time, for being a caretaker for so many semi-broken LA 20-somethings (maybe the hardest place to be a 20 something in the freaking world, for being such a good sister-in-law already (though I am looking forward to it being official!), for loving your own family in a way that rakes you across the coals, yet still doing it again and again, for being a pretty amazing guinea pig mother, for having a great laugh (this is very important), and for just being a glowy person. You are beautiful, and I can't wait to celebrate your happy life with my brother!

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