She’s brought her own coffee in a purple, floral travel cup. The majority of what she’s brought is also purple. Everything about her seems so tidy and put together that I look around my table to see how our setting measures up. We are doing pretty good, except that she sits as straight as an arrow. I sit up a little straighter as we begin.
Emy: “What is your full name?”
Gillian: “Gillian Angelina Bracken.”
Emy: “Has anyone ever made the comparison of Angelina Ballerina?”
Emy: “Oh, Okay.”
We both burst out laughing.
Gillian: “Yeah, yeah, they have!”
Gillian is a dancer, as is the fictional mouse that took center stage of my many a childhood fantasy as a little girl. I’m imagining Gillian twirling and dancing alongside the delightfully sweet, spunky ballerina mouse. Perhaps they have a few things in common!
Emy: “What is the first thing we should know about you?”
Gillian: “I love to dance and read and I am dying to travel.”
Emy: “What kind of dance?”
Gillian: “I do ballet and jazz and ballroom occasionally.”
Emy: “How long have you been dancing?”
Gillian: “Since I was about five.”
Emy: “Why do you love it?”
Gillian: “It’s fun, it makes me feel pretty, and it’s relaxing.”
Emy: “Why else? Because I know you adore it, so I am going to prod you a little!”
She laughs. We both know her Instagram is littered with dance photos. She spends much of her time at her local dance studio, and even her styled shoot today is based off of her love for dance!
Gillian: “For jazz it’s almost like a stress reliever, because I can let all my energy out.”
Emy: “How about reading? What kind of reading do you enjoy?”
Gillian: “I like reading fantasy books. Like the Percy Jackson books. The fantasy makes it interesting. And I like the Hunger Games and Divergent. And I like mystery, like Nancy Drew!”
Emy: “When did you get into reading and dancing? How did you fall into it?”
Gillian: “Reading…I don’t know. I just read.”
She laughs again. She is quirky, with an off-beat sense of humor. Delightful to listen to. She has a calming, peaceful presence.
Gillian: “I’ve just been dancing since I was five and grew to love it.”
Emy: “Is dancing more for fun or a lifetime goal?”
Gillian: “I think it’s just a hobby. I don’t think I’d want to go into it, but I love doing it. It is something that is a part of me that I don’t want to stop, but I don’t want to make a career out of it.”
Emy: “You are so level.”
She giggles. But she is! Her answers are as calm and matter-of-fact as her tone.
Emy: “What is reading like for you?”
Gillian: “It’s relaxing and kind of blocks everything out. Like if I need quiet time I just go read.”
Emy: “Would you call yourself more of an introvert?”
Gillian: “Yes, very.”
I barely had the words out of my mouth, and she started shaking her head “yes.” We both laugh again.
Gillian: “Very much! Yeah, I never used to talk to anyone. Then I met one of my friends, Kate, and…but, yeah I never used to talk.”
Emy: “Why do you say you are an introvert?”
Gillian: “I don’t like big crowds of people. When I have parties I keep it small. Too many people is overwhelming, and I can’t talk to everyone I want to.”
Emy: “So you would prefer a heart connection with people, rather than lots of them just buzzing around?”
Emy: “I understand that.”
There is a wide misconception that introverts are not personable. By her answer, I’d say Gillian is quite personable! So much in fact, that she would prefer to take intimate time with each person rather than clump several people into a party or a crowd that allows for less connection. We touch on this briefly, then move on to her love for travel.
Gillian: “I guess ever since I took an Irish dance class when I was little I thought, ‘Oh, I want to go to Ireland!’ I took French and thought, ‘Oh, I want to go to France!’ My dad’s family is from Italy, and I want to go to Italy! I just want to travel the whole world.”
Emy: “What is your dream day of traveling?”
Gillian: “Going to Ireland, spending the day exploring, and going to the cliffs. Going to Dublin!”
Emy: “Have you seen Leap Year?”
She squeals, and her cheeks turn rosier than normal.
The movie “Leap Year” features a handsome Irishman and a lovely red head following their sweet romantic comedy in Ireland. Classic.
Gillian: “It’s my dream to have someone propose to me in Ireland!”
Emy: “Would you describe yourself as a romantic?”
Gillian: “Umm, yeah I guess. I don’t look for relationships, but I look for beauty in the world. I like chick-flicks and reading girly books and looking at flowers and decorating. I like spring, because it’s when all the flowers come out! We went to the botanical gardens yesterday and got to see all of the flowers! It was so cool. There’s this whole room on just orchids, it was so pretty.
Emy: “What are the things that bring you the most joy?”
Gillian: “Dancing. Warm weather! Flowers. Reading. Hanging out with friends. Yeah!”
Emy: “Who are the most important people in your life?”
Gillian: “My mom and dad. My sisters. And Izzy.”
Emy: “How have they impacted you?”
Gillian: “Izzy I can tell anything to. She’ll listen. And my parents have always been there when I need them. And my sisters…they get on my nerves sometimes, but they’re funny and they make me laugh. Rachael spends more time together than Faith and I because we are just a lot older than Faith, but Faith is quite funny.”
Emy: “Why do you love them?”
Gillian: “Faith is just hilarious. Rachael listens when I need her to. Faith does, too.”
Emy: “What do you love most about having your sisters?”
Gillian: “They seem easier to get along with than brothers sometimes. Plus, I get hand me downs!”
Emy: “What are your goals in life?”
Gillian: “To go to Ireland, saving up for that. I want to go for my graduation. I’m over halfway there! I want that plane ticket! It’s like from the movie “While You Were Sleeping,” just to get a stamp in my passport. I just want to get a stamp everywhere! To survive high school.”
Emy: “What grade are you in?”
Gillian: “I’ll be a senior in the Fall!”
Emy: “Almost there!”
Gillian: “I know. I’m so excited. Umm, to get better on pointe in ballet because pointe is hard!”
Emy: “How often do you dance?”
Gillian: “Four days a week, Monday through Thursday! One day I want to get married and have kids. Go to college.”
Emy: “What do you want to go to college for?”
Gillian: “At Liberty they have a program for flight attendants. It gives you a better chance of getting a job as a flight attendant! And I want to travel, so that would be awesome!”
Emy: “What are things you love? Just a list of loves?”
Gillian: “Flowers, colors, nature, dancing, reading, coffee, hanging out with people, baby animals, chocolate! Roses are my favorite. Shopping, traveling, the beach, seashells, shoes. I like vintage stuff. Vintage boxes, clocks, journals. I collect journals, but I don’t write in them! I like the way they look, but I’m afraid I’d write in it and I wouldn’t like the way it looked, so I don’t write in them! It’s just really weird. I like pocket watches, I think those are awesome. Downton Abbey, Hunger Games, Divergent, New Girl.”
We pause to chat amidst ourselves and somehow get on the topic of New York City.
Emy: “Do you like New York?”
Gillian: “Yes! I especially love Times Square and Central Park. I love New York. Times Square is just cool with all the jumbo screens and all the cool stores. Central Park is fun and pretty, lots of cool playgrounds, carriage rides. Then in the winter there’s a skating rink. And Serendipity, the restaurant!”
Emy: “You love stories, adventure, and finding the unexpected! It’s funny that you are quiet, but love New York!”
Gillian: “Yes! I hate crowds of people, but I’m fine in New York.”
Emy: “Would you say that’s because you are adventuring?”
Gillian: “Yes. Like we went to New York last year and I was the one walking ahead of everyone, like “C’mon you guys walk too slow, let’s go!’”
Emy: “What’s a day in the life of Gillian Bracken?”
Gillian: “When I’m not doing homework, I like to watch Disney movies, drink coffee, just relaxing a bit before dance.”
Emy: “Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?”
Gillian: “Probably traveling, working. Maybe in a relationship.”
Emy: “You have such a level head on your shoulders.”
Gillian: “Hah, yeah!”
I am sitting here thinking I want her to babysit my unborn child. We talk about it for a little bit, and no surprise she loves little kids and already babysits a little boy! She is tender and kind. Sweet as her rosy cheeks suggest.
Emy: “What are your favorite foods?”
Gillian: “Chinese food! Chocolate. Curry. Peanut butter. I love rice. My dad loves peanut butter, probably get that from him. He lives off a spoonful a day! I like Italian food and Mexican food and kale chips. I like ice cream, too! Of course! I usually go to Willie’s in town. I’m not picky about my Chinese food. To me it all tastes good. We can go to the sketchiest place ever and I think it still tastes good!”
We both laugh!
Emy: “How has high school been for you?”
Gillian: “It’s stressful; it’s a lot of work. I am in a college class right now, and that’s crazy stressful. I’ve met new friends and come out of my shell a little bit. It’s been okay, better than middle school.”
Emy: “What advice would you give to middle schoolers?”
Gillian: “Ignore the bullies. They’re just being immature and annoying. Stand up for yourself. Stick with good friends instead of popular friends. You just need a couple core friends, because those are the best ones.”
Emy: “What advice would you give to people in high school?”
Gillian: “Spend your time wisely. If you have a lot of homework don’t putz around and procrastinate it. I would get the hardest stuff done during the week. Do it and be done with it. Don’t stress on it Sunday night!”
Emy: “What’s your favorite color?”
She has my heart.
Gillian: “Everything I own is purple. My bag, my shoes, my coffee cup! My makeup, sometimes.”
Emy: “How would you describe your style?”
Gillian: “Kind of classy, a little girly. I like wearing baby doll shirts with fringe up at the top. Anywhere I go out, I dress up. I don’t like wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt. I’m kind of girly and classy. I have the same style as my mom.”
We slow things down and break with a few lemon cookies. She laughs when I say, “Eat some, or I’ll eat them all. Me and the baby!” She encourages me to just blame it all on the pregnancy. She is kind, funny, and surprisingly silly. Her favorite flower is the rose. So fitting. This elegant, old-fashioned, classy, girly, romantic rose of a woman is awe-inspiring. She weaves a perfect tale of her loves and hates as well as her likes and dislikes with the ease of a full-grown woman and the excitement of a child. She lives in the joy of the things, the places, the people she loves. She’s carefully chosen what to incorporate into her life, a culmination of the loveliest things that don’t necessarily follow a trend or make sense altogether, but the things that bring her joy. There is wisdom here. There is strength. I’ve heard a lovely story today and am reminded of a quote.
“I feel as if I had opened a book and found roses of yesterday sweet and fragrant, between its leaves.”
Introducing the rose incarnate, Gillian Angelina Bracken.