10 years ago, I was starting my (almost) first serious job ever.
Big international corporation.
Fancy job title.
Zero hours of sleep the night before.
Equal amounts of crippling anxiety over whether my plaid blazer was appropriate for a first day of work and how to remember everybody’s name.
I had to introduce myself to over 100 people that day, but one of them stood out. In the corporate sea of grays and navy blues, there was a tall stunning Arabic woman with a big mouth, big earnings and purple hair.
Everything about her screamed confidence and not giving a F. I knew then and there I wanted to be her friend. I was drawn to her authenticity like Klimt to gold.
Turns out, she was even more awesome than she seemed at first sight. She would get bored of her hair color every month and goes/go from one neon shade of mint green to another; her long sandy blonde hair would be easily replaced by an extremely asymmetrical pink bob, shaved on one side, in a heartbeat. She’s currently sporting pigtails and a middle part in her hair, with one side of hair blue and the other one green.
“I get bored easily”, she says casually. I, on the other hand, get cold sweats while getting my ends trimmed.
She completely re-envisioned her fashion style every summer, effortlessly going from punk to boho. She’s got the balls to pull off anything and the nerves for thrift shopping.
Favorite holiday? Funny you should ask. Halloween, duh! She embodies characters such as Neytiri from Avatar or Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy with the same ease as I put on white sneakers everyday.
Most people’s eccentricity is her run off the mill playground. And you kind of get used to that. But the single most impressing thing about my amazingly daring friend is her unbelievable willingness to commit. To people, to new beginnings, to herself.
She takes up a new hobby and works like a crazy person to master it, cramping years of knowledge into mere months.
Just the other day, she was proudly showing me her carpenter diploma. Yup, that’s right, carpenter. There’s something poetic about a Muslim woman being a carpenter, right? This was the result of 3 years of non-stop effort she put into renovating and decorating 3 apartments. She found out the hard way that DIY is the way to go if you want a custom look. So she took up carpeting, learned electronics, built a massive chandelier made out of pipes and a bathtub out of an old barrel. By herself.
Before that, she took web-developing classes as she was bored with being just a media buyer.
So what’s the next big thing for a former waitress that studied psychology, worked as an online marketing expert, took on interior decor and trained as a carpenter? Fortnite, of course! She’s currently working day and night to create video content for Fortnite, aka, the very first game she ever played. Did I forget to mention she’s 35? Pardon my ageism, but picking up gaming at her age is the same as taking up gymnastics. 9 year old pretzel jointed kids will crush you by a mile.
She sucked at it, as she sucked at every new thing she embarked on. But she pulls through. She never complains. Once her mind is made up, she sticks to it. She shows up everyday for herself. She’s ready to fall. She is willing to take a dive and make a fool out of herself, as long as she learns something.
Despite all the changes, my friend is the most constant person I know. Once you know her, you really know her. And that is pure magic.
She comes from a very traditional (read strict) family from Jordan. She fled the country with her younger brothers when she was 16 and came to Romania, without even knowing the language. The past experiences of growing up in her home country cannot be described into words, yet she’s never been corrupted by the darkness found in others. She somehow finds the power to still trust other people. And that is itself, an act of wizardry.
The magic of today is where it always has been – in people.
Finding a magic particle in the midst of all the 2020 suffering and confusion seems unlikely and almost selfish. Yet the people around us deliver so much. We just have to pay attention.
There’s no bigger risk and no greater reward than letting others in your circle of salt. (also, no better time than October to reference “Practical Magic”, right?)