I was 11 when I saw her at the airport in Bahrain. I was in awe of all of the beautiful women in their abayas, draped in her beauty. They seemed so effortless, graceful, and confident.
[bctt tweet=”They seemed so effortless, graceful, and confident.” username=”wearethetempest”]
She surrounded them like mist. She hovered and spun, her movements like the floating you’d imagine from an angel. Sometimes jeweled and sometimes ruffled, sometimes sturdy like denim, and other times smooth like silk. I thought she was most beautiful unadorned, bold and complete without distractions or disruption. She didn’t care to be noticed or appreciated; she was wholly absorbed in something entirely unique, and it was captivating.
She caught my attention again years later, this time at a funeral.
[bctt tweet=”She caught my attention again years later, this time at a funeral.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Here she was obviously somber and serious. But she was not sad, nor angry nor resentful. She clung graciously and maturely. She was calming, but stern. She was finality. She was not the end, but simply a quiet reminder. She taught without saying, without acting, without leading. She taught just by being. She was the certainness that sunk in, the truth in your face when you wanted so desperately to deny it. She was not sorry, she will never be sorry. She was real, and I was drawn to it.
With an aura of mystery and misconception that she was blissfully unaware of, I envied her confidence and will. She was so busy being herself that she didn’t realize the rippling effects she had around her. She would not go unnoticed. Much like a hint of disturbance to a serene pond, her effects touched her surroundings, encompassing them like a wave of water that drenches all your senses.
[bctt tweet=”I envied her confidence and will.” username=”wearethetempest”]
It seemed fitting that the women who wore her carried her stereotypes. Oppressed, depressed, gothic, tasteless, plain, simple, boring – the offenses piled up. In the effort to create stereotypes it was evident that those around these women had noticed her considerably, but no one could quite capture her. She slipped through fingers and the women slipped through hallways and buildings, moving about seamlessly.
[bctt tweet=”I couldn’t explain what made my breath hitch.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I couldn’t explain what made my breath hitch or why I couldn’t take my eyes off the girl in her plain black abaya. Something about it made her hands look more graceful, her eyes bold and sparkling, and her movements fluid. She didn’t seek attention and in doing so, she gained curiosity, and an inexplicable feeling of attachment mingled with admiration. You see, the women in black embodied the characteristics of the color itself.
I once felt most self-conscious in the color black. I felt as though it made my flaws all too evident, and ironically I felt too exposed. Unlike prints and bright colors, black wasn’t distracting. I’ve come to appreciate the raw honesty of the color. It somehow seemed to enhance a person’s very nature, bringing to surface subtle quirks and qualities. Not my flaws. Me. Honest and unapologetic, unmasked and all too real. Self-conscious but so painfully refreshing, she allows me to be truly myself.