Jamilah is quiet, serious, and shy. She’s responsible and acts with foresight. She’s the kind of girl that is hard to get to know, but once you do, you know it was worth the effort. She’s creative, introspective, and insightful. She really sees the world around her, and challenges the status quo. . . quietly. She’s very guarded. When I talk with her, it feels like I’m being let in on a secret, or admitted to an exclusive club.
Cassie is exuberance personified. If I had known her in high school, she would have gotten me into a lot of trouble. I call her my baby deer. Her arms and legs are so long that she tends to trip over her own feet, and then laugh hysterically at herself. She’s an open book. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood around Cassie. Even when she’s in a bad mood, she’s makes it into joke, or tells the story in a fascinating way. She’s so extroverted and fun. She’s always having some new adventure. I can’t get any work done with Cassie around, but she’s so much fun that I don’t mind.
Michelle is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She adapts to any social situation she encounters like a chameleon, but never in a fake way. She makes everyone around her feel like part of the group. She’s a truly kind person. She possesses a rare level of empathy that I envy. She’s quiet when you are mad. She’s gentle when you are sad. She’s funny when you are happy. Michelle is the kind of person everyone should have as a best friend.
Lynnique is the oldest of my five “girls”. The others are all between twenty and twenty-two. She’s only a few years younger than am, in her early thirties. It’s hard to get to know Lynnique. She doesn't let people in easily. It would be easy to call her hard, but it’s not that simple. Lynnique has had one of those lives that you think only exist in television, full of hardships, cruelty, and abandonment. She keeps people at a distance. I don’t know if she does it to protect herself from getting hurt, or if she has just relied on herself for so long that she doesn't see the benefit of letting others in. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. She’s like one of those trees that survives a hurricane when all the trees around her gave up and were ripped from the ground. She sees the world like it is. She has the kind of honor and integrity about her that you only find in truly passionate people. People like FBI agents, priests, doctors, or artists. People who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place. Lynnique is one of the strongest people I have ever met. I’m proud to have earned some level of her trust and I sincerely hope that she doesn't see this post as a betrayal of that trust.
Sheena is the hardest to describe, for two reasons. Firstly, she is a person made of opposites, fire and ice, oil and water. She is compassionate, but has a quick temper. She loves deeply, but does not forgive easily. She feels intensely. She reacts intensely. She lives her life with intensity. She would give her last dollar to help a friend. She would fight to the death to protect someone she loves. She is fiercely loyal and expects the same from her friends. That level of devotion is rare. Secondly, of all my “girls” she’s the one to whom I am the closest. I pride myself on being able to stay objective in any situation, but I have difficulty doing so with Sheena. We have a connection that I can’t define any more than I can define her. I’m not sure why she and I have been able to bond in the way that we have. We’re as different as night and day. Everything about her is all or nothing. Love or hate. Friends or enemies. Her perception of the world exists in stark contrasts, while mine is grayscale.
Do you see the dilemma? The problem? The reason for this post? With so many strong and independent women working in the same place, sometimes there is friction. I’m hoping if they read this, they can see each other the way that I see each of them. I love all of these girls and wish that they all loved each other. We don’t always have to like each other but in a way, we’re a family.
Jamilah is like a still lake. Cassie is a bubbling brook. Michelle is a warm pond. Lynnique is a deep ocean. Sheena is a winding river. And me? I sometimes feel like the rain, simultaneously a part of everything, and apart from everything. But in the end, our differences don’t matter. We are all water.