My Ayeeyo used to tell me that it's easy to get someone to give you five shillings, but getting someone to give you good advice is a totally different ballgame.
Giving good advice — the kind that deepens your humanity, that is genuinely useful — is a divine art. Receiving it is the sweetest gift because it comes encoded with a sense of surprise.
I would often observe the soul-sistas in my family, and laugh at the assumptions that the British tabloids would make about Muslim women. The women in my family were adventurous, messy, loving, complicated, passionate, and they knew how to community-build in a way that the men simply did not. These women would share war stories and dating horrors and gossip and folktales and wisdom and resources. For them, sisterhood was sustenance; sisterhood was the spell that expanded their vision beyond this earthly realm. Sisterhood meant that everything broken — including hearts — could be mended over a cup of chai laced with cardamom and kindness.
As I've gotten older, and become part of a vast intersection of often mutually exclusive networks, I've found an existence predicated on joy and wonder. And this is because when my chosen family members offer me great advice, I accept these tender divinations with gratitude.
Reader, I hope you keep finding pockets of pleasure and community and kickass adventure wherever you are. I hope you feel seen and understood and appreciated.
Image by DIRIYE OSMAN and JAROSLAV SCHOLTZ.
Song of the moment: 'Soul Sista' by BILAL