The Friendships

My baby sister is in town, but I dislike all of the photos we took together, so instead you’re getting a photo she took of me, in my usual state around her – highly animated and with my mouth constantly moving. There are certain things in this world which are guaranteed; among them are that when she and I are together for short periods of time, like a weekend, the only word to adequately describe us is Rowdy. I hope this will never change.

This morning sitting across from her at breakfast, I was counting my blessings. One of them being her, second was friends who actively stop me from mistakes they know I will regret.

Because this is where I have found myself recently – attempting debauchery which 100% would, if realized, result in nothing but regret. More on this in a moment. Because first –

Muslims believe that there are three categories of blessings. The highest forms of blessings of benefit both in this world, and in the next. Good character. Knowledge. A gentle heart. A humble foot. Patience.

The second are those harmful in the short-term, but beneficial in the long-term. Heart-break, platonic and other. When we are ripped apart emotionally, and forced to seam ourselves anew.

The last, and least favourable, are the blessings of short-term benefit, and long-term harm. Because I try to believe that every single thing from God is ultimately a blessing, I label this third category as secondary mirage blessings; you think they are blessings, but they are cursed arch-nemesis driven fuckshits. The actual blessing comes second, only when you recognize that the thing was a mirage, from which you are to extrapolate and pivot. Like cocaine. A one-night-stand. A box of cookies. Immediate satiation of a body or ego’s demands, accompanied necessarily by longer-term challenges or straight-harm to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Sidebar: On this category, a gentle reminder that all things in moderation (but drugs), and we are either master of our body, or slave to it. Our bodies have righteous demands over us – nourishment, sex, safeguarding from the environment, etc. But these demands, they are desires of the physical self (what Muslims call the ‘nafs’), and when they are out of proportion or not practiced within the architecture of permitted spaces, they become diseases of the spiritual self.

Recently, I’ve found myself ill at ease. Without an anchor. A half cup of lost, a hint of sadness, and a dash of confusion. It’s nothing compared to my Vitamin D deficiency, because I’m clear on its roots, and it’s mild mild mild because God continues to bless me by answering my first ask with my second ask (say mashAllah, friends, because Fa-sayakfeekum Allah) – that He protect me from myself; from my loneliness. And that He surround me by those who safeguard me; who would place neither their profit nor their wants over my well-being.

Ill at ease because I am lonely. And I am heart-saddened by it. When not feeling the weight of this too heavily, I remind myself that I am here by choice. (Of course, there are very easy ways to remedy this loneliness, but I’ve chosen not to exercise them because see above diseases of the spiritual self, a state I know would break my heart more than the heart-sadness of loneliness. I’m also quite steadfast on the choice to remain lonely rather than to engage anyone for the mere erasure of being lonely. I want the erasure of lonely to be long-term. My spiritual heart would fall apart if I chose short-term company so that I am momentarily not-lonely. I understand why others choose otherwise, but my heart is increasingly incapable of the effort to recover from pain.)

But sometimes, when I cannot bear the weight, like lately, I think maybe…

Maybe I can. Maybe I should. I can do this! I am a big girl!

Only, I’m not.

I very much break like a little girl and need to be handled with that same gentleness. This, very rarely how people view me because individuals exist in binaries and what they think they see is a very strong individual. Which I am, but strength should never be misunderstood as invulnerability. Those who have seen me shatter, understand.

When I cannot bear the weight, literally not just actually. But literally, Allah has watched me run toward a thing and then simply Luls, no dummy. Not today. and plucked me right off of my feet and put me someplace safe. Mostly, He has done this by way of sending me people who look after me when I am not able to, or when I am flat-out refusing to look out for myself. It’s by surrounding me with people who say no when I am lying and saying yes. It’s by making sure that I am safeguarded by others in the same way I safeguard their hearts, with a full knowledge of what their true self needs, when not falling off its usual path. Most importantly, it’s by making certain that those I love and with whom I surround myself place my needs above their own self-interest.

Because let me tell you. I am absolutely chaotic when I choose to be. And it takes a lot to fence me in.

Thank you. I love each and every one of you. You are blessings of the first order, and at every turn.


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