And the psychic said to me, “would you like me to do a reading?”
And I said, “no, thank you. I’ll take my chances with life, come what may.”
And the thing is, I meant. I meant it because there is a certain level of grace that resides within me this day. I have come to accept that I am strong enough for what is coming. I can do the good days and the not so good days. I know I can because I have done it, I am doing it, and I can do it.
Faith is a big part of my story. I am not a vocal Muslim, nor am I the best Muslim. I struggle with my prayers. I wrestle with the contradiction between my faith and my personal beliefs. I ask for forgiveness, as often as I can. The thing though is that even with all of the questions, my faith is my solace.
I use to wear an inscription of Suratul Kursi on my neck. It was a gift from my mother. I wore it until the chain got tangled and I lost it. That pendant was one of my most treasured possessions for a while. In a pinch, I would clutch it like a Catholic clutches their rosaries. And the presence of Allah gave me calmness.
Sometimes it is hard to talk about my faith. Being a Muslim in America is like suffering from whiplash regularly. There are days when you can talk about your faith because society is generally accepting. There are times of high sensitivity when I personally fear to talk about Islam and how that guides my life. One of the things I miss about living in Nigeria is the sense of community that comes with going to the mosques and going to for Jummah prayers on Friday. When I used to live in Manchester in the UK, this wasn’t a struggle.
The Manchester, especially the Rusholme area where I lived, has a vibrant Southeast Asia and Muslim community. During the months of Ramadan, it was like a month long festival. Stores would stay open late so the Iftar would be a grand affair. The streets would be alive with young adults coming alive with energy after a long day of fasting. Walking down the street felt safe because I saw kindred spirits. I even had a Muslim society that I attended on Sunday, without parental prompting, for a sense of belonging.
I miss that feeling of belonging very often. One of my hopes that as I live longer in Boston, I’ll be able to find a community built on Islam that I feel comfortable within.