Female friendship – what does it mean to you? For me, it’s a support network who are there whenever you need them. Whether you have hundreds of friends, or just a handful, I think we’d all agree that the bond that ties this network together is talking.
Illustrator and storyteller Sonja Bajic has spent a lifetime collecting these woman-to-woman pearls of wisdom. And now, she has sketched these precious anecdotes out into a beautifully illustrated book, What My Girlfriends Told Me.
You know that buzzing feeling you get after having coffee with a friend who really gets you? That’s what Sonja has captured in the illustrated pages of her book. Some of the advice comes from her own network of friends, and some are little snippets she’s overhead while on her travels.
Do it for the story
Originally from Serbia, Sonja travelled from country to country before settling in Paris. She was always a visitor, and on her travels she learnt to tune into her surroundings. “You learn to watch and listen,” says Sonja. “I often decide to walk without headphones in order to hear the sounds of the city”.
“I trained myself to always search for colour schemes, textures, whimsical shapes, sudden emotional blasts, calming sounds, birds I’ve never seen before, interestingly dressed people, words of support.”
Flick open Sonja’s book at random and you’ll find a little bit of wisdom on each page. Each one is like a jigsaw piece – it stands alone, but is also part of the larger story of our lives.
What My Girlfriends Told Me reminds us that our friend’s are here to reassure us and remind us that everything usually turns out OK.
Every page in Sonja’s book has a face. Just like our real friends, some look happy, others a bit cross – and they’ve all got their own little bit of advice to offer.
We all have friends we turn to for different things – relationship advice, childcare or a place to stay. We might not get a specific answer, but we’ll feel reassured and grounded.
Sonja agrees: “My friends tell me to believe in myself and that everything will be okay in the end”
Sonja’s message is simple: women should support each other though words.
“Words are soothing and encouraging,” writes Sonja. “Right words in the right moment can kill days of heartache. Right advice in the right moment can save you so much trouble…I am hoping these words will give you, too, a small – but often very needed – push.”
Celebrate small victories
One of my favourite quotes from Sonja’s book is “Not everything is super interesting. Life is full of filler stories.”
It’s those little filler moments that help form the rich fabric of our lives. In amongst all the big things in life, there are the simple everyday things. They deserve to be cherished too.
“I’m all about celebrating small victories too!” says Sonja. “At the moment it’s so cold in Paris and I am enjoying a lot of big cups of chai and matcha latte. I found a small misplaced succulent in September and I took it home and put it in a pot. It finally started progressing and growing last week! A book about genius of David Hockney called “Bigger Message”. Lou Reed’s song “That Magic Moment” that is on repeat these days. People who are not afraid to commit to things. Watercolours. Sunny -2C days.”
“Life is like an improvised play. Nobody tells you what to do.”
But we can still find comfort in the secret of our friendships – however old or new.
What My Girlfriends Told Me is a tribute to all women. Sonja’s friends come from five different continents and prove that female friendship knows no bounds.
What My Girlfriends Told Me is published today by September Books. To get a copy click here.