photo credit @ dawn

When the news first started to make it’s rounds I hoped it was a misquote. It has to be, I thought — I hoped. Outrage took people to the streets and their phones, an offline and online outcry erupted.

What a waste of an Oxford education!
Unacceptable behavior on the part of a public leader
He pretends to be a mulla to increase support.
What the actual fuck?!

I found the call and listened to it for myself. Please be a misquote. I listened to his words. Again. And again.

A caller asked what Imran’s government was doing about…

I watched the inauguration with millions of others. Exchanged texts all day with family and friends from America, to the UK and all the way to Pakistan. All around the notes were celebratory and emotional. For me, I wasn’t quite feeling the relief that everyone around me seemed to be feeling.

It wasn’t until later at night, the baby put to bed and the cat fed, that I was able to reflect. I acknowledged the weight I’ve carried — we’ve carried — around these last four years. Four long years of incompetence, misogyny, white nationalism, with a side of narcissism…

Today I took the Oath of Allegiance. I did this in what was probably the most diverse room in the Bay Area. Together with 1,305 people, representing 96 countries, I pledged to honor the United States and it’s laws. Solemnly I — we — promised to surrender all loyalties. I agreed to take up arms if the law required it even though the obsession with arms and the lack of control therein scares me. I signed documents that had me promise I wouldn’t engage in polygamy, prostitution, terrorism, or be a habitual drunk all in one breath. I can only…

There were protests across the Country this weekend, timed with the ICE raids, demanding the closure of detention camps at the border. I joined the one in San Francisco and as we chanted “close the camps” it all felt unsettling and bizarre. Why is it that this has to be said out aloud? That we have to insist it’s inhumane to cage a child; to squash dozens of women and men in standing room only cells; to rip apart families? We’ve all seen the images, heard the testimonies, learned about the abuse. It doesn’t matter where you saw the images…

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

In my earlier years I read anything from Sweet Valley. To raunchy Mills and Boon’s that I was forbidden to read but I snuck out from my Aunt’s “hidden” collection (they sat right under her nightstand). To the Classics assigned in school that I consumed cover to cover before the rest of the class. In more recent years I’ve discovered titles on best seller lists, to bookstores (yes, an actual, physical store), to books I’ve found laying around at friend’s places.

So when people ask me what I like to read I always have trouble answering. For me, this is…

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I was on the phone with my cousin recently and our conversation turned to mansplaining. She wanted to know if I’d experienced this in my own life. I described a personal instance when I’d been in a meeting, one that I was leading, and a male coworker jumped in to reiterate everything I had just said. “What Mariam is trying to say is…”.

I described to her how I spent the rest of that day going over and over what had happened in my mind, wondering if I hadn’t been articulate enough. Or that perhaps I hadn’t provided enough detail…

Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

The recent Supreme Court ruling on immigration detention left me reeling. Allowing a government, a currently non-inclusive institution, to detain people indefinitely seems like a gross violation of human rights. It’s a complete contradiction to America’s favorite value — freedom. It’s important to point out that this ruling only pertains to those convicted of a crime, but it also covers those whom have completed their sentence. At what point is a person forgiven? And how long before more laws are passed that oppose the overall support of immigrants and immigration? How many more cases currently blocked by more humane courts…

Photo by Rux Centea on Unsplash

50 people have been killed and 48 are being treated in a New Zealand hospital. The headline I read continued on that a 28-year-old man had been charged with the murder. This can only be described as a terror attack I read. They found IEDs attached to cars, they made them “safe”. The mayor asked people to stay away from “those places” for now.

As the news continues to make it’s rounds, the similarity of it guts me to my core. Twitter trolls and pro-gunners are out in full swing; thoughts and prayers everywhere; activists making statements about divisiveness; silence…

Are these “special” cookies? She asks grinning, emphasizing the air quotes.
No they aren’t that kind of “special” but they are tasty! I respond brightly.
Oh. Well I guess I’ll still try it — why is it free? She sounds suspicious.
Well, I just want to know what you think. I say earnestly.
Rea-lllyy? She’s interested now!

I’m standing outside Caltrain again handing out — rather hawking — cookies I’ve just spent a few hours packaging in individual baggies. Trying to make eye contact with folks at rush hour is hard, most people just push past not seeing you at…

Mumble, mumble, mumble! Speak up “under talker”, I’ve got no idea what you’re saying!

My manager’s voice booms, cutting off a question I had only just started to ask.

I could feel my face turn hot, my ears starting to ring as I repeat my question.

Ah, see you just gotta speak up. No one can ever hear what you’re saying! He straightened up, a whole foot and a half above me, and refilled his coffee cup. Probably his sixth cup of the day, but I guess that’s normal.

There’s all sorts of things I want to say in response…

Mariam Khan

Designer, cofounder, bookworm, agony aunt-for-hire. I think everything is better with cake and kittens.

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