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The Aram

with Tahmina Begum
The Aram's first event is here! The Aram Live is part of a series under Screen Shot and Selina hotels. The three-part evening will consist of a creative reflective workshop followed by a 3-course vegan dinner plus after-dinner entertainment. Buy a ticket here
Three Sundays ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends was sitting on my bed, explaining to me how she knew she wanted to marry her partner. How it was because there was no reason not to and any doubts she had about the general future were ones we were all laden with. She married him a Sunday later.
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Ten days ago, I was consulting my women’s health specialist over my irregular periods and bouts of insomnia, asking how do we navigate our bodies transitioning out of old habits when we mentally know better? To which she replied: any new knowledge around our health shouldn't become inflexible frameworks with which to punish ourselves. There should be breathing space for mistakes and change, as one step back usually means a step forward.

Six days ago, I had a picnic in the park with a newer friend in which the topic of our romantic lives came up. We spoke about how sometimes you have to learn the same lesson over and over again, in order to remember what you will no longer tolerate. How trying to hold onto an idea you once dreamt up is the same as dragging around a fantasy that has no bearing in reality. The question remains: have we found aram in this loop because we don't want to face the lives in front of us?

Four days ago, with our arms wrapped around each other, my grandmother stroked my back with her soft, strong and slow gardener hands, muttering and spreading words of ease. Just in the way wisdom senses impatience, she was reminding me to let things be.
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The link I found between all these stories is trust. Trust in a partner and the friendship and commitment built over time. Trust in that you're doing your best and then leave it up to whoever you may believe in. Trust in that whatever is supposed to be for you, will be for you, and just as it says in Quranic scripture, it will better than what you left behind. Trust in just being, instead of constantly doing in order to prove your self-worth. 
We talk so much about trust when it comes to relationships and infidelity that we rarely talk about trusting ourselves. And I mean, really trusting ourselves. When it’s not pretty. When it feels like a blank, uncharted space and you're half-bracing yourself for what's to come.
The kind of trust that throws the comfort of insecurities in the air and simply says, ‘well, why not me?’ The kind of trust in oneself and therefore others, that sometimes gets put to the side because of all the noise. You know the kind you only notice when you get a moment to yourself and realise, oh, it's me that kept going regardless of anything else. Oh, it's this heart that keeps pumping blood around my body even when I'm unable to value it’s constant maintenance. Oh, it's me that keeps caring when there are so many reasons to be jaded and oh, it’s pretty great that I care about remaining soft when the world is doing its best to make me anything but warm. 
I have spent most of my life worrying. Worrying about one thing until something else came up. I have spent most of my life worrying because like so many women, it's how we've been taught to show we care. And it's such bullshit because all it means is that we suffer both for performance and because we feel like we ought to. Then we torture ourselves while we wait for what feels like the inevitable and then if the worst comes true, we worry some more.
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When in actuality, trusting yourself has to be wider than your worries. Perhaps, this is why reflection is so vital. How will you ever see where you're going until you appreciate and trust how much you've already been doing?

But just like everything else, I believe trusting yourself happens in the small yet courageous acts. Maybe it's trusting that yes, taking this break from work is a good idea and yes, I will complete this goal in due time. It might be throwing out your own personal rule book on how you usually do things and trusting you'll always have your own back. Or trusting yourself could be something entirely new to you.

It’s so normal to be insecure about everything, so trust can feel idealised and all smooth surfaces. When in fact, trusting yourself happens in the bleakest of times because sometimes, what else is there left to try?

So here’s to trusting ourselves — because most things start from there.

With aram and bishash,


This newsletter is dedicated to Humayra and Nick, who I wish the sweetest of marriages to inshallah. 
The Aram is a bi-monthly newsletter that explores our relationship with ease and joy. In "Getting Aram With...", I ask a woman of colour and/or Muslim woman I admire, three questions surrounding her comforts.

#14 is Tazin Khan Norelius. Bangladeshi-American founder and CEO of Cyber Collective, a community-centered research organisation that educates the ways in which data and privacy impact consumers.

I highly recommend checking out the work Cyber Collective do. 
What's currently bringing you aram?

My ease and aram comes in the small moments. Looking for comfort during uncomfortable situations and making space for myself to seek out the ease I need.

For example, the past few weeks have been crazy busy. A great busy, the fun kind filled with friends and family but I am absolutely exhausted. My aram is coming from the silence of the past few days. Journaling. Writing letters to my friends with candles lit around me and Billie Holiday playing softly in the background.
You run Cyber Collective, a platform that teaches data and privacy impact to consumers, what do you do in terms of digital self-care?
I take my digital self-care very seriously! I had a habit of logging off every Friday from social media to truly connect with myself on the weekends. This has shifted a bit as my work shifted. For some time social media and the internet were more of a job for me than it was a release and recently it’s been the other way around.

I’ve allowed myself to take control of my relationship with the internet and socials, using it more for joy and not work. Which has guided me to disconnect from socials during the week more and indulge in them during the weekend. 

I don’t have notifications turned on for any apps on my phone and only allow location data to be accessed when absolutely necessary. I refuse to give location data to almost all my apps but the sad part is that data collection isn’t just about the individual but also about the people you’re around and their habits online. If you’re tagged in something on someone else’s page, the data collector has your information too. 

I digress ha, but either way, the internet is powerful and it's a good look to take a break from being connected to it. 

Spread the maya and tell me about a platform or person you'd like to bring light to.

 Hmm, there are so many damn people and platforms that have brought me an immense amount of joy and happiness; it’s hard to pick who or what. There’s an organisation called Holud Golap that creates “chari-tees” where 100% of the profits are donated to Restless Beings, a human rights charity that helps marginalised communities around the world. 

Things That Have Bought Me Aram Lately 

I've been nominated by National Diversity Awards 2021 for the Positive Role Model award and it's the last day to
 vote for me here. A big thank you if you do!

Articles I've Written 
Leaving Pots At The Door: All The Ways We Grieve And Say “I Love You”

Girl On Girl by Nella Rose
Always Be My Maybe 
Hola! I'm Tahmina Begum 👋🏾 I'm a writer, editor and creative consultant. The Aram is currently free to subscribers but it does take a labour of love to write and produce, so if you'd like to support, you can buy me a digital Ko-Fi. If you'd like to commission me for any work, feel free to check out my website

Images courtesy of @slow_roads @nowness and Tazin Khan Norelius

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