Every morning I wake up, grab my phone and check my email.
Work. Work. Work. Some more work. Facebook.
Thank you, your application has been received! New styles at Nordstrom... Work. Work.
And then, here they come -- hate mail. Death threat. Death threat. Death threat.
It's become so routine -- even expected. I'm not sure why, but I'm no longer bothered by them. Maybe I've become so desensitized, unafraid and unmoved.
To give you an idea, this is just one of the few messages I find in my cluttered inbox:
You Muzlim b*tch go bak 2 your country where ur men stone u and bury u alive. I will torture u alive + rape u as ur ISIS father is watching then I will kill u both. I will kill ur entire family.
My blood begins to boil.
These messages are found everywhere, including my social media.
The profile picture is always typical, and a bit cliché, if you ask me: a white middle-aged man proudly holding the American flag with some racist/bigoted caption saying America doesn't want Muslims.
Poor thing, he seems confused. But I'm just as confused as he is.
You want to rape, torture and kill me because you think I'm part of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
ISIS rapes, tortures, kills and beheads.
You are ISIS.
Thoughts begin to race in my mind. I stop myself. I press delete. Empty my trash can. And go on with my day.
As I wait for the Metro, I make sure not to stand too close to the platform. And when the Metro comes, I take five steps back and look for a wall to stand in front of. I look to my left. I look to my right. No human is standing near me.
I may be paranoid, but the thought of being pushed in front of a train enters my mind at least twice a day -- going to work and coming home.
I am Muslim. No, no. Let me correct myself: I'm a visible Muslim. I wear a hijab. I'm easily spotted and can easily be mistaken for a terrorist.
When I go for a walk... Who am I kidding? I don't go for walks for fun. I can't. It's too risky.
But when I do happen to walk outside, I turn and look back behind me more than I should have to.
When I speak, I make sure people can hear my "American" accent. I desperately want them to know, I'm one of you.
I'm also afraid of ISIS. I live in the capital that ISIS threatened to "strike."
I'm afraid of the backlash Muslims will face, and believe it or not, I'm afraid for the very same reason you are, too.
Because you see, ISIS wouldn't save me over you. They would kill us both.
If only you could see that.