Just a little over a year ago, I heard a lecture recording on SoundCloud that made me feel all kinds of ways and even got me all teary and sentimental with inspiration and joy. It was a recording of Alan Watts talking about the importance of knowing what one desires and to pursue it.
I heard this track at a time in my life when yet again I felt uninspired and disconnected with my inner self. I was not happy, like at all. I would wake up in the morning with a heavy sigh, drag myself to the bathroom, dress up and then drag myself out to the office. I would spend my days looking out the window and day dreaming half the time. When the day would end, I’d pack up my sh*t and drag myself back home where I’d cook myself an okay dinner, start a series on Netflix and binge watch till I fell asleep. And repeat.
Yes, I did have days when I would wake up with inspiration oozing out of my soul and I’d feel motivated to tackle the day head on but those days were rare and I wasn’t ever sure when they’d happen in the first place. My sense of enjoyment or relaxation ended up consisting of heading to a bar drinking my boredom away while complaining endlessly about how dull everything is.
Now, I was in fact blogging and running my Instagram at the time and would tell myself how I am working on my dream. That working on my Instagram and my blog of sorts was me heading in the right direction – umm, not really. Even though I knew what I desired: to live a creative life with no boundaries and complete autonomy, to travel whenever and wherever I liked, to be my own boss – I never bothered to ask the why. 

If you know the why, you can live any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche
soul of orion
soul of orion

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You see, while I knew what my heart desired, I lacked the reasoning behind it. I didn’t really ponder over the why and thus, ended up going through a series of ruts where I’d take a break from my blog then pick it up again just to take another break yet again. It got so bad to the point that I remember looking at my blog posts and literally finding three posts back to back explaining why I am away or why I decided to change things on the blog. I remember thinking to myself what a train wreck myself and my blog might seem to people and bam! I took another break just from the anxiety I got from that thought – smh.
Fast forward to last summer when the start up I was working for decided to take a break leading me to decide that I want to pursue blogging and designing full time – I had enough of dreaming and was really getting frustrated for not doing anything about it! I wrote all about it here.
So, I quit my job – yet again – and decided on going full time but it wasn’t as I expected it to be. I was still in a rut and I still hadn’t bumped into the inspiration and motivation I was expecting post quitting – great. I remember I even had moments of horrible anxiety attacks when I’d blame myself for being so reckless and not knowing where I am headed and thus, spent the first few months just working on my mental wellness and overcoming the struggles of my mind. I was also doing full time school at the time which didn’t really help and only pushed me further in the rut – ugh.
By the end of summer, I was packed up to move back west, to the suburbs, back with my mom, leaving the bright lights behind – bam! another anxiety episode asking myself, why am I doing all this? Is it worth the struggle and the change? Especially when I have no idea what I am going to be doing? All questions ignored and bottled up, I just kept going with the plan, which wasn’t really a plan.
It was now September and I was still stuck in the rut which had started becoming a semi-permanent state in my life at the time. New semester started at school and I told myself to just focus on that for now and everything else will come – yeah, okay, Fatima. I also had a trip to San Francisco planned that month and again told myself since travelling is what I wanted this should help me get out of my rut automatically – it did not. I came back from the trip exhausted, tired and super duper stressed out as I had now missed an entire week from school and had to play catch up immediately upon my return. It was bad. I spent the remainder of the month tackling projects while constantly nailing myself down for not doing much with the blog or my creative studio. I was running out of money and it was not looking good.
Then a month later, I had another trip. This time it was to Mexico for a friend’s wedding which I decided to turn into an adventure and explore Tulum. So I did, with my two other friends and it was actually not so bad. In fact, it was during this trip that I had the epiphany to consider the why of my what. 
Tulum was a dream and exactly what I needed. During the trip I spent some time by the beach just reflecting and really thinking about the roller coaster that had been my life as of late. I thought about what I wanted to do and realized I hardly pondered over the why. However, even though I started considering the why during the trip it wasn’t in fact a month or so later that I came across an answer. For, as soon as I returned from the trip I had to go back to playing catch up at school and since the finals were upon us right after I didn’t really have the time to think much about it – however, the seed was planted and it was only a matter of time before I went back to it and expanded more on it.
Fast forward two months, I now found myself with a rebranded creative studio site having a strong brand direction and theme in place: storytelling. I was pumped and happy that at least if not the blog my studio site is dealt with. As for the blog I started considering embracing my artsy roots and turning my Instagram and blog content theme to a more conceptual driven content that would reflect the artist in me. Great plan!
So I explored this for a few weeks, almost close to a month and bam! start seeing myself going in the rut again. What the f*ck! I thought I got it this time?! Well, obviously I did not. You see, even though I had pondered over the importance of considering my why while on my trip to Mexico, I didn’t really ponder over the answer in itself, I never got to it in the first place, I just went with the first thought that came to my mind: be more artsy, and went with it.
Right there and then, I decided that enough is enough and for real this time. Frustrated with myself beyond imagination, I sat down with myself and really started nailing this why down:
– Yes, I want to make my blog more artsy and my Instagram to be deeper conceptually because I feel I want to reflect on the artist that I want to be
– Awesome! Why though? Why do you really want to do that?
– Hmmm… I guess it’s because I want to be artsy and not appear like someone too basic who is all about everyday life and fashion?
– Okay, but why? What truly is the reason behind this desire?
– Ugh I just told you!
– No, dig deeper
– Ugh fiiiine… Well, I don’t know it’s what I told you! I can’t think of any other reason…
– Could it be that you are seeking external validation from, perhaps, other artsy people?
– Huh?
– Like perhaps you are trying to impress the ones who impress you with their art?
– Oh… my… god… Yes!
– So do you think that’s a good enough reason as to why?
– Umm… maybe?
– No… it really isn’t because in the end you’re still doing it for the external self and you will end up in the rut again which you have already started to head towards.
-You’re right, I do feel uninspired again and being super deep with my work has started to get dull and heavy to be honest. I actually want to document my life more and not have any constraints as to what I post whether that is lifestyle, fashion, art, travel. I want my blog to be about all of me not just a part of it.
– Great! Now we are getting somewhere. So, what else is it that you are scared of?
– Umm, I guess I am afraid of looking as a sell out, you know to monetize my blog and have sponsorships or doing posts that are sort of commercialish in nature?
– Why?
– Because I am afraid I’d be judged for being that person who… ummm… who… –
– Needs to make a living?
– Errr… wow! Yeah… I see your point now.
– Even the people you admire so much artistically need to make money and they do by either having a regular day job or doing other things to make ends meet.
– Oh, I never thought of it like that…
– Yeah, and again, it doesn’t matter what they are doing or not doing. You gotta focus on yourself first and foremost. Realize what you need above your superficial want like getting admiration from fellow artists and going for that first. You said you want to be autonomous and have the freedom to travel and explore and be your own boss, yes?
– Hehe, yes
– Well you gotta make money for that by doing what you love. You can’t just do what you love and expect to survive without having a monetizing strategy.
– Ahh, you’re right, you’re right.
– So, start over and consider the why and the what.
And so boom! I came up with my what: to be a creative and my own boss and my why: to be free financially, professionally, and personally – so I can travel and explore myself and the world without the worries and the stress, to be sincerely happy!
So, as you may have noticed, I have started to shift my blog to be more me and to not restrict myself to external validation or even personal judgement like being more artsy and not too simple? For a lack of better word. And, thanks to a lot of bloggers and content creators who have started talking about the stigma relating to sponsored posts and monetized content. It’s important to realize that content creators and bloggers need to make an income. I know I fell prey to that mindset and I am glad I had such wonderful beings help me get past that.
Thus, the blog and my studio will be a place where I’ll explore all parts of me as a person and an artist while realizing my needs and my wants – both – at all times! Because you see, knowing the why: to be free (especially financially) I now will not shy away from the blog or the studio, in fact I will work on it harder and show up every day because it is my job now and because I want to as well. Before, I considered it a mere want with no substantial basis behind it and though this consideration was a subtle one, it caused me to lack the inspiration and motivation needed to continue working on it every day and to show up no matter what and so I repeatedly ended up taking breaks, slacking and ultimately not getting what I wanted in the first place: to be free, to travel, to create.
So, moral of my story(ies), consider your what (very important) but also consider the why behind it all (even more important) and since we are all ever-evolving entities it is vital to keep visiting these two from time to time and evolve with them, not without them.
I know this was a long read and I thank you for reading this mile long reflection (rant). Now that all of this is out of the bottle, I can confidently say this will be the last time I get trapped in a rut (fingers crossed) and while I will take some breaks – as we all need them from time to time – I will continue working on myself and my inner workings to not fall prey to external validations of all sorts and falling into the rut as a result.
Until next time, my darlings!

xo fatima

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Fatima Zehra

Fatima Zehra

A dreamer and a storyteller at heart, Fatima's aim in life is to live as creatively as possible while inducing intention in everything she does as of late. It is because of such intention that Soul of Orion was born. A playground free of rules, fear of expectations and the likes, where she can freely express herself and her work as well as chronicle her journey of being, called life.

One Comment

  • Zehra says:

    If you do get trapped in a rut again – cause life is very long and never say never – just realize that you totally can snap out of it! While also realizing that ruts help us answer big questions- so they aren’t all bad!
    Hugs* congrats on being rut free again!