Uninspired Inspirations: How you Can Take Inspiration From a Place Where There is None
by Olivia Jade Khoury
I'm here, in this place, right now:
I think others call it..."purgatory"? the waiting room of life, with expired issues of HomeGoods and Ideal Home on the center tables. Everything tastes like chicken, I find myself wasting time going through "the most inspirational movies on Netflix of 2016" lists than actually watching them, and writing in my notebook has become a composition piece of my furious scribbling. Going through it, y'all.
The truth of it is that we have to go through it to get out of it. For creatives, or anyone for that matter, phases of uninspiration can feel like millions of years passing you by. Monotony. Hell. Torture. Misery. Suffering. Anguish. Woe. Meek Mill.
Well, I want you to know that being uninspired is okay. You aren't always going to have a consistent, overwhelming flow of ideas. Your mind works in waves (s/o MaxB) so you need to get to know the cycle of your left brain and the rhythm of your work ethic. This way, when the periods of 'rest' come over you, you won't overreact like i am right now.You'll be in control of the rut. The odds will forever be in your favor.
Things to consider...
While you go through a creative drought, it's how you conduct yourself in moments of the funk that really matter. set yourself up for your next creative cycle: Are you being proactive or reactive? Are you thinking ahead and trying to tap back into that place of your creative consciousness? Are you partaking in self-care and trying to recharge? Or are you reacting to the funk in a negative manner and burning yourself out? Phases of uninspiration could be your down time to actually go back and sharpen those pieces you've been working on the past couple of weeks. Go back and re-read those articles. Re-visit those goals you set for yourself and fine tune them.
When you dip a little bit, usually it's because you got a crazy climax coming to you in the near future. Don't doubt the dip. Being uninspired should be inspiration in itself. You feel like you're off the mark with your productivity? Go hard to get that feeling back together. With this motivation I bet you you'll find yourself making new routes to get back to that utopia you. Discover new music, read new authors, wear a different color. Open your soul a little. It's the willingness to discover diversity that eradicates the ambiguity in our life. The process of trying to become inspired again leads to new gems, usually igniting that flame that's been a-brewing.
How to make the uninspiration your bitch:
1. Ya betta recognize.
Are you just being a lazy ass? Recognize if you're blocked or if you're empty. Is your spirit full? Are you drained? If you're feeling blocked then there are simple things you can guide yourself into doing to gain that creative momentum back. Feeling blocked is usually a product of our own doing, our own resistance - laziness or negative thinking. If you feel like you are spiritually drained, there are other measures one can take to refill your soul's cup. Dig deep and ask questions. What are you searching for? What do you aspire to be/do? What keeps you going? either way, there's hope. You gon' be alright. Just know where you stand and from there you can guide yourself through funkytown.
2. Paint over the grey and wear it like a crown.
Meaning, take the opposite reaction of everything you feel like doing. When I was jobless and moneyless and myselfless, I wanted to stay in the house and suffer. My excuse was that I didn't want others to see me or interact with me because I wasn't my highest self; I wanted solitude to get work done; I just didn't fucking feel like it. Well, get over it. When you're in a rut, force yourself to do the opposite of whatever it is you're feeling. Not feeling cute? go put some makeup on and leave the house. Not feeling friendly? go talk to people. Smile. Be genuine. Feeling ugly? Take a selfie and post it on the gram. Watch it get likes. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. Be the opposite.
3. Write, and re-write, about yourself.
"SHE WANTS THAT OLD THING BACK." - Hov
Write out everything. Write your goals. Write your vision. Write where you see yourself in five years. In two years. In a month. In a week. In a day. In a few hours. Write a list about what you love. Write a list about what you're thankful for. Write a list about what you want. Write until you put yourself back in that space of where you were before the funk. Get your rhythm pop-lock-and-droppin' again. If you aren't a writer, watch those movies, re-visit your vision boards, stalk those Instagram models one mo'again. Do what you need to do to align yourself back in that space of creativity and productivity.
4. Do something a lil' freaky.
And when i say freaky, i mean out of your norm. Creatively. Ya little nasty. Hate horror flicks? Watch one. (Nothing from 2005 and beyond. I mean a good horror film). Never tried Indian food? Grab some friends and go try it. The point is, even if you don't find yourself enjoying it, the experience could be something to gain from. Hate to intellectualize it, but you could learn from that horror film or something about the culture of where you're dining. Hop out your box, your comfort zone, and go for it.
5. Just be.
This might be the most passive of the options, but going with the flow is sometimes the biggest way to be in control. It's okay to be uninspired, like I said. Going back to knowing if you're blocked or knowing if you're empty helps the process a million times more. If you're blocked, be blocked. Maybe you didn't need Iggy Azalea on your timeline anyway. Enjoy the resting moments. Enjoy the silence of your mind. Focus on self care and getting yourself pampered for the next go-round of productivity. When you have faith in your vision and in your work, there is no race to the finish line. Why are you in a rush to get to the next moment? Enjoy everything you just accomplished and just be. Exhale deeply.
Olivia Jade Khoury is a multi-faceted writer and creative engineer, exploring the intersections between self-development, wellness and art. She is devoted to pushing the agenda of self-love and creating a business for women. In her free time, she waters the flowers in her mind.
on intention: "The intention behind my work is: freedom through vulnerability. My vulnerability is my honesty and it’s how I communicate with others. I always want to express my highs, my pains, and my euphoria, in the most honest tongue possible so that others can find their own truths."
on commodification: "Mainstream media skins us alive and wears it as fashion, puts it in their renovated homes and calls it ‘new age’. It infuriates me a lot of the time, to see how we are appropriated in mainstream media. But, I am beginning to use what angers me as fuel to continue to create and praise those of us who are revolutionizing by being true to the art inside of us. We must continue to push past the inevitable and continue to create, to love, and to be."
on marginalized voices: "Marginalized voices need to be amplified because we are only given enough space to hear our own echoes. It is important to put others like us in the forefront and be united. If you can’t find your own voice, create a platform for others to use theirs."
a word: "To creatives, I say, feel every emotion that burns you and leaves you cold. Taste every tear. Drink in every sun, dance under every moon. Everything that surrounds us is a reflection of what we hold inside. It is our responsibility to project for others to see, feel, taste, hear. It is how we all connect at the root and promote unity. I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to feel everything."
on neglected topics in marginalized communities: "Mental health needs to be addressed and discussed; not only does it need to be addressed, it needs to be taught, so that we can understand what it is and how to treat it. In order to do this, our community needs to be educated about our past and where we come from, so that we can begin the root work. We need to teach our marginalized children about their beauty and their powers, but also about the reality of limitations that await them. In the same breath, we must instill the notion that anything is possible, so we do not allow the bud of fear to bloom, but water them with hope. Self-love needs to be taught, but in the scope of selflessness and not narcissism. Love yourself so it teaches others how to do the same. Because love is a mirror – you are a reflection of me, and I of you."
on re-framing the stereotypical identity: "We need to stop adopting terms that marginalize us to begin with. We need to stop labeling ourselves. That is a very act of marginalization. We are not minorities. We are not forsaken. In order to restore power in our communities we need to create platforms for others to speak: create clubs, build a newspaper, and hold events. This way, we can learn about each other and create opportunities to learn about other cultures different than our own, to activate empathy. The way we speak to one another needs to be re-thought and addressed: are we uplifting one another or using the tongue of the oppressor? Fostering diversity in our communities breaks the cycle of generational marginalization and develops representation for the younger people in our community."
on vulnerability: "Vulnerability will become comfortable when we are fully comfortable with ourselves. I believe that ‘vulnerability’ has a negative connotation and many of the people who are against it are because they associate weakness with vulnerability. The first step is to address the word and mold it to work for you. My vulnerability is simply me being me, unapologetically, at all times. For others it can mean something else, but I think the essence of vulnerability will be embraced when we all begin to embrace our power to be who we are meant to be. Self-healing, self-preservation and self-care are all synonymous to me. In order to operate on a level of truth I need to be practicing all three simultaneously and rigorously. The very act of doing these has helped me evolve into the artist I am today."