Earlier this year, before life got in the way and caused us all to stumble, my wonderful friend and kindred spirit Arshia Jagtap interviewed me, picking my brain on all things art, blogging, education, achievement and more. Months have since passed and I hope to have her presence grace this blog in the near future. For now, may this serve as my reintroduction to new and old faces alike. I’m so grateful you choose to be here and see through my lens for these precious moments in time. After you’re done reading, find your way to Arshia’s page for musings on philosophy, politics, spirituality, tarot, music, travel, photography, film and books. I guarantee you’ll be just as enamoured with her work as I am.
When asked for an honest introduction of who you are, what would you say?
I’ve heard it be said that the most honest introductions are those with no mention of labels. Nothing to hide behind or be overly defined by. It’s a freeing notion and a great existential question to nut out. Who am I truly in a world where I could be anyone? If you were to frame things this way, it’d be the perfect opportunity to go inward and spend time in deep reflection. You’d see that your focus would turn away from external talents and hobbies to intrinsic qualities. You’d have to speak about your heart, not your fortes. Bar this, I usually introduce myself through the work I do, my passions and my experiences that speak to growth, development and evolution into a more authentic self. Read on if you’re interested!
“Lukewarm is no good. A half hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Average people enter into the endeavours headlong and without care.”
Hello lovelies, I’m Maryam! A minimalist, intersectional feminist and creatively driven teen from sunny Sydney. I’m a lifestyle, wellness, travel and fashion blogger. I’m currently undertaking undergraduate studies at Billy Blue College to get my Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration. I’m a self proclaimed iced coffee fanatic and avid fan of indie music and bohemian styling. On and off, I pursue work in the social media field as an influencer, partnering with clean beauty, home decor brands and the like to bring you my top picks.
I’m a dedicated, heart driven creative and visual storyteller pursuing a beautiful life while empowering others to do the same. I’ve mastered capturing magic in the mundane. I want my work to speak to others, my vision to be clear. I strive to always walk in authenticity and originality, to keep faith over fear and root myself in intentionality. Design is the lens we use to see the world through fresh eyes. It is the function of beauty and a way to channel the innate gifts we’re blessed with. It is living, breathing art that tells a unique story. It is an extension of self and the way we wish to be seen.
Design reaches its full expression through the blending of aesthetic and functionality. Art is elemental. It is a constant in human ecosystems, ever present and valuable. My only hope is that my creative work ignites a fire in you and serves as a reminder that boundless thinking and straying from the well beaten path pays off. Why be a follower when you can be an innovative, determined leader, working alongside ever thoughtful and brilliant minds? Expanding the bounds of my comfort zone has seen me take increased artistic license and grow in self confidence and assurance.
Creative work will always call to me and I doubt I’ll be able to resist. Infinitelyadaydreamer and I have been growing alongside each other since twenty fifteen- over the years it’s become a sacred space to share and has brought me a loyal and dedicated community, all of whom I owe so much to. I will always extend a hand of gratitude towards those who support my livelihood and encourage me to bring my dreams to fruition. On that note, I’m so glad you’re here. I blog consistently about lifestyle, beauty, wellness, minimalism, productivity, travel and share weekly inspiration every monday. If this holds appeal or piques your interest, feel free to have a look around. I hope you’re well friend- sending lots of love and light your way!
What do you think are some of the most important things blogging has given you?
Above all else, blogging has taught me the value of consistency, dedication, hard work and encouraged me never to settle for being less than when I know I’m capable of more. I’m no superhuman and I have my fair share of days where I can’t find the motivation to blog. I’m so inspired by my craft and it continues to bring out sides to me that had been lying dormant for too long. I’ll often find myself putting words to experiences I hadn’t been able to sufficiently understand in my mind.
Being a writer has given me the unique opportunity to flesh out anything and everything I’m curious about and get to the core of it through exploration of the nitty gritty. Beyond that, I’ve found connection with the most incredible circle of like minded, driven individuals who I have the honour of calling friends. My generation is so passionate and intentional about making a mark and leading purposeful lives that go beyond the traditional and the mundane. We dare to dream bigger than ever before.
As a passionate blogger do you think there is any right way to prioritising work, productivity, self care, and hobbies? What have you learnt about this from the journey you’ve had so far?
My personal life is a priority whereas school never was for me. There was no competition as to where I’d focus my attention up until now. In High School I was a fairly average student but a good blogger and content creator. I’d use class time free of set work to tackle blogging and remain on top of my schedule whilst my friends frittered away their time on Netflix and chat sites. Now that I’ve started college and am gathering experience towards the career I care about, I’m reevaluating and making the necessary shifts.
Social media creation and blogging remain a priority and a way for me to stay connected, find my voice and exercise my passions. I could never let go of that- after all, it fills my cup and re energises me for essential tasks. Life is busy and giving time to different aspects of it can feel like a balancing act where you’re constantly towing a fine line. Unpleasant, yes, but this inevitably gets better as you slip into a routine that works for you. I like to work out where I’m directing my blocks of time and what my energy is being spent on.
There are always going to be non negotiable tasks that require focus and completion, just as there are times in our schedules spent non productively and towards useless pursuits. Excess scrolling, too much consumption of content from others, sitting around needlessly except for when you’re actively resting. Sometimes I’ll create content on the go when in the car- I’ll take to the WordPress app and write out my weekly recap, sort through pictures for upcoming posts, create a fresh list of post ideas, schedule drafts that are ready and waiting, make edits where needed. There’s a lot that can be done in a non formal setting.
What also helps is having a schedule. I like lots of down time and I’m not the busiest person. I am much healthier and happier in the mind when I allow myself that slack and work in morning sleep ins, long phone calls with my partner and the like. When it comes to social media and WordPress, I know that my Instagram schedule involves a feed or reel post on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday and my blog schedule posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ll have that content prepared ahead of time, especially for Instagram where I use preview, a feed organisation app. I have a few months worth of content ready to go as needed. I try not to leave things to the last minute as I don’t work well under pressure and prefer to give each task my full attention.
You’ve mentioned in your posts about how you’re soon going to (or have just) graduated High School. What’s one lesson you learnt in High School that you hope to carry forward with you?
Haha, yes! I’m still in that honeymoon stage where I’m excited to talk about my studies so here goes nothing! I’m a seventeen year old Diploma of Interior Design student at a College called Billy Blue in Ultimo, Sydney. I started last week and have been enjoying the peaceful drives there and back. Some days we go over the Harbour Bridge which is always a treat. Makes me feel like a big city girl in someplace fancy like New York!
I attend college three consecutive days a week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The first two days are from eight in the morning to eleven and then the last day is eleven thirty am to two thirty in the afternoon. Despite being a night owl and struggling with the incredibly early start, I like feeling as if the day is still new and I can get so much done after class. Wednesday is the day where I get some reprieve.
I don’t know if High School taught me as much as I taught myself the years I was there. I had hoped that the syllabus would cover important life skills but if it did, it skimmed over them fairly quickly. Beyond learning to bake cupcakes and put together a ramen bowl, beyond learning to sew and write neatly, I want to know how to combat hustle culture, how to say no to toxic productivity and burnout. How to focus on mental health. How to pay bills, fix a tyre, identify healthy and unhealthy relationships, how to keep a steady job or start a business. There is no spotlight on what really matters.
Since leaving school and starting college, I’ve figured out the importance of being a self guided learner and taking a genuine interest in the work in front of me. I’ve sat in a room full of people that are eager for knowledge, hungry for betterment. People who aren’t sneaking glances at their phones or yawning through yet another irrelevant and inapplicable lecture on this or that. Further education is for people who wish to take their skills further and put them into action, not for those who show up out of obligation or because they believe the traditional path is all that will work for them.
With so much talk about self-care nowadays, we have many different versions of what it means to care for yourself, so what does self-care look like to you? How do you pick yourself up when you’re having a bad day?
Self care means something different to me each and every day. Sometimes it means smashing out work that has piled up and is playing on my mind. It means organising myself before a deadline is looming. It means doing the initial preparation for a task that will make it easier and less daunting. Other days I take a break and realign with my purpose and figure out a game plan for where I want to go next. Lately, self care has looked like taking steps towards turning my ideals into reality and incorporating slow and sustainable healthy changes into my routine.
Dabbing essential oils onto my pulse points when I feel frazzled and scattered, drinking a glass of green juice over coke, cooking a flavourful and delicious meal or opting for my favourite takeaway, having a spa bath, doing my skincare routine, flicking through an issue of Frankie magazine, scrolling through Pinterest, chatting to my loved ones, binge watching a riveting feel good series on Netflix and taking time to laugh and not be so serious. If I feel the need to, I’ll pop on a song that gets me in my feels and have a good cry. It’s not about weakness, not about having a hard time or being a downer- it’s a simple emotional release and a great way to get out what’s been pent up!
Looking back at how you’ve grown and the things you’ve accomplished or even the dreams you’ve built in the hope of realising, what is something you are really proud of?
I’m really proud of how I built myself back up from the ground and made immense progress in my personal life. I made a full mental health recovery. Through a depression diagnosis, attempts to take my life, sexual assault, illness, toxic relationships and the like, I’ve struggled across the board. I really have. What I kept holding onto throughout was God Given Purpose.
I knew I was not put on this earth merely to struggle, to be heartbroken, to watch myself transform into somebody unrecognisable. I made peace with the fact that perhaps this wasn’t my time and that’s okay. I would have my turn in the light, even if there was some struggle and strife along the way. I’m much happier and content having resurfaced on the other side of what haunted me. I live with my face turned towards the sun, choosing to believe that I am in the driver’s seat and control the direction of my life. I hold the pen and determine my destiny now.
This mindset has seen me heal and blossom incredibly. I’ve built a brand and a name for myself. I’ve simplified my circle and surrounded myself with those who have kind hearts and good spirits. I’ve had the courage to say a big affirmative yes to what calls to me and a stern no to what isn’t mine. I’ve scored scholarships, written a novel on a whim over the course of a month, been a friend when others are in need, stood up for causes I support wholeheartedly and sought to be the person I always needed.
If you could speak to yourself from a decade ago, what would you say? Would you even take the opportunity should it come your way?
I suppose there is always something to be learnt in each new season of life. If I could speak to my younger self, I’d tell her she was and always will be my better half. She knew days of sunshine and innocence and had a boundless imagination and carefree nature. I will always miss those easygoing days and look at them through nostalgic rose tinted glasses.
What I’ve found most difficult about growing older and becoming a young adult is how reality sets in. Nothing is quite as it seems anymore. Instead of feeling small in comparison to the big world, I feel that I am almost too large for life. I can now walk through the maze-like store of Ikea in twenty minutes and there is a certain acute disappointment in knowing that. I didn’t grow out of wanting to live in their display homes though. Chances are I’ll probably always feel that way.
Beyond that, I don’t want to run out of firsts. It feels like so many have passed me by just in the last couple of years. There is a zest and excitement that comes with experiencing something with fresh eyes. Having no idea of the outcome and just settling for guesses. There are so many experiences that have come as rites of passage in our society- your first kiss, first partner or love, first home, first time driving, first day of high school, college and so forth.
After those heavier questions this is something I really like asking people: If you had to choose any piece of art as a representation of yourself (be it a song, book, movie, painting, sculpture, or anything else) which would you choose and why?
I have a favourite piece that really resonates with me- It’s called ‘Maybe That Boy Just Wanted A Taste Of The Sun’ by srwpoetry and it goes as such: “They tell me I’m fussy with lovers, with books, with music. I tell them that I would rather freeze than be lukewarm. I tell them that if it doesn’t set me on fire, then no thank you, I don’t want it. It’s taken me years to confess that I would rather be alone than settle. The truth is that I cannot stand the taste of in-betweens. Half measures will never be a part of me and contentment will never be my currency. If it cannot fill me up to the brim, I don’t see the point of it. I want all or nothing and I’m okay with it. And they say “Girl, how do you think a wildfire starts? From a spark. Relationships need kindling.” And I cannot make them understand that I am not afraid to build on things, to work hard and relentlessly on something, but I must stop apologising for the fact that, truth be told, I cannot seem to want a love that doesn’t engulf me. Someone told me that once you’ve tasted fire, you crave it, no matter how badly it burns your tongue. They weren’t wrong. Maybe Icarus knew what he was doing all along.”
I also feel a strong connection to a couple of artists and their songs. There is a band called Daughter that always manages to draw me into a cocoon of homeliness with their music. I found reprieve and renewal in their thoughtful lyrics while I was in the depth of my mental health struggle. Even now, I’m brought a sense of peace, longing and nostalgia when I revisit these tunes from my past. Shallows, How, Youth, Smother, Run, Home, Peter. Each told a story of wildness, of taming, of love, of loss. They were the soundtrack to many years of my life. I even wrote a short story based on one of the songs. It was about a woman who had lost her husband to Alzheimer’s and, to this day, I’m proud of it.
The Cranberries are another legendary band that draw out waves of deeply soulful emotion from me. Linger and Zombie. Two hauntingly beautiful singles that will remain classics and stand the test of time. Dolores O’Riordan was an incredible visionary and I will always be sorry I didn’t get to meet her.
Last but not least is Runaway by Galantis. I was eleven when the song was released and feeling really dissatisfied with my place in life. I was about to enter high school imminently and was afraid of such a big change. In a way I never got used to it and I spent the entirety of year seven pretending I wasn’t there.
From years three to six in Primary school I attended an Islamic college that went from kindergarten to year twelve. I hated it there because it was stifling and didn’t represent the person I was. I felt incredibly oppressed and like nobody saw or heard me. Runaway is a song about a star who wishes to be seen through her mask, both literally and metaphorically. She feels as if her best bet at not being taken at face value, at being rediscovered again and finding genuine love, is through the process of becoming a stranger. Of wandering through the city free and uninhibited. Of being without expectation or reason. To borrow another YouTuber commenter’s words, I miss this song. It marked my life.
“So tell us about life since we last saw you..”
“Oh, it’s been a wild year. I can’t go anywhere now without being recognised or stopped for my autograph. I don’t mind really but most of the time it gets in the way of making real connections.”
“Ah, that’s better. I think when you’ve been burned by love, it’s hard to open yourself up again. I guess I’ve stopped looking but I’m remaining open.”
“They say, searching for love is like searching for yourself. When you find love, you find yourself because they are the same.”
“But it’s a lonely city. Sometimes I walk all night without being seen.”
Imagine a scenario where you have to make a time capsule for yourself in the future. What are five things that you would most certainly keep in it?
Hmm- as a minimalist, I should be able to answer this question with relative ease. It should be a no brainer. Over the years though, I’ve tried my very best to curate my life. To select only the best, exclude the superfluous and carefully arrange all the parts to create a beautiful whole.
In other words, “Don’t settle for nice, for pleasant, for familiar. Keep looking until you find something that really moves you, that resonates with your core. And I mean this for people, for interests, for hobbies, for your possessions, clothes, music, books, art. Everything. Curate every aspect of your life as much as you can. It’s in the things that deeply inspire us that we find ourselves. Surround yourself with truth and you’ll have built yourself a heaven.”
If I had to keep a time capsule for myself in the future, it’d contain polaroid pictures, trinkets from my various travels such as shells and plane tickets, heirloom jewellery from my grandparents time that has been passed to me, a letter to my future self and a list of kindnesses that have been done unto me. A practice I encourage that has helped me cultivate a heart of gratitude is to keep record of sweet messages of affirmation I’ve received. I’ll take a screenshot to refer back to in moments of doubt or when I feel down!