Posted in Health, Life

2018: The Year of Self-Care

2017 really tried a sista, and if I take one thing away from the year that was, it’s I did not take time for me. I received a very demanding yet rewarding promotion at work (an actual highlight) that literally consumed everything in me. I was so focused on proving that I deserved this promotion (Duh, why would I get promoted if I already hadn’t proven myself?) that I neglected myself—physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I often worked ten plus hours a day and many Saturdays (with no overtime!) because I wanted to be the woman! Coupled with my indie editing side-hustle, which I find equally rewarding and satisfying, I had no time for me, Patrice.

Sleep (what’s that?) was often an afterthought where I averaged anywhere from five and a half to six and a half per weeknight. I was lucky to clock in up to ten on the weekends.

Eating was often on-the-go. Fast food from Five Guys to Fridays kept me full, broke, and malnourished (I still love you, Five Guys ❤ ).

What free time I did have I spent vegged out in front of the TV or social media, fawning over people, places, and things.

So, what does this all have to do with minimalism? E-VE-RY-THING!!

I was a prime example of “unmindful” living. Nothing I did was with focus or intent. When existing on auto-pilot, you do what is necessary to simply survive or get by. All of these things attributed to my wasting money—eating out daily for at least two of my meals, internet shopping, extra doctor’s visits (which means extra co-pays) because my body was telling me, Not today, Satan…

I have vowed to make 2018 the year of me. Self-care has always carried this stigma (at least to me) of selfishness. If you put yourself first then you don’t care about anyone else. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How can you give yourself to others while neglecting the mind and body that sustains you? I came to this realization when I literally looked in the mirror and saw dark circles, overgrown chin hairs, chipped, uneven nails, a larger than usual stomach pooch…

Now,  I know I have just described the physical manifestations of my lack of self-care, but looking your best is also part of feeling your best. It’s not vain or selfish to take an hour or two out of your week to pamper yourself physically. In fact, I need to add that to my self-care goals. And no, you don’t necessarily need to spend money to do it. But if spending $60 on a mani/pedi every two weeks is part of your self-care must-haves, then by all means, do you, boo…

By incorporating some mindful self-care rituals into my daily life, I know my minimalism journey will only be less rocky and more maintainable.

 

Posted in less is more, Life, Musings

Goodbye 2017

2017 Wrap Up

 

I’ma keep it real: 2017 was an incredibly shitty year for me. Now, we all endure different levels of shit, and while I have a job and a roof over my head (for which I am grateful every, single day), I am not happy. I’m not happy with this clusterfuck I call a life, and do you know how I self-medicate? I buy shit. Yup, if I’m feeling down or if I’m mad at the world (and there’s plenty to be mad at), Amazon or Gap or my IG feed is a literal click away, and BOOM! “Thank you for your order” never felt so good! “Your order has shipped” was fucking euphoric!

And this is why I have not posted a thing since October. I really thought that adopting this freer, cleaner, leaner lifestyle would be easy. NOT! When you’re raised with a consumerist mindset, that having “things”, quality, expensive things, is the ultimate sign of success then you are destined for failure. Especially when you don’t have a plan. Especially when you think just by getting rid of all of your shit that you’re suddenly a minimalist.

Welcome to The Brown Sugar Minimalist…

I’m ready now. I really am. How so? What makes things different from the first time you decided to “become a minimalist”.

Whereas the first time, there was this need to just purge and live with less and label myself a “minimalist”, this time, the desire to want to live simpler—and save some damn money in the process — is burning a hole in my soul.

Speaking it into existence

2018 will be a new beginning. I’m not saying it’s going to be a piece of cake because like a drug addict, the cravings never truly go away. But the desire, the wanting to do better, to be better, to live better is more powerful. I’ll continue to use this blog to hold myself accountable — and to call myself out.

I’ll be back on the 1st to list my 2018 goals beyond. Happy Holidays and Merry New Year!

 

Posted in Money Matters, Musings

The Holidays Are Coming, and I’m Nervous AF!

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only October 16th, but do you realize Christmas is nine weeks away?! I am a sucker for Christmas-the grandeur and excess of it. Yes, I admit it. It’s my most feel-good time of year, and I soak it all up.

But this year, I am determined to incorporate my new lifestyle into Christmas. I usually go all out with the decorating and gift-buying (not only for others but myself!) This year is going to be different -except when it comes to my babies. My nieces, affectionately known as my babies, are four and fourteen months. I will not cheat them out of the wonderment of a consumerist Christmas. Their parents are gonna spoil them rotten anyway…

This year, gift-giving will take some careful thinking and advanced planning. I am making all the gifts and cards that I plan to give this year (Thank goodness I’m an introvert and don’t have many friends. Ha!) I am a quiet observer. I pay attention to what the people I love like and care about and I plan to use that to curate my gift-giving this year. I’m both excited and nervous because my thoughts and intentions don’t always pan out the way I envision them.

But more importantly, I am nervous about all the temptation that will surround me once holiday ads are in full force. Pray for me…

Posted in Money Matters, Purging

Wait! I’m Spending Money!

I think I’m going about this all wrong. When I started this journey, I had a vision, but what I didn’t have was a plan. I literally decided one day that I was going to do this and belly-flopped into it. I just started pulling shit out of my closets and drawers and packing up stuff that I thought was done with.

Uhh, dumbass, you needed that!!!

I miss my sofa. And my coffee table. And my computer stand. Yes, I got rid of all of those things! That was over a year ago. In their place, I decided to “downsize” and buy smaller, more streamlined pieces. You know what I ended up replacing them with? A glorified futon, a fire engine red, metal coffee table, and one of those lap thingies that you rest your laptop on. All from Ikea. All still sitting in their original packaging. One year later.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Oh, that’s right. I wasn’t thinking. I tend to be an act first, think later person in just about every aspect of my life. Once again, mindfulness is essential in adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. See, I got so caught up, listening to all these minimalist gurus who raved about how ridding your life of “things” make for a happier, more productive “you”. But that ain’t me!!! I like having “things” because not only are some of them necessary, but they actually do make me a happier, more productive me.

So, now, I find myself replacing the things I got rid of because I took the “less is more” mantra to the extreme. Living light doesn’t mean getting ride of every damn thing. It simply means getting rid of the things you know you don’t need or no longer use. Stop trying to be like Minnie Minimalist who can survive with two plates, a fork, one pot, and a wine glass. And for goodness sake, don’t get rid of your sofa if all you do is lay around and watch TV or read books. Am I buying a new sofa? Hell no! I’m stuck with this futon indefinitely. I don’t do a lot of entertaining, but after a long day, it would be nice to chill somewhere besides my bed without having to contort my body just to fit into it.

Lesson learned…

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Posted in Life, Musings, Purging

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye…

So, I was thinking to myself; Self, how can I live lighter and still keep the things around me that make me smile yet not junk up the place?

Make them functional and purposeful!

I love owls (except when the bastards are attacking eagle nests with the little eaglets in them!). I love their big, bug eyes, their majestic plumage, and those damned hooked beaks. But what I don’t love is a house full of owl shit that just sits collecting dust.

So, instead of dedicating a shelf or wall full of crazy owl tchotchkes, I decided to cutify my kitchen with some owl salt and pepper shakers and a scrubber dish (I really needed this because I was just sitting my used SOS pad on the edge of the sink, and it was gross!)

And looky, looky! I also found some owl candles! Okay, so, technically I could’ve done without these, but they were marked down to $2.00 after Christmas last year, and I always lose power during a really bad storm, so there! Shut.it.

My point is that you don’t have to give up the things you love and bring you joy if you can find functional, purposeful uses for them. Now, if I could only make art with all these useless lipsticks I have…

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