Black Minimalists: Cicely Renee
Cicely was featured in Black Minimalists on the Web Part Two.
When and why did you start your minimalist journey? What are your goals in living simply?
I started my minimalist journey Summer 2015. I realized I was stressed and it wasn’t due to work. I noticed I would get less productive with too many things and people in my space. I realized it wasn’t just stuff but was thoughts, people and busyness that needed to be minimized in my life. My goal is to have quality over quantity in every aspect of my life so that peace remains constant despite the chaos I cannot control.
You wrote a great post on 20 things to let go of before the new year. What are some things you left behind in 2015?
A few that stood out to me were, leaving behind my comfort zone, Facebook life comparisons, and last year. I left my comfort zone as I recently relocated to Dallas to really begin living again. I missed challenges and adventures and this was a great way to do so. I had gotten so comfortable and it made me so uncomfortable.
Facebook comparisons is a big one. After my divorce, I looked at people who got married around the same time celebrating their anniversaries, new babies, and purchasing their new homes and it hurt. It was taking too much space in my mind and was driving me crazy. Although it still is a struggle, I am making a conscientious decision on removing the thoughts and feelings.
In regards to last year, it was a rough one with my divorce and all. Life had changed drastically and I was just going with the flow. I couldn’t do that anymore and needed to be more intentional with my life and so in order for me to move on, I had to leave last year in its lane.
You mentioned you relocated across the country to Dallas. How did the move impact your minimalist journey? How did you prepare for the move? What minimalist tips do you have for others looking to relocate?
The move made me realize that I had too much stuff that brought me no joy. The move literally made me get rid of so many things. I was going to be staying with my aunt so I had to keep everything to a minimum and did not want to pay for storage. The move is allowing me to really start over and this allows me to be more thoughtful when I move into my new place.
When thinking about preparation, it was a huge mental thing because I was like what do I get rid of? My books were the hardest things; I love books.
My advice to minimalists looking to relocate is plan far in advance. Maybe you can sell the things so when moving, the costs won’t be so high. Also, think about it this way, this is the perfect opportunity to start from scratch and only have things that bring you joy.
You have some posts on "Masterpiece of Minimalism". PLEASE EXPLAIN THE PHRASE and what minimalism means to you.
I first heard the phrase in a negative context on Love Jones, when Lorenz’s character was asked about his book he was writing and he responded, “Masterpiece of Minimalism” and it stuck in my head. But when thinking about it in a freeing way, it brings a sense of mastering the art of minimalism in our lives. It is something we are aiming for.
You have talked about going through a divorce and often speak about it on your blog, how did that experience impact your journey? What advice do have for others on letting go, living single, and being happy?
I never thought about minimalism when I was married. I was focused on acquiring the perfect marriage, children, marriage activities and more. I wanted more out of my marriage and when that just brought more headache, I realized that less is really more.
My happiness was not attached to him, the things, the ideas of what marriage is “supposed” to look like. There were other things that were added in my life that brought so much stress and I was feeling so weighed down.
Although there was a lot of good in my life, there was so much bad that was weighing heavy and I had to reflect on what those things were and a plan to let those things go. My peace and joy means a lot to me and when I realized I was losing more peace and joy and gaining more headaches, it helped me come to terms with my divorce.
My advice would be not to focus on the bad or the good in your marriage, but on what you need in your life to bring you peace and joy. The divorce is an event that happened in your life, but your peace is something that is connected to you mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
Once you find your peace you will quickly notice when your peace is interrupted by things and people that enter your life and when you know it, it is easier for you to keep things at bay so that you can keep your peace. It is a freeing thing really. At this point living minimally comes more naturally.
In addition to blogging, you are a Social Media Marketing Strategist and you recently began work as a College and Career Coach (congrats!). Many of us are entrepreneurs and side hustlers in addition to our day jobs. What tips can you give on balancing and managing your passions, obligations, and personal life?
My biggest thing is organization. Oh my gosh, get a calendar and follow it… get your to-do list and do it… this was a hard reality I had to learn and messed up some things because I double booked.
My key tip is if you are working 40 hours for someone else, you need to work at least half of that for yourself. If you are passionate about what you do and want to become a full time entrepreneur, do not slack on your personal and business goals.
Also, find a job that will allow you the time you need to work on your endeavors. I was very excited about my new job because of the hours… I realized that I work best in the night time and day, NOT EARLY MORNING. So my new hours are 2-10 pm M-Th and 9-6 F.
I know that I can stay up late to work on blogging and getting things together. Between 10-1 I can work on my other business ventures. When I worked M-F, 9-6, I would be so exhausted and just sleep the rest of the evening or watch tv. With this new schedule I get to start with me first and that makes me happy. So knowing how you work and finding the right fit to allow you to work on you is key.
Additionally, what is one quick tip you can give minimalist entrepreneurs on simplifying our social media presence/marketing without reducing its impact and usefulness to our communities?
Social media marketing for business is King. Finding apps that help minimize the time spent pushing your content is key. Learning how to interconnect your platforms will be awesome when you can spend less time pushing and more time doing other things. I also do not think you need to be on EVERY app; no more than 5 will help keep your sanity. I personally use 3 for business and 2-3 for personal use.
What is your take on black minimalism?
When I think about black minimalism, I think first on the opposite end of the spectrum where being materialistic having more than enough comes into play. I just feel like when black people acquire things, they feel more powerful. I feel the release of things and ideas is so much more powerful. Letting go of the need to possess people, things, and ideas in fact is so much more freeing. I think black minimalism is a way to really cut the chains of bondage which will allow us to have a deeper connection to what is real and brings life to dead places.
where can we learn more about you?
You can learn about me at: