Minimalism (to me). 

As far back as I can remember I’ve been a little obsessive about being tidy (rare is the small child who gets extreme pleasure out of an all white uncluttered room). The truth is… “stuff” makes me really (really) anxious. If I start thinking about how many items I own, I can legit drive myself into a full-blown panic attack. Birthdays and Christmas make me extremely nervous; gifts = more stuff. 

I have this reoccurring nightmare that I’m attending my own baby shower… people are bombarding me with loud flashing plastic toys, stuffed animals and brightly colored appliquéd outfits. I keep yelling through sobs “thank you but we said no gifts” – no one listens and the gift givers start laughing and chanting “Get used to it!” This is right around where I wake up and probably why I don’t have kids.   

When we sold our house a few months ago, we also sold almost everything in it. We’re currently in limbo with our living arrangements, while we wait for our apartment to be built, so we haven’t replaced anything. We were minimalists before but this is next level. We don’t have a TV or sofa. We have a borrowed bed, a borrowed dining room table and 2 borrowed wood chairs. We have 2 plates, 1 mixing bowl, 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 cups and 1 frying pan… Our garage has some boxes with personal belonging (books, pictures, tools, some art…), we kept our bikes, ski equipment, a grill and a few other odds-n-ends.  Ohh and we moved our plants plus the dog!! 

Simply – Our accommodations are sparse. 

Even since we’ve moved I’ve combed through my wardrobe, purged a lot of things I was holding onto for no good reason and implemented a spending fast of sorts. 

Having so little in the house has done unexpected things. It’s made me really appreciate and use the things we do have. It’s sparked a self awareness in myself that has poured into other areas; my business, my diet and my mental health. Not having the TV for example has made me waste less time in the evenings… when I could be sleeping. I’m better at prioritizing. I’m extremely selective about what I allow into my life (both physically and emotionally). Selling or donating most of my clothes, means I’m only left with the items I really like! It makes getting dressed really quick and effortless. 

Opening the cabinet and using our 1 vintage milk-glass mixing bowl makes me really happy; I love that thing. I feel freer – Less anxious. It’s got me excited about de-cluttering other areas that can be pain-points. Saying “no” more and building in more time to do the things that interest me. Erasing my personal presence on social media, deleting all accounts and apps that aren’t business related and canceling subscriptions that don’t add value. Pulling everything way back; starting from this new place. 

I rarely compare myself to others but I DO compare myself to my past. Was I more ambitions then? Was I in better shape? Was my skin nicer? Were my teeth whiter? I should get back to that routine. I really looked good there… etc. 

A few years ago (well Hell even a few months ago), I was in the relentless pursuit of more. More work. More hours in the gym. More hustle. That was great… Then. Right now I’m into less. Less chemicals, less products, less pressure, less noise, less technology, less of what doesn’t matter. I’m redefining what “health” means to me today (not harping on what it used to mean). Maximizing through minimizing. 

I’m not suggesting that you need to get rid of all your stuff to have a mental breakthrough (I do plan on buying a couch and full dinning set once we move); I’m only suggesting that there could be great opportunity in re-framing what it means to have less. 

Think of something that makes you incredibly happy; this could be anything. Maybe it’s taking a holiday, going for a bike ride. Maybe it’s refurbishing classic cars… Whatever! Now. Think about what it would be like if you could do more of that!!! The typical approach is this… Work more. Work harder. Make more money. Put hobbies and interests, health and connections on the back burner until… You retire. You pay down some debt. You grind through that job you hate. 

What if instead you did less and got MORE. What if you got rid of that new car payment and drove something used (no payment!). What if you downsized from that house you have a huge mortgage on and lived in something smaller. What if you sold some of your toys (the sleds, RV’s, boat, ATV, that 3rd blender). What if you bought a beautiful, high-quality pair of boots every 5-years instead of emptying your wallet every time you pass a clearance rack (disposable/uncomfortable cheap 1-season footwear). What if you stopped buying crap throwaway toys for your kids and went for a hike instead. What if you shut off the video game and finally worked on that business idea you’ve been talking about for years. What if you didn’t need every NEW iPhone. What if you spent more on what goes into your body (nutrient dense REAL food) instead of shelling out cash for antacids, doctors bills and fast-food. 

What if you did just a couple of these things? What if you just did one?! What if you really think about what makes you happy and prioritized that! People always assume they need to make more… But what if you  just need to spend less. You can be a minimalist and have nice things. Look – I love my Apple products and I’m a sucker for well-crafted home goods and clothes. But the practice of carefully curating what you allow into your life is paramount and doesn’t stop at consumer goods. This includes people, energy and emotions. Minimalism to me means being more intensional. More selective. More meaningful. More from less.

I make WAYYYYYY less (crazy less) money now than I did when I was selling (legal) drugs but my cost of living is a fraction of what it used to be. I had a job that was so stressful it was making me sick. I could have stayed there OR I could get out. My plan was to take advantage of a philosophy I’ve been using my entire life; minimalism. I do more with less now and I continue to learn and change through this process. I have time to do the things that interest me and give me purpose; my possessions are few but they make me happy and have a clear function. 

If you visit… BYOCCSD (Bring Your Own Chair Cup Silverware Dish!!) at least for a few more months!!!! We’ve got the beer. Haha. 

Health + Happiness, 

CC 

Transformations.

Warning: This post is raw. Not like, fresh sushi kind of raw… but like, expired, left in the sun, maggot meat kind of raw. I am not ashamed. What you’re about to read is who I am. This is my life and why I find meaning in what I do. This is my long-grind transformation story. I’m sharing because I know people struggling. People struggling with weight, with being a parent, with being a spouse, with money, with life…  

Sometimes a transformation isn’t about turning into a butterfly. Sometimes a transformation is about just sorting though a pile of mail and passing on an office donut. Lasting transformations don’t happen overnight, they happen in the long-grind everyday. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. Maybe you’ll believe the lie because it’s easy. Prediction: You’ll be back to where you started as fast as you can spend $100 at Target. 

Listen closely. Everything. In. Your. Life. Is. Connected. You CAN NOT transform into a buff/beautiful/successful/happy butterfly, if you are late to work, eat crap, have loads of debt… and disorganized closets. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it time-and-time again in myself. It wasn’t until I decided to address the small everyday tasks, that I was able to see some transformation in the big picture. 

Sometimes you don’t bing and purge chips because you’re hungry and afraid of getting fat. Sometimes you eat until you make yourself puke because you have ZERO control over the everyday. I’m a recovering anorexic + bulimic. I spent two decades with one eating disorder or another; It started because I had control issues and it ended because I learn how to control my control issues. It was never about weight or food. This is important because while the symptoms were the same throughout the years, the context was always changing… so transforming from empty to whole was ALWAYS out of reach. 

In middle school, high school and college it was easy to function; my parents took care of me. For the most part they paid all my bills, bought my clothes and food, took me on trips… I just needed to pull it together enough to get good grades, shower, dress, play sports and stay out of trouble. Simple. After college things got complicated. It’s hard to hold a job, balance a checkbook, be a good human and stay attentive in relationships when you are overwhelmed by EVERYTHING. When everything is loud + screaming and you’re not sure why. 

I would wakeup exhausted, disgusted and defeated everyday. I was angry, resentful and jealous of everything. I drove myself into over ten-thousand dollars of secret credit card debt. Most of that, food I was eating and vomiting minutes later. This didn’t help my anxiety + stress. All my friends were planning their future. Getting promoted. I hated them. 

My life was a web of lies. I’d quit jobs because I was bored or they didn’t fit with my bathroom schedule. I’d procrastinate about leaving the house, cancel therapy sessions, dump my Prozac. Drink instead. It was hard to see the benefit of doing anything when you’re flush-faced hugging a toilet bowl. I’d put on shows; forcing myself look alive + alert. Side note: I could make some serious mess at wedding receptions and dinner parties. Speaking from experience; self hate, alcohol and zero nutrition are a recipe for disaster. 

During the eye of the storm I was living with Mr. Eats in New Jersey. I’d seen LOTS of therapists and nutritionists – Nothing worked and at that point, I don’t think I even cared. I didn’t care about anything… Certainly not about self-help. I remember one day, home alone – I had just scoffed down an entire loaf of white bread with butter. It wasn’t mine, I had stolen it from one of our roommates. This was common; I’d go on a binge and then have to re-buy and carefully portion out the food I’d eaten. It happened daily. 

This particular day was memorable because, alone, in the bathroom, I was choking. I could feel myself unable to breath (white bread is basically glue) – I remember panicking. Not panicking because I was afraid to die but panicking because I didn’t want anyone to see me dead on the bathroom floor with generic-brand white bread lodged in my esophagus. I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed because my parents had broken their backs to pay for my eduction. I was embarrassed because my boyfriend was blindly supportive – Getting nothing in return. I was embarrassed because I had friends + family who loved me. And here I was… I would be found dead on this F’ing bathroom floor full of stolen bread. NO! NO! NO! I remember thrusting my arm down into my throat and pulling out the obstruction. Gasping for air and crying I remember thinking… “You spoiled brat! What the HELL is your problem?! FIX THIS!” And so the long-grind transformation began. 

It started with finding a therapist I could talk to. It stated with slowly trusting myself to tell the truth and ask for help. It started with opening my mail, mapping out a plan to pay off my debt and working. Working even if I didn’t like it. Getting into a routine. Going outside. Getting exercise. Creating manageable to-do lists. It started with taking one painfully slow step-at-a-time, falling, trying again… Falling even harder but knowing I needed to stay the course. Learning I kind of liked the new me. Learning I kind of liked the process.   

And this process took years. YEARS!!! I’m still working on it. I work on my mental and physical self like it’s a full-time job. I show-up for myself! I’m on time. I understand that if my closets are messy and the dog isn’t listening that I can’t recoil and eat a box of cookies. I take responsibility. I break it down. I own my mistakes and give myself permission to celebrate my successes. 

Transformation isn’t always a graceful before + after. It can be messy. It can be intangible and irresolute. No one is going to throw you a parade for being better than you were yesterday, or last week, or last year. Transformation isn’t just for the Tuesday hashtag – It’s your LIFE. Change is nothing without a purpose and unfortunately your dress size, children, parents, partner and bank account can’t tell you who you are and what you need to be. 

Anything you have done or said lives by the power you place on it. If you are choking – Find the obstruction! If it’s important to you (like breathing important) you will MAKE it happen. Probably Opera or someone just as successful said “Find your why” – I’ll repeat it so you hear me… Find your why.

Conclusion: This is my why.