Minimalist Hair

My hair is minimalist. Yes, I have minimal hair (about an inch), but that’s not what I mean.  My hair itself is minimalist. And yesterday, it taught me a lesson about beauty.

Recently, I cut all the relaxed hair from my head –  about seven inches. I was left with 1/2 inch of natural hair. It’s cute and it’s very low maintenance. Usually, I wet it, rub in some curl enhancer, add some oil, and go.

Since the “big chop” last month, I have been reading blogs and watching YouTube videos about which products to use on my newly shorn hair. The blogs caution readers against constantly buying more products to try, lest they end up with a collection of things they don’t like. So I read reviews and decided on one product. Yes, I just got one. Don’t look at me like that.

Yesterday I washed my hair before church. I really liked the way it looked after washing – with no products on it. It was curly and cute on its own. I worried that it would get frizzy or nappy when it dried, but I decided to see how it would turn out. I added a little oil for shine and went to work.

The curls held and it wasn’t frizzy for nappy. I was very pleased with the result, and it made me examine my supposed need for all the various hair products I’d like to try. Since everyone else is using hair smoothies, curl enhancers, and hair milks, I assumed that I should, too. I thought that I needed products designed for natural hair for it to look good. I don’t.

I think back on the many hours I spent reading blogs about hair and various product reviews. All this time was wasted. My hair does’t need a million different products. It has minimal needs.

This makes me want to rethink some of my other beauty “necessities.” Do I really need all the makeup I have? All the lotions, creams, and exfoliants? Maybe it’s time to simplify my beauty collection. *cringe*  Maybe it’s time that I stop looking at what everyone else is doing and discover what I need.

What is your beauty routine like? How have you simplified this part of your life? I’d love to hear stories. Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or inspirational stories for me.

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Enjoying The Journey

By nature, I am very task oriented. Few things are as intoxicating to me as the feeling that I have achieved something. It’s what I live for. So this phase of my life, marked by a startling lack of achievement, feels like my own personal hell. I am accomplishing absolutely nothing. Nothing is happening. So I feel like my life is worthless, useless, and fruitless — a complete waste of time.

However, over the last several weeks I have been hearing a lot of people talking about something that is foreign to me: enjoying the journey to achieving your goals. Who me? I don’t care about the journey. All I care about is the destination. For me, the journey really doesn’t matter.

As I reflect on this, I wonder if my focus on reaching that destination, that goal, is the root of my constant frustration. I am frustrated with this phase of my life. I am not living my purpose. I have not reached my ideal weight. I still haven’t finished that novel. My accomplishments are few and far between. What I fail to consider is that though I am not accomplishing, I am journeying.

I am moving toward that nebulous life purpose (in theory). I am getting closer to that ideal weight. And I am making progress on that novel (when I actually sit down and write). But with my personality, is it even possible for me to enjoy this stage? I am not convinced.

Instead of focusing on achievement, what if I chose to focus on growth? What if I made it my goal to learn and grow every day? How would my outlook change? How would it change the way I spend my time? How would it change my perception of this stage of my life?

My guess is that some of the frustration could be alleviated. But how will I keep my focus on personal growth and development when I do not see the results I desire? I have two ideas about this:

Recognize progress. This can be done in a number of ways. One way is to track efforts. Keep a food journal. Log writing time on the schedule. These will keep a record of what you’re doing. At those times when it seems like nothing is happening, the records will be proof that progress is being made.

Another way to recognize progress is with regular evaluations. In school they give tests. It’s a way of measuring where you are. Step on the scale, or try on clothes to see how the weight loss is going. Check the your word count. Give yourself a test. When moving toward a goal, it’s important to know how you’re progressing. A regular assessment will help tremendously. It gives a slight sense of accomplishment (which is better than no sense of accomplishment).

Incorporate things you enjoy into your routine. My quest for fitness requires that I exercise. That’s not a problem because I enjoy biking and running. I focus my exercising on these two because I will enjoy the journey to fitness much more than if I decided to make a fool of myself by playing tennis. My complete lack of skill would make a tennis workout seem like a morally acceptable form of torture. Biking and running pass the time quickly, and that makes the journey much more pleasant.

To make my journey more enjoyable, I am also taking a literature course. It occupies my mind, and I write a graded essay every week. Getting that grade gives me a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, the little things make all the difference.

I have to agree with other authors that perspective plays a big part in how we feel about the journey. However, that’s not the whole story. Part of it is taking action to increase your enjoyment as you move toward your goals. I will adjust my mindset, but I will also take action, and hopefully, I will get more enjoyment out of the journey.

A Fresh Perspective on Stuff

My thought for the day is courtesy of my pastor. He talked a lot about stewardship, and I will be writing more about this later. In the meantime, though, I’ll share my thoughts for today.

In a recent sermon, my pastor said something that really struck me: everything we have is God’s. Everything we have is given to us to steward, not for ourselves. This impacts me in three ways:

  • It makes no sense to constantly accumulate more stuff for myself. What I think I own, is his.
  • I have to think more carefully about money (that’s his, too). Would God really want me to buy those five bottles of shower gel, especially when I have three at home already?
  • When I see everything as belonging to God, it is much harder to be stingy. God would want me to share what I have. So I need to keep this in mind, and be generous with what I have. God would let my cousin eat the ice cream. God would let my relatives use my favorite soap. He would let my friends take all my blue pens. He would have me hold on to things very lightly.

Minimalism is about breaking my attachment to things, and pursuing the things in life that really matter. This fresh perspective on stuff should really help me on this journey.