Candace Aliké Smith — A Writer's Self Care Journal

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.”

Elsie de Wolfe


With these thoughts I wrestle.

How you do one thing is how you do everything. I heard someone say that, many moons ago, and every so often life will present me with evidence to support that notion.

Let me explain.

When I redecorate a space, I remove everything from its original place, put it all in a large centralized pile, then item by item I re-arrange things to my liking. When it’s laundry day, I pull everything out of the hampers, put it all in a large centralized pile on the floor, then item by item I sort by color and fabric type before throwing them in the machine. When I write, I put all of my unsorted thoughts on the page, then line by line I decide which sentences belong together, and which ones should stand alone.

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

Big pile. Tiny pieces. With this approach, I can easily read through lines of copy to check for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. I can robotically scan through lines of HTML code to find an error in syntax. Also with this approach, I find myself searching for reasons to bail when I’m in a relationship. I catch myself performing these life audits if you will, to pinpoint areas that need extra attention or a complete overhaul. I seem to be stuck on a scan-sort-remove auto pilot, and I can’t find the ‘off’ switch.

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

At 35 I’m realizing how foreign contentment feels. In late November I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl, after years spent wondering if I could even conceive. I secured the position of employment that I wanted during a pandemic. Exactly two months ago I moved into a spacious condo in a nice part of town with less than stellar credit. I remember watching Jeep Renegades pass by me for months on the road a couple of years ago, and now my very own is parked outside. After a long season of lack and disappointment, I say with all humility I have everything I’ve ever wanted.

And yet I find myself wanting.

When I’m out walking the dog, I often get so bothered by trash that someone left behind that I contemplate moving altogether. I find myself window shopping for bigger vehicles. I am constantly obsessing over how my website looks, and whether or not I’ve selected the right theme. I’ve spent countless hours Googling the pros and cons of home school vs traditional, and ways to raise a happy, well-adjusted little girl as a single mother.

Big pile. Tiny pieces. I suppose once your brain is hard-wired to scan-sort-remove, happiness feels like complacency. In the same way a person who has lost a lot of weight might struggle to see themselves as thin, I can’t quite sit still long enough to get comfortable with feeling comfortable. It feels wrong, almost lazy. The second I want to take a break from searching for the next best thing, something inside of me pulls out that red editing pen to highlight this or that. You can do more, Candace. You can make more money, Candace. Is this all you’ve got, girl?

Big pile. Tiny pieces. Scan-sort-remove. I want off this hamster wheel.

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

If that is true, and I do believe it is, I’m going to have to start doing things differently. I have some ideas on that, but I’ll leave that big pile of thoughts for another day.

Remember. You are your most prized possession. Don’t drop you.

Until soon.

Featured image by Caique Silva on Unsplash

Candace Alike Smith is a Las Vegas-based content creator, womb warrior, and matcha enthusiast. Candace founded this site in 2015 to help women of color reclaim their vitality. Follow Candace’s content on holistic beauty, mental wellness, herbs and essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, wellness travel, and self-reflection. Green is her happy color.

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  1. Sojourn1961

    In wanting to sound somewhat intelligent, I looked up the word complacency. And it wasn’t what I thought. I too have wondered how to balance satisfaction with complacency. I’ve long believed that there is a possibility of being both satisfied and happy with “now” and strive for what can be added to “now.” Having just learned true complacency includes feeling smug about one’s achievements, I would argue that neither of us have really experienced complacency… even when we thought we had.

    It is possible to be satisfied/grateful AND desire betterment. You have described a life that some may envy… You’ve also expressed a need to be the best you, you can design.


    1. Candace Smith, MA

      I’m learning how to make create for my restlessness while creating space for contentment. I appreciate them both. It has been an interesting “problem,” this happiness I’ve found.


  2. A Love Lost in Translation – Candace Alike Smith

    […] I touched on in a previous post, I do believe that how you do one thing is how you do […]


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