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

Today I made tea.

Today I made tea.

That’s it. That’s the headline. 

For the last few months, I’ve attempted to map out the best plan of attack for re-launching my YouTube channel. I’ve pondered and re-pondered. I’ve mulled and reconsidered. I even uploaded a couple of videos, but I wasn’t particularly proud of them.  I’ve had several false starts that forced me back into my corner to tweak a few things, because what I was doing just didn’t feel authentic to who I am and what I want to present to the world. 

Today I decided to do things my way. 

I almost allowed the self-proclaimed “gurus” of YouTube and Instagram to trick me into believing this endeavor would be complicated. I almost allowed myself to feel discouraged by the amount of time that would go by before I’d ever see any fruits of my labor (the one thing that many successful YouTubers agree on is that it takes 6 months to a year to know if what you’re doing is worthwhile). I was thiiiiis close to forgetting that this could be a lot of fun. 

Today I quieted the noise online and in my mind, and simply asked myself what it is I wanted to create. I asked myself what I’d be happy dedicating a year of my life to, no matter the result. 

A small voice responded, “I just want to be happy. I just want to live. Simply and intentionally.”

And so, I decided my YouTube channel, for the first year at least, will be a collection of “happy scraps,” recorded moments in my day that bring me joy. Whether I attract an audience of 10 or 10,000, I want to slow down and document 365 moments that I created space for intentional happiness. Today I made tea. 

Ok Candace, so how does this new “Happy Project” fit into what you’re already doing? 

In many ways, this blog has been a “happy project” from the start. Eating healthy, experiencing new cultures and destinations, learning about new herbs and essential oils…. this wellness journey has always been a love letter from myself to myself. The goal has always been wholeness in all its forms. 

People just want to be happy. Instead of viewing my previous content plan as a list of things to write about, I’m going to approach it as a list of moments to live. My YouTube channel will serve as a visual scrapbook of the intentional reconciliation of my mind, body, soul, and beliefs. A daily opportunity to show up for myself and others. A case study on the beauty of living simply, with purpose, on purpose. A bunch of happy stuff.

Hustle culture has a strong pull. If you aren’t careful, you’ll forget how happy you already are. You’ll stress over algorithms and engagement, and forget your “why.” You’ll judge everything you do against an awkward pass or fail metric ill-equipped to measure what’s truly important: is what you’re doing getting you closer to manifesting the life you say you want? 

Yeah, that word: manifestation. I stumbled upon a YouTuber the other day who explained manifestation so clearly. She said manifestation is doing what you said you were going to do. 

When you take away the frou-frou and the candles and the signs and symbols, that’s all manifestation is. More often than not, the only thing standing in the way of where we are and where we want to be is a bunch of annoying stuff like work and consistency and believing in yourself and time and focus. But, there’s also fulfillment and pride and contentment mixed in, too. I said I was going to start a YouTube channel, so today I started a YouTube channel. I manifested that $#!+!

I almost approached this new creative outlet with anxiety, as if I wasn’t already gainfully employed and comfortable and blessed. I almost forgot that this channel I’ve created isn’t something that needs to “work out,” and can exist for the sole purpose of making people smile. Me. I’m people. If it turns into a steady stream of income, that will be a welcomed bonus.

I took the pressure off and made a video that I’m truly proud of. A video that looks and feels like me, old lady flowers and all. It brings together everything I love, like scrapbooking, iPhone pictures, blogging, and exploration. I’m excited about incorporating my list of blog topics into this new space. I think my personal “happy project” will benefit a lot of people. 

I know that for me, sustainability is synonymous with simplicity. For this to be enjoyable for me long term, my content on YouTube has to be simple, authentic, and beautiful. Today I made tea. 

I’m excited to see where this commitment to doing less and experiencing more will take me. I already feel so good.

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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