I was lucky enough to connect with Yolanda Acree through Black Minimalists after taking their mini course (which by the way I highly suggest). As I’ve stated before I had a very negative perception of “minimalism,” of the white-washed and even privilege that many minimalists held yet did not recognize.
Connecting with a community of woc to talk about minimalism in a way that included the context of race, gender, and social economic inequalities was vital. How does being a brown indigenous woman in this world impact what minimalism is and means to me? Questions that I could finally discuss which than led me to see that minimalism could in fact align with my values.
Because this season of my life has been so important I could not think of anyone better to interview than Yolanda. So as y’all ease your way into your work day and back into the week do so by reading what Yolanda Acree has to say about minimalism.
How do you define minimalism?
Minimalism is freedom. It is living with less to include, but is not limited to, things, thoughts, behaviors, and any other shit that doesn’t serve me. It’s about living my best life as defined by and aligned with my values.
What brought you to minimalism?
I was stuck in a life I didn’t want, a life that met the expectations of what I should’ve been doing, but not my purpose. I didn’t know I was “doing” minimalism in 2012 when I started. In my mind, I just thought, “let’s get rid of all this shit and start over again”. I wasn’t happy and I couldn’t get to the root of my lack of motivation with all the distractions in my environment. I moved back home to my mom’s, got rid of almost everything, except what fit into my small childhood bedroom, stopped buying unnecessary stuff, quit my job after a few months of commuting, and took a “disruption vacation”.
I discovered I was doing minimalism about two years later when I started following Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty and Rosetta Thurman of The Happy Black Woman. Then I discovered The Minimalists, et al.
That’s the official story. The unofficial story that I now know is Spirit led me to minimalism.
What are the biggest challenges about living simply?
The constant interrogation. Once you know better, you have to do better (mostly). Your conscious won’t let you get away with a lot of shit you used to do. Many purchases and decisions are painstakingly made. Social media will have you wondering what the fuck you’re doing and suffering from FOMO at times. I’m a strong person, but I’m not immune to these challenges and insecurities.
What lessons have you learned from living simply?
This is a spiritual journey and it’s not for the faint of heart. Living simply takes guts and conviction, but ultimately, the point is to evolve, get free, and free others. Black Minimalists™ was created for the liberation of our community.
How do we create space within our culture for minimalism?
Be the example- you have to show others what’s possible. Tell your story as often as needed- representation matters and people need to know there are others out there getting free. Call others in to community- there is work to be done and our collective strength and action are powerful.
Where can we connect with you?
I share my personal minimalist journey at yolandavacree.com and on Instagram @yolandaacree. You can connect with the Black Minimalists™ community at blackminimalists.net and on Instagram @blkminimalists.