An Agent of Change

agent of change 3

There’s something about myself that I readily admit to people but that I am not entirely proud of. I absolutely do not like (strongly detest) change. I like things to be a certain way, I have a routine that I follow, pretty much to the tee and I don’t particularly like to deviate from that routine. In my mind it keeps things balanced, it keeps things flowing smoothly and it keeps a sense of order. Well at least that’s what I had convinced myself of.

I’ve been working a lot more over the last couple of years on my spiritual growth and on improving my relationship with God. I’ve been steadily working on following God’s instructions for my life and the direction that he wants it to go in. It’s a path that has brought me so much peace and joy and it has helped me rediscover who I am again. I hadn’t even realized that I had somehow lost who I was and forgotten what it was I was supposed to be doing, my purpose.

Sitting in church the other day as my pastor talked about growth, and that change equals growth so if you hate change than you can’t grow. It was a moment of clarity (one of many I have had recently). He spoke about how if you’re listening to God’s instructions for your life and following the path he wants you to be on, which is not always the path you had intended to take, then you have to be willing to open yourself up to something different, something new. You can’t hear the instructions for your life and then, because they don’t exactly fall in line with your daily routine, just not take action on the instructions that you have been given.

I’m a creature of habit and I had always led myself to believe that it wasn’t entirely a bad thing that I had set plans, set times in which to do things, set days in which to work on this or that, that I knew what I would be doing any given day at any given time because it would be the same. I call it routine but some might call it being stuck and unmoving. They would be right. I had never thought of my growing habitual routines as being afraid of changing but I can see now that it was exactly what I was afraid of doing.

If I changed things what if something bad happened. If I changed my routine what if the outcome was a bad one. I think I had gotten to a point where I had just made it so that nothing would happen that I didn’t already know was going to happen. That way there would be no bad outcomes, there would be no rejection, and no one could say no. I didn’t realize that it also meant that nothing good could happen either, and that no one could say yes. How could I say I was open to new opportunities of any kind if I was unwilling to change?

It’s not going to be easy to dial back my need for having a habitual routine. It’s opening myself up for an outcome that I don’t know and the thought of that is downright frightening. However, if I truly want to grow and reach new goals, and soar to new heights I have to be willing to change.

Change can be scary but it’s critical in order for us to grow. We can’t get so hung up on sticking to what we know and what our routine is that we miss the opportunities that are waiting for us right outside our little box. The box is good at times and we tell ourselves that the box protects us but does it really? Or does that box that we try so hard to keep ourselves in only hinder us from reaching our fullest potential? Our greatest accomplishments and our highest of heights tend to lie beyond the confines of the box of comfort that we trap ourselves in.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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What You See Is Not Always What Is Real

FINE Depression post

There have been a lot of reports in the news within the last year or so regarding Depression and people from young children to successful people in the prime of their lives committing suicide. A recent CDC report states that the rate of suicide has risen nearly 30 percent since 1999 (link to CBS news clip) and this report comes in the wake of the two most recent high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. These two people in particular were people who everyone around them, thought was happy and who, on the surface, appeared to have it all.

They wore the required smiles and they exuded joy and gratefulness for all that life had afforded them. Yet still, they felt that whatever pain they were feeling deep down inside was just too much to bear and perhaps they even thought the world would somehow be better off without them. Now people who knew and loved them are left behind to try and make sense of it all. They’re trying to figure out how they missed the signs and why they didn’t see how much pain they were in or the perpetual dark cloud that was looming over them.

The truth is that if people are suffering through depression and they don’t want you to know it then you won’t know it. Not until they are ready for someone to pull them out of it. They strategize and practice ways to hide their sadness and when they can’t hide it they simply hide themselves. I’ve talked on here before about my many bouts with depression and the thing is only the people who are closest to me, as close as family, ever knew that even the tiniest thing was wrong with me and that was only if I had decided that I wanted to open that window just a sliver. The darkness that I felt was just so dark and the sadness was so deep that I just didn’t see a way out. At least that is how it feels when I am in that state.

I have this running joke with people when I am in the midst of a state of depression. When they would tell me that I was always happy and smiling I would respond by telling them “then that means the act is working” and they would take it as a joke but I was never really joking. Over the years I had developed defense mechanisms that kept people at a distance and fell back on my solitude as a writer to explain the isolation. Since I’ve started going back to church a couple of years ago I haven’t really found myself in that deep state of depression anymore. I still have my days where some sadness creeps in but I’ve gotten better at not allowing it to linger too long. Therapy is good but I like the added sense of joy and peace that being in the house of God has brought me and it truly gives me strength that I didn’t realize I had before.

I am so thankful that I haven’t felt that deep darkness in a long while but the thing about having a mental illness like Depression is that you’re never really cured from it. At any given time that wave of sadness can hit you like a ton of bricks and it could happen literally out of nowhere. My hope is that people with depression find a way to talk about it before it gets to the point where they feel so overwhelmed by it that they just can’t speak about it. Don’t treat it as if it is something to be ashamed of and fearful to talk about because not talking about it is how it turns into the growing problem that it has become.

You can’t always wait for the signs that you could be missing. People who suffer from depression are just too good at hiding it for anyone who’s not paying attention to notice. Don’t wait for them to cry out for help. You have to hear the words that aren’t being said, distinguish the nervous giggle from the actual laughter, and be able to see the frowns that are hidden behind the smiles. If you have a friend who is drowning then reach in and grab them out of it kicking and screaming if you have to. Odds are they don’t know how to tell you that they are sinking.

**If you find yourself feeling like you are in a dark place and you are having thoughts of suicide please, please, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 any time of day or night.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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The Words We Tell Ourselves

Be Careful what you say to yourself

Let’s talk about self-doubt! I think everyone can admit, if they are being honest with themselves, that they talk to themselves. We tend to debate with our own conscience and question our every move, oftentimes second guessing things that we instinctually believe to be good initial decisions. We are sometimes our biggest champions but we can also tend to be our own worst critics. If something doesn’t go the way we think it should, or the way that we had planned it to go we lose a little bit of hope each time our plans falter. The problem that I don’t think that we realize we are inviting is that we are now speaking negative outcomes to things that we have positive intentions for.

It does no good to speak positively about what we are wishing to accomplish and then turn around and name all of the reasons that we think will cause us to inevitably fail. That negative self-talk that we do to ourselves is precisely what can change the course of things because now we’ve spoken negativity into the goals and dreams that we once had such a positive outlook on. There is no guarantee how anything that we map out will ever go so to talk ourselves down from following through with any idea we have, already assuming that it won’t become a reality, is just us sabotaging ourselves.

We have to be more mindful of how we talk to ourselves. We have to take special care to make sure that we are not talking ourselves out of things simply because we’re afraid that we may not succeed in it. We have to make sure that we are not talking down to our own inner conscience and that the negativity that someone else may be projecting onto you doesn’t get ingrained within our deepest thoughts. We have to make sure that we are our biggest and loudest cheerleaders and that the criticism that we give ourselves isn’t negative but rather constructive. How you talk to yourself matters, probably more than anything anyone could ever say to you. So be kind to yourself and always believe in the power that is within you. You are your greatest champion!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Progress Doesn’t Happen In a Straight Line

Progress is Not a Straight Line 2

Let’s talk about progress! Moving forward doesn’t always mean that the trajectory of that movement won’t come without taking a few steps backward. The problem with that is that at times the backwards steps can throw us for a loop and it can take the wind out of our sails. Naturally we lose the momentum that we had and have to reconfigure how we’re going to get everything back on track again.

Every backwards step is not necessarily a negative. Sometimes we have to go back and look at what we did wrong to begin with so that we can figure out how to effectively navigate our way through the mistakes and find the positive lessons to take with us to the next level. The only way you can truly move forward in the journey is to be able to honestly assess everything. We can’t just highlight the good moments and overlook or completely ignore the bumps in the road.

There is no straight line that gets us from point A all the way to Z. This course has many twists and turns and even some ups and downs that we aren’t always going to see as a necessary part of the journey. But even though these pit falls seem like huge boulder sized obstacles that can completely derail us, they oftentimes are bigger opportunities to learn something that we might not have learned if we had never stumbled to begin with.

The key to getting back on track with your goals is to accept the fact that you’ve had a setback and allow that misstep to be a lesson. We don’t progress if we don’t educate ourselves on what we don’t know and sometimes getting knocked backwards is the only way we begin to realize what it will actually take to move forward. Most of the time it’s not the tripping, or even the falling backwards that becomes the reason we don’t eventually succeed. It’s the staying down and never getting back up to move forward that stunts our growth. So stop trying to protect yourself from making mistakes. Just make sure that you learn something from the one’s that you make.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter
Writer/Editor
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The Company That You Keep

The company that you keep

Let’s talk about atmosphere! The things and people you surround yourself with says a lot, not only about who you are but also about what you want out of your life. For instance, if all you surround yourself with are people who are negative and put out negative energies and your focus is on everything but your dreams and goals then you are inevitably going to absorb that negative energy and you will not get any closer to where it is that you say you want to go in terms of career. On the flip side, if you only allow positive people and things into your space and you keep your focus sharp then you are more likely to have a favorable outcome when it comes to achieving your goals in life.

I will admit that when I was in the midst of my latest bout of depression I wasn’t doing the best job of censoring the people I let into my space and my focus was so off that I didn’t just turn off down the wrong road somewhere, but I got completely off the track when it comes to my dreams and goals. I lost my way and at that moment I was so in my state of depression that it came off to anyone else looking inside my life from the outside as if I really didn’t give a damn.

The thing was I did care, so much so that I agonized over not being where I wanted to be in life and I agonized over not being able to conjure up the amount of energy that I needed to get things moving again. But now that I’ve pulled myself out of that space and I am trying to get myself and my dreams back on track I realize that I have to start limiting my surroundings and the people I let in my atmosphere, or rather the people that I keep in my atmosphere. This is why I believe in keeping a small circle of people around me because that way I don’t allow it to get too cluttered with negativity therefore it doesn’t become a toxic environment.

The atmosphere that you keep around you plays a large part in whether or not you reach your goals. If the people in your circle are draining you, if they’re not supporting your ambition, then reevaluate their position in your life. If they are pulling from your energy without trying to replenish it and add back to it, if there is nothing you are gaining from them, then you need to take a hard look at who you’re keeping around and whether they are truly good for your progression.

You can’t keep everyone around you when you are trying to go forward and they still want you to stay behind and dwell in the negative space that you may have been in before. Keep your focus clear, and pay attention to the energy of the people surrounding you and eliminate what isn’t propelling you towards your destination. I know how it sounds to say that but everyone can not go where you are going, and they’re not meant to!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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There’s No Lid on the Box that is Your Comfort Zone

No lid on the box

So let’s talk about our comfort zones! No one understands needing to have a routine more than I do. I am that person that annoyingly has to have a plan, a plan to map out the plan, and have all of the plans organized in a very particular way (I also have OCD issues but that’s a story for another blog post). I don’t say this as if I believe this to necessarily be a great thing, but rather, it is one of my many flaws that I wish I could do away with.

Obviously it’s good to have some organization when you are prioritizing your goals. However, sometimes I feel hindered by my obsessive need to over-plan and excessively organize things. It’s all done in an effort to stay within my comfort zone and admittedly it has held me back from doing a lot of things and it has in many ways perpetuated the fear that I’ve always carried along with me for most of my adult life.

My fear has stopped me so many times from taking chances and seizing opportunities but that need to remain in my comfort zone and sticking with my routine has only enhanced those fears. I suppose you could say that I had found a sense of security within my comfort zone and that being safe was far more enticing than living in the unknown realities of what it means to take risks.

I don’t advocate to anyone that they stay inside the box that they’ve created for themselves. I have been trying to get out of my own box for many years now but there’s always that invisible lid that I imagine will hit me on the head and knock me back down. I have been diligently working to change that about myself and I’m going to be open and welcoming to all opportunities that may come my way. If you haven’t already, start knocking down those walls of comfort that have been surrounding you. The only lid that is on the box that you have confined yourself to is the lid that you imagined is real.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

https://write-2-be.com/

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I May Have Been Down but I was Never Out

Down but Not Out

So let’s talk about failure! I hate to fail and what’s ironic is that though I hate to fail I seem to be doing a lot of it. Granted, I don’t view everything that has happened in my life as failures but I have failed enough times to make anyone want to just lie down and give up. In fact, I think that a lot of this past year and half long bout with depression was pretty much just that, me being so tired of failing that I just wanted to lie down and accept defeat.

Writing is definitely not for the faint of heart and rejection is a part of the package that comes with this career but sometimes it can feel so jarring to one’s self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities. I’ve been shopping my novels around to different agents and while I’ve had some of them ask to see the whole novel, which in itself can be cause to celebrate, in the end I have not been received with the kind of acceptance that I crave and truly thought I was talented enough to get. Logically I know that being rejected by a publisher or an agent is not a personal attack on my abilities but as most of you writers know, your novels tend to feel like your babies and my work is personal for me because I always add a touch of myself into my characters (well my main characters anyway).

But I’m learning, or rather remembering that my failures are not what is going to define my eventual success. In reality, my failures are what is going to propel me forward into my destined prosperity. These are the moments that will build me up and make me stronger so that I can be better and excel further than even I thought possible. I’ve always heard that when we plan, God laughs and he must be really laughing it up at me because since the age of ten I’ve had some pretty big plans for my life and career. I had milestones, in my mind, that I just knew that I was going to hit at just the time I envisioned hitting them, some I even thought I would hit earlier than I expected. I couldn’t have been more wrong and being that wrong is just plain hurtful.

However, if some of those plans had come to pass there would be a lot of other wonderful moments that I wouldn’t have had happen, mainly my daughter being born, and I could never regret her. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be, in many cases, what protects us from a disaster right around the corner. In other cases it can just be the sign to let you know that while you may be going in the right direction, you’re not quite ready just yet. There are lessons in the failures that we go through but sometimes what matters is not the actual act of failing itself but rather what those failures can add to our overall story.

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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Don’t Over Plan Your Way Out of Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

I woke up today and realized something. I waste entirely too much time planning. I have always been a planner, one who has to have a list for everything and everything in its place before I go for the end goal. When I was younger it worked for me and my love for being the list maker and the consistent planner grew. But as I got older the plans and the lists began to hinder me because what I never accounted for in all my planning and goal setting was life just unfolding as it was going to, as it was inevitably meant to.

I have a tendency to plan so thoroughly that by the time I am done with the plan the opportunity to actually follow through with any of those plans has long passed me by. I will think of something, have a vision for something if you will, and by the time I have worked through all the lists and plans it ends up being too late and someone else has presented something to the world far too similar to mine for me to move ahead with it.

It’s like the story where the man is waiting to be rescued from the sinking boat he’s on and every person that is sent to rescue him he tells them that he is waiting on God to rescue him and to take someone else. When he drowns he asks God why didn’t he save him and God tells him that he sent three different people to rescue him and he refused them. Essentially he sent the opportunity that he needed and he missed it. I feel like I might have missed far too many opportunities that were sent my way because it didn’t fit with the plan, or undoubtedly because I hadn’t finished planning for that opportunity and I was blinded to what was presenting itself right in front of me.

For example, quite a long time ago I had an idea for a show about women living their lives behind prison bars and about what they go through, how they get treated, how they maneuver their new lives. I started making plans and lists but it was never quite as perfect as I needed it to be and before I knew it I was hearing about this new show on Netflix, “Orange is the New Black” and (No, no one stole my idea, I never communicated it to anyone else) I watched it and felt deflated as I saw what I had been planning for unfold from someone else’s imagination. It was my own fault and my own neurosis that kept me from what could’ve been a breakthrough opportunity had I only not wasted so much time trying to make it perfect.

I say all this to say that if you too are like I was, like I have been, stop wasting so much time trying to make everything just right, and planning everything through to a tee. I’m not saying don’t plan at all, or don’t have your lists. I’m saying don’t focus so much on the lists and the plans that you forget the goal, the vision, and so you don’t miss the opportunities that can come your way while you’re busy planning. Sometimes the opportunities can be so small that if you blink you’ll miss it so pay attention to what’s in front of you before your lists and plans are all that you end up with. Until next time… plan less, live more!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 11:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Here’s to a New Year, Sky’s the Limit

New Year 2016

Happy New Year everyone! I know I haven’t posted here in a while. Truthfully, 2015, particularly the end of it, was not the greatest year for me. I won’t say it was a bad year because with everything that went on in the world last year and with the continued suffering of many who have far greater worries than I do, I can’t really complain. It wasn’t the year that I had mapped out and that I wanted it to be and that was largely in part to the depression that I sunk into, but I am heading into 2016 ready to leave 2015 right in the past where it should stay.

I do have plans to release quite a few things this year but I won’t discuss them in detail until the dates get closer. I also have some new things I’m planning on doing with the magazine, Write 2 Be Magazine, that I hope everyone will like and appreciate. I don’t plan on posting everyday here but I do plan on posting often enough for you to be kept in the loop. I hope you all have your plans in order and will challenge yourselves this year to do amazing and new things. Here’s a figurative toast to the New Year, New Goals, New Drive, and to saying YES to anything being possible. Happy New Year Everyone! Until next time…

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are You Ready for National Novel Writing Month?

Are You Ready for National Novel Writing Month

For those of you who have signed up to get lost in the world of words this November (National Novel Writing Month) it is the last night of freedom (in a sense) that you have to not be stressed over whether you met a certain word count requirement for the day.

By now you have hopefully already completed your outline, done your research, gained an intimate knowledge of your characters, and scheduled your time to write to suit your needs and your daily responsibilities. If you’ve gotten all of that checked off your to do list, then you are practically ready to go come November 1st (that’s tomorrow by the way) but if you haven’t prepared then don’t panic.

After you sign up for the challenge of doing NaNoWriMo on the website (this is the website by the way http://www.nanowrimo.org/) there are still a few other things that you can do to be better prepared to go into National Novel Writing Month and I’ve listed a few helpful tips below:

  1. Brainstorm a clear idea for your novel: Hopefully you already know what you want to write about but if not that is the first thing that you need to figure out.
  2. Know the most important details of your novel upfront: You may or may not be a person that likes to outline. If you are an outliner, this is what your next move needs to be. Outline the major points of your novel so that you know where your story is going to start, and where you think it might end up. If you are more of a detailed person then you will want to detail ALL of the major and somewhat minor parts of the novel in this outline. If you are not a person who likes to outline, at the very least you will want to know that major plot points in your story.
  3. Get to know your characters: Some might consider this to be a part of outlining but I see it as being totally separate but just as complex as creating an outline. You have to know who your characters because if you don’t know who your characters are your soon to be readers won’t know who they are either.
  4. Research now rather than later: Do as much research for your novel that you can do before starting your novel. Once you get started writing, you are not going to have the time to really go back and do extensive research so get most of your research out of the way now.
  5. Begin mapping out a workable plan: Come up with a schedule that works for you to write during the month of November. If you are a morning person then you will want to make time available so that you can write in the mornings and get your best work done. Whatever time of day works better for you, you are going to want to maximize to produce your best work. This is also when you will want to let the people around you know that you may not have as much time as you normally do because you will be busy…Writing.
  6. When November 1st comes around, be prepared to start writing and be prepared to be very busy for those thirty days.
  7. One final thing: If you should happen to get stuck or have a bad day and are not able to write, don’t be too hard on yourself. Putting extra pressure on yourself to write only makes it harder for you to produce good solid work.Another important thing to remember for those who have not put tons of preparation into this, you DO NOT have to start your story from the very beginning. If you can’t think of how to start your story off, then begin with chapter two, or three, or why not even start at the end. No matter where you start your story on November 1st, just start! I’ll try to blog during NaNoWriMo and I’ll also be sharing tips and tricks on the Write 2 Be Magazine at www.write2bemagazine.com throughout the entire month of November. I wish all of you well this month and happy NaNoWriMo-ing!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

My Write 2 Be is…

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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Published in: on October 31, 2015 at 5:13 PM  Leave a Comment  
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