Never Give Up On You

In case you missed the talk of the Emmy’s last week, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy at 65 years old for supporting actress in a comedy series. Only the second black woman, with the first black woman having won 35 years ago. Now the fact that she finally won an award that she is overqualified for and should have won a long time ago isn’t the takeaway of the night for me. Her acceptance speech, in which she sang a song about being an endangered species and knowing where her voice belongs as an artist, and then went on to tell the audience that that moment was what believing looked like and that if you ever have a dream, you should never give up on yourself. I think I replayed that speech about a dozen times that night and probably another two dozen since then. It was something that I didn’t even realize I needed to hear.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling quite defeated and a bit kicked around by the universe. It’s been making me question my talent and my abilities, and even someone with as much faith as I have can get bogged down by self-doubt. I’ve been wondering with all the hard work that I put into writing and being a creative individual why success seems to continually elude me. Now my definition of success is not the typical fame or fortune, which I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want just a little bit. Rather what success looks like to me is accomplishing what I set out to do in this world, fulfilling the purpose I truly believe I’m here for, and taking care of people who need to be cared for. Success to me would be having an impact on others in some meaningful way.

I have never had an easy road on this journey we call life. Things have definitely been rough at some points, damn near unbearable at others, with a few bright spots along the way. Sometimes I forget that just because things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to, or think they should, doesn’t mean that they are forever out of reach. I also tend to forget that what I do does matter to some and acknowledgment can come from even the most surprising places.

I don’t think that I have ever quit at anything in my life. Not anything that meant anything to me anyway. I may have had moments where I took a break, had to recharge my drive for just a bit, get my bearings together after a big letdown, but never have I quit. I’m just not made that way. When I heard that acceptance speech from Sheryl Lee Ralph, it just reinvigorated me and reminded me of what I already knew deep down inside. That I can never, ever give up on me. So, if you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to rest and recharge but don’t stay down. If you need someone to remind you of what you’re working towards and to keep pushing through. Then let me tell you, get up and look in the mirror and say to yourself “Never give up on you.”

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeRelentless #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Lose the Power to Imagine the Endless Possibilities

 

I recently took LeVar Burton’s Master Class on the Power of Storytelling and there was something he said that stuck with me. That we have to keep our imagination in order to visualize and manifest what it is we want out of life. He highlighted the fact that as children we are always so inquisitive and asking what if this were possible and what if that were possible. Somewhere along the way, as we grow older, as we are told to grow up and to be practical and realistic, we lose that part of us that questions everything and that believes that everything we want can be made a reality simply because we believe it to be possible.

He made a powerful statement that nothing can ever happen in our lives unless we first believe it can, unless we can first imagine that it can be a reality. I have never thought of it quite that way. We need our imaginations, and we need to carry them with us throughout our journey in life because you are going to constantly have people telling you what it is that you can’t do. There are going to people at every turn judging you and putting you down and trying to, in their words, keep you grounded in reality, but the reality that they want for you is not the reality that matters. If their reality limits your imagination and the span of what it is, you would be able to do then let them keep their version of reality while you hold onto yours.

We are the Masters of our own fate. I mean yes, overall, I believe that God is the one who navigates our journey, but you have to believe in the gifts that God has instilled you with to change this world. You have to know your value and that the possibilities for you are endless as long as you believe they are. We have to keep that part of us that can imagine what others deem impossible. It’s how we are going to see this journey we are on through and become all that we are destined to be in this life. More than that, it is the best way that we can go beyond what we can even imagine. In order to reach our true potential never lose sight of all of the things that you imagine possible for your reality. We can soar as high as our imaginations will carry us!

Until next time… #BeInquisitive #BeFearless #BeInspired

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Underestimate Your Inner Strength

Someone reminded me the other day when I was feeling frustrated and defeated and just plain weak that there is no way that someone who was weak could have survived everything I’ve been through and still be here. From an abusive childhood to the multiple attempts of suicide that didn’t take, the many bouts of depression, quite a few car accidents that I probably shouldn’t have been able to walk away from, extreme anxiety, and of course the normal knocks that life just hands you on a regular basis. They also reminded me that even though I am not always aware of the difference that I have made in other people’s lives, that I have in fact made a difference.

I tend to think big even in terms of the change I want to affect in this world so when I say I want to change other people’s lives in some meaningful way I immediately think in terms of money and being able to one day give to various charities and organizations that make changes throughout the world. To help people in their times of need the way that people in the past have helped me in mine. I didn’t mean to dismiss the small changes that can be made over time. I neglected to think about the small impressions that one can leave on someone’s life that could change their lives for the long term.

I’m not good at always thinking the best of myself or complementing myself, or apparently receiving complements in regard to myself. I don’t always see in myself what other people see in me and it’s definitely one of those things I need to work on but also a coping mechanism developed over many years that’s a little hard to get rid of. I am quick to dismiss my abilities, sometimes forgetting what I’ve already achieved in my life. I have for far too long underestimated myself and my value in this life.

We should never sell ourselves short, both in terms of the strength that we have to face difficult things that come our way as well as in regard to the change that you make in other people’s lives. Sometimes we never even see the impact that we have on those around us until someone else points it out. We all matter to someone, most likely to a lot of someone’s, and even if you aren’t the owner of some major corporation that donates millions to charities on a continual basis, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change the life of the person you come in contact with simply by going to the store. Just because you aren’t sure how you’ve managed to survive the obstacles that have been tossed your way doesn’t change the fact that you did in fact survive them. On those days when you are feeling weak and discouraged just remember the strength you have inside you and the impact your life has on others.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Troubles Don’t Last Always

I try not to get too overly hopeful anymore about how a year is going to go for me. I swear every time I move a couple of steps forward in my goals, life comes along and says ‘nope, not so fast, need to knock you back a few steps more, you’re not quite ready yet’ and then I get discouraged. Not discouraged enough to ever give up on my dreams and goals because come on, if I haven’t given up on them at this point why would I suddenly give up now. It just gets extremely frustrating when I feel like I just might be getting somewhere, that for once I might be getting to a place where I can just not have to worry so much. That place where I can be comfortable (not in the complacent kind of way) and just not have to stress over every single little thing for fear that the walls around me will come tumbling down. It just sometimes feels like I can get close enough to touch the dream but never quite close enough to actually have it.

Keep in mind when I say the dream, I don’t mean being rich and famous or overly wealthy (not that I would deny myself that opportunity if it should so happen), just to make a living from my creative abilities and not have to worry if I’m going to have a roof over my head from one month to another. I mean to be able to have my daughter tell me she needs something and to not have to weigh helping her with what she wants or needs against providing food and shelter for the both of us, or even just myself. I just want to be able to survive and thrive a little with my art and then if there was a bonus that I would add to that, I would say to be able to reach out and help other people who are also struggling without hesitation.

I know that being a creative is not an easy thing and I’ve never thought that it was supposed to be, but I just never anticipated constantly getting knocked back every time I manage to get somewhere, and I mean every single time. Having said all of that, and being the spiritual person that I am, I am reminded from several church sermons and biblical scriptures that troubles do not lasts always. That whatever struggles I have gone through, or that I will inevitably go through, that God will always bring me through anything, and it may not be in the way that I think, but it will always be in the way He feels is best for me to be able to grow.

I am so highly resistant to change that I sometimes think that the knocks that life keeps giving me is its way of telling me that I need to stop being so afraid of change and to stop shying away from risks and opportunities that could make me grow. Could that be the lesson here? That troubles don’t last always but they do always persist until you learn the lesson that you were meant to get from the journey. Perhaps that is the piece of the puzzle that I am missing. Being brave enough to go for anything without thinking of what could go wrong.

Whatever your struggles are in your journey to get to the dreams and goals you are trying to reach don’t let the times that life will knock you down discourage you. You have to get back up and keep pushing through. There is light on that other side, even if it only looks like you can see tiny cracks of it right now. Let those tiny cracks of light be enough for the moment. Imagine how much more there is to see if you just stay vigilant and keep moving forward. I won’t lie and say that you won’t get discouraged ever again. That’s a part of life, a part of the journey. But just keep in mind that troubles don’t last always and that you can only get what you’re striving for if you keep going.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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The Circle You Choose

I think sometimes it can be overlooked how important it is to have a core set of friends who understand you and your passions. Not only that but understand and accept you as a person. They don’t ask you to be anyone you’re not while still allowing you the room to make changes at your own pace. They don’t judge the things you do that they may not understand. They respect what you’re passionate about and respect the time you need to dedicate to that passion. Most importantly they are friend enough to tell you when you’re not doing what it is you’re supposed to be doing and that you need to get yourself (s**t) together.

I joined a writing community virtually a little more than two years ago (a little bit before the Pandemic hit) and as luck or fate would have it, it turned out to be one of the best things I could’ve ever done. I met friends there who get me, they understand me, they accept me, they are my tribe. I underestimated how much I needed that. Even us introverts need a tribe and people who will support you and encourage you no matter what.

Even though I’m a person who would rather be alone more often than not, I have always had a good amount of friends (not too many and not a dismal number either) but I can’t always say that they understood me or accepted me fully without trying to change me at their rate of change. I can’t even say that they always respected what I’m passionate about (writing) or the time that I need in order to fulfill that passion. I’m sure that they thought they were being the friends that I needed them to be because I never lead them to believe otherwise. Given that they were far more social than I am I’m pretty sure I wasn’t what they needed either.

I think this is why every friendship isn’t meant to last forever and people do move on and they grow apart. But when you do find those people that get you, your tribe so to speak, you absolutely should hold onto them. And don’t just receive the love they pour into you, make sure that you are pouring love back into them as well. Writing can be such as solitary career choice, but it doesn’t always have to be. Find your tribe and when you do make sure that you love on them and hold them close.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeReceptive #BeEmpowering

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are You the Tortoise or the Hare?

I was on a live stream yesterday with a lot of my fellow writer family and we have this thing we do during streams where we pose questions on each sprint and they can be questions that are silly and allow us to just think fun thoughts, but they can also be deep prophetic questions that make you really think long and hard about what determines your answer. Oftentimes they’re a mixture of both. So yesterday on my friend Gwynna’s stream (watch the replay if you would like) she asked the chat are you more of a tortoise or a hare and why? The answer could be literal or metaphorical.

Now I don’t think my answer will shock anyone, I said I was a tortoise through and through. The funny thing is about a decade ago I probably would have said metaphorically a hare but physically a tortoise. I mean I’ve been overweight since I was in the 5th grade so speed has never really been my thing on a physical level but there was a time where I wanted everything to happen quickly.

I had goals and visions and I wanted to achieve them right then and there. I didn’t want to allow for any growth or learning curves, I just wanted things to magically happen for me. I would see people around me with not nearly as much drive or ambition have opportunities just present themselves to them and they took those opportunities for granted. It’s funny what living a bit of life and raising a child and hitting many (many) brick walls can actually teach you.

I’ve always read the story of the tortoise and the hare and would choose to be the hare in that scenario if I could because he was quick and confident. Now I see that story a little differently. He was quick and confident, but he was also cocky and didn’t think things through or prepare well enough which meant he didn’t have a good game plan for how to win, he just relied on his speed and his cockiness. There is a reason why slow and steady wins out. I said that I was a tortoise through and through because I have grown more methodical and analytical. I have learned to think things through (one could argue I might think them through a bit too much) and I don’t go into things on a whim. Sometimes this can be a flaw because there’s no spontaneity in being methodical and some think there is no fun in being cautious.

Now there is nothing wrong with being a hare (metaphorically or literally) and being that spontaneous and throw caution to the wind kind of person. There are times where that, throwing caution to the wind attitude, is necessary. I wish that I was that person but personally that doesn’t work for me. I think slow and steady really is the way to go. It may not get me to my destination as fast as I would like to get there and there will most definitely be stumbles and people to trip me up along the way but if I don’t give up, if I take my time, and if I remain confident but not too cocky, I will get there and what’s more important, I will be able to sustain myself once I do.

Whether you are more of a hare or more of a tortoise in life, I think the truly important thing is to know who you are and what method works for you to get to your end goal and to make it through this life. Even if you are a hare there is still some preparation that has to be involved or else, you’ll end up like the hare in the story who didn’t properly prepare for the race that he had to run and who also underestimated the person he was running the race alongside. However, you get to the finish line make sure you are focused on the lane that you are in and that you’ve given the race your all. Winning is nice but being the first to cross the finish line isn’t what matters most. What matters most is that you eventually cross that finish line.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BeConfident #BeAmbitious


Jimmetta Carpenter

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Growth in Gradual Steps

Growth can be hard especially when it means realizing that you can’t do all of the things you were once able to do. My ambition does not always match my physical abilities and that frustrates me to no end. I keep setting goals that, if I take into account my new found physical limitations which oftentimes weigh on my mental state as well, are not realistic goals for the person that I am now. I set them as if I hadn’t been in life changing accidents and as if I haven’t put on more weight due to those life changing accidents curbing my physical capabilities. I set them as if I were the me that I was 5 or 6 years ago and that just isn’t who I am anymore, regardless of how much I wish I was still that person.

In some ways I have grown into a better version of myself and in others, the one’s that I’m more limited in, let’s just say the wisdom did not follow with the age. I still keep thinking I can do things at the same pace, with the same veracity, and the same stamina that I could when I was in my late twenties, or even early thirties. How foolish is it of me to still hold myself to that standard?

I suppose adequate growth would be me adjusting my goals to something manageable that I know I can get accomplished. Here recently I have been working on tailoring my goals to be more in line with what I know I can actually get done not what I think in my head (because in my mind I can do a lot of things that I can’t actually do in reality lol). So far it has been working really well for me and has allowed me to feel less pressure to get things done. But I still have the problem where I still feel like I’m not being productive enough.

I think people who are overly ambitious have this constant need to feel as if every second of the day if productive in some way. When you think about it, that sounds completely irrational because there are things like sleep and taking care of yourself in some way that doesn’t involve doing anything. Sometimes taking care of yourself is simply doing nothing at all. It’s the doing nothing at all part that I would like to get to a place where it doesn’t make me feel guilty. I’m not quite there yet but I’m working on it. I hope that in being as productive as you possibly can you find time to do nothing and simply just be.

Until next time… #BeKindtoYourself #BePatient #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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These Are Apparently the Times We Are Living In Now

I don’t typically discuss political things or things that are going on all over the world here. That is unless those things have affected my mental state so much, to the point where I have to get what I’m feeling out or else I will scream. So, to avoid having people looking at me crazy or my neighbors thinking that I’m dying in my apartment I have to get some things off my chest. Now if you are a conservative who is in favor of what the Supreme Court has done to this country in the last week alone, I am sorry, but this post is not going to be for you.

This Supreme Court sucks! I am so profoundly devastated by the thoughtless and dangerous decisions that the Supreme Court handed down, not JUST on Friday but on Thursday too because in one breathe they’re saying the state of New York can’t have a say on how they handle guns and everyone is now free to run around New York all willy nilly with their guns out, while turning around on Friday to say “oh but we trust the states enough to make them the arbiters over women’s bodies” because that makes sense. Let me make this clear, I am neither for or against abortion. What I am for is women having a say over what to do with their own bodies and with their own situations. I am not for a bunch of old men (mostly anyway) getting to control whether a woman does or does not have a baby.

I watched as pro-life people talked to reporters about being the voice for the lives of the unborn children and I wanted to scream and say, “so to hell with the life of that mother who is carrying that unborn child”. No woman wakes up saying “hey I want to go out and get pregnant with a child I may or may not be able to afford and then precede to have an abortion”, that’s just ridiculous and that is how the pro-life movement is presenting things. Either that or they are relegating it down to making it as simple as saying women only choose to have an abortion because they are not being told by the masses that they are strong and capable enough to be a mom.

Well, here’s a thought, what if a woman just simply doesn’t desire to have children or if they have decided that 3 is their cap and they don’t want any more. Or what if you have a child who is raped and gets pregnant? So, then she just has to suck it up and deal with it? I literally wanted to scream when I saw a pro-life activist on CNN the other night and her response to the child who is raped question was “we don’t answer violence with violence and abortion is violence”. I wanted to yell at that woman and ask her so is her answer to punish the child who doesn’t bare any blame in that scenario with a responsibility that she is not mentally or financially ready for?

I watched another young woman who celebrated the decision by relaying a story of a teenage girl who she helped through a difficult time in which she made the choice not to go through with the abortion and I thought great, but you’re apparently losing the point that she had a choice, the decision wasn’t made for her. Anyone who is pro-life or pro-women for that matter, seriously needs to think about the fact that they are celebrating women no longer having a say over what they can and can’t do with their own bodies and in their own families. Every woman’s story is not the same and to impose your belief systems and moral reasoning on women as a whole is just wrong. It’s interesting how no one wants to regulate men’s bodies, force them to get vasectomies, take away their options to get these women pregnant.

I am so livid about this that I literally could not focus all of Friday and the vast majority of the weekend. For Justice Alito to say this text is not a part of the Constitution as his reasoning for this decision is ludicrous because in the text of the Constitution, I would not even be considered a person, but instead property. I also would not even be allowed to vote. It makes me wonder just how far back he wants to take us. And if you think that they are going to stop here then look no further than Justice Thomas’s concurrent opinion in which he thinks they need to overturn rights to contraception and marriage equality, i.e., same sex marriage. Who are they to tell someone who they can and cannot love? Who are they to regulate whether a married couple or anyone having sexual relations can actually use various methods of protection to at least try to keep themselves from getting pregnant? What kind of place are we living in right now?

This is not the country I grew up loving. I was born after Roe v Wade was in place, so I’ve never known anything but being able to have rights over my own body. So now my daughter is going to go into her adulthood not having rights that she had when she came into this world? What are we doing right now? I am just saddened for this country and I’m sad for my daughter and the daughters of other women I know. I’m extremely sad for my niece who lives in Oklahoma (a state who now holds one of the strictest laws against abortion I’ve ever seen) and is a young woman now and I’m worried about if she were to end up in a scenario that she didn’t want to be in. She would just be forced to do something she doesn’t want to do, being a mom (because she doesn’t even know if she wants kids)?

I just… I’m out of words now… I can’t understand what is happening and I’m just sad. These are dangerous times we are in, and it’s just not supposed to be this way. In the land of the free, we’re not really all that free, are we? Then again, I guess we never really were.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BeStrong #BePersistent

Jimmetta Carpenter

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I Want To Learn To Love Dancing In The Rain

There’s this saying (pictured above) that life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, but rather it’s about learning to dance in the rain. I absolutely love this saying, but I think I’ve only recently realized that I am the person who waits. I am that person that will stand on the curb and wait for dozens of cars to pass before just taking the chance and running across to the other side of the street. I am the person that once the sky opens up and the rain begins to fall, I immediately run indoors to keep from getting wet. I am that person who is scared of what’s coming if I don’t already know what’s going to happen.

I would like to think that if I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime that I would just take that opportunity without over analyzing every single aspect of what could go wrong but I know myself a bit better than that. I just turned another year older last Friday and it got me to thinking of, not just the things I wished I had gotten to do by now (as most people did, I had a 30 by 30 list of sorts), but also, I thought about the things I would put on a bucket list today as I inch closer to 45. I thought of all of the places I have yet to go and the things I want to try, things I would do if money were not an obstacle. Things I want to just throw caution to the wind for and just take the leap and jump. I stopped short of compiling yet another list for fear that once again the items on it will go unchecked.

On the flip side, if I keep waiting for all the money I need to do these things, or for the right time to do them, essentially for all of the stars to align, so to speak, then I could be waiting forever, and it’s possible that it would never happen. I don’t want to let another decade of my life go by without having done something, anything, that wasn’t completely mapped out and analyzed to death. I have yet to ever get on a plane and travel anywhere and I don’t want to have never left the country. I’ve never even been to New York, which is sad considering it is the one state that I have always dreamed of living in. So what do I do with all of these desires and so many real or imagined obstacles standing in my way?

That is when learning to dance in the rain comes into play. Now I can’t say I will never over analyze a decision ever again because, as I said before, I know myself a bit better than that. But I think taking chances and risks in life, particularly for someone as analytical as myself, requires a conscious effort. It will require me to get out of my own head every time an opportunity arises for me to do something that I want to do. It will require for me to just live a little and stop worrying about all of the unknowns. Most importantly, it will require me to remember to bring my umbrella with me even if the forecast doesn’t call for rain because I never know when the sky will open up and give me the opportunity to dance. If you should have the opportunity to dance in the rain or run indoors for cover, I sure hope that you decide to dance!

Until next time… #BeAdventurous #BeOpen #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Find the Joy in the Simple Things

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday and he pointed out something that I was doing and hadn’t even realized I was doing it. In being so focused and frustrated by the place that I was not at in my life, at the age that I thought I should be there, I was not showing my gratitude for how far I have come and for the accomplishments that I have achieved and the battles that I was fighting that I have made it through. I want to be clear; I am very aware that I was in a much rougher place when this year started, I mean to the point where I didn’t even know if I would still have a roof over my head come the midway point of the year. My situation has changed dramatically and that hopelessness that (even though I was trying not to show it) was starting to set in is gone now. If I didn’t have a whole carload of other things to be grateful for (because I do) that alone would be enough.

It’s really good to have a circle (however big or small) of friends around you that will check you and tell you hard truths when you need to hear them. Or those that will tell you when you need to take stock in what you have instead of focusing on the things that you haven’t attained just yet. My friend (who is amazingly awesome) made me sit back and really think about how I sounded and more importantly made me realize just how much I’ve overcome in this year alone (we won’t even get into what I’ve overcome in my whole life—that could take forever) and I am so thankful.

There was a time, not that long ago that, although I tried my best to have complete and total faith that things were going to work out for the best, I was truly starting to get worried. For the first time in my life, I didn’t really know how they were going to turn out okay and that scared the shit out of me.

All of this is to say that I know times get hard, that times have been hard, especially in these last couple of years, but you have to make sure that you celebrate the little and simple things. Find the joy in the small things that make you smile and things that get you through the day. Also make sure that you have friends around you that won’t let you sit in “what if” land and will make you aware of all you have to be thankful for. The battles we are all facing, even if they are just in our mind, don’t have to make us lose sight of the moments of joy we experience along the way. We win those battles by not allowing them to hold us back and by not forgetting to conquer one thing at a time.

Until next time #BeCourageous #BeMindful #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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