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

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A Lesson in Life that Skating Reminded Me Of

Today I took my daughter skating.  I thought it was a good way to end her spring break and I thought it would be good fun for her.  I hadn’t intended on skating as well, I just wanted to sit on the sidelines and watch her hold onto the wall as she made her way around.  Just as she did the last time I took her skating, which was two years ago for her birthday, she asked me to skate with her.  I told her no because truth be told my knee was really bothering me.  I sent her out into the rink and watched her take about five minutes (maybe more) to make her way around the first time.  

After her first trip around she came to me and said she wanted to go home, that it was harder then she remembered.  I reminded her that we don’t quit on things just because they seem hard at first and that the only way to get good at anything was to keep going back out there and trying.  I assured her that she would get better at it just like she did the first time we went skating and the time she went skating with her class at school.  It inspired me to go get a pair of rental skates myself (I hate putting my feet where others have been) and make my attempt to skate with her, as she requested.  

Now I used to be a really good skater back in my teenage years but other than the attempt I made two years ago I haven’t really skated and with all of the aches and pains settling in within my body I get nervous at the thought of skating (or at least the part where I fall).  I was truly terrified to get out there on the floor of that skating rink but I did it and pretty soon I was even able to let go of the wall, at least some of the time.  

I believe that seeing me get out there and not giving up even inspired my daughter to let go of the wall a few times herself.  I even noticed her gathering speed a couple of times, but she didn’t want to quit anymore.  In fact when it came time to leave she didn’t want to go.  I made a promise to her that we would go skating more often now.  I had actually started to have fun myself and I forgot just how much fun skating was.  

The thing about skating that I can relate to real life experiences sometimes is that it has a lot to do with being resilient.  With skating, especially if you haven’t done it in a long time, there is always a good chance that you will fall (in fact unless you are a pro it’s kind of expected), but you don’t have a choice but to get back up again.  You can’t just sit there and give up because you have to, at the very least, get back up if you want to get out the skating rink.  

Much like skating, in life when something or someone knocks you down, maybe even literally knocking the wind out of you, you have to get back up.  More importantly, you have to realize that you are going to fall many time but you have to keep getting back up again.  It’s amazing that I got all of that out of skating but sometimes it’s the little things that you underestimate that have some of the biggest lessons for you to learn from.  I can’t wait to get good at skating again and to help my daughter get to that point where she can let go of the wall and go it alone.  Won’t that be something?  

By the way I did, in fact, fall, but I got back up and skated around a few more times.  It was so much fun! 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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