The Patches in Our Quilts

I was listening to an old Tyler Perry acceptance speech that talked about his grandmother’s quilt and how at first he was ashamed of the quilt his grandmother had left him because it wasn’t appealing to the eye. He spoke about learning how to eventually appreciate the patches in his grandmother’s quilt because he had to come to realize that every patch that went into making the quilt she left him told a story of an area in her life and her quilt was the overall story of her life and she was leaving that to him. Initially he hadn’t even understood the enormity of the legacy she had left him. It made me think about whether or not we always understand the value of our patches.

I have often at different points in my life of course, felt shame for some tough lessons I had to learn the hard way. I’ve felt regret for opportunities that I have been too afraid to take and for decisions that I couldn’t take back.  Now that I have just crossed into my forties and I have spent the last few years growing both spiritually and mentally, I have come to believe that those moments in my life that I used to want to take back have made me who I am, for better or for worse.

While I would have loved not to have learned some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way I wonder if I would have ever learned them otherwise.  Would I have ever been pushed forward without the hardships that I’ve had? If I hadn’t been knocked down so many times would I have developed the tenacity and persistence to be able to keep getting back up and pushing harder for what I want?

All of our experiences in life give us something to take into the next phase of our journeys’. They prepare us and toughen us up for what will undoubtedly be a bumpy road to the success you’re striving for.  The failures that you’ve had in life are not what you should dwell on because those failures mean that you actually tried. One thing is for certain and that is that you can’t succeed at anything without ever having tried. 

My mistakes are what have strengthened me and they are patches in my life’s quilt. I am very proud to sew them together and see just how far I’ve come even if I still have quite a ways to go.  I hope to be able to pass the quilt of my life down to my daughter so that she can then be able to know my story. Perhaps she will add her own patches to the quilt to pass down to her kids in the future.  Everyone needs to be proud of the patches that they have in their quilts and not just proud but understand the value in every single patch.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeGateful

Jimmetta Carpenter 



Exploring Every Inch of the Road in the Journey

The day we cease to explore is the day we begin to wilt. ~Cicely Tyson

Good or bad, life is nothing but a bunch of experiences. We have really good moments and we have really bad moments, and oftentimes the bad moments start to feel like they are more present than the good.  Where am I going with this you ask? Well, just that mistakes and hard times are simply apart of the exploration that we do throughout our journey. We can’t avoid them and in all honesty we should probably be welcoming them.

This thought process came to my mind because of a zoom call that I had with some wonderfully creative girlfriends of mine. We were getting together (virtually) to discuss Cicely Tyson’s book and other extraordinarily talented black creative artists. Of course the conversation ventured over to discussing our own creative endeavors and what our vision was for the things we were working on. I was singled out, and rightfully so (because they know me so very well), for often being afraid of stepping outside the box and exploring things, mainly for fear of making mistakes.

I have expressed here many times over the years this really tiresome dance that I do with my fear and how I strive to move past that and I’ve made strides and every now and then I realize I hadn’t let go of all of these fears as much as I would like to believe.  Don’t get me wrong, I am way better than I was years ago in terms of dealing with my constant fears and the obstacle the fear itself presents itself to be. I just have a ways more to go. On that zoom call I was reminded of advice from other successful people throughout history which is that the more you fail or rather make mistakes, the more life experience you have to put into your work and the better you can make the next attempt.

Not exploring things, not exploring life, is in many ways not allowing yourself to experience both successes and failures in various magnitudes and to use those learning experiences to fuel your drive and motivation to power forward.  Without exploration we don’t really learn what works and what doesn’t work, what we like and what we don’t like, and we simply don’t learn much of anything about who we are. 

If you are letting fear hold you back or keep you in that place of comfort, stop holding yourself back from experiencing every aspect there is of success, and that includes the moments in which you will undoubtedly making mistakes. It is not failing to get things wrong and to mess up. You only become a failure when you cease to explore at all. Never stop exploring every inch of the road you will walk on your journey.

Until next time… #BeCourageous #BeInspired #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter