The Misconception Of What It Means To Be Strong

Let’s talk strength and its many forms. As I watched the Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination hearings last week and watched certain politicians (their names aren’t even worth mentioning) try and bait her into playing into the angry black woman stereotype that plagues every black woman who simply desires to make something of their lives, I heard everyone remark about her grace and her strength to sit there so unbothered. I too recall myself commenting on how strong she was because my actions would have been a bit different. But if you are a black woman, hell most women, know that her face said all of what she was feeling but she had to play up her strength because falling for their bait was not an option.

It made me think of why it is that strength is equated with just sitting back and taking whatever is thrown at you no matter how much you might be breaking down on the inside. Why isn’t showing your vulnerable side, your humanity, why isn’t that considered strength. Why do people try to hide their tears when all they need is a good cry?  It’s a shame that in a world that tries so hard to break you down, you can’t even show your hurt or else you will be thought of as weak. 

For most of my life I’ve been an extremely emotional, empathic, person and I feel things at a really deep level. I cry almost instantly when made aware of other’s pain. People have always called me too sensitive, too emotional, and weak because I cry when I’m sad, or upset, or even if I’m really angry. My wearing my emotions on my face has not been an easy thing. I used to hate when I was called all of those things. Now I embrace them. Now when someone says I’m too sensitive or emotional I just say thank you because allowing yourself to feel emotions and express them doesn’t make you weak. Crying when you need to doesn’t make you weak.

Showing that you are vulnerable and that you can be hurt, that you can be broken, makes you stronger than the ones who are still hiding their humanity. We have to get away from what is perceived as strength in this world because oftentimes true strength is revealed when we let our guards down and display our real emotions. We shouldn’t have to act like nothing gets to us just to come off as strong. Strength is surviving in a world that wants nothing more than to see you fail, by any means necessary.

Until next time… #BeVulnerable #BeBold #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Rest If You Need To But Just Don’t Quit

The journey to fulfill your dreams is not going to be a road without obstacles. In fact, it often feels like the closer that we get to those dreams that we’ve been striving towards for so long, the harder they seem to be to reach.  I’ve said it here before, but anything worth having, any goal worth achieving, is going to require hard work and tenacity to attain.  However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be days in which you will want to quit.

I know it doesn’t seem like it here or if you follow me anywhere on social media (particularly my YouTube channel) but I grow exhausted with the amount of effort I have to put into this dream of mine. I grow increasingly weary at times with the fact that every time I take two steps forward, it seems to be followed with three steps backwards. I get frustrated at the fact that I’m not anywhere near (at least in my mind anyway) where I think that I should be with my career or life in general. I have wanted to quit so many times that I’ve lost count. But I can’t quit so I just rest.

We all have our moments where things get so hard that we just want to throw in the towel. You think to yourself sometimes that if this is something that you were meant to do, if this is truly your calling then it shouldn’t be this damn hard. You think about all of the people who, things seem to come so easy for them, and you have that quick thought questioning why it’s not that easy for you.

The truth is that we have no idea what someone else’s journey has been like. While it looks like they might have had an easy go of it, their journey could have been just as rough as yours seems to be now. We should never compare our journey to someone else’s because each of us has a different hill to climb. Nothing worth having is ever going to be easy so if it’s something that you really want, that really matters to you, then be prepared for the hard road ahead. I believe it will make actually accomplishing your dream that much sweeter.

When you get weary and grow tired and feel you’re stuck in reverse, don’t quit, simply rest. Rest so that when you have sat with those frustrations and feelings of doubt, you can then get back up and keep climbing up that hill. Eventually you will reach the top, but only if you keep moving forward. Our dreams are worth holding on for.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeTenacious #BeSteadfast 

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are You Willing to Be Corrected?

I remember saying to a friend a long time ago that if I could continue to go to college indefinitely and earn as many degrees as I could stand, I would definitely do that. I would be, what she called, a forever student. She laughed at the thought and assumed that I was joking but truly if money were not an issue, I don’t think there is enough information out there that I could immerse myself in that I wouldn’t choose to do so. I like to learn, and I am a person who never feels like I know enough of anything. That’s not to say that I’m not smart and I don’t already know a lot, but I’d like to think that we are never really done learning, at least not until we are dead and gone.

Two times last week I was reminded that we have to be willing to be corrected, to admit we have to do something better than we thought we were doing, in order to stay on or get back on track. Not only did my Pastor on Sunday preach about whether we are willing to stop what we think we are doing right in order to learn what we’re doing wrong and remain open to being corrected. Days before that I had sought out a consultant regarding my business and the social media marketing part of it to see what I was doing wrong so I can do it better. The consultant was hesitant to tell me everything I was doing wrong because I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways at times so they weren’t sure I could handle hearing that even the one thing I thought I was actually doing right, I was not. I told him I’m here to learn so whatever it was I wanted to know because I can’t fix it if I don’t know the problem.

How many times are you aware that a problem exists but unwilling to allow anyone who might be willing to help you correct the problem actually do so? Are you unable to be taught when you think you’ve learned all there is to learn? You will never be able to know everything about everything and even if you know a lot, there is always someone out there that will know more and that can help you do more, but only if you are open to learning.

There’s this saying that I love that says you should never be the smartest person in the room. That the moment you become the one in the room who knows the most information then you need to move on to the next room. Not only would that allow you to be in more rooms with a broader spectrum of people. It would also ensure that you are always learning and that you are always correcting what needs to be corrected. You can’t get to where it is you want to go thinking that you know everything, that you’ve somehow learned all there is for you to learn. So be open to the things that you need to be corrected on, and when you’ve learned what you needed to learn then move on to the next room and keep learning.

Until next time… #BeOpen #BeMindful #BeTeachable

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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In a World of Leaves and Branches, Make Sure You Know Who Your Roots Are

I saw a social media post this morning that got me thinking about the thought process we have sometimes behind creating our circle of friends and the standards or boundaries we set, or often times don’t set. The post was essentially about not putting too much of our burdens on our friends, particularly if we aren’t reciprocating and allowing them to cast some of theirs on us as well. Now obviously our friendships should never be viewed as a burden but so many friendships are rarely fifty-fifty. There’s always a little lopsidedness going on at different points in the relationship.

I suppose the question lies in how we distinguish between friends and associates. Then the question becomes do we limit what our friends can put on us and to what extent because the shoe can always be placed on the other foot. This brings up that Tyler Perry play that I saw once (can’t remember the exact name at this moment) where he gave advice about knowing people’s place in our lives and comparing it to a tree of life scenario.

There are some people who are just the leaves on our tree of life, those acquaintances that we wouldn’t really classify as friends, but they are not without their added value in our lives. They may have very well come along just to show us something about ourselves that we needed to see through someone else’s eyes. Then there are those branches, those friends who are there for just a season. They are there to get us through something, most likely they are equipped with something that we are lacking just a little of so they can help us get through. They are necessary and they are most certainly a blessing, but they aren’t meant to stay and sometimes it can do more harm than good trying to hold onto the branches of a tree that have long since served their purpose.

Then there are those roots. Those friends who have a firm place in your life and who hold you up when you are collapsing and who, without them, you wouldn’t be who you are. They are the ones who ground you and remind you not only of who you are, but of whose you are even when you sometimes forget. They don’t have to necessarily be friends you’ve known all your life either. Sometimes you can just have met someone who does so much in a short period of time to change your life and your perspective that it can feel like you’ve known them for a lifetime.

In creating your circle of friends don’t get hung up on how many friends you have around you, going for the maximum number possible. It’s not the size of the circle that matters, but rather the quality of the people within that circle. It’s whether you have a whole bunch of leaves that you have not yet swept away. It’s whether you have far too many branches that need to be removed. It’s whether you are watering and nurturing those roots in order to sustain the tree itself.

You can have just three solid root friends and still have the best circle than that of someone who has 20 friends who are leaves and branches. It’s not about accumulating a massive amount of people around you. It’s about having the people around you be the best ones to add value to your life, and you to theirs. The roots are where the value of the tree lies. Get yourself some roots and make sure that you are someone else’s root!

Until next time… #BeMindful #BePatient #BeKind 

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Are You Willing to Play the Long Game?

 

For any individual who decides to become a creative entrepreneur, the phrase consistency is key will be one you will often hear. That’s because as a creative, unless you get super lucky or you know all of the right people you are most likely playing the long game. It will also not be an easy journey as you make your way along either. There will be a lot of no’s and not nearly enough yeses to balance out the scales. Some days your passion for whatever artistic gift you have decided is going to be what you do with your life is going to be the only thing keeping you going.  Hold on to that passion because you are definitely going to need it.

I don’t say any of that to be discouraging. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I say that because on the really hard days, the days when it just seems like no matter what you do nothing is working, it will be your passion that carries you through and whispers to you to keep going. For me and my writing career it has been a really long road and while it has been fruitful at parts, it hasn’t moved nearly as quickly as I thought it would or would have liked for it to. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my passion for the words themselves, I probably would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.

I recently took David Baldacci’s Master Class and one of the things he said was that if you really want to make it as a writer with longevity you can’t just see writing as a hobby or even just a job. Rather you have to see writing as a lifestyle. For me that’s exactly what it’s always been. I’ve known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old (really and truly it was 6 but I started producing actual material at 10) so my heart has always been in this. I have at times wanted to quit because it’s hard seeing the potential outcome and never being able to achieve that reality. However, when passion is the driving force it’s kind of hard to quit because the passion won’t let you.

So, I’ll leave you with this. If you are struggling and you’re having more and more days where you want to just quit, don’t. Anything worth having is never going to be easy to attain and if the life of an artist is the one you want, you’re going to have to be prepared to work really hard for it and stay consistent. Consistency really is the only guarantee that you won’t fail because one thing is for sure, if you don’t keep trying and working at it then you won’t ever get there. If this is something you are passionate about, something that is really in your heart to do for the rest of your career and your life, then you can’t give up now.

Until next time… #BeConsistent #BePassionate #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Whatever Will Be Will Be

I am an extremely anxious person. I worry about the little things about as much as I worry about the big things. Even when there is nothing to worry about, I still worry that I should be worrying. It’s something I’m working on and believe it or not I have actually gotten better about it over the years, and I have my spiritual growth journey that I’ve been on these last several years to credit for that. As anxious as I can sometimes still get, I do now understand and enjoy the peace that I feel when I just accept things as they are and don’t stress over everything that a situation is not.

At some point we have to accept things, not just as they are, but also as they come. Life is hard and if it were easy would it really be worth living. I think that it’s ingrained in us from when we are young to always be worried about something. If you think about it, unless you have been fortunate enough to have lived the ultimate privileged life where everything is just made easy for you, then you have seen your parents struggle and worry about nearly everything. Your parents more than likely saw their parents do the same. It is instilled in us that somehow if you’re not worried about it then you must not be concerned with whether things will work out okay or not. 

We have to train ourselves to not over think every single little thing because it’s not something that we inherently do. We are not accustomed to just letting things be whatever they are and trusting that however they work out is the way that it is intended. I mean sure if you grew up in church then yes you have that faith but you still worried. You’re human and you don’t have a crystal ball and clearly, you’re not God, so you still worried. However, when we let our worries consume us to the point where we make ourselves sick (which I used to do) that is not a habit that we should maintain.

We have to learn, even in slight worry (emphasis on slight), to let our Faith comfort us and provide us with the knowledge that things will be okay, in whatever way they turn out. What is meant to happen is going to happen, with or without our worry, so why waste the energy and time that we put into worrying when we could be using that time and energy to buckle down and push through those rough times and move toward the goal. We may not get to the goal line on a straight road. There may be curves and detours, and even some U-turns along the journey, but ultimately you will get there. There’s a saying that says it will all be okay in the end and that if it is not okay then it is not the end.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeFearless #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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A Reminder of the Dream, In Case You Forgot

Today we remember the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had all of those years ago when he gave that I Have a Dream speech. While I don’t normally repost old blog posts, I couldn’t get past the fact that what I wrote last year to commemorate this day STILL applies, even more so, today. I want to leave you with those same words today and remind you that we are not finished yet, not until we can see his vision for the dream that he had all the way through. We cannot give up on a fight in which he literally gave his life for. I hope that something in this post inspires you today to keep striving towards the goal of making his dream of a better and more equal America come true.

Is There Still Hope for The Dream?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say today but I knew that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was going to be the subject of this post. So, I went to pull up the full “I have a Dream” speech on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs) because it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the speech in its entirety. As I sat there listening, it was mind blowing just how relevant and powerful his words still are to this very day.

Now I don’t know if that is telling to the staying power of his words or to the sadness that they still ring true. In essence, we may have come far but within these last few years we seemed to have taken several steps backwards.  I guess you would have to listen for yourself to determine which one it is for you. For me it’s a bit of both. Yes of course those words he spoke that day still matter, even more so now, because before the last four years we were starting to see some of those dreams manifested and brought to fruition. Or were we?

We thought that we had started to see some change with President Obama because he was someone who truly took those words of Dr. King’s to heart and he embodied them and strived, with much opposition, to make those dreams a reality. We thought we had come farther, but within the last four years we have seen certain strides that were taken being walked back immensely. It makes you wonder, had we really even made any change? Was it all surface accomplishments but underneath, the roots, were still very present and had not yet been weeded out enough to allow sustainable growth?

That day on August 28th of 1963, Dr. King said that America needed to pull itself out of the quicksand of racial injustice in where people of color lived on an island of poverty amongst a vast ocean of material prosperity. He points out that America had not kept its promise to us and that it was in for a rude awakening if it expected things to go back to business as usual.  I think that he would be disheartened to see all of his words continually quoted by people who clearly have no deep understanding of what they actually mean because if they did then they would see that we only seek “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

I think if he were still alive that he would find himself having to repeat those same words he spoke to those gathered around the Lincoln Memorial that day. I think he would feel obligated to remind the entitled groups of people who think the rules don’t apply to them that equality is not wrong, it is not unreasonable, and it is not unattainable.

I think he would also turn to those who have grown weary and tired, and yes complacent amongst those who would like to revert back to a time that our ancestors struggled so hard to lead us out of and tell them to keep moving forward. I think he would tell them that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo, and we most certainly cannot leave this country in the fragmented state that we find ourselves in today. I think that he would remind people who are angry because we’re still explaining that we just want equality that they have to continue to strive for freedom but not by “drinking from a cup of bitterness and hatred”.

The song that plays at the very beginning of the recording of his speech is “We Shall Overcome” and as I listened to the words in that song, and replayed the words of his speech, I have to say that even in the current state of this country, I still have hope that we will be okay. I still think that Dr. King’s Dream is going to come true, someday, but we can’t give up, and we have to keep moving forward, until we are all Free At Last. 

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBrave #BeRelentless

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Plans Change and We Must Adapt

 

Okay so I had every intention of starting the year off strong last week. That was the plan anyway. However, that is not how things went. I think that it is becoming a tradition with me that the year starts off with nothing but good intentions but almost always the slowest ever start. I was not feeling well last week at all. It was a really bad pain week (I have chronic pain- some days are good and some, not so good) and I had a cold that I thought (in a panic) could have possibly been COVID for a few days (thankfully it wasn’t) so the combination of being sick with a cold and in a lot of pain made for a disaster of a start to the New Year.

Nevertheless, I still managed to complete a few of my scheduled tasks last week and am trying not to kick myself too much for the things that I didn’t get accomplished. There’s nothing more that makes me feel inadequate then when I plan things to go a certain way and they don’t even come close. Logically I know that almost nothing ever goes according to the way we plan them but with so many things that are out of our control, our plans are essentially one of the few things that we can actually feel like we have some sense of control over.

I think a part of what makes it so hard to learn from lessons of our past is the fact that we keep repeating the same mistakes and the same misguided ways of thinking. We instinctively know the things that we shouldn’t do and that the plans that we make for ourselves could fall by the wayside at any moment because, well God’s plans and our plans might not line up with one another, and yet we continue to plan and to make the same misguided mistakes anyway.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, mind you.  After all, we do need a plan for things (even in the Bible God had his chosen few make plans). We just have to make sure that we are not so dead set on OUR plan that we somehow miss the instructions that God gives us a long the way for how HE wants us to change the plan.

There are going to be curves in the road and almost certainly some sharp turns that come out of the blue and we have to be ready, and we have to be prepared to make the right decision on the which direction to go. And since we can’t always count on there being a U-turn in the road for us to course correct, the best way is to take things a little slower and a little steadier so that we don’t miss those curves and those sharp turns. Don’t be so upset at your plan not coming to fruition that you miss the joy of knowing that God’s plan is still working.

Until next time…#BeVigilant #BePatient #BeinFaith

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Resetting Boundaries and Growing Past Your Comfort Zone in the New Year

It’s a brand New Year and with any luck it will be far better than the last two years. Now I’m not going to say that nothing good happened last year because after all, I published two books, and I started my online store.  Let’s just say that I had a place where I would be in mind for the end of 2021 and to say that I was far from that desired goal would be an understatement. But I digress.

This is not going to be a negative post (I know it did sound kind of negative but bear with me) but in order to know the things that we need to do to get further along the path to achieving our goals we have to first assess and evaluate where we may have gone wrong in the first place. So, I’m just being reflective of the fact that I could have done a bit more to get to my goal and noticing where I need to improve.

While we know that we can never be perfect in the things that we do (because there’s just no such thing) we can always consistently strive to be ever changing and evolve to different methods and ways of thinking that will work better for us. We don’t get anywhere if we don’t admit, at least to ourselves, that we have to be willing to get out of those comfort zones that we have settled into.

We have to set boundaries for ourselves obviously, but we have to be willing to push those boundaries as well when we see that it’s time to grow forward. Otherwise, we will stay stagnant, and our success will inevitably be limited to the parameters that we ourselves set. So, this year make sure that you are pushing forward instead of just spinning on a never-ending wheel that lands you back in the same place in which you started.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BePersistent

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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Your Attitude is Everything

I’ve been in a bit of a funk since last week. I realized that I am nearing the stage of burn out and that I will most likely be taking a break from this blog and my YouTube channel in the month of December. I do have prerecorded videos that will be posted throughout December on YouTube channel so I will still technically be a presence over there. This will likely be my last blog post for this year (unless I get a great spark of inspiration for something to tell you lol) because I need to refill the creative well. It is important, as a creative, to not let yourself burn out entirely before realizing that you need to take a step back.

But my moment that I was having last week was also about something else. I was feeling like all of my efforts that I put into my writing career were pointless. I felt like all of the efforts were not bearing any fruit, or not enough fruit anyway if we’re talking in terms of finances. Even up until this morning I was just feeling so down about things. Then I was listening to something where the person being interviewed said that your attitude affects how you see things. It’s not like I didn’t already know this. I just needed a bit of a reminder and that reminder came right on time this morning.

I know that whatever happens, good or bad, I am blessed just to be given another chance each day God wakes me up in the morning. It is not over until it is REALLY over, meaning when there is no breathe left in my body. So just because I am not seeing things going in the direction I want them to go in right now doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way. But things surely can’t change course if I were to just have an attitude of giving up.

We accomplish nothing when we throw in the towel and give away. The only thing that would ensure is that all of the progress that we have made up to that point would truly be wasted and bear no fruit at all. It gets hard sometimes when you dream big but if it were easy then it would be a vision given to everyone and not just you. Our dreams and our visions are worth fighting to make them happen, no matter what it takes.

So keep that attitude of determination and drive. Hold on to that as you push through the dark moments where that little voice in your head is telling you that it’s pointless. Your attitude will be what carries you through and you will get there. Just don’t quit!

Until next time… #BeAmbitious #BeBold #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter 

Writer/Editor 

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

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