When patience goes wrong

When patience goes wrong

So, I’m in a small city in Texas for work and in a good mood, ready to conquer the world.  I arrived at the airport, which is smaller than the one in my hometown, in the middle of what looked like nowhere, and gleefully call the hotel to request a shuttle and the person on the other end said, “No problem! I’ll get him out right away!”  Right after I made that call, my phone randomly went dead, although it was fully charged this morning and I’ve barely used it all day.  Time passed, still no shuttle.  But I’ve been working on my patience, so I thought to myself, “Self, they’re probably on one of those every 30 minute schedules, so you’ll just have to wait till the next go round.  Besides, I can’t track the time, so I could just be tripping.”  Well, the last traveler got picked up, leaving me outside by myself.  So I went inside, and lo and behold, it had been damn near an HOUR.  So I called using the airport phone that only calls hotels, and the lady said, “He’s still not there? Ok, we’ll get him out right now.”

Uh… that’s what she said before.  So this time I stayed close by the entrance so I could see the clock.  Another 20 minutes passed.  So I went on back and asked the rental car company if I could use their phone to call a cab.  The cab said it’d be there in 10 minutes.  Well, 8 minutes later, finally arrives the damn shuttle I had been waiting an hour and a half for.  I had to battle with myself about whether or not to get on, but because I actually care about spending client money unnecessarily and because I was tired of sitting in randomness, I went on and got on, although I felt bad for calling the cab.  Well, I felt bad for calling the cab so late.  I should have called him after that first effin hour.  I roll my stuff outside, and the guy is like, “Are you the only one?”  I thought, “HELL YES, MOFO, EVERYONE ELSE IS AT HOME EATING OR AT THEIR HOTEL CHILLING!!!” But I responded, “Yeah.”  I guess the expression on my face wasn’t too pleasant so he looked at me through the rearview mirror and then avoided me until we arrived at the hotel.

So two hours after I landed, I’m finally sitting in my hotel room, wondering what to eat.  And wishing I had gotten here sooner so I could eat without missing my mickeyfickey Monday shows.  But whatever.  Happy Monday.

Let those negative folks get off the bus.

Let those negative folks get off the bus.

The truth makes you go hmm, don’t it?!  Growing up, I was always a loner.  That weird girl who was pretty enough to have friends, but still a little too smart for some people’s tastes, even teachers occasionally.  I was daring, even though I didn’t know I was–I was just really certain of myself and my knowledge.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a little more mainstream–still misunderstood a great deal of the time, but I “fit in” alot more.  Well, sometimes the misunderstandings and the attacks on my character by people who either don’t know me, haven’t taken the time to know me, or who are just haters in general get into my psyche and leads to a decrease in daring.  I go into hands off mode, even though I know something is wrong.  I keep my mouth closed, even though being passive is not generally who I am.  Sometimes that gets me down, but sometimes, I realize that it’s just as daring to let unimportant people talk to themselves, to save my breath and my words for someone who can have a productive conversation or even debate, if needed.  I will never think I’m always right–but I am confident that I’m someone everyone should want on their brainstorming, strategic planning team.  And that fact doesn’t depend on anyone, not even those who disregard my value.

To achieve greatness, you just need to let those naysayers or know-it-alls who don’t know a damn thing get off the bus so that you can keep it moving.

I am Nada Dee, and I am working on me.

I am Nada Dee, and I am working on me.

So!  If you know me really well, you know I can’t stand the spotlight.  Especially if I have to open my mouth.  Some think it’s really hard to believe because I’m always serving in leadership capacities, but I’ve always been kind of a behind the scenes person.  Well, I’ve realized that in my life–at work, in social settings, and in community settings–I really need to get over this dislike of public speaking and meeting people cold (without any introduction) so that I can walk through any doors that God may open in order to let His light shine through me.

So yesterday, I attended a one-day seminar at Emory about being an effective presenter, and boy, was I blessed.  Vicki Flier Hudson is the bomb, and this class is definitely worth the time and mulah.  At the beginning of the day, we discussed what our barriers were and how to overcome them.  We were told that in order to tighten up our outer game, we have to deal with the inner game.  I had never really asked myself WHY I don’t like all eyes on me.  Or at least not long enough to come up with an answer.  So when I was asked yesterday, I kinda just gave a blank stare.  And after the talk, I think it’s really just fear of the unknown and being self-conscious of what someone may be thinking as they size me up.  #1 thing I took from the class yesterday: “I am Nada Dee, and I have something valuable to offer these people.”  I will begin reciting that mantra before I have to stand before an audience and speak about something.

According to my teacher, I have the skills.  I am personable and I connect well with my audience, make great facial expressions (everyone knows that! lol), sound like I know what I’m talking about.  But I find myself giving off negative body language because of my apprehension and low self-confidence of being in front, and I don’t project loudly enough sometimes.  So knowing my weaknesses and going equipped with new exercises to deal with these, I think the class was an awesome launching pad for improvement.  I’ve also joined Toastmasters, and I have resolved not to turn down any more opportunities to share who I am and what I have to offer to anyone.  Whether it be speaking, singing, or whatever. One day I may even like getting up and talking to groups of people.  Oh how unstoppable I will be then.  Happy Friday!

Gender Roles and the State of the Black Family

Gender Roles and the State of the Black Family

Today I’ve had lively conversations about the following media:

http://www.youtube.com/user/shanelcooper

http://www.crosswalk.com/singles/11608840/

Take a look!  I’ll be back later when I have a minute to sit down and really delve into my thoughts and share.

Update :: October 9, 2010 :: I promise I’m coming back.  I just have so much to do!!

The Big Day!

The Big Day!

So today was the big day – my first talk at an international research conference. I was excited, nervous, and sleepy all wrapped up into one! I’m thankful that my niece stayed up until after 12:30am (US time) to make sure that I was up by 6:30am (Berlin time) because I was having trouble getting out of the bed this morning! 🙂

The session began at 8am and my talk was scheduled for 9:30am. By the time the presenter right before me was up, I was giving myself my usual “you’re the expert…you’re the greatest….don’t panic….it’ll be over soon… you can do it….” speech. Lol. Then, the moment of truth – I heard them call my name followed by “Tanjala was awarded The Transplant Society Young Investigator Award/Travel Grant…” And then it was showtime.

Before I knew it I was up talking….things were going well – no fumbles, talking at an ok pace, no problems, halfway done…then my mouth got super dry!! Like super super dry! Lol. Part of my brain said “drink the water on the podium” but the OCD-part of my brain said “no you can’t drink the water…what if that is somebody else’s water…what if the lady forgot to change the glass!!?!?” So, I didn’t drink the water. But I finished up the talk with no fumbles, in spite of the dry mouth problem. Lol. Afterwards, people were congratulating me on the award and said that I did a great job. So yay! 🙂

I then attended another session where I recognized one of the experts from Harvard as a keynote speaker. I was sitting there listening and all of a sudden I heard the Harvard expert say “….these findings were similar to those presented in this morning’s 8am session by the Johns Hopkins study……” and I was thinking “dang I thought I was the only one presenting a study from Hopkins this morning…oh wait, THAT’S ME…HE’S QUOTING OUR STUDY…an Associate Professor at Harvard is quoting the talk I just gave 30 minutes ago!!!” After the session, I introduced myself to him and he responded “Oh, I know who you are…I enjoyed your talk this morning….you guys are doing some great work…..”

In my best Derwin Davis voice “Oh yeah, that’s what’s up!!” 🙂

Needless to say, my morning turned out to be a great one, and I’m glad the “business” part of my trip is over! Now I can relax and enjoy the remainder of my trip.

Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

In honor of my first international trip to Berlin, I am writing my first real blog post!  Anyone who knows me knows that this is a huge accomplishment. 🙂 So here is a recap of Days 1-3 of my trip!

I left for Berlin on Saturday at 5:30pm EST and arrived here on Sunday around 5:30pm (Berlin time). Initially, I was slightly nervous about flying over the ocean for such an extended period of time but all of my flights (leaving Baltimore, Atlanta, and Paris) went smoothly. Of course I slept the ENTIRE TIME on ALL THREE FLIGHTS! I woke up on the flight from Atl to Paris in time for breakfast (egg-cheese-biscuit-thing, juice, banana) and went right back to sleep, and I didn’t wake up at all on the first and third flights.

My layover in Paris was interesting – the Charles de Gaulle airport has a weird layout but just knowing that I was in Paris was definitely cool. I also got a stamp in my passport book! While in Paris, I also had a couple of “interesting” conversations with people who thought I spoke French and some other stuff. Lol. I eventually learned to speak back to people in MY LANGUAGE when others greeted me in their languages in order to avoid any confusion (i.e. to avoid having to say “I don’t understand” once they got too deep into the convo).  After my final flight, a French guy started having a convo with me in French. He eventually translated into English (after realizing I didn’t understand a word of what he said) “Oh, I said that I am jealous of you. You looked like you were getting some really good sleep.” Me: (slightly embarrassed) “Oh yeah, I was tired…” Lol.

Random thought: the people in Berlin are TALL. Lol, of course everybody is taller than I am but still..they are tall.

Back to the story – My luggage didn’t arrive in Berlin with me. Oh no! 😦 Surprisingly, I didn’t panic. Filled out the lost luggage info card and headed to my hotel on the Tegel Express Bus. My trip to the hotel was also a nice experience – and I’m glad I chose this instead of a taxi. My hotel is also nice, and I have internet access so I’m good.

Today was the first day of the conference, and I needed to register and take a copy of the powerpoint for my speech tomorrow morning. Did I mention that my luggage did NOT arrive?!?! Lol. So, what’s a girl to do? I not-so-proudly walked over to the conference center and registered/took my presentation wearing jeans/tshirt!! It seemed that nobody really even noticed, or maybe they just didn’t react to it. Lol. I was trying to hurry up and leave when I was stopped by a man attending the conference. I thought he was about to kick me out or something but he just wanted to have a convo with me. He thought I was someone he met in North Carolina, and he continued talking even after he figured out that I wasn’t the right person…

I was eventually able to get outta there and I located some local shops/clothing stores to avoid wearing these same funky jeans for my speech tomorrow. BUT my luggage finally arrived this afternoon! So, now (at 7:41pm) I just need to focus on preparing for my speech, etc.

In summary: a)I arrived safely in Berlin, b) I won’t be presenting in funky clothes tomorrow, and c) hopefully, the talk will be excellent! So, wish me luck!!

I’ll be back later to let you know how things go with the talk and to update you after I really start my sightseeing adventures!

Introducing International Traveler, tanjalap!

Introducing International Traveler, tanjalap!

Well, Tanjala, who has been like a little sister to me since she realized that I was just Ranada and not <insert my full name here> that she expected to meet when we met her at Starbucks way back when to discuss a website, is currently in Germany!!! This is her first international trip, and she was chosen to make a research presentation over there for a conference.  I’m super happy for and proud of her, and I can’t wait to read about her experiences as a guest blogger! 🙂

The Present can help you understand the Past sometimes.

The Present can help you understand the Past sometimes.

Experience is a good teacher. – Miki Howard

Since the death of my grandfather, I’ve been hyper-sensitive and aware of what I’m feeling and how various experiences have affected my life.  This weekend, Rick came in town to cheer me up (we went to Six Flags and grilled on my deck!) and to do a little work around my house, and I realized in an active way that I’ve been emotionally abused before. While I’m sure I knew that, it became real to me this weekend.  My ex, who I’ve nicknamed HolyRoller in another blog, really took a toll on me.  His knowledge of Bible verses and proclivity to pray with me and appearance of “fitting in” with my idea of a good future eased me into dropping my guard down and letting his use of Bible verses to insult me or win arguments and judgmental attitudes and position that he could hear from God and thus not consider my position on anything become a regular way of life for me.  I was in that relationship for only about 6 months, but it has had long-reaching negative impacts on me.

The week before my granddaddy’s funeral, I woke up a few nights in tears and called Rick, who woke up and ministered to me.  Although he doesn’t quote Bible verses daily, he has been there for me spiritually, reminding me Who holds tomorrow and has perfect timing when I didn’t want to accept that for myself.  Rick and I have a past, chock full of ups and downs, and my temper has gotten rather severe over the years, but he’s been quite patient with me as I calm my nerves, even when I’ve gone off for no tangible reason.  So, Saturday, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he saw how chaotic my room has become and decided to put organizing my room on our to-do list instead of quoting Proverbs 31 and telling me I’m less than a woman, as HolyRoller did.  But I was surprised–because I realize that I’ve had a poor self-image based on my organization skills despite the rest of my skills just because of one person who instead of being helpful was judgmental. (Background information – he was around when I moved into my house and I chose him to help me move in because he said that he would help me organize before I got settled since that’s one of his strengths. But he said that a Christian woman would be able to figure it out/pray for God to increase her housekeeping skills, whether he helped or not. Go figure.)

And as I continue to do a self-assessment, I know my church activity and excitement about being in His house drastically waned since that experience.  I find myself wondering how I could have been so oblivious to my own health that I would allow one experience with someone to derail my relationship with God, one that I’ve been building since I was a child.  I had some real issues with the man upstairs for even letting me deal with him.  But in the last few months, I’ve been working on that and rebuilding my relationship.

And although I don’t think about HolyRoller often and don’t talk to him at all, I’m getting to a place where I can look back and figure out the purpose of that interaction.  I haven’t had that clear lightbulb moment, but I am getting hints here and there.  And for one thing, I know that in my quest for a God-fearing man, I don’t have to find one that speaks in King James version, but one that acts like the Word is ingrained him and will love me unconditionally, knowing that none of us are perfect, not even me, the girl who was been blessed with a ton of gifts and talents and sometimes gets tired of being held to the highest expectations.  I need someone who understands that although I am a strong-willed person, even I am weak at times and it’s ok.  Someone who likes me even when my hair is a hot mess and I don’t feel like putting on matching clothes or makeup (oh boy, I looked crazy this weekend).  Someone who will let me comfortable just being me with no pretenses or explanations.

Of course, I can’t see the future, and I don’t know what the future holds for Rick and me, but I do know that I am super appreciative of the stability and understanding and help he’s provided this second go-round and I have very high hopes.  Some may not “get” us or understand the connection we have, but it’s obvious to me.  He gets me, and he lets me be me, as weird or as all over the place or as high-strung or as paradoxical or as unorganized as I can be at times.  He balances me out, and God knew I needed that balance right now.  I’m working daily on a better me, and I’m happy to have people in my life that support that effort.