Sunday, November 1, 2015

Come Back To The Middle

Note: No edits here, just me talking and trying to get it all out.

I am falling apart at the seams.

Well, on some surface levels, I am the same person I've always been. Like, personality wise, I'm the same Drenna everyone knows: loving, funny, honest, cool...whatever. None of that has changed.

But, there is one part of me that I've seemingly lost control of and I haven't been able to fix it: Work.

My job requires that I make very few mistakes. Mistakes at my job cost the company money. It could be small dollars or it could be big dollars. In my case, over the last five weeks, I've cost the company big dollars. This is unlike me. Yes, mistakes will happen because the job is based on a human entering things, but people count on me to keep them to a minimum. While it may seem like I've only done three things wrong out of a possible 50, that is a lot...considering they've all happened in a month.

I'm being technical. I've talked to a couple of people about it and they're literally in shock because "Drenna, that's not like you." I am sharp. Laser sharp. I don't make mistakes very often and now, they've snowballed and I feel like I can't stop it. Last week, it was formally addressed and on the very same day, I messed up again. I've taken measures to make sure I don't make these errors and then unforeseen errors - the kind I'd NEVER consider - end up happening.

I'm not overwhelmed. Well, I don't think that's the root of it. I think I've, for some reason, put some level of pressure on myself and that's caused mistakes. I don't even know why. No one has said, directly or indirectly, that I'm under any kind of scrutiny or pressure. People LOVE me at work. I have one of the most solid reputations of anyone I know and, yet, I'm sabotaging it on my own.

"Are you happy with your career?" That's not what this is about.  I've never loved my career, but I've almost always been okay with it, minus the fact that it doesn't make me wealthy. I enjoy doing things I'm really good at and this is one of them. It helps a lot when I work with people I like. That also happens to be another downfall, right now. My boss is one of my very best friends and so I feel like I'm letting her down. I'm disappointing myself, no doubt, but I'm also upset that this could make people question her decision-making. She's been nothing but helpful even when she's had to be tough on and I know that hasn't been easy for her.

"Well, you know what's happening so just do better." I'm TRYING. Like, I'm really trying. I've set up alerts for myself to make sure I stay on top of things. I'm even going to have someone else look at what I've done, at least for a little while, just to make sure there are no mistakes.

The last paragraph makes me so sad and pisses me off. Those measures I'm taking, to me, make me feel like I no longer know how to do my job. Someone being a "Second pair of eyes" makes me feel that I've lost confidence in my own abilities. I'm really good at my job so this is almost like starting over and I hate it.

Lastly, let me discuss my obsession with work. I'm rarely not thinking about it. First of all, I'm almost always at my desk. I know, that sounds weird's work so people should be at their desks. But, I mean, I'm almost always sitting there working all the time. I get in at 9 - okay, maybe 9:07 - and we don't leave until at least 6:30. Because of the mistakes I've made, I think about work once I leave. I went away last weekend and hadto check my email. It's like I need to always know what's happening with MY work. In the latter case, I guess that was a good thing because that's when I caught mistake number three.

Don't, for one second, think I don't have other stuff to do. I've got a FULL calendar sorority life and, your girl has a crew so I try to be out in these streets when I can. I'm busy doing other things so I have a pretty full like, but as this pays the bills, it weighs heaviest on my mind.

I haven't been on this blog in two years, but the only way I know to clear things up with myself is to write.

So, here I am. Trying to clear my mind. Trying to purge. Trying to find a new start.

Trying to keep my motherfucking job.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Am A Sinner.

No Kendrick verses here though. No salacious secrets being revealed.

All over the internets today, black folks were in heated debates about Tyler Perry "laying hands" on Bishop T.D. Jakes. These are not the Lil Scrappy "put them paws on 'em" hands; instead, we're talking about praying hands.

These hands are those that are put upon on a person from another, also known as "the messenger" of God's word, so they can receive his message. Eh, that might not be the full message and if you're more "church-y" than me and can describe it better, feel free.

Anyway, there were two sides of the debate - one that thought Tyler is somewhat of a "messenger" even if he isn't a pastor and the other that thought this was all for show. For the sake of the story and my own thoughts, I'm going to focus on the latter side.

I grew up Catholic and thus, going to a Catholic church on Sundays. It is, like many people think, very quiet compared to a Baptist church or something like that.  I've never seen someone catch the "holy ghost" or "speak in tongues" in a Catholic church, but that's not to say people don't feel the "spirit."

The first time I saw/heard someone speak in tongue, I was a freshman in college. It was just before the Thanksgiving holiday and some of the girls wanted to do a group prayer for safe travels.  One of the girls was real religious and everyone knew it so it made sense that she'd lead the group in prayer.  I wasn't going home for the holiday but I thought it'd be nice to do it. A nice little group commenced and she got the prayer started.

About three to five minutes in (already too long for my taste because at the time, I'd never heard people pray that long), I hear her speaking but then she starts mixing in a, "Yesss, shabaya...ohhh bebabosia." No those aren't actual spellings but if you've ever heard someone speaking in tongues, you know the "words" I'm going for.

My first instinct? Laugh.  I got a very low chuckle in before I looked up and noticed I was the only one.  I quickly realized it was the speaking in tongues "thing" I'd heard about and since I was in school in Mississippi, this was a familiar notion to all the girls in the room (either Southern or Midwestern) and I better keep my giggles to myself.

She kept going for a few more minutes, both speaking regularly and speaking in tongue. I was long over the whole thing and was ready to get back to my room.  At the end of the prayer, the girl said that if anyone needed some additional prayer, she'd stick around. I saw her give it to one girl and also saw her trying to egg on some extra emotion so that she would then be able to lay hands on her. I assumed.

As I walked back to my room, one friend was like, "She always so extra." I didn't want to overstep anyone's religious bounds but I asked my friend if speaking in tongues and all that stuff was real because I'd never seen it before.  She replied, "Man, I don't know. I grew up around but I don't know."  That was that.

Let me speed this up some.  I tend to try and set a picture not realizing you might get bored. Just bare with me.

As the years went on, I saw more speaking in tongues and the laying hands on a person (complete with the recipient falling out into the waiting hands of ushers and deacons). I've never made any connection to that and after seeing it enough times, I pretty much came to the conclusion that I - me, just me and nobody else that I can speak for - thinks that it is an act.

There, I said it.  I don't understand how someone praying or preaching hard enough can result in some foreign "language." Some say it is God speaking through them.  How do they know that this is God's language?  And about the laying hands thing...yeah, no. After they've prayed and prayed, they tap the person needing prayer on the forehead and that person falls out. I mean, every time I see this, I roll my eyes in my head.  It isn't meant to be disrespectful to people's faith although I'm sure that's how it sounds (I'm reading it as I type and I know that's how it sounds).  My thought process just leads me in another direction: this is learned behavior.

Black churches have been around since...slavery.  I'm not sure what was going on then besides singing and intense - INTENSE - prayer but I know there was a lot of emotion involved. I don't know how speaking in tongues and laying hands started but I think it has been passed on from people simply...watching. If you were raised in a black church and had to go at last four times a week, you saw these things happening. So as you got older and Pastor encourages you to keep feeling the spirit, you can reach back into the mental vault and bring out what you saw growing up. That's how this cycle keeps going to me.

When I saw Tyler "lay hands" on Bishop Jakes, I thought, "Oh here they go." Now, I'm not a fan of Tyler Perry but I do believe that he is very in tune with his spiritual beliefs. That is a praying man right there and I'm not up for discussing that. However, I do feel that the excitement of the praying that was happening and the enormity of the Megafest moment added to their moment.  I'm not sure if either of them believed what they were doing in full but I am leery of thinking for them. Is that hypocritical to everything I've said? Perhaps but I'm okay with that for now.

By the way, I've talked to this with countless friends and associates who either say they've been through it or know someone who has. This is more than catching the spirit and crying and things like that because you get so into the prayer or worship. Some of them have tried to make me understand further but so far, nothing anyone has said has swayed my thoughts on it.

Let me say this and wrap it up: If this offended you, it wasn't my intent. I can't change how some of you may feel about this but my intentions were just to get out my feelings on this.  Religion and spirituality can be complicated and sometimes, complicated things is what this blog is all about.

Sometimes, it ain't even...simple.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I write because...I love it.

I don't write because...I'm lazy.

I write because...I'm good at it.

I don't write because..I'm a procrastinator.

I write because...I use it as therapy.

I don't write because...I'm tired when I get off work.

I write because...I've heard that people "hear me" when they read my work.

I don't write because...I don't make it a priority like I should.

I write because...I know it is important to me.

I don't write because...


Because WHAT again?

The pros outweigh the cons. Let's get busy. The cycle has to stop and stop doing the same thing. We're not yielding any results here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013: The Year of Honesty

Here's how things normally go with me: Someone says something or does something to me I don't like and instead of addressing it in the moment, I let it go for a bit and maybe Ill get back to it at a later date. If it is a really big deal to me, I'll likely do my version of addressing it.

It's not that I'm passive. Oh, I used to be but for the most part, that's long gone. No, it's more than that. I get nervous. I worry. I think too much. I think too much about how I'm going to say this or how someone's going to take that and how the conversation will end.

My hands get clammy, beads of sweat usually starting forming in my forehead and when I start to speak, my voice isn't as strong as it should be.  I might even change my tone a bit to make someone feel a little more at ease when I come to them. It is a level of panic that I only feel when I have to express myself.

When it comes to work or my opinion on something generic - or hell, something that has nothing to do with me - I'm clear and to the point.  I'm almost unwavering unless you give me a good reason to rethink a situation.  But when it comes to me voicing my opinion on how something made me feel? I clam up.  My emotions and feelings and the verbalization of those things are the toughest things I've had to deal with in my life. I'm not exaggerating; I just get...befuddled  Also, I have this "thing" where I just don't anyone to take anything I say the "wrong" way.

Something happened recently that set me off but instead of addressing it in the moment, I waited for two weeks. Now, I had my reasons for eventually waiting that long but the reality is that I should have dealt with it right when it happened. When I did talk it out, it took a lot for me to put on my "big girl panties" and tackle it with a serious voice. The situation was resolved through conversation but while beating myself up about how long I allowed myself to be mad before we talked, I had a bit of a breakthrough.

There's a new day coming for me. I've mentally tackled this problem before but I wasn't really ready to make it better. Later for that. When people feel like they can tell me anything - things they know I won't like - and it'll be okay because they know I'll internalize it, that's a problem. I can't continue to let people think they can possibly run over me. This goes for anyone: men, my friends, and my family (my family actually doesn't do this often but they aren't exempt).

Slowly but surely, the days of me worrying more about how someone will take my truth are going to disappear. I'll always think tactfully about how to say something because that's just my way and for me, that's only right. There are only certain situations that call for being outright nasty to get your point across.  But to bottle things up and I'm the only one upset about it? That doesn't work for me anymore.  If what I say to someone - something that is true to my core - is enough for them to decide they want to steer clear of me even if that wasn't my intent, then I guess it wasn't meant for us to be in each other's lives

So here I am, learning what seems to come easily for everyone else. I'm excited but scared to see where this leads me but to be a better person for myself and others (trust me, my silence can be very loud and ugly), I've got to do things differently.

2013 is finally the start of my evolution.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crossed The Burning Sands Into The Land of Z Phi B: A Thank You

"What the hell is this title about? What is a Z Phi B?"  Let me break it down real quick.

Z Phi B is short for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Yes, I am a sorority girl. I've been part of the Blue & White for 12 years and it is one of the best decisions I've ever made.  Shocking?  I know. Some people who've met me in more recent years (whether we've met in person or just online) don't really know that because I don't talk about it much.  It is a huge part of me - just not something I talk about a lot. But here we go.

As a freshman at Jackson State University, an HBCU in Mississippi, I assumed that sorority life would be big but I wasn't very familiar with any of it. During my junior year in high school, I was part of the Delta Sigma Theta Teen Lift program but solely because we were able to meet kids from other schools and got a virtually free trip to Atlanta for a college tour.  The mentors of the program would often tell the girls about their love for DST which was cute but...I wasn't interested.  When I got to college, I recognized their letters and colors and thought, "OH, they are everywhere." But because sorority life never moved me and was never part of my life growing up, I still didn't care.

Cue the "Welcome to the yard" stepshow.  Between the fraternities and sororities, there seas of colors in pink/green, purple/gold, crimson/cream and black/gold and what sounded like a million calls announcing each organization's presence.  Then there was blue and white.  The Sigmas, as I recall it, came out first to step and "blue phi" into the heavens.  Next up were their "sisters," the Zetas and I was like, "Damn, they can really step." I was entertained but still not that interested after their show was done. Then something happened and I was sold. After their show, they came out into the audience and just kind of welcomed many students who said they were freshmen.  They seemed so approachable and cool that in that moment, I decided I was going to be "one of them."

A year went by but in that time, I watched them. Not just the stepshows but how they moved on the campus and their community service. Don't get me wrong, the stepshows were the shit but that's not what hooked me.  They were actually doing something and not just being "seen." I liked that and with some work and things of that nature, I became a member in Spring 2000.

Twelve years later, I still think back on my initial...let's say, two years in the sorority and I smile.  Honestly, I didn't "need" the sisters (or brothers, if you include the Sigmas), friends or popularity that came with being a member of a sorority: I was already pretty popular and had enough friends.  We worked hard.  We were the third smallest sorority on campus but we were the most liked and quite frankly, we ran that yard. I take a lot of pride in that because when you become part of something, you want to know that what you do is not going in vain. I simply joined because I loved what they stood for. And I still do.  Finances haven't always allowed me to be a financial member (I won't lie - it isn't necessarily cheap but it keeps the organization floating) but I always peeked my head in on my graduate chapter when I'm not able to give financially.  Being part of "my Z Phi" has given me a better appreciation of community organization and service.  I honestly don't know that I would have realized how important that was in my early 20s without Zeta.

And on top of that, I've met some special people. There are some people I've met through the sorority that I love so deeply as family that you wouldn't even know we were Sorors because that's probably the last thing I mention because of them.  I absolutely thank my sorority for that because with it, there would be no us (the "us" being some of the relationships I have).  I'm not as "Soror-ly" as I used to be - meaning I don't run around hugging every Soror I see - but that has played an integral part in my growth when I was in my 20s.

So, I know that some of you reading may hate my obvious view of my love of MY sorority (and to an extent, all sororities) - especially those of you who have strong opinions against them - and that's okay. However my passion for it, I hope, will never die.

"I love my Z Phi B! And in my heart, I couldn't love another 'cuz I love my sorority."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mama's Girl: A Thank You To My Mom

I could probably go on and on but I'll try to stay as focused as possible so rambling won't take over.

My mom is, by far, one of my favorite people.  First of all, let me say that if you knew me but never met her, you'd probably know she was my mother as soon as you saw her.  We pretty much have the same face. Okay, back to doting.  Lil D is very laidback and down to earth.  I'd like to believe she told me that I needed that trait while I was still in the womb because I've picked up those qualities. As I've grown into adulthood, she's taken on the role of friend while not at all diminishing her role as mom and the "I'll knock you out if you get beside yourself" attitude.  She's funnier than she thinks, loveable as she wants to be and nurturing to everyone (all my friends love her - even those who've only ever heard stories about her).  I don't know how she learned it but whatever motherly qualities that people assume all mothers should get - whether they do or not - she absolutely inherited. I mean, she's really good.

For all that closeness and all those soft and coral things, we get on each other's nerves probably every week.  My laidbackness takes a backseat to my "spiciness" sometimes and that attitude does not work well with any mother.  When we're not "on," the best thing for us to do is just turn "off."  The biggest issue we have is that she feels we need to talk everyday. EVERY. DAY. Who needs to speak to someone everyday? Not me (Lawd, I'm never going to get a man with that attitude, huh? LOL).  Everyone says I should oblige her but I'm really not that girl.  So when we argue, its because I don't call enough.  I don't apologize for that and so, we may take a three day break (which really means she isn't calling me) and that allows us to kind of cool off, reiterate our same points but get over it and get back on track.

I've got to say that one of the best things about my mom is that she allows for one thing that some parents don't let happen with their kids: she lets me be myself.  I find that so many parents have these preconceived notions of who their children should be in their careers and what their lives should be like by a certain age but Lil D isn't like that.  Sure, she always hoped I turned out to be a good person but I also wanted it for myself so I never felt like I needed to impress her with that.  I work in radio (well, not currently but by trade) and write on the side, neither of which are extremely stable. But she never pushed for anything else.  She also isn't the "when are you going to get married and have kids" mother.  You know what? Even if she is one or all of those things, she's never said any of it to me and for that, I appreciate her.

See, I told you I could go on and on.  There are truly a million other things I could say but I'm just going to stop and let this breathe. My mom is part of my support system and my soul sister and it's great to know that she's around when I need her - and even when I think I don't. Love you, Lil D!

Monday, December 3, 2012

To All The Artists I've Loved Before...I Thank You

This time, I'm talking about all the singers, rappers, writers, producers...anyone who has helped put together the best verses in my favorite songs.  I've allowed music to take me through every emotion possible and on my worst day, I've depended on it wholly to bring me through a situation.  I'm sure that's selfish to expect that one song should make me feel better about everything that's going on in my life but I do. Sometimes, it helps me more than talking to the people who know me best.

When I went through my "ordeal" with the FP a couple of years ago, the only thing I could do was shed a few tears and turn on some music. No, I didn't listen to a bunch of songs about heartbreak (I've yet to have to press play on that playlist); instead; I just listened to many of my favorite artists who sang their hearts out about whatever was going on in their lives. It wasn't the situation that made me feel better, but rather the emotion that poured out of every line. That alone helped me work out so many thoughts and feelings...and make decisions.

I know, it sounds dramatic. Could I survive my life without music? I mean, as long as I'm breathing I'm surviving and my heart doesn't beat based on a drum so I'm sure I could. However, I can guarantee my life wouldn't be the same.  Knowing that people who don't know me but can sing a song that tells me they still understand is soothing to me.  Hell, knowing that I need a moment to "drop it low" because everything isn't serious all the time constantly gives me a boost and for that, I appreciate all the producers I love in the world. The writers...oh, what a blessing!  I've tried to write a song and it is just something that alludes me to I leave it to those who know it best. But I thank them for taking that time to accept their own emotions or the emotions of the people closest to them and put pen to paper.

For all those involved in the process that gets the finished project to me, all I see is your love (even in the songs I like that were truly made to make a quick buck) and I thank you.