Top 40 Before 40 Part 1

71 degrees. Sun is out, birds are chirping, the kids are all outside laughing and playing. BBQ grills are fired up, drinks are flowing freely. Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. Rivals are talking smack. It’s a beautiful day out. But! Do not let it distract you from the fact that we are still indeed in the middle of Winter and it’s supposed to snow on Friday. Mother Nature if playing tricks on us! I refuse to be fooled and bamboozled into thinking I can put away my winter clothes! No ma’am. Also, to the non-believers: Global warming is real.

I say all this to say, that Spring is around the corner and before you know 2020 is here! Ok, I digress. This year, I turn the big 4-0. And I used to think that I would have life figured out and that I would have accomplished all of my goals and simply just waiting out my years with my 2.5 kids, husband and all that jazz, but life had different plans.

Now, I have accomplished TONS and have a great story to tell about how I got to where I am today and a great story on how to get where I am going tomorrow, but none are without lessons. Usually, I do my top lessons for the year at the start of the year, but this year I am going to do this a bit differently. I am going to share my top 40 lessons in life. I will post one set each season to get to 40 in the last quarter of the year. Before I dive in my top lessons, I would love to hear some of your memorable life lessons. Drop me a message, comment, email. All my contact info is available in my “I am Listening” section. Let’s chat!

So, let’s get it!

1.Never do anything that will affect your coin.

Do I even need to say much about this? I think not. You all know what this means. Be responsible. Pass that drug test, show up on time, reply to that email, submit that report, whatever. Do what you need to do to make sure you continue to secure that bag.

2.Men say what they mean, the first time. You won’t change his mind sis.

Look, we can say what we want about men, but they are usually pretty consistent creatures. Yes, there are a few that are “special” but for the most part, men are up front with us on what they want and where they are at. We like to ignore when he says “I am not ready for a relationship” and think “oh he ain’t never dealt with a real woman like me, he will change his mind” no he won’t sis, no he won’t. Just because Dionne and her man worked it out and he changed his mind for her doesn’t me Donte will for you. I have learned that men will change because THEY want to, not because you were so awesome he just had to. He has to WANT to change for you and it has to be on his terms and he has to be comfortable where he is in life in order to do so. And you won’t even be aware of it, because you will think he was always like this. Leroy wasn’t shit 5 years ago, but today, Leroy is sent from Jesus. If you hear any variation of a man saying he is not ready or simply just wants sex from you, be his friend. Nothing more. Save yourself the headache. Your older self will appreciate you for this. And guess what? In having standards, he just MAY see you as different.

3.Jealous and envious spirits are real. Be mindful of the friends you keep

Whew! Where do I begin with this? I am speaking to women about women. There are some women who just don’t want to see you win and act like they do. Some don’t like you because of how nice your hair is, or the attention you get from men, the complexion of your skin, your positive attitude, you get recognized at work. WHATEVER it is. They will hang around you, act like your friend all the while hoping you fail so they can feel better about themselves. Hell, some of these women (girls) will act like they are pro sisterhood and say all the great things like “I am rooting for you and want to see you win” but their behavior and attitude shows different when it’s time to support you or even show up for you. Pay attention. Place them where they should be. Not in your inner circle. I will say the older I get, the more I am running into these women. They are drawn to you, because well, you are amazing. But don’t be fooled. Sit back and observe, you will soon see who is really down for you.

4.All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk

I mean Zora Neale Hurston said it best. Just because we are from the same culture or the same race doesn’t mean that we are the same. It will go back to lesson 3 too. Not all of ‘your’ people will ride for you and it will be your very own people who will stab you in the back and dance in your face. Crabs in a barrel…

5.Never pour from an empty cup

You can’t give what you don’t have. Be leery of folks who expect you to give, give, give and they take, take, take without ever pouring back into you. Save something for yourself. I adopted that term in my 20’s. I needed to always save something for me. I refuse to give what I don’t have. It’s not even money, but time, resources, compassion, advice, clothes, weaves, whatever! Don’t give what you can’t afford to lose. And I don’t know about you all, I definitely can’t give time freely because once it’s gone. It’s gone.

6.Shut up at work.

Ain’t no other way to say this, but shut up. Your co-workers don’t care. They don’t. You don’t need to share your opinion about this stupid wall, or immigration, your relationships, your boss, religion, race relations to the office. Go what you came for. Money. Do your job, keep the atmosphere light and airy. Laugh when you can, be silent when needed and don’t take nothing personal. I have made the mistakes several years ago about being vocal about things and I was quickly labeled the “angry black woman” and those that know me, know I am everything BUT angry. But news flash! I am a minority. My majority co-workers don’t understand a lot about me and my world because it is not their reality. America is not Wakanda and while we are free-ish all battles are not meant to be fought off the battlefield. There is a time an a place for everything. Now, in my workplace, I am told how peaceful and positive I am by both majority and minorities. I just smile and continue to do my job.

7.Divorced men, recently divorced, bout to be divorced men. Stay clear until they heal.

I instantly put my head down when I got to this topic right-chea! I dated a separated man who was going through a divorce. Talk about rollercoaster!! Chile! But I will say this as a divorcée myself. It is not their fault. They don’t know. They are truly trying to understand it all and some days they are up and some days they are down. They love being in a relationship and they love being free. They are happy to be single and angry on how things may have ended and if not angry, feel like they failed. All feelings that are not easy and they are valid. So, with that being said, I tell all my friends, proceed with caution in dealing with a recently divorced man. Be his friend, but nothing more. Let him be a hoe again, let him go to therapy, let him deal and work out his issues. He needs it. This is the one time where you can ignore what he says to you because he don’t know shit. If I could do it all over again, I would have simply been his friend and let him work out his issues before becoming involved and catching feelings. Save us both the heartache. If a man today says “I am recently divor-“ he wont even get the final word out because all he will see is smoke from my heels from hauling ass. No thank you sir. I bid you well. With someone else who ain’t woke.

8.Your intuition is real. Stop talking yourself into bad shit.

Ladies Ladies Ladies (in my Rotimi Nigerian Butterscotch voice) We know good and well when something is not right. Why do we always talk ourselves into some nonsense trying to justify it? Only to come back later and say “ I should have listened to my first thoughts” God gave US intuition for a reason, we know how to discern accordingly. That is if we don’t talk ourselves into bad shit! Listen to that voice and act accordingly. You won’t fail you. Not listening will.

9.Read. Learn and do your own research. Never take someone’s word as the end all tell all.

Social media is great. Wikipedia is great, your podcasts are lit. But guess what? These are all folks opinions on things of the matter. Read a book, research the topic at hand. Form your own thoughts and opinions and go from there. People emote. People, people and that ain’t always good. People will also comprehend on the level in which they are on and that may not be your level. Take heed on what your hear and form your own opinion and thoughts about topics and about other PEOPLE. “Girl, he is gay, my homegirls told me so” And when you talk to the guy you find out he just didn’t like her and his rejection to her advances made her categorize him as gay.

“She is such a bitch and evil” Come to find out that she is a kind person, but doesn’t take well to being lied to, taken advantage of and cheated on. FORM your opinion.

10.Know your limits. No is not a bad word.

There was a time where I would say yes for everything because I wanted to be liked and accepted. I wanted to be in the ‘in crowd’. Then I had to start saying no. I can’t be who others want me to be. I can’t always inconvenience myself for others who wouldn’t do the same for me. I had to learn myself and what my limits were and act accordingly. I am not the person who can over extend myself all the time and I know I can’t be in these streets 24/7. I need a recharge day at least 2x a week. Yep, I am needy with MYSELF. I love to say no now. It’s like the best word ever. What are your limits? Find out and govern yourself accordingly.

Well that’s all I have at the moment. I have plenty more lessons to come and some I wanted to dive into now but said, no no, in time!

Until Next Time Folks!

With much love and grace,

V.

Dear Women Of Today

Dear Women of Today,

You can’t claim you are about empowering other women if at the first chance, you talk down upon one. Empowerment doesn’t work like that.

Continuous negative behavior on each other only gives the oppressor power. The power in which we seek and fight to obtain/sustain for ourselves. Equality in the workplace, governance over our bodies, etc. how can we even ask for positive behaviors from another when we don’t display it towards each other? Doesn’t it concern you too?

When did hatred among other women become so popular?

When did tearing each other down become the norm?

When did bad mouthing another woman become how we bond?

When did being a lady go out of style and replaced by lewd and over sexualized behavior? I’m not knocking it, but when did it become the norm? If one chooses not to engage, they become the odd one out. Isn’t this a cause for concern?

How do we demand so much from our men to protect and provide when we refuse to love and nurture? Now, I can go into the men, but that’s on another day because this is about accountability. Because in all honesty, it’s starts with us. How we govern ourselves.

When was the last time you challenged yourself to be kind? And speak only positive words to other women you cross paths with? If you feel you don’t have anything good to say, how about we simply shut our mouths?

I challenge all women. Are you in?

Love,

V.

Reflections For The Come Up

Hello Guys!! Long time no blog!

We have one more month of 2017 and I will say that I have learned so many life lessons. Some lessons are new, and some I got a refresher course in. Last year with my move to Dallas, things were great! I embarked on a new journey. I loved my job. Everything was amazing. This year started off just as amazing. I fell in love, I felt secure with my position in life and I thought, I just have to maintain and coast upwards. Easy breezy!

Lies.

Major lies.

Then came the summer. The second half of this ratchet year. It was one thing after another. Losing ties with people. Letting people with toxic issues go. Some good and some bad. Health issues, my job went through SEVERE layoffs. I was spared, but the result is stressful nonetheless. But I am staying a float. And lastly, as a mother, I am coping with my son’s mental illness. Teenageism. People get your kids vaccinated. ASAP.

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I want to share with you all some of my lessons that I learned in 2017. Being around new people and experiencing new things came with new lessons. So, here we go!

  1. Say less, observe more.
  2. You will not fit in everywhere. Non-acceptance is a blessing in disguise. Not everyone can handle you in all your humble glory. Envy and jealousy is real!
  3. Your coworkers are NOT your friends. Refer back to #1
  4. Allow your significant other to just be himself or herself.
  5. Communication is key. (oldie but goodie)
  6. It is perfectly ok to say no and walk away from what doesn’t serve your purpose.
  7. The way you think will dictate where you will go in life
  8. Sometimes the bad times are necessary and linger because the lesson God is trying to teach you, you have yet to grasp. I get this now. My turn around is here
  9. NETWORK!!
  10. Value the friends that you have. Near or far.

We are in November, the best month of the year! My birthday month! I plan to start my Christmas decorating THIS WEEK. And I don’t care about the rules! Make the rest of this month and December a positive one. Think positively. Breathe positivity. Live positive. Remember, if you are going through hard times, look for the good. Look for the lessons and that’s how you will find your come up.

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‘Till Next Time!

-V.

From Mash Up To Gray

Summer 2017 has not been what I planned it to be. It hasn’t been all bad, but it was not the summer mash up I was hoping for. My second summer in this city, I have moved, car accident, family drama, construction in my new apartment, job is currently going through layoffs, and then some. I now exist in a space of ‘WTF’ and ‘how the hell’.  When will it get back to normal? For the sake of this entry, I affectionately will refer to my supposed ‘All Summer 17 Mash Up’ to ‘Gray Matter. With all that said, it was not all bad. I was able to take a step back from people- mainly family or family-ish type folks and re-evaluate their position(s) in my life. I guess, the closer I get to 40, that’s when the IDGAF attitude really kicks in, because my tolerance of things have been at an all time low.

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As I am typing this is, I am battling, how much I will divulge in what I have been going through, and I will give some and I will hold some. I lost 3 people whom I thought were going to be in my life forever. 2 of them are blood related. 1 is/was not. I will say that sometimes, someone can do something to you or your loved one that will never be able to come back from. And in a true Scorpio, sense, they are now dead to me. Harsh, I know. But some times, bridges are meant to burn.

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The other 2 was hard for me. Because I realized, that what they meant to me, I will never be for them, but they are to each other. I felt like the odd one out. I had to be honest with myself and let things go. I care for them. I love them. But I just can’t watch and allow them to ‘handle’ me to their benefit. I admire my father’s attempt to make the unconventional the new normal; however, that norm is not what we are, and I accept it. I made peace with it and I am moving on. Because the reality is… I will never be the sister that they are to each other.Life isn’t fair right?

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Moving on…

Ok, I am tired of writing about this, but I AINT GOT NO REAL FRIENDS IN THIS RATCHET CITY. Yeah, I said it! I have new people I am cool with that I am getting to know as friends, one I never met – coworker (different city) – hard to explain. The other two I work with in my current city and they are great, but it’s hard to establish real trusting friendships with people who already have their circle in tact. I mean who wants to bring in the new girl? I do understand, that not everyone is like me in that sense. No fault to my coworkers, but I get it. Making friends, or forming your own little circle of trust is super hard in your 30’s. Especially, after seeing how shady a lot of people are here. Plus, of course, life in general.

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But on the positive side, I do have an amazing boyfriend, who truly tries his best to integrate me with his ‘circle of trust’and I really like them, but I am the new girl. Heck, I don’t trust so easily myself; I watch how people move first. Again, I get it. It’s just tiring. In Florida and NYC, I was fortunate enough to form some great bonds with people rather quickly. This indeed is a first. But, It’s ok I will deal. – I’m lying. It is NOT okay and I want my own friends! ARRRGGGHHH!

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Ok…Moving on.

We are all entering the final quarter of the year. Just like that 2017 will be over. I am not sure how many of you out there made a list of things you wanted to accomplish and for those of who finished it. I don’t care. 🙂  and for the others who are like me with the same to do list for 2017 still full, we still have 4more months to make our deadlines. I will be slowing down on my social media usage, and pay more attention to my self appointed tasks. I can do this. I think. Most of it. At least half?

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Ok, now I am not sure how many of my followers watch Insecure, but Sunday’s night episode had me all in my feelings. I was jumping out of my bed, because I, too, have dated a Fu&$ Boy who thought he was a ‘good’ dude, in a very similar situation. Some of my friends thought I was doing the most, said I cut folks off to fast and to be patient ( yada yada yada) but who has patience for those type of dudes? Not I. No sir. And hearing Tasha read Lawrence gave me all types of life. I yelled “See! I feel you girl! Know your worth!”

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I am no longer in that space, but I can appreciate the scene. I have been there and I just love good TV.

I took up enough of you guys time! Good Night! Enjoy the rest of this Summer!

‘Till the 4th quarter!

-V.

V Comes Out to Play! But Went Back Inside.

I haven’t done a week in review in over 2 months! In the past couple weeks, my eventful, uneventful life had some moments. Some moments, I have shared, and some I haven’t. So here is a bit of an update … I finally went out in the evening time to a poetry open mic event… and I went ALONE. Yep, I did it! It was very small and quaint. But overall, I just started talking to people and met some cool people, who even tried to convince me to recite a poem on open mic. I was like oooooooohh noooo. I am NOT ready for all of that. But, in hindsight, I should have. I think soon, I will break my virginity of reciting on open mic. I must relive the Nina moment in Love Jones!

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Another first in this new town is I finally went on a date. And it was great! We sat and spoke for hours. Nice, right? I was so proud of myself for not bailing out on this one. Ha! But that was the only time I saw this guy. He religiously texts everyday and never skips a day. But he still doesn’t know much about me and doesn’t seem too eager either. Then the textversation gets more sexual. I laugh it off at first, because at the end of the day, that is what’s on their mind. I get it. But express your interest, RESPECTFULLY and move THE FUCK ON. Sorry for the vulgarity, but this is a pet peeve and a common theme I’ve witnessed as of late. I do not engage in it, and it eventually stops, however, when that becomes the only time you engage in this wack ass textversation, it gets really old really fast. When it isn’t him trying to see if you down to Fu- . Then he stops replying or his replies are hour or two apart until you don’t respond and the next day hits you up in the afternoon with “Hey Gorgeous” or “ Hey my boo” my reaction….no reaction. I delete the thread and say to myself, “boy bye.” I can’t with these men. We didn’t even get to date two. Sorry, not sorry. #kanyeshurg

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I must say I love my job. Finally! My coworkers are great and I am really building some friendships with a couple of people and that feels great. What a feeling to be valued at work! I forgot what that felt like. For someone, your boss at that, ask you “What do you think?” Say word???

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I even got an email from a recruiter a couple of days ago about a job opportunities for a manager job in a different company and I have no interest. Why? I have a great schedule, a great manager, and wonderful coworkers. I am not leaving this for the unknown, even for more money. I think I am going to ride this out and just be patient. Things will work out for my favor. I can feel it.

With time, things will get better for me with adjusting to being all alone here, but the way things are panning, that won’t be for long. I am learning to love spending time by myself, catching up on books and just giggling all day when I am at work. If you ask me, I think I have it pretty good here. I think I’ll stay. 

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-V.

Tears for Fears

Fear reared its ugly head this week and came into my life in many different shapes and forms. At first, I didn’t recognize him, but once he fully infiltrated my life and I succumbed to his desires, did I see it was him. It wasn’t easy, but at last, I sent him packing. Of course, he didn’t go easy and willingly. He begged and pleaded, got down on his knees. Even professed his love for me, but I knew he wasn’t good for me. He wasn’t a part of my plan. So I left anyway.

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Leaving was hard. I second-guessed my decision, thought of going back because it was comfortable. Fear was easy. But I am not. It took him longer than I anticipated. I was basking in my glory that I didn’t realize slowly he was making his way into my inner being. It was when he hit me dead in the gut and I fell to my knees did he finally look my in my eyes and kissed me on my lips. He welcomed me home. He wanted me to say good-bye to Faith and Hope and love only him. For days, I allowed him to wrap his love around me, but his selfish, narcissist ways sent me away once again. I told him a few days ago that I want more and no more one-sided love. Faith and Hope never hurt me this way.

beyonce over now

I am back. In all my glory.

Happy One Month Anniversary to Dallas and Me.

 

-V.

Relax, Relate, Release…I tried. V’s Week Recap.

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I started the week vowing to myself to be a bit more vulnerable and transparent in my writing. I have spoken mainly about my past – not even in true detail – but in a generalized form. I wanted to dedicate a post a week or maybe biweekly, to a personal journal entry. So I will start today! This is not as easy for me as it may be for others, but here is my week in review… Comment, like, tell me what you think!

Sunday: The morning after a great evening out with one of my closest friends. We went to an art gallery to do press for another dear friend of ours and we started talking to a group of guys that went to college with us. The whole event seems to have been filled with college alumni and this was truly for a great cause. There is nothing like seeing a group of like-minded young professionals doing something positive. Anyway, I did something bold. I did something I never have done before. I approached someone I met the night before whom I felt I connected to. All the signs were there. The stares, the random touches on the arms or back, the smiles. The stolen glances he took. So, we exchanged social media information and I figured, why not be bold! I gave him my number. So, I spent a lot of my Sunday trying to see if he would reach out and he never did. I lose interest fast, so as the evening approached, I let it go. I have other pressing things on my mind. Like Dallas…

A good friend of mine stopped by this evening and gave me a beautiful journal and awesome pen. I can say my friends are amazing in this respect. They support my writing journey. Well some of them at least. This is the second gift I got pertaining to self-improvement this week. The other one was from my bestie! 2 weeks ago, my sister kicked it off with a great book! All simply just because. Then the topic of my ex came about and that’s a whole other journal entry. I just don’t have the energy.

Monday: I am staring at my phone, but not for the guy at the gallery. I am staring and checking at my phone like a mad woman. I am waiting for that job offer. I am at work, checking my email refreshing my inbox, checking spam. Nothing yet. This manager is a bit slow because he is truly busy, so I get it. I am just impatient. Besides the wait, the day was such a blur…

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Tuesday: Still waiting. Spoke to God today on my way to work. I always feel calmer after our talks. But I don’t know if it’s just me but whenever I pray, I feel like He ALWAYS answers my prayers No doubt about it. If I pray for something in particular with my friends, it comes about. If it’s for me, it comes about. I just have a hard time listening when the answer comes. After the workday, I came home and researched my new city that I am determined to move to by the summer. I am looking at neighborhoods, schools for my son, potential hair salons to keep up my hair, joined Meetup and designated my location. If it’s a question of putting it into existence, there is no doubt that I am! But with doing all of that, I begin to get anxiety. No offer still today. I shut down the laptop and go to bed at 9pm. I need to clear my mind.

Wednesday: It’s a good day. Got so much done at work. Boss called me her favorite. I am sure it’s because of my productivity as of late. Again still no phone from Cali with a job offer. I begin to babble a bit to coworkers and I was told that offers are usually on Fridays for our company. I begin to think of all the times I got my offers from them when it came to promotions. I think it was on Fridays. I am driving myself insane now. What if they don’t like me? What if their intentions are not to hire me? Fear kicks in overdrive. Fear is a bitch. I know deep, deep down I have this in the bag, but fear is still seeping in and rearing its ugly head. I got to get a grip. I have my personal training session tonight so that is a great way to stay occupied.

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Thursday: I got to work super early, and was nervous about checking Outlook. I must have something today! As it loads, I try to find other things to do, but I am still staring at the “updating this folder” on the bottom waiting for bold lettering to appear…. And…nothing. Shit! Ok, I have to get it together. I will continue to plan my day.

My phone lights up. I check and it’s dude from gallery. Oh yeah, him. He writes me to tell me that he has a girlfriend. (Really? Hmm? Ok) But he would love to be friends and it’s always good to have good people in your corner. I replied back, I agree and we will keep in touch. Or at least I said something of the sorts.

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Sigh. Oh well. He was cute. The girlfriend thing threw me off though. Maybe that is why he never approached me fully but was attracted to me. Either way, no love lost. I respect his honesty and I feel empowered to the 10th degree. You don’t know if you don’t ask, right? Precisely. Definitely not a lost there.
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Where is this job offer! Ok. It’s only been 5 business days. Let me get a grip. Hey, positive here…It’s Scandal Thursday and I have to cook food for a work gathering for my mom. Cooking is my therapy. Good things.

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Friday: I made a pact with God that I will not stress about the job offer. I felt that 9/10 chances I got it. I felt confident in the second interview. The manager is super busy and it did take him 2 weeks and me following up to set up the second interview. I need to relax, relate and release it and allow God to work and be in control. I made a pact with myself to stay positive and not utter one negative thing for a full 24 hours and to be renewed. I also am chilling on the planning and taking a break. I need to breathe and focus on organizing my life and writing. And this is where I am, writing and watching DareDevil with my son. Binge eating a bit and being positive. Next week will be much better and much calmer. In the meantime, it is time to make plan B, plan C and so forth into action. I am determined to get to my desired destination in a few months! No, is NOT an option.

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It’s the Weekend!!

 

-V.