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.

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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.

The Convo – Part 2

 

I walked in the door and dropped the keys and my purse on the kitchen counter. I kicked off my shoes and left them on the floor in the hallway. I walked towards the couch and pull out my phone. Maybe I should call Kayla. I quickly decided against it. I just don’t have the energy to speak about this dinner with anyone.

I need another drink.

I got up and poured myself a shot of Café Patron. I took a sip, griped the glass with both hands and exhaled deeply as I sat down on the couch trying to recap the dinner with Daniel.

I thought I was over Daniel. I haven’t seen or heard from him in a year. I went out on a couple of dates here and there, but I never took things too far. I agreed to have dinner with him simply out of curiosity. Now, it seems as if curiosity killed the cat. I am here confused over someone I was over months ago.

My phone buzzed.

I walked over and checked my notification.

“Hope you got home safe. Although the evening wasn’t how I thought it would play out in my mind, I am happy at the fact that I got to see you. Goodnight Evelyn.”

I started to respond, but I backspaced and left it at that. Knowing him he already saw the grey bubble appear and disappear.

Right now, I just need things to slow down and make sense to me. I honestly don’t know how I feel.

The phone buzzed again.

This time it’s Xiomara. “Girl, you good?”

“I’m good. Just exhausted. We will catch up at lunch tomorrow.” I replied.

“Night girl” she replies.

I turned off all notifications and turned the phone face down. I guzzled the rest of my Café Patron and headed to my bedroom to get some well-needed rest.

~~~

The morning at the office was a breeze. I had to give a presentation to senior management and it was flawless, so needless to say I am in a great mood, despite last night’s dinner.

I pulled up to Lime, a Mexican spot near the office, to meet with my girls to recap.

I looked and saw Xio and Kayla and waved to them as I got out of my car.

“Hey girls!” I said to both of them.

“Ohhh honey, someone is in a good mood…I wonder if that’s what we are going to talk about?” Kayla asked inquisitively.

“No, boo”, “I just had a great morning at work.” I replied.

“Ugh such a fun killer” said Xio.

I approached the cashier and placed my order. I am cheating today. I earned it.

“I am going to have Nach‘yo Mama’s Nachos with ground beef and all the trimmings! And a frozen sangria.” I told the cashier

“Well daaamn girl, forget your diet huh?” Kayla said.

“Yup!”

Kayla and Xio placed their orders; we grabbed our numbers and looked for an empty table.

“So, let forgo the chit chat and tell us what happened? I texted you and you never replied!” Kayla said.

Xio sat there sipping her frozen sangria and waved the attendant down for our food.

“Ok, so you know I was nervous as hell right? I wore my black dress with the royal blue pumps. I was going to wear red, but decided that wouldn’t be appropriate, don’t need him thinking I was trying to go all out, ya know?” I said.

“Right, the blue pumps are way more appropriate, wear the red ones in his bed instead.” Xio said with a devilish grin.

“No! I can’t with you girl!” I scolded her. We all laughed and I took a sip of my sangria and ate some food, in between bites, I continued.

“Anyway, he stood up”

“Where did you guys go eat?” Kayla interrupted.

“J. Alexander’s. Stop interrupting so I can finish, I only have an hour for lunch! Anywho, he basically wanted to apologize I guess and talk about our relationship and that we could have tried harder. He said he knows he wasn’t his best self, blah blah blah. He mentioned something about how he was going through something or issues that he didn’t want to get into, but that is precisely what I want to know about.”

“What did you say?” Xio asked.

“Well, I told him how I felt at the end of the relationship. I told him how I didn’t feel it was necessary to work things through now, because when we were in the thick of it I felt alone and as if was he no longer interested in me.” I took a slight pause after saying that.

I continued, “He wants to work on us now. I don’t know how I feel. A part of me wants to see what happens and see if he changes, but at my pace. And another part of me is scared of getting sucked in and hurt all over again. I’m scared to love him and I don’t trust him with my heart. But I must say, he looked so good. And his cologne. Lawd have mercy on my soul!”

“Jeez, get a grip Ev.” Kayla laughed.

“Well, you have every right to feel that way. I do commend him for manning up and talking to you in a mature way and not placing blame or yelling. For that he seems to have done some thinking. Danny that I know would have said, ‘F-It and next!’ He is coming for you Ev.” Kayla said.

“The way I see it is you don’t have anything to lose.” Xio said. “ Hear him out, go at your own pace and if he messes up one time…chuck up the deuces. We ain’t 25 anymore honey.”

“Girl please, we age just like fine wine!” I proclaimed.

“Well, aiming to be a vintage wine isn’t hot.” Xio said.

“Ugh, I know! I just need time to gather my thoughts some more. Why would I want to open up that part of me again just to get hurt? Hell, he is talking a good game right now. I bet I won’t hear from him now that he sees it isn’t going to be easy.”

“Did he text you last night?” Xio asked.

“Yeah”

“Then his ass is calling today. Mark my words.”

“Well I am not holding my breath.” I said.

“Girl, we will talk later! I gotta get back to work. My boss is clocking me. Ugh can’t stand his fat ass.” Xio said.

“I hear ya! We should go for brunch on Sunday.” I said.

“Let’s do it!” Kayla responded.

“It’s a date! Bye girls!”

 

-V.

Part 3 coming soon!

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Storms

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On this Sunday cloudy morning

I sit on a bench in the park and listen

There is no sun to illuminate 

There is warm and humid air

Damp concrete ground 

And wet soggy grass

I hear the running water of a man-made river

Reminding nature of the storms that just past

What was tragic hours ago

Results in a beautiful moment of which 

Life can grow 

I sit on this bench witnessing God at His finest

And yet tears fall down my face

Sadness and grief overcomes me

I am alone in the midst of people

Who don’t see me

I am in love with someone

Who doesn’t understand me

Battling depression on the brink of breakdowns and camouflaging it with smiles and laughter reassuring people “I am okay”

I anxiously search for a resolution

Trying to peice my soul back together 

Discreetly so those who love me, those afar, won’t worry about my fragile mind

I am in the eye of my storm 

Desperately seeking shelter

But knowing I must face these waves alone

I sit on this bench with my eyes close hoping God appears and waves his hand to instantly relieve me of my grief 

But when I open them, I’m back to where I started.

Nothing’s change

The tears are still there

The tears are still flowing, like the man-made river I sit in front of

I walk back to my car to face the day masking my tears with laughter and smiles

Battling my storms in silence.

-V.
8/13/17

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.

On This Week’s Episode of Keeping Up With V…

Work:

I can’t say this enough. Women we have to stop tearing each other down. Period. We must hold each other accountable and speak positivity into each other. How will we evolve as people? This seems to be a environment where accountability is shamed and judged. Where morality is spoken of but not proactive and integrity is..what is that again?

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I guess I’ll simply be the sell out or too “corporate” because I hold myself to a higher regard. But guess what ladies? I won’t kick you while you are down, I’ll just slide back in my spot and keep it pushing. When you finally get a hold of yourself, I’ll be here but probably on to bigger and better things. Ya know, like evolving?

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Relationships:

I can’t say this enough. I always choose peace over poison. Peace over drama. Being in relationship, I value this more and more. Witnessing another couple do the complete opposite, makes me value what I have that much more. I always knew he was great. But “our” greatness just elevated. Finding a partner that compliments who you are is a must. Being uplifted, held accountable, having someone support your goals and dreams. Priceless.

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Therefore, I pick and choose my battles with him. I value what we have so much more than simply being right. If I’m always right (which I usually am lol) how will I grow? How will “we” grow? I have no pride when it comes to us. 

Friends:

I have none here in my new area, a few acquaintances, yes.  All of my friends are back home. I hold those I call friends to a higher regard. I have a great man, yes. But to say, I have a good female friend that I can talk to and do things women do- brunch and mimosas duh!- is proving to be difficult. Making friends as an adult is hard in itself but just seeing how those around me move is truly displeasing. I will never be able to replace my best friend- I mean ever! And my friends which we call our crew the circle of greatness. How can that be topped? 

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But it would be nice to find women here of like minds who value peace, have integrity and drama free! Sounds like an ad for friendship. I digress…

Parenting:

My son is going to college in a year and I’m about to not be able to deal. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who feels like their child is still a child and isn’t ready to go out into this cruel, cruel world. The countdown to letting go is about to begin. First they drive you insane with their teenage moody antics, then they have the nerve to want to leave you. But I guess my son never leaving is scary in itself. The mere thought of him yelling “Ma! the meatloaf” from some basement may have me pushing him out the door myself. 

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My son is somewhat of a late bloomer. Girls have started becoming an issue. Out of all the girls he can like, why like the worse one? Is it to spite his poor ole mother? Let me tell it, I will play this card for life with him! I think if he simply let me choose his girlfriends, we both would be happy. …

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… Ok maybe just me. I began to wonder, did I do this to my mom when I brought my first boy home? Yep I sure did. My mom was about to die. I now understand the sentiment…And to think, I just found out about the girl. I haven’t even met her. MomZilla I am. Pray for me guys.

This is it for this week’s edition of Keeping Up With V. ‘Till next time…

-V.