As women, it feels as if we sometimes do an awful lot of waiting.
We wait for the call, the text, the email. The kiss on the lips, the words we want to hear, the flowers on the doorstep. We wait on someone to get themselves together, their situation handled. Waiting on someone to fulfill the potential we bought into. My favorite is: we wait on people to realize our worth and the loss they will have in their lives when we walk away.
We bend over backwards and forwards, try to shape and mold ourselves to carry our weight and then pick up other people’s along the way because hey, why not?
But, if we stop for a second we will realize that no one asked us to do that! It’s as if some of us are burdened with a curse. It’s like muscle memory from generations past. Some days, it feels coded in our DNA like my curls and my soft brown eyes.
I’ve been called a “ride or die” before. I always thought that’s the kind of girl I was. And I have been. For better or worse.
You see, a “ride or die” chick can easily end up being a use and discard one.
Giving all that loyalty and commitment to someone who hasn’t proven themselves is dangerous. Trust me on this.
As women, it makes us vulnerable because our expectation is that giving that commitment means it will be reciprocated. We, who grew up with “all I need in this life of sin, is me and my girlfriend, me and my girlfriend. Down to ride to the very end, is me and my boyfriend, me and my boyfriend.”
We have this idea of ride or die in our heads when most of the time, we ride alone and die slowly on the inside waiting for potential that never gets realized.
Sometimes, we ride and die for the optics. In the same fashion that people pore over weddings and spare no expense but put half of that time and energy into the actual marriage. It’s about what looks good on the outside. The shininess of a thing that you can hold out for others to see.
Let me also say this, I know plenty of happy couples (married and/or co-habitating) that are in it through thick and thin. Balls in, as they say. It’s a beautiful thing. Something that brings my heart joy, something that I revel in and deeply enjoy seeing, especially the ones I hold close to my heart. In these couples, I see the commitment on both sides. So in some ways, perhaps the ride or die needs to become more of a gender neutral commitment. Something that should be done by both people in a relationship. Like the dishes and the laundry.
Oh, and let me be clear on something: this isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships. Friendships can fall prey to this as well.
But, I think that in 2017 the ride or die needs to be laid to rest. The generational curse of accepting less than, broken. The idea that we must withstand whatever may come at the cost of our sanity, our self-respect, our dignity and our very own daughters, discarded.
She should be given a eulogy for her strength and perseverance. Remembered for her moments of naivete when she thought that holding up someone she loved would garner that same support.
In death, we must shower her with all the flowers she did not receive, all the attention that she expected, all the love that was taken for granted. We must throw dirt on that casket, say a prayer for her and realize that we deserve better.
And then, we must step out of the bereavement clothing, go out and demand just that. Let’s move from ride or die and into a place where we can be loyal to others but true to ourselves first. Love others after we learn to adore ourselves and serve others without expectations.
In riding for ourselves, we will surely lead better lives.