First of all, if ya'll don't follow Kenya Raymer on Instagram @Halfietruths then you are doing life wrong. I stumbled across Kenya's Instagram account randomly and of course I instantly turned on the post notifications. She posted this poem and I started snapping and screaming "yaaas" aloud.
The characterization of "Ride or Die" for women in relationships has never set well with me. However, it's this label that is constantly pushed on women. That our purpose is to serve men or others, and to serve, it has to be without limits, without expectations. It is a dangerous mindset and one that doesn't move me or my partner forward. My love is not unconditional, I will not love and support you regardless of your behavior. My love comes with a contract.
I think of relationships as this transaction, and I know many people aren't a fan of that. That's okay. When I say a transaction, people tend say that I have taken the "romance" out of relationships, and it's all business. But in reality it is. You pay the people in your life, and they pay you. You pay your friends in honesty and respect, and access and support. You pay your partners with honesty, respect, access, support, titles, commitment. You pay your family in the same things and resources. You go to work, you pay your job in time and they pay you in money. If they were not paying you, it's likely you would take your talents elsewhere. So when I hear this narrative of ride or die, and unconditional support and love, I get irritated. I pay my partner in whatever resources we both decide and agree on, based on what they provide and their commitment and dedication to do so.
Why I'm not ride or die
1. I refuse to give someone permission to extend their behaviors outside of what is healthy for me.
This has come up time and time again. I choose to have relationships that are supportive and healthy for me and hopefully for others. Everyone deserves to be in a space where they can flourish and grow, and sometimes the solution to someone else's problem becomes a problem for you. I choose to let that person flourish without me, and for me to flourish without them.
2. Self preservation.
It's kind of like what they tell you on the airplane, first put your breathing apparatus on, and then help those around you. Love is fuel, commitment is fuel, loyalty is fuel, support is fuel. I need those things to go, and spending time in a relationship that gives you no fuel but requires you to use fuel, is not an equation for success, and it's unrealistic to expect someone to thrive in that environment.
3. Being a good partner is not synonymous with staying and tolerating.
I would argue that some of my best moments as a partner was leaving, and allowing my partner to grow without me and allowing me to grow without them. I could not "ride" through a friendship that required me to tolerate things that were in direct conflict with my vision and mission for growth.
4. I deserve to be fully loved and supported. So do you.
5. I want us to grow.
... and we can't grow, if we're both allowed to disrupt the peace and nurturing of the other person. It's like putting a plant that needs sunlight to thrive in a room with no windows, and keeping it there because there is no space anywhere else. That's ridiculous, it's going to die.
6. I don't have to be.
I've worked on myself, and I'm working on myself, and I don't have to be in a space that doesn't serve me, and that's just what it is.
Relationships are important. People are important. I love love. I was blessed to be surrounded by love growing up, so please do not mistake this post with bitterness or lack of feeling or emotion. I implore you to explore your perceptions of love and relationships and for me, I have decided to ride + thrive instead of ride or die. "In a world of ride or dies, let it be known, that I'm not one." Be well ya'll!