Ten years ago, I was a ride or die chick.
It was 2005, I was pregnant with my son, and my then-boyfriend needed my help. While I'd often wondered how women got caught up in their husband's or boyfriend's drama by holding a package, stashing evidence, lying--only to find themselves in a jail cell--I never ever thought that would be me.
But a decade ago, it was. Almost.
These days I don't spend much time thinking about how close I came to losing my freedom because of a split-second decision, but something happened that brought it all home: I stood on stage and recounted my ordeal (for the very first time) in front of a live audience at a theater here in Los Angeles.
Ten years ago my then-boyfriend shot a man outside of a New York City nightclub. Though I wasn't there, he called me soon after, asking me to throw some clothes in a bag for him so he could lay low for a while. At the time, I was pregnant and completely shocked by his news, and I just reacted. I filled up a backpack, met him down the block, and watched him drive off in a cab. When police knocked on my door hours later asking if I knew where he was, I lied.
But I've since learned my lesson.
I remember in season 1 of Empire, Rhonda, Andre's wife, took "ride or die" to a whole new level by accidentally killing Vernon, who was just about to tell the police Lucious killed Bunkie. Instead of calling the authorities, the couple decided to hide Vernon's body.
Then in season 2, Andre was on the outs with his dad and decided to win back Lucious' trust by making sure Vernon's body never surfaces. During a tense conversation with his wife, Andre confessed God told him to dig up Vernon's body so he could return to his position at Empire Records. Ummm...yeah. Instead of trying to talk him out of it, Rhonda put on her best all-black outfit, grabbed a shovel, and told her husband, “I'm ride or die."
In the dead of night, Rhonda and Andre dig hole after hole, looking for Vernon's body. When they can't seem to find it, the couple thinks all is lost until Lucious shows up with his lawyer, Thirsty, who just happens to have a corpse finder. Soon, they locate Vernon's body and Lucious welcomes Andre back to the company because, as Lucious tells his son, Andre gave him his freedom.
While I've never hid--or dug up--a body, I have risked my own safety to protect a man I once loved...and let me tell you, being a ride or die chick is not cute, fun, or even smart--it's stressful as hell and very, very stupid.
Looking back, I marvel at how close I came to ruining my life. Instead of traveling the world, writing books, or being a mom to an awesome son, I could have ended up behind bars like so many other women who got caught up in their lover's b.s. Like Rhonda, I was a “ride or die" chick who thought being in love meant really being there when my boyfriend needed me--no matter what.
Today, I'm a ride or die chick, only this time, I'm pouring everything I've got into putting myself and my needs first.
Have you ever been a "ride or die" chick?
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