I was sitting in the car at a red light today, and Locked Away by R. City featuring Adam Levine came on the radio. And all of a sudden, I was furious. FURIOUS. IRATE. INCENSED. You get the picture. Here are the lyrics, just in case you’ve been living under a rock or you hate Adam Levine (who am I kidding…no one hates Adam Levine):
If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn’t be strong
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?
…Now tell me would you really ride for me?
Baby tell me would you die for me?
Would you spend your whole life with me?
Would you be there to always hold me down?
Tell me would you really cry for me?
Baby don’t lie to me
If I didn’t have anything
I wanna know would you stick around?
SOOOOOOOO…can I just say a big EFF THAT NOISE about this pile of shit? I hate this with the fire of a million packets of Taco Bell Fire Sauce coming out the other end the morning after a late night fourth meal binge. This patriarchal bullshit makes my blood boil, and I feel like something needs to be said to all the little girls and grown women who listen to songs like this and subliminally take note of what is expected of women in terms of loyalty in their relationships. I can’t let my little girls think that this is what loyalty looks like. I just can’t.
First of all, let me preface all of this by saying that I believe that loyalty is a beautiful, beautiful thing. There is something sacred and important and real about knowing that the love of your life has your back no matter what. I value loyalty above pretty much any other quality in a mate. Except maybe humor. But, I digress. Forreal, though…I’m 100% FOR loyalty — so long as that loyalty is deserved and returned. But, this Ride or Die business? This is some serious crap. Staying with a man no matter what he does, even if he loses everything and goes to prison and completely screws up his life and yours? Y’all…we can’t continue to perpetuate the idea that it is noble or good or right for women to stand by their men no matter what. That’s not loyalty. That’s codependence. Trust me on this: this story does not have a happy ending for the codependent woman.
Let me tell you what Ride or Die looks like in real life:
When your man gets “Locked Away,” and you lose it all, you are left to pick up the pieces of your life alone. For me, that looked like changing 4 babies’ diapers by myself. ALL. DAY. EVERY. DAY. My now-ex husband has been locked away for 3 years now, and I just did the math: assuming each child had 4 dirty/wet diapers a day (this is a super low estimate, btw…I would venture it was closer to 6), I changed approximately 14,600 diapers in the first 2 years after he got locked up. FOURTEEN EFFING THOUSAND DIAPERS. Ride or Die is literally super, duper shitty. Please keep that in mind the next time you hear this song playing on the radio and Adam Levine’s gorgeous voice floats out of your speaker to entice you into the Ride or Die role.
When your man gets “Locked Away,” and you lose it all, your once awesome credit score gets flushed down the toilet. I was a stay at home mom when my ex husband went to prison, but prior to that I had spent years working and building up my credit score. I qualified for and bought our house all on my own…which meant that my name was the only one on the mortgage when he went to prison…which meant that my credit score was the only one destroyed when all of a sudden I had a car payment, a mortgage, insurance, a cell phone, a storage unit, utilities, water — all of them in my name and all of them needing to be paid — and I had no job and no income. Oh, and I had a newborn baby, 1 year old twins, a 2 year old, and an 8 year old. So, when I went out to actually find a job, I also had to figure out daycare for a zillion babies. Do you know how much daycare for a newborn costs? Around here it runs you about $250 a week. A WEEK, PEOPLE. Toddlers are about $200 a week – I had 3 of them at the time – and school aged kids are usually between $100 and $150 a week. So, a conservative estimate of how much child care would cost me is approximately $850 a week. A WEEK, PEOPLE. Thank goodness for social programs that help mothers like me get back on our feet because, frankly, being a Ride or Die chick is expensive, ladies. Sounds fun, right?! Please remember this when R. City asks, “Now tell me would you really ride for me?” ARE YOU INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY? No? Then maybe rethink your desire to Ride or Die.
When your man gets “Locked Away,” and you lose it all, you become the sole person responsible for the wellbeing of your little family. That means you never get a day off, never get a sick day, never get to take a break unless you arrange for someone else to take care of your responsibilities with your children – and, let’s face it, you’re a single mom on a very tight budget, so you don’t have money to get a sitter. It’s all you, all day, every day. Sick kids? Sorry about your luck. I’ve talked about this before, but it was such a horrific experience that I think it’s worth mentioning again for those lovely ladies who think being a Ride or Die sounds even remotely attractive: Once all 4 of my babies got terribly sick with diarrhea and vomiting for a week solid. I was literally running back and forth with the wet-vac cleaning poo out of the carpet whilst my poor children puked on each other in their crib. It was the worst. Please imagine yourself covered in vomit and diarrhea and having absolutely no one in the world responsible for helping you the next time you hear this ridiculous song.
I feel like I could write an entire novel exploring why this stupid song makes me irate. But, the bottom line is, I wish I had realized earlier that someone who truly loves you and loves himself would never put you in a position where you have to decide whether or not you would stick around if they got locked up. People who know how to love know that part of love is taking care of the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of those who love you. I’m so, so lucky because I have an amazing support system of people who helped me pick up the pieces of my broken life, left shattered like the shards of a broken mirror in my personal version of Locked Away. I have a life filled with equal parts struggle and song, hardship and happiness. But all of the light and laughter and love happen IN SPITE OF my “Ride or Die” past, not because of it.
So, EFF this stupid song, friends. And to any women out there whose mates ask this of them, I have some words you can feel free to use: HELL NO, I won’t ride for you. Or die for you. Or cry for you. Ride your happy ass back to wherever you came from.
Been there, done that. It’s overrated.