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Caught On The Come Up

December 1, 2010

For her, every night was a party.  As a pretty girl who craved the spotlight, designer clothes and a high-end condo helped her stay camera ready.  When I first met her I didn’t think we’d click, but we did.  Maybe it was because we worked together.  Or maybe it was because we were both single mothers. Looking back, it was probably fascination.  She seemed to live a charmed life and I guess I was intrigued.

We worked hard and she played harder.  From shopping sprees to expensive nights on town, it was nothing for her to drop $300-$500 a night.  I always wondered how she did it.  Of course, the obvious came to mind.  When I asked, she denied it so I left it alone.  Besides, she had a boyfriend and as my mom used to say, “Never worry about what someone may have because you don’t how they got it or what they’re doing to keep it.”  I guess I wasn’t surprised that our friendship didn’t last.  Maybe one day I’ll share why.  Suffice it to say that her life had become a rollercoaster.  I had reached my limit on the amount of negativity I could tolerate.  Sooner or later she would crash and I didn’t want to be around when it happened.

Months later, I finally found out how she maintained her lifestyle.  She stole.  A lot.  Fraud and embezzlement were her methods of choice.  Apparently she’d been doing it for years.  Had her scheme down to a science.  That is until a few of her victims went public.  When the sh*t hit the fan, rather than own up, she claimed she had a drug problem.  No one held her accountable so she got off with a slap on the wrist…until she did it again.  Those victims pressed charges, giving her a much-needed dose of reality.  Was I shocked that she went that far to keep up her façade.  Yes.  Was I surprised?  No.

I wondered what I would say if I ever saw her again.  In a city as small as Toronto, it was bound to happen.  Sure enough, I saw her about a month ago at an event.  Her life in the fast lane had taken its toll.  I probably should have gone up to her and asked for an explanation but I didn’t care.  It just didn’t matter.  I actually felt sorry for her.  She was up to her old tricks, still running the same game. Searching desperately for a spotlight that didn’t exist. Trying to hold onto to whatever it was she thought she needed to be.  No doubt blinded by the new chicks on the come up, waiting in line for their shine.  Silly rabbit…

What you just read happened 8 years ago.  Since then, I’ve seen so many girls like her.  Admit it, you probably have too.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  They’re the self-proclaimed princesses who live far beyond their means.  They can usually be found in the VIP section looking for their narcissistic prince, when the truth is they’re struggling to make ends meet.  Ladies, we need to do better.

We seem to be living in a ‘Me Generation’ littered with princesses and princes.  Words like ‘role models,’ ’empowerment’ and ‘sense of entitlement’ are often misplaced and usually used to sell a high-end lifestyle and products many women can’t afford.  Marketing brilliance?  Perhaps, but at what cost?

I’m not sure what the catalyst was for this imbalance, but I find it extremely frustrating and disheartening, both as a woman and a mother.  I try to detach myself from the insanity as much as possible and am extremely blessed to be have some incredible and inspiring women in my life.  I’ve explained to my teenage son that women like Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose and Nicky Minaj do not personify female empowerment.  Rather look to Harriet Tubman, Ruby Dee, Judge Corinne Sparks, Viola Desmond, my grandmother and countless others, who blazed a tough trail with their integrity and self-respect in tact.

p.s. I’d like to add my mom to this list.  She’s overcome incredible odds – including her accident last year – and recently went back to school to complete a course on computer studies.  Fierce & fabulous!  So proud of you mom!



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© Nia’s Piece, 2010



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