Know When to Walk Away

Know When to Run

(My dad. Pre marriage and kids and realizing that berets are always a bad idea.)

I’ve always loved those lyrics from that old country tune.

I would listen to old country music and classic rock with my dad as we drove around the dusty mountain roads of our little town when I was a girl. Talking about life, outer space, human nature, and sometimes getting out to fire at soda cans with shotguns. Because I suppose once you’re beginning to understand life, outer space, and humans, you should probably have established good aim with a weapon.

I’m never really sure what those words mean to me at any given moment. As a kid they meant, “Back away slowly if you’re not involved. RUN if it’s your fault.”

I knew, even at the time, that wasn’t quite right.

Dad really did his best to prepare me for The World. He was a true feminist, and was really committed to raising all four of his daughters to redefine what it means to be female in an often male-dominated world. He just believed women were better at things, and couldn’t be bothered with the cruelty and what he called “asinine behavior” of boys.

150% sure this is why he taught me to drive at the age of eight, and had me join the NRA in the 5th grade.

I suppose he felt he did his job raising me to be strong, smart, and self-sufficient. (And how pretty much anything can be fixed with a broom handle and electrical tape.)

As I got older, he never did those typical “scary dad” things when I had boyfriends. None of the intimidating “cleaning of the guns and threatening stare-downs” were ever necessary when they came by the house. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Once I heard him talking to a poor young man on the porch as I listened through a window: “You seem like a nice guy and well, she’s kinda mean. Sorry if she gets sick of you soon. You can always stop by. Just maybe when you don’t see her car outside.”

I actually felt pretty betrayed at the time. Though he wasn’t wrong.

Because I’d realized something as I got older about those country lyrics: Walk away if you’re not happy. If the conditions aren’t perfectly ideal for your situation at that given time. If you’re walking, they can still catch up. But at least you’re still moving.

And run. RUN if things are bad. Run without looking back. Run straight and far and fast, away from the things that aren’t for you.

And if the bad things do catch you…

Turn around, stand your ground, and take aim.

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