With Father’s Day coming up I thought that I would share with you one of my favorite pieces of advice that my dad has given me. He has given me countless little nuggets of wisdom but this one is one that I have taken with me through everything that I do. He told me that I should be tough like the boys but that I shouldn’t be one of the boys.
My dad taught me how to rope, drive a stick shift, pull a trailer, change a tire, do my share of the work and how to be tough and stick it out no matter how hard the going might get. He taught me to saddle my own horse and how to pay my own bills. But he also helped my mom and I pick out my prom dress and put bows in my hair and pack up my cobbler that I made for the branding. He taught me that when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good you do good so take the time to braid your hair and put on your favorite shirt.
I will always remember the story that he told of going to a roping and there being a girl that pulled up and unloaded her two horses and was able to rope the head side just as well as the heel side and his buddy had said “Dang, all that girl needs a man for is to pick up the heels when she heads or catches the head so she can catch two feet.” He told me that I should be like that girl and I certainly want to be that girl! Honestly, I am proud to say that I think that I am that girl. Although I’m not the best rope but I have hauled myself to countless horse shows that I have trained for, paid for, hauled to, prepared for and showed and packed up and came home all by myself and let me tell you that leaves you with a true feeling of satisfaction especially when you go home with a win. I will grant you sometimes it is fun having someone cheering you on and helping you out but the fact that you can do it yourself is something that no one can take away from you.
I feel like my dad’s wisdom became the most apparent when I went off to College. I was shocked when I encountered girls that chewed and spit just like the guys, wore dirty clothes to class or the bar and just carried themselves in a very masculine way. I remember asking one of them why she chewed and she said it was because she was tough like the boys… I talked to my dad about it and he once again told me “be tough like the boys but don’t become one of them.” and basically he told me to just stay true to myself and that I would prove how “tough” I was when I was winning the Ranch Horse Shows. As dad’s generally are he was right. I remember one of the chewing girls ask me why I had friends that were guys at the shows even though we were fierce competitors and I honestly think it was because they weren’t confused with what I was. I was a girl that could do everything that they could but I was proud to be a girl and wearing pretty clothes and braiding my hair with a bow but I was also going to go out there and turn one down the fence and rope it!
Now that I’m married I am lucky that my husband throws a saddle on my horse when we saddle up in the mornings together and he opens doors for me and picks up the dinner tab but he still expects me to get down and tail one down if we have to doctor one and do my share of the work fixing fence, gathering cows and to not drop the heavy bucking dummy when we are putting them a bronc or bulls. And he expects me to be able to take my horse to the horse show myself and handle all that might happen when I go because he is busy taking care of the stuff at home.
I’m not saying that it’s bad to be a tom-boy or to chew tobacco if your girl. If that’s your jam then get after it! I am more then happy for you. But if you are doing these things to prove that your tough like the guys then why don’t you just go out there and be tough and be proud of who you are. Getting dressed up is something that I don’t get to do all that often but you bet I when I do I love it. Every morning I get up and do my make up and I definitely live by the motto that when you look good, you feel good, when you feel good you do good.
So out of all the advice that my dad has given me of being tough like the boys but not being one of the boys has really stuck with me and helped me embrace who I am. A girl that likes to work and play in a male dominant world but doesn’t let that steal the side of me that also loves to play dress up!