I am a sucker for great drama. I'm not talking Real Housewives or Big Rich Texas, but I'm thinking House or Law & Order: shows and movies with great acting, deep characters, rich scripts and story-lines, and episodes that make you think. I've recently had some down time and had the chance to catch up on all of my TV shows, so I picked up a couple new ones, one of which being Nashville (ABC). I was impressed with the first couple of episodes, and I'm curious to see where the intertwining story-lines lead.
There was one particular scene that caught my attention: the final scene in the pilot episode. In the scene, a couple performs a song (which in the show they wrote, but in actuality it is a cover of a song by The Civil Wars) called "If I Didn't Know Better." I've posted the lyrics and video here...
If I didn't know better I'd hang my hat right there
If I didn't know better I'd follow you up the stairs
Stop saying those sweet things you know I like to hear
The horns are blowing louder and they're destroying me
Why do I keep drinking
Wasting my time on you
If I didn't know better
There's a hole in what you're saying
I can plainly see
You have a lover that's waiting but baby you're right
here with me
Ooh, you might as well be the devil
Oh, keeping me out past three
Oh, you're the one with that apple so baby you can't
Why don't you keep drinking
Get me one night with you
If I didn't know better
You know that I do
Oh, baby you're right here with me
Oh, baby you know
I've never heard this song before the night I watched this episode, and I loved how the writers/producer/whoever chose to end the episode with this almost haunting song about using your better judgement. Great drama, right?
But the lyrics themselves are very real. I know I'm not the only one who has experienced the bad boy's charming allure, and deep down when I know better, he makes himself dangerous and irresistible. Of course I'm not talking necessarily about guys in a biker gang or whatever, but we all know the type: the rebels without a cause, where heartbreak seems to follow them and we wonder what is underneath their mysterious cover. We know they're no good for us, and yet, it is so hard just to let go... or as my mom says, "just break the wrist and walk away" (quoting a movie, she's not actually encouraging me to be violent).
It's a blessing in itself that we are given consciences, that we can properly form to identify right and wrong, especially when our emotions are wrapped up in whatever particular circumstance. We can trust that deep down, we know when something is not good for us. Yet, we are still drawn to it.
(Don Draper from Mad Men seemed to be a good embodiment of this kind of character)
Sure, this is the allure of sin, as it always seems tantalizing and mesmerizing in the moment, but for the sake of this blog and this post I'm thinking particularly of the single ladies. We want a man we can bring home to mom and dad, someone our friends will be supportive of us dating, and someone who will ultimately make us happy, holy, and healthy. Accepting the reality that we are weak, frail human beings who are easily seduced by our ears more than our eyes, we recognize the tendency to fall into this damaging habit or cycle of not being able to let go of a man who isn't good for us. It could be the Savior mentality ("I can change him"), it could be the ability to identify with him ("He's so lonely, I'm lonely too, he just needs someone to love him and understand him"), or even simply the thought of being rebellious against whoever ("I know everyone says this isn't good for me, but I will prove them wrong"). But ultimately we know it all ends up the same way the ones who love us predicted: "I knew better."
We can praise our ability and our right judgement in helping us avoid or get out of these potentially dangerous situations that keep us from reaching the fullest of our potential, the best versions of ourselves, the individual amazing women we are! We need to ask ourselves:
- Is this person/relationship helping me to grow?
- Am I learning more about myself in healthy, positive ways?
- Are my family and friends supportive?
- Is this man doing what he can to help me thrive in my hobbies, workplace, and other relationships?
All in all, I was happy with the end of the song. It repeats "If I didn't know better..." but all comes back to "but damn it, I do." This extra little flavor in the language could be taken 2 ways, or even progressively... the first time or two she says it, it could be a "Oh, I want to, but I know I can't... damn it!" but as the song goes on, more of a "Heck yes I know better! I will not be tricked, damn it!" which is how I personally like to think of it... but of course, it's up to your own interpretation. I'm just happy that as haunting the song is, she sticks to her guns. Rock on, girl. Here's hoping all of us are inspired to find the courage within ourselves to do the same. :)