Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Can Too!

A long, long time ago, I sat at the kitchen table with my family eating dinner. I must have been around 13, and I remember a snippet of conversation as clearly as though it happened yesterday, not sixty years ago. 

I said, "I think I'd like to work in advertising."  (My inner writer was trying to surface even then.)

My dad replied, "Women can't do a job like that. You'd never be able to keep up with the men. You couldn't do it." And he went back to concentrating on his dinner plate. 

Needless to say, I felt a bit deflated. No, it was more than a little, it was a lot!  I'd been told I couldn't do something, that I wasn't good enough to make it in a field that interested me. My dad was of the old school. You know the ones--they wanted women to stay in one or two little slots and to know their place. Be a homemaker, or maybe a teacher, nurse or secretary. Anything more than that was unthinkable in the eyes of people like my dad. Over the years, I'm happy to note, that kind of attitude has changed. Women can enter any field of work they like and compete with both other women and men 

I repeated my interest in writing for the advertising world several more times through my high school years and got shot down by Dad every time. I stored each of those put-downs in the inner recesses of my mind. I also wanted to teach and that is the field I entered after college. I never got to work in advertising, but I did become a writer many years beyond that time. 

Delving into the world of writing much later in life than most wasn't easy. Little voices in my mind kept telling me I wasn't qualified, I shouldn't try to get into a world I knew nothing about. They all sounded just like my dad's voice. But guess what? My desire to write rose far above my hesitancy and I came out the winner. 

As a parent, I tried to encourage my children in whatever field or activity they showed an interest. I didn't want them to have to deal with doubting themselves like I did. My dad had many good qualities, but he tried to limit me to what he felt was safe and achievable. 

My outlook today is to reach for the stars and be a winner. How about you? Don't let those silent but powerful voices of doubt and fear keep you from trying what you really want to achieve. I did it. You can too!

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