Thursday, March 3, 2016

Who blocks your writing dreams?




What were your dreams?

What were the family expectations for you?

  •  I wanted to write mystery stories like Nancy Drew books and Miss Marple stories.
  • Heck, I wanted to solve mysteries like Nancy Drew and be a detective.
  •  I wanted to fix my bicycle myself—not a girly activity in the 60’s—and be a mechanic.
  •  I longed to drive crazy-fast and be a race-car driver.
  •  I loved to play-act and wanted to be an actress.


That’s nice dear BUT:

  •  you can’t make money at that
  •  girls don’t do that
  •   <laughter> don’t be silly, ordinary people like us don’t do those things

I hated the word BUT. However over time, I conformed to the expectations that came with being a small-town minister’s daughter in the ’50’s and 60’s.

I took figure skating lessons, but never took any tests to get the badges. Testing was on Sunday and we had to pay for them. At that time, exchanging money for goods or services ON THE LORD’S DAY was frowned on. Minister’s daughter had to set an example. No Tests.

 Another phrase I heard often was, ‘what would people think of your father?’

  • ·        if you go the Elvis movie
  • ·        if you date a Roman Catholic
  • ·        if you stay out at that party until midnight?

And you should have heard the lecture I got when I went to the Homecoming Dance with the captain of the football team. The young man with the wildest reputation in the school who (supposedly) had a condom in his wallet. (And no, I never confirmed that last bit.)

Looking back, it’s no wonder that I’ve worried about the opinions of the omniscient “they.” That fear slowed me down.

I see the next generation breaking into a variety of fields, excelling at their work, branching out and being the best they can be. I’m happy for them, I’m excited and I’m proud of them.  The world has come a long way since the 50’s. Thank goodness.

The FOO may have slowed my down, but it didn't stop me.

I’ve had my successes in spite of the FOO

  •  First female real estate appraiser in Nova Scotia, drawing down a “man’s” salary in the ‘80s
  • Teacher, trainer and public speaker in a variety of areas
  • And in recent years, author of two published mystery novels.

I sometimes wonder what I could have accomplished if the FOO had supported me in those early dreams. But I am who I am, and I am happy with me! In retrospect, I learned different lessons and those serve me well in many other ways. I have no regrets - it's been a heck of a ride through life.
But there is no doubt, the FOO shapes us.

What did your FOO visit on you?

Did it help you or hinder you? What advice do you offer to others?


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  2. Hi Mahrie, Excellent post! Love the acronym FOO - I'll be using it! As for my own FOO, they strongly recommended I pursue a teaching career. In retirement, I've resurrected a decades-old writing dream.

    1. That is so typical of our generation. (I won't say age group, LOL) I look at the gals who are in their 30's early 40's and have given up day jobs to write, or work shorted weeks to write and turn out what seems to me a lot of books! They are prolific and bold. But, although we are later to the typewriter, we have experiences! LOL

  3. My FOO said "Be a nurse! You will wear a lovely white uniform and a lovely cap."

    The other choices were Secretary and Teacher. Looking back, I think I would have enjoyed teaching but I did end up in Nursing for about 10 years. Parts of it I loved. Parts of it I hated, like watching people die. If I had known what "being a nurse" meant, I never would have gone in. However, the things I did learn in that career are things I am glad I learned. Real life and death stuff. Useful over your whole life.

    And the white uniform and cap? That happened at Graduation. After that, no caps, and scrubs. I loved that the hospital did my laundry. :)

  4. Such a fun look back at your life. Thank you, and many other women, for paving the way where girls can do anything boys can do.

    1. We fumbled our way through, Melodie. Happy to have done it - it was quite a wild ride at times. Thanks for stopping by.