Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't Tell Me I Can't Do That

First off, I’m stubborn. As in Irish stubborn. If you tell me I can’t do something I’ll go right out and do that just to prove I can do it.

Although I was determined to be a writer and in high school I had journalism and English instructors willing to critique my work and encourage me, I also knew I just might need a day job. With my love of animals, it was a given I wanted to be a vet. I even talked to my counselor about it. And I was told, “You’re too small. Petite women can’t be vets. Well, unless you specialize in a small animal practice. Women don’t do well in that.” Huh? I wanted to prove everyone wrong. Only one problem. I sucked in science and math. Give me that baby shark to dissect, I was fine. Other technical stuff, forget it.

Then one weekend, my parents took a friend and I up to Universal Studios. We spent the day taking the tour and hanging out. At that time, they also had a show with the make up artists. My friend thought doing film and TV make up would be fun and we got a chance to talk to one of the artists only to be told at this time, “women do hair, not make up.” Now, I’m very shy and have always freely admitted it, but to hear this? I told him since we females wore make up, wouldn’t it be more logical for us to do make up, but we’d let the guys do hair. After we left, I was horrified I said that, even if I know I wasn’t wrong in what I said.

In college, I was told I didn’t have a future in fiction writing. That I should consider newspaper writing, even if it was something I wasn’t the least bit interested in. As you all know, I didn’t listen to that advice.

In retrospect, I think about all I’d miss if I had listened to people over the years. Sure, I didn’t go to veterinary school, but along the way I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge thanks to vets and vet tech friends willing to share their expertise with me. For fun, I took some make up classes taught by a film artist who worked with major actors and actresses. Talk about stories she had to tell!

And I’ve conquered some of my shyness in talking to people either about my books or digging for information for a book. I’ve met great people along the way, some of them turning into good friends.

But it wouldn’t have happened if I took the safe path.

So what about you? Have any of you ever been told, “no, you can’t do that”? If you have, how do you handle it?

Also, I'll be guest blogging at http://lizzietleaf.blogspot.com on Wed. the 17th. Come by and say hi!

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