behind door #2...

(Some lovely doors in Ireland. Left, in the town of Killarney. Right, in the town of Adare.)

Today marked the second day of school, and in my typical fashion I arrived disgustingly early for an 8am class. A class I'd been dreading, the Light Construction and Methods classroom was cramped, orange in wall color, dimly lit and full of males. Not a single female present. Suddenly my mind began racing: Did I really need this class...and why am I the only female here? Interior design...is that truly what I want to do with my life? For the love of Moses, WHY ARE THERE ONLY BOYS HERE?! And then I ran, like a jittery horse who'd been kicked squarely in the side. I snatched up my laptop and galloped as far from the classroom full of boys as I could, finally ditching in a distant hallway to gather my thoughts.

Now...I'm a smart girl. (Is that too confident to say about oneself? I suppose I mean this: I'm not dense.) So, why is it that even in this modern world where we're all equal regardless of gender, race or orientation, a classroom full of boys can still frighten me? And not just frighten me: terrify me to the extent of fleeing a wing of a building. Is it that I worry they're all smarter than me? Do I fear they're calling me saddlebags under their breath?

Silly, ridiculous me.

Within 10 minutes I had dropped my Light Construction and Methods course in favor of English Writing course, which is, to be honest, where my heart has been headed these past few months. There once was a time that I dreamed of arranging pillows and furniture, of fanning myself with paint chips. But, as time has passed I've discovered that more than anything, I most enjoy the aesthetics of words, letters, the arranging of experiences and emotions. 

And so, currently I sit in a coffee shop...a smidge confused, overwhelmed and teary-eyed, wondering if it's too late to find out what's behind door #2: English Major of Sorts. Writing, I believe, is the closest thing to my heart, it's my sanity and so very often my only form of true expression...but if I discovered that I was terrible at it, I would be utterly crushed. (Wow. That was incredibly dramatic...imagine I've now flung the back of my hand to my forehead. Even better. Blame it all on my previous stint as a theatre major.)

Which brings me to this question: If you pursue the one thing you love as a career, do you sell out your hobby, your love, your creative soul?


  1. I've struggled with that exact thought many times in my life. Writing, of course, being a love of my life as well.

    What I've found is that even if it is something that you make into something of a job for yourself (note, I'm not currently getting paid for putting letters together, just have several writing projects that I force myself to work on daily), it can still be enjoyable.

    There are definitely the days that I don't want to deal with it, and other days that I just don't feel inspired. But, at the same time, writing is one of the most awesome forms of creation. Putting words together allows one to create the most magical of experiences, whether fictional or fact.

    In other words, I think that pursuing your hobby as a career is a smart choice in that it allows you to do something you enjoy for those 8 hours a day (or whatever your work week entails) instead of feeling that you're just trying to wait out the clock.

  2. Do what you want to do, Beth.

    Once I decided that screenwriting and filmmaking were what I wanted to do I have been on cloud nine. Writing is now exciting and full of passion since I know I'm doing it in pursuit of my goals and desires. A burden was lifted and I finally felt free. I'm a writer and that's what matters. I'm not a business person, a funeral director, or a lawyer. I'm a writer.

    If you want to go into English and write, do it, DO IT!!! Fight that part of you that wants to be safe. Unless there's a chance that you will die, never listen to that safe, conventional voice. Once you ignore it - except, as stated above, in mortally dangerous situations - you can do anything.

  3. Your dear old Dad says go for it. Your mother and I have both been trying to get you to start writing for a living as you are very good at it. I'll tell you the same thing I told you when you asked about interior design...follow your heart and what you love...the rest will fall in line.

    Writing it is...guess we'll live with an ugly living room we were hoping you would decorate once you graduated!

  4. If you aren't sure, you could always dual major. It sounds like you enjoy being creative regardless of the medium used, but the real question is which career path to follow. Here's an analogy, someone who enjoys playing poker for fun thinks that he/she can do that for a living, until that person realizes that sitting at a poker table 8-10 hours a everyday with your life hanging on each bet sucks the enjoyment out of the game. Therefore, doing something else that the person loves for a living and using poker as a release may be the path to follow.

    You have a good imagination, put yourself in both scenarios. On a daily basis do you see yourself handling design clients through the good and bad then utilizing your passion for writing as a hobby/stress reliever for the day or do you see yourself enjoying the creative struggles in figuring out what to write about and using design as a way to distract or inspire yourself?

    Either way, I don't think you are selling out one hobby or area of enjoyment for another. I think they can be used in harmony with one another. You never know from where your inspiration will come.

  5. Beth, I think writing has always been you calling. You are an amazing writer-- I get swept away with every post.

    If you still love interior design, focus on that as your hobby... or your could write for a shelter mag-- now wouldn't that be fun!!


  6. I'm questioning how smart you are (like you so proudly stated in your blog).

    I mean, how attractive were these boys?

  7. Think for a minute about all the times we (your reading audience) have commented on how well you convey an idea or express an emotion common to all of us with poingancy and grace. You can obviously manipulate words and others have benefitted from that talent.

    Think, too, of all the times we've commented on the incredible images you add to your blog. You have an eye for color and composition.

    Why does it have to be one or the other? I think you'd find that we not only want you to have your cake and eat it, too, but we think you are absolutely capable of pulling it off.

  8. OK...here's my tuppence worth! I think you should write - as everybody has said already and in the past..you are very good. If that's what you feel right now, go with it! You are so young! You have lots of time to get back into interiors...there are zillions of good courses you could do part-time once you have your english degree in the bag! Then you can start writing and styling for Living etc, Elle Decor...the world's your lobster!

  9. Terrible at it? Are you kidding me? You have the most amazing way with words. Follow your heart, Bethany! And find a way to combine your talents into one perfect-for-you profession. You'll be brilliant, I just know it!

    PS: The first time I went to Ireland, I took a lot of photos of doors. They're just so pretty there, aren't they?

  10. I once walked into a class of boys and freaked out too--you are not alone! And ironically it was a creative writing class. I was totally confused and I had already missed the first class due to a drop/add situation. I seriously thought I was in the completely wrong place and my imagination played some mean tricks on me. When one of the other handful of girls in the class walked it, I was totally relieved. And the class ended up being really interesting and fun.

  11. if I was in a class full of boys, I'd want to flee too!

    as for the English major, I think that sounds totally, perfectly you. but I get the fear in pursuing something you love so much. that's what I felt when I majored in music. first semester, ok. second, notsomuch. cuz I had transferred to 4-year university, realized a few things were different and that everything is harder when you're taking four classes in summer school, and after that I dropped music, feeling relieved and like a failure all at once. but I knew that I was quite possibly going down a road that would eventually have me despising music, or at the least not loving it the way I always had.

    STILL, that may have not happened and that doesn't mean it will happen to you. PERHAPS, the major will nurture your passion just as it should. I think it all depends on your teachers, really. I tried journalism just because and I don't think I would have ended up loving it as much as I did, and do, if not for those first teachers, mentors, and even my peers.

    ok, so I just wrote A BUNCH all to say GO FOR IT! I think you would be super stellar at it. everyone who reads your blog knows how amazingly talented you are at conveying emotions, experiences, stories in words. xo


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