First 30 Days Blog

19 may

Say It Isn’t So

JoAnnaBoccardIt was the time in my life in which I would make a life changing decision as does everyone who is about to graduate from high school. With brochures and an application in hand from Bauder College of Fashion Design located in Dallas, Texas I, with unwavering confidence and absolute joy, presented them to my parents. They wanted me to go to college so I assumed they would be happy and that when I came home, they would have read through the brochures and put their signatures in their perspective places. My dream would have taken its first step to reality.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. It wasn’t until I was in school that day did I realize the negative impact my decision would have not only on my parents, but the school educators, also. I was called into the Principal’s office welcomed by a group consisting of the Principal, Vice Principal, Dean of Boys and Girls, who informed me of my parents’ concern. They were convinced I was making a very bad and unreasonable choice and they were going to change my mind. When that failed, they called a professor at the University of Denver who would later send his assistant to take me to meet with him. They were being logical, I was being emotional and we were at a standoff. I knew what I wanted, without a doubt. I also knew what would not work for me and no convincing would change my mind.

This was a major turning point in my life. Without realizing it I was going to be traveling down a devastating and destructive path. A path that would affect the rest of my life.


I had known since I was eight that I would be a designer. It was all I wanted to do and all I spent my spare time doing. When my older sister took me to the movies, we were the last to leave. We waited until the list of credits came on, the title Costume Designer and the name Edith Head. It was at this point that I visualized seeing my name in print in place of Edith Head. This was before the self-help books were available and told us how to visualize. I just knew this was the path I was meant to be on.

Still, to this day I notice a warm feeling in the pit of my stomach when I look at a sketch that a designer has made. It is a calm feeling. It is a feeling that I am safe that I am home. I wish it were I sketching the dresses, coats and hats, but it isn’t. So I let it go.


I had been elected to the National Honor Society and mostly my grades were very good, so with this in mind, my Father expected me to go to college. He wanted me to become what he could never achieve. He wanted me to study business, and become wealthy buying and selling my own houses. There was nothing wrong with what he wanted for me, except I wanted something different. And what I wanted was to the extreme opposite of his plans for me. What I wanted and needed was the freedom to make my own decisions and choices and to feel good about these decisions and choices.

I should have known that he would never agree on my studying the arts, of any sort. My Father’s twin brother was an artist and had the honor of studying at Walt Disney’s studio. I remember the loud arguments that my Mother and Father would have with him. They telling him, he would never make it as an artist, that he would have to get a job. He did give up and give in and I saw a very sad man. My sister could play piano by ear, but she was never encouraged to continue. She ended up getting married. I didn’t want to ‘end up’ or to have to settle for less, but believe me I did.

I had obeyed my parent’s as best I could, appeasing their appetite for controlling me and kept my dreams to myself. I had never discussed this with them, knowing that if they knew ahead of time that would have squelched my idea immediately.


There is a message that creates a pattern in my life. It is a self-defeating pattern that goes something like this. “If you don’t let me do what I want, I will show you just how miserable I will be.” I must have thought they would take pity on me and give in. It didn’t happen and with that kind of attitude how could I not be miserable. This message set me up for a pattern of giving up and giving in. I knew I was not good enough to fulfill my dreams.


Were my Father and Mother disappointed? Of course, but then so was I.

Had my Father been the man who would listen to my opinions, who would take the time to discuss what I wanted, possibly he might have been able to discourage me from being a designer, and at that point it would have been my idea. Instead he would become angry, turn red, raise his voice and demand I do what he told me. He was domineering and it was impossible to have a discussion with him. It was his way or no way. My Mother would call him a bullheaded Englishman. There were times when my Mother would intercede and convince him to let me have my way, but this time my Mother was on his side.

I decided I would not attend college. Instead I would get a job which would lead to a succession of jobs, all lackluster, dead-end and low-paying, some even demeaning. After setting myself on this path, because it was the result of a choice I made, I then decided to get married and have children. I never felt that there could be any other choice, any other path to be on. I had made my decision and that was it. There would be no turning back, no changing my mind. There were children to be raised and that became my sole purpose.

My parents reluctantly accepted my decisions and never again brought up the subject of college. I’m sure they realized that there was nothing more they could do. We remained close, and I watched over them until their deaths. Even after they died and to this day their messages are ever-present and tend to control my decisions and choices. I have been forever angry that I could not follow my dream, but I never told them how I felt. Maybe being a designer would not have been what I wanted, but I was never allowed to find out for myself and that would have been a part of growing up.


That there can be new choices and new endings. I did not have to choose to completely give up my dream, but rather change how I would make my dream a reality.

I kept my desires and dreams to myself. No one knew that after graduating from school I also studied to be a model. I knew that if I told my parents they would never support me, so why take away the joy I found in applying make-up, in walking, in colors and the other classes, even though I ended it before I could be successful. No one knew that I dreamed of dancing on Broadway in New York. The people I confide in are those who are in the creative arts field.

Now I know that by telling myself repeatedly that I can do everything I want, that I am an intelligent woman, that I am creative and artistic is my way of becoming successful. I tell myself I’m going to do it (whatever I’ve chosen to do) no matter what. I must stay focused on what I want and follow my chosen path.

Ultimately, I learned that I have to change the messages I received from my parents so that the patterns will change. The messages they gave me led me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, that my ideas are worthless, that I don’t have what it takes to do what I want. This is how they controlled and manipulated me into doing what they wanted. This is how I failed at being me.


Most noticeable major changes or turning points in my life were my two divorces. Another time later in my life was when I decided to take creative and artistic classes, watercolor painting, dancing, acting and voice. I did not have any plans beyond taking classes, although I did do two local TV commercials.

A choice to stop dating for a period of time because I kept drawing the wrong type of man to me and until I changed what made me do this it seemed unadvisable that I become involved. It isn’t so much that there was something wrong with them as it was that they were not right for me.

Now I have made a choice to end my pattern of ‘getting a job’, working for someone else, on their schedule, their pay. An end to depending on a job to give me what I want and need, because it can’t, it never will. I desperately need my freedom and the freedom of making choices and decisions. I will have to learn to use my freedom because for me it never came easily.


Taking dance classes such as tap, ballet and jazz gave me much needed confidence, but also the ability to reach out much further, to succeed beyond my expectations. Dancing affects not only your feet, but your entire body and mind. You learn to center and ground yourself and this makes you feel and step with the music. Once you feel this confidence it stays with you all day, every day.


A body/mind related activity such as dancing, or any type of sport is going to teach you to be grounded. It will teach you that you can do more than you ever thought you could. It will give you confidence in all of your daily experiences. Start small and move up, but get yourself moving.

Forgive those who tended to restrict our dreams and desires. These people showed us our strengths to make choices of our own.

Determine what you want to do, what you love, what you dream of and find a way to do it. Allow yourself the freedom to have fun and enjoy whatever activity you choose.

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on May 19th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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