I’m a musician in my late 20s. I met my girlfriend while away at arts college; she’s an actor. I’m not bragging when I say we’re both talented. Neither of us are looking for a day job – we both want to make a career of our talents.
Unfortunately, while we’re making a name for ourselves, work is scarce. Money isn’t rolling in. I’ve found work in my chosen profession: music. I teach after-school private lessons to kids in their homes. It’s a great gig. I’ve met some lovely people and I make a decent wage.
I’ve tried to explain to my girlfriend that she should find similar work. She’s great with little kids and could easily run an after-school drama program. I hear my clients talking about it all the time, so I know she would find customers.
She says it’s beneath her, she’s too talented, and her peers would make fun. So, she doesn’t work.
I’m frustrated and stressed because at this rate we’ll never be able to move in together. How can I help her see reality?
Good for you for figuring it out. Your girlfriend needs a reality check. Work of any kind isn’t beneath anyone if they need the money. I understand her not wanting to wait tables, a cliché for out-of-work actors, but it’s great money. And I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that after-school drama programs are in high demand and very good money.
Plan an afternoon with your girlfriend, including lunch and apartment hunting. Show her what’s out there and what you’re hoping to achieve. Tell her you can’t do it all yourself and you shouldn’t have to. Tell her you want to help her find a way to make money, but she must do something while she awaits her big break.
I knew when I was five-years-old that I was gay. My mom knew as well, but it was decades ago and not the norm. She didn’t try to change or dissuade me, but she didn’t embrace my differences. My father was oblivious and/or in denial, I’m not sure which.
I had a traumatic incident when I was a child with an older teenager who knew my preference and took advantage of me. It scarred me for years and I repressed my true self. I never told anyone because I was ashamed. Finally in my mid-20s, I imploded. I couldn’t take the lying and deceit I was doing to myself. I came out with a vengeance.
And that scared some of my family and a few friends. I went on a rampage. I dressed extreme, and behaved extreme. I’m not proud of who I was during that time. It was as though I had to breathe gay so people would believe and accept me.
I’ve settled down now. It’s been over a decade. I have a steady boyfriend, a fabulous job, and I’m in a settled place with myself. The problem is my dad. He’s never come around and refuses to discuss it. He’s getting older and I’m afraid he’ll pass without discussing this with me.
Gay and Proud
I’m so happy for you that you’ve settled into your life as your true self. It sounds like it was hard for you growing up, which is no wonder why, after years of bottling up your true essence, you exploded feathers and confetti everywhere.
With time ticking, it’s on you to talk to your dad. Tell him it’s important for you both to discuss. I strongly suggest you speak to a professional regarding this relationship and the trauma you suffered years ago.
FEEDBACK Regarding the lonely expat (March 21):
Reader – “As a two-time expat, I assure you that both employer, and relocation company are only interested in helping with the basics, i.e., moving company, finding housing, schooling, etc., not with the social and mental health aspects of moving to a foreign country.
“Aside from socializing with other “trailing spouses,” here are some suggestions: If her children are still young, there may be parents’ groups at their school to join. There are Newcomers’ Clubs worldwide. There are many country-specific expat groups on Facebook. Type in her country, “expat” and her new city. If her country has a consulate, contact their citizens’ services. If she is religious, join a house of worship for services and volunteer, to meet some of her co-religionists.
“Join a running club, genealogy group or anything she’s interested in. It may be scary to enter a room full of strangers, but she won’t be a stranger for long. I strongly suggest thinking about herself for a change.”