Dear Dr. Toni,
I’m a college-educated woman in her mid-thirties—I guess I’m considered a millennial. I live by myself in the Bay area and the cost of living is extremely expensive, but the nature here is so amazing and I enjoy it. My parents are both professionals with jobs, so they have steady paychecks coming in. Since I graduated, I’ve drifted from job to job as a teacher, then a manager at a small hotel, and lately mostly temp jobs.
I made a mistake and got involved with a guy who was, I guess you could say, “addicted” to me. He was possessive, controlling, and possibly a sex addict. Because I was struggling to find my career path, I stayed in the relationship too long and when I broke up with him he started stalking me.
I have a new boyfriend whom I haven’t told that my ex is still stalking me, because he knows my ex casually and I don’t want there to be any big scene. My big focus right now is figuring out what to do with my life. I love singing and even writing music, but I’ve been too afraid to try to perform anywhere. My new boyfriend is a musician, thinks my stuff is good, and thinks my voice is good enough to perform, but I’ve just been too terrified to take the next step. I’m afraid I’ll starve if singing and performing is my vocational destiny. Then there are my parents, who’ve been helping me out sometimes when I can’t make my rent.
I’d appreciate any thoughts you might have on this. I can’t afford a career coach right now.
– Lost in Paradise
Well, there is a lot here to address. Hopefully, I can give you a little something to course correct. First off, living alone in the Bay area is for people who make a six-figure income, and there is statistical data to prove this. I would suggest you alleviate some financial stress by moving. Also, if you have an ex who is stalking you, moving would probably handle this, especially if you come clean with your current boyfriend so that your new address is not disclosed to others. On the other hand, if you decide not to move and the stalking continues, I would recommend a restraining order.
You mention that your ex may be a sex addict. Something you might not have considered is that sex addicts and love addicts are often attracted to one another. Did you start seeing the new boyfriend shortly after ending it with the old one? If you were living with a roommate, you might have been able to work on having more companionship other than just with men.
Also, I would encourage you to talk to your mother or father about funding career or vocational counseling, but with someone who can work with the deeper fears we often hold in our bodies around stepping into our authentic selves. You may have a blockage in your throat chakra that is keeping you from pursuing your passionate purpose. We inherit certain patterns and beliefs from our parents and our ancestral lineage. If no one in your family ever earned a living as an artist, you are unconsciously betraying the family survival pattern. When we are not engaged with the work of our soul’s purpose, it often leads to attempting to find that fulfillment through some kind of addiction.
Once you clear these ancient patterns that are rooted in the past, it will be easier to take a risk and begin practicing your voice in a low-pressure venue like a coffee house. It may feel easier to work a job that is below your education and skill set if it is no longer framed as your profession, but simply your day job as an artist.
May the woods of the Bay area bring you inspiration and guidance to listen to your higher self. Nature can put us better in touch with our intuitive wisdom.