Dear Jody

By Jody Valley

Cold and in pain

Q: It's extremely cold out and I am sitting here wondering why I should live any longer. Well, I'm not really ready to kill myself, but I am very discouraged with my life and everything going on in the world. I realize you can't help me solve what is going on in the world, but it is depressing. What is really bothering me is the state of my life.
The problem is everything seems to be going wrong for me right now, and I don't know what I should do. It started out with the company I was working for went out of business. That wasn't so bad because I thought, well, this just gives me the opportunity to start my own business, which I had wanted to do forever. I did try starting my business and things went OK until my unemployment ran out. Then I couldn't pay my bills because I wasn't making enough money.
I didn't have much credit so I could no longer get supplies, so I couldn't work. From there everything just snowballed. To make a long story short, I lost my house and I'm living in one room boarding house. I haven't been able to find a job in my field, even though I am well qualified and have good references. To top everything off, my lover left me when all this came down. He said he didn't want to be with a loser. I don't know where to turn or what to do, so now I'm just sitting here looking out the window watching it snow and the cold wind blow. I'm not sure what my question to you is, I guess I just wanted someone to listen to my pain.
Out In The Cold
A: I do hear your pain and I'm sorry for all that has happened to you. That is a lot to deal with; a lot of loss. However, you are really needing to get back on your feet before things even get worse because you have no money coming in. It is important that you start getting out and looking for employment. You say there is nothing open in your field at this time, so you will need to figure out how your skills can transfer to other jobs and start looking in those areas. I see you are from the Greater Lansing area. I would suggest you go to Capitol Area Michigan Works at 2110 S. Cedar, in Lansing. There you will find resources to help you find a job. They also have computers that can be used for your job search as well as a lot of jobs online that you can apply for. Think of your job search as your job. Get up every day, dress as if you have an interview and go out and job search. You can't do anything about your past, but you can work towards a future. And, you can't make your life better until you start looking again for a job. Good luck and keep me informed. I care.

One man's porn is another's art

Q: My boyfriend likes porn, and frankly, it disgusts me. He says that it helps him get in the mood and he would be happy if I viewed it as well. Besides, he doesn't see anything wrong with it. I don't need nor approve of porn. It just makes me feel bad and guilty to be a part of such a thing. I'm not a prude. I don't mind sexual things that are artistic. He won't be mad at me if I don't participate with him, but I don't like that he likes it. (He doesn't get into the children porn thing. It's just adult stuff!) Do you think porn is okay?
Not a Prude
A: I don't have an answer here, just a few thoughts on the topic: Porn is such a subjective thing. What's one person's porn is another person's art form, as you have so clearly demonstrated by your letter. My guess is that there are some folks who would see the sexual art forms that you think are artistic and view them as porn. In addition, we all have our own value systems around sexual matters; and one system isn't necessarily better than another (as long as no one is emotionally or sexually hurt). Most often, it tends to come from how we were raised. I think it's good to take a look at how we were brought up, and evaluate if it is how we want to live our lives Рthat as adults we are authors of our own lives. This is important to do in many areas of our lives, to reevaluate what we believe, not just take something on because it was a parent or an ancestor's idea of what was the right to think or do something. (I've always wondered why many think the ancestors are wiser or smarter than we are. I mean, some could have been, but certainly not all of them Ñ at least not in my family.)
{ITAL Have a problem? Send your letters to: "Dear Jody," C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: [email protected]
(Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly.)}