Therapist Candy Marcum’s advice column returns to Dallas Voice

In this issue, Dallas Voice welcomes the return of advice columnist Candy Marcum, a licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family counselor and licensed chemical dependency counselor who specializes in working within the LGBT community. She has more than 30 years of experience as a counselor, and said she sees her life’s work as being a healer and a teacher.

Marcum has been active in the LGBT community as an advocate for equality for more than 30 years, and for several years in the 1990s wrote an advice column for Dallas Voice. Her column, Ask Candy, will appear in Dallas Voice on the second and fourth Fridays. Submit questions for her to [email protected]

Dear Candy,
I’m a twenty-something professional battling the pressure of dating while starting a career. The majority of my closest friends are either engaged, married or in serious relationships, on the precipice of putting a ring on it — which adds expectations on me to date and be on their romantic levels. Should I continue building a financially stable future for me, myself and I, or should I put more of my effort into meeting a significant other while I’m still young?
— Not Looking

Dear Not Looking,
One of the most stressful and difficult stages in a person’s life is the age between mid 20s and early 30s. This is the time when you are looking for stability, direction, identity and purpose. Questions include: “What am I going to be when I grow up?” “With whom will I share my life and build a family?” “Where will I live and work long-term?”

This is a time of confusion, questioning of self-worth and wanting to measure up to your friends. In a word — middle school all over again! (Okay, that was three words.)

Timing is perfect. Your friends’ timing is perfect for them, and your timing is perfect for you. Keep your focus on your aspirations — that goes for career and marriage goals especially. These are worthy goals. Have faith in yourself. When you look back at this time, you will come to know you “got on track” at the right time.

Good luck!
— Candy

Dear Candy,
How should I have pride for my hometown when I know it’s plagued with social troubles, a lack of job opportunities and no considerable visitation areas? I moved to Dallas recently to escape the prejudices and condescension from the world I grew up in. I have amazing memories of my first real friends, the rock-solid education I maintained and — most importantly — the parenting that made me the person I am today. But it’s difficult to express a love of my hometown to others when the majority of my friends come from major opportunity cities like Dallas, Houston, Chicago and beyond.

What would you say for people with similar internal struggles?
— Homesick

Dear Homesick
One of the joys of being an adult is seeing the world in terms of grays instead of in black-or-white. As an adult, we see the nuances making up our morals, beliefs and values. As I read your letter, I see there are things you have negative feelings about concerning your hometown and other things you value from growing up there. If we average this out, you would grade your town a C.

As humans, we are a compilation of our experiences. Your experiences have made you the person you are today. Difficult experiences mold who you are more than the successful experiences do.

All together, these experiences define who you are. Own that about yourself and your hometown.

By the way, big cities are made up of people from small towns who come to the city to make their life!
Good luck!
— Candy