Monday, November 18, 2019

The Paralysis of Change

Paralysis of Change - Stacy Snyder - Stacy Says It
Change never comes in small doses.  It tends to avalanche onto me in a heap. While I can kick some ass on behavior modification to accommodate the changes, I often don’t fully process the meaning until I’ve had a chance to wear it, then write about it.  It’s as if nothing is real until it's laid out on paper.

I’ve avoided writing at all costs for about two years.  I can’t explain it other than to say that writing - an article, a blog post, or even a journal entry - has felt too personal, too intimate - to attempt.  The lessons ripe for the picking have felt too heavy and numerous to unpack. 

My daughter had a friend sleep over last weekend.  They embarked on watching an old TV series, Nashville, featuring a country music star with two pre-teen daughters that also sing country, but as a duo.  Having loved the show years ago, to the point that I had borrowed a song, A Life That's Good, from one of the episodes to have my daughters sing as a surprise to my wife in our wedding, I sat down to watch the pilot with them.  Experiencing the innocence of those newborn characters again now, while knowing that they later all became jaded with age and experience, hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was like viewing my own naivety of years ago through a crystal ball.  

I told the kids I was retiring to my room to write for a little bit, to which my daughter responded, “Are you a writer Mom?”  which gave validation to the idea that my life had taken a complete transformation over the past few years.

Just a few short years ago, I would have answered Writer to the question “What do you do?” I would have been proud of the fact that I was able to stay home with my kids during their childhood, confident in the continuous ebb and flow of my almost-20-year relationship with my wife, pleased with the home we’d built and our financial security, and supported by my posse of neighborhood mom friends.  

Now I work full-time as a business manager for an industrial design firm.  My kids go to after-school care and bounce back and forth from one parent’s home to another every week.  I live in a small 3rd floor apartment 5 houses down from my ex-wife and I have adjusted to being single for half of every week and a parent and family head the other half.  My support system is scattered around the country with long-term friends and family that have carried me through the best and worst times of my life and a few quality friends here in Chicago that were able to make the transition with me, despite the discomfort.

The commotion of change is palpable.  Even after a year of active grieving and loss, it is still  often impossible to stay focused and self-monitor myself as a parent and good human.  While I have finally settled into my new life without struggle or resentment, I still grapple with Oprah’s idea of forgiveness, which is “giving up the idea that the past could have been any different.”  I own the idea that every decision and action led me to the place I am right now, yet it’s still hard to bask in its novelty.  

I feel as free to explore who I am now as during my teenage years; for that I am grateful.  I hear myself describing myself to new people I meet and often wonder “who is that speaking and who is she talking about?”  I look at new experiences with wonder and excitement.  I think I’m a better parent and person because of these life changes.

But writing, this putting pen to paper and documenting the reality of the moment, is tough.  I keep telling myself I'm just doing a different version of writing....baring the soul through conversations and self-reflective mediation and thought instead of the written word, but I know the gravity of change will not be fully realized until it gets tapped out from my fingers.  

Luckily the art of starting is alive and kicking.  Here I go.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Am Your Neighbor Episode 8 - Edilson Lima

This guy.  His smile is as big as his heart and his joy is just as contagious.  My face hurt after spending 30 minutes with him as I couldn't quit beaming while in his presence!  Edilson Lima is a dancer, teacher, and interpreter, but more importantly, he's a lovely human being.

I interviewed Edilson a year and a half ago with the intention of rolling out his show immediately. Instead, a series of painful life events hit me hard.  I stopped thinking about Samba dancing, flashy color, and big smiles and instead turned away from I Am Your Neighbor to grieve in peace.  During the thick of it all, I buried the idea of Edilson deep in my psyche. Similar to the St. Joseph statue I used to bury in each home seller's yard after listing the house as a real estate agent, I knew his positive vibe was there, but he was out of sight while I dealt with the day to day challenges in my life.

I Am Your Neighbor Edilson Lima - StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder
I Am Your Neighbor Edilson Lima - StacySaysIt - Stacy SnyderA year rolled by and I noted Edilson's Chicago Samba group would be performing at a local Mardi Gras celebration, so I pulled my act together and called a friend to meet me at Carnivale for the event. 

I was hit instantly with Edilson's sheer glee as he danced around the restaurant and through the crowd.  I knew I had to draw from that in order to move forward with my own life.  For good measure, I thought about it for another 6 months, then finally got the motivation to bring his story to life, along with the re-awakening of my own joie de vivre.  Thanks for daring to be exactly who you are meant to be, Edilson!

I Am Your Neighbor Edilson Lima - StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder

Monday, June 10, 2019

Today I Am Strong

Today I ran a 5K.

I didn't plan on running.  I was tucked away on the right side of the course, the slow lane, and was geared up for a 3+ mile individual speedwalk.  The walking sufficed for a few blocks until I ran into a solid sea of people at the turn toward the lakefront.  I picked up my speed to a slow gallop just to avoid a jam between 2 large groups of runners quickly closing in on each other.  Once I realized I was jogging and that it felt good, I just kept going.  End of story.

I had been "training" for the Girls on The Run 5K for over a month on my own, as I hadn't run much more than a few blocks since the 3 rounds of knee surgeries a few years ago.  My 10-year-old daughter, with whom I was attending the race, is a fast runner.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep pace with her as I once could when she was younger.  After working myself up to 15 minutes of sporadic jogging in between lags of recovery walking to balance off the knee pain, I suggested to my daughter that we practice running together once to see how we match up.

"It was veeeeerrrrrry iiinnnteresting," noted Maddy, when I asked her afterwards how she felt about the paces matching up, after we'd run a half-mile together.  She stated the obvious - it was hard to hold herself back in order to stay with me and my slower movement.

That was that.  I preemptively matched her up with running buddy for her big race day.  I quit trying to run faster, or even at all, in the weeks leading up to the 5K, and I decided to just walk at my own pace and meet up with her at the finish line when the time came.

Stacy Says It - Stacy Snyder - Today I Am Strong
Instead, I finished the race at a decent pace on my own while Maddy ran ahead with her buddy.  It was a win-win for everyone.  I even managed to shave a few minutes off of my best time from 10 years ago.

I feel strong and empowered.  I'm confident that the world matched my vibe for the day.

During my Myndjive meditation this early morning, I breathed into myself and out onto the world, the intent that I am strong.

It seems overly simple, this daily ritual of taking a few minutes to clear my mind and putting forth deliberate thought toward what I will bring into the day.  It requires a leap of faith that what I seek in life will naturally come to me if I put it out there into the world.  It relies on relinquishing control in order to allow things to unfold naturally.

But it works, for today I am strong.