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.

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