Monday, June 21, 2021

The Last Time

StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder - The Last Time

I washed the familiar smell of him off my neck and shoulders for the last time this morning.  It pained me to think of his lips working their way down my body as his scruff implanted its scent into my skin.  It was less than a day ago - just a few hours really - that marked the last kiss I’d share with him.

I think I knew it at the time, even though we were passionately making out and he was teasing me to the point of craze before abruptly stopping to say “Later,” that it would be the last time I’d touch him.

The last time to feel his embrace, the last time to look him in the eye, wondering what he saw when he looked back, and the last time to wonder where this relationship was ultimately leading.

I’ve had a lot of last times this last few years.  Each time I learn a little bit more about men, about women, about the world, and most importantly, about myself.

The excitement of dating again after my almost 20-year marriage ended, now has become a little commonplace.  Having made the acquaintance of upwards of 150 people in the last few years through text, call, meeting, or dating, I saw my initial hope for sparks and mystery quickly morph into desire for realness, then the want of conscious living within diversity, and finally the NEED for emotional intelligence in another human.  

He embodied most all of that laundry list, yet came with a cigarette addiction, a snore that could wake the gods, and a geographical distance of 188 miles.  While any one of those things could have been a dealbreaker, I stretched myself wide open to the possibility.  What started as just a physical attraction transformed into thorough enjoyment of company, mutual admiration, dual personal growth, and respect for one another in just a few short months.

For the first time since the breakup of my marriage I could finally see myself trusting another human being enough to want another potential partner in life, instead of just a date, a casual fling, or a fun person with which to hang out.  I thought it could be with him.  We both moved mountains to see one another every few weekends, despite the distance and different lifestyles and commitments and priorities.

Long distance relationships come with issues, such as the pressure to enjoy every minute you have with one another, as the time spent together is far and few between.  Our 5th weekend together came with stress….a storm that cast a fallen tree on the roof of his house, his house that needed prepped for a Father’s Day celebration, a first meeting with his family, and my own get-together with my father.  

While none of those things got in the way, a few lifestyle habits of drinking and sleep schedules reared their ugly heads of difference and caused me much distress.  My hot buttons got stimulated and I ran and terminated, despite the potential of working through the issues.

I know it’s the right decision, despite my sadness.  The last time hurts.  It pushes feelings to the surface.  It prompts internal conversation.  It makes me doubt my choices and reconfirm my values.  It also makes me recognize that I’m a human in constant growth and that ends are necessary in order to have new beginnings.  I miss him already.  But I would miss myself more if I compromised my needs.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

I Am Your Neighbor Episode 9 - JBird Art

Jay Sterling, Jason Sterling, JBird...they all lead back to the same talented soul that has been decorating the streets of Milwaukee with his art and murals for 40 years, both individually and in tandem with other artists. Jay was lucky to get his start as a youngster helping established local artist Reynaldo Hernandez, learning the depth and creativity of mural painting.  

I Am Your Neighbor - JBird Art - Stacy Snyder
He's supported himself through art ever since, sometimes in corporate endeavors, but more often than not, as a working street artist. Jay's passion for creativity bleeds into humanity, as he seems not to know a stranger in Milwaukee. It makes sense, as he's partnered with small business owners, artists, and youth, to promote commerce, community, and mental health with his work.

I Am Your Neighbor - JBird Art - Stacy Snyder
I Am Your Neighbor - JBird Art - Stacy SnyderIn addition to showing us his mural depicting the 12 steps of AA in the meeting room at the MKE Alano ClubJay 
took us around the city and showed us his wares on storefronts, buildings, and even on bottles! The coolest thing about Jay is that his art depicts what's in his mind. He thinks in the same way that he draws and paints and curates, which makes for a super unique human. Check out his story in I Am Your Neighbor Episode 9 - JBird Art and view his collection on Instagram.