Liz Frencham

A girl and a double bass.

A girl and a double bass.

Meet My New Friend

I find myself in a strange new place.

It has mostly been a beautiful experience, this learning to function effectively with the actual brain chemistry I have, rather than try to force myself to work within the majority of available systems. Learning to trust myself again. Trusting my instinct for what is right for me. Trusting my natural inclinations and my creativity for finding new solutions that actually seem DO-able to me. Celebrating positive results after so many failures.

But there has been pain. Mostly grief and letting go of ever having that kind of uber-efficient self control that I have strived for ineffectively all my life.  There is also the pain of rejection from some of my circle who don't feel comfortable with the changes I am making, or work colleagues who don't want to find compromises that will allow both parties to operate effectively. There are those that define themselves by their problems (which I did for so long) who can only relate to me in that continual problem solving mode where everything is viewed from a perspective of pathology. Others find my search for authenticity and real connection uncomfortable and run screaming.

So I am on shifting sand. Not knowing which friendships, goals, dreams, plans, ideas to keep and what to let go of. The most scary prospect of all has been the process of letting go of music-relateddreams. First identifying, then questioning and then relinquishing all of these glittery mirages. Fame, Arias, stadiums, big posters in train stations, TV shows. Possibly even tougher to confront is the projected image of 'Liz the virtuoso musician'. More solid groove than Ray Brown, more dazzling improvised imagination than Keith Jarrett, can play anything, can read anything, a full complement of Bach memorised and abled to be executed (with a bow!) more proficiently than Edgar Meyer. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive... If this was my path it would be obvious by now, but I still live each day in desperation. For so long I felt the weight of being literally decades behind my dreams, full of guilt and fear and crushed by unreasonable internal expectations. I have taken nothing but the most fleeting pleasure in any small victories and took no notice of small milestones on the journey. Instead I have pushed the goalposts further and further out of reach, convinced that this is the only way to prevent entropy and laziness as a natural consequence of removing this debilitating pressure. 

No more. This has to stop. I am wasting my precious existence, dwelling in the lunacy of past regret and fear of an uncertain future. I am wearing myself out with imaginary battles. This woman, this idealised Liz I keep picturing, is a complete delusion. She not only bears no resemblance to me she has no room in her life for all the things that make me ME. The stuff of life that bring me joy and peace. I have to stop comparing, measuring, being hypnotised by everything designed to sell me improbable fantasy. I hereby announce that I am no longer interested in her or her size 10 outfits, her jaw-dropping solos or her fancy hotel rooms. I wish her luck in her glossy parallel universe but she needs to get the hell out of this one.

I have found a new friend. She is wearing her XL Lake Street Dive T-shirt and recently purchased thrift shop shorts and sandals, reading Brene Brown at a red cafe table overlooking Caloundra Beach. She has a freckled face where constant joyous smiles have etched their place and a slightly itchy nose. Her nails need a trim and her thoughts are jumbled, but her heart is open and happy to meet me. She is smiling and deeply grateful for the continued privilege of playing the songs of talented writers and musicians which she'll be doing later on tonight with Fred Smith. She is telling me how wonderful her husband is, describing his deep velvety voice and slow-dawning smile. She is going to show me some music from her heart real soon, but for now we are going to sip coffee and smell bread baking and just be.