I Declare My Own Amnesty
On this day, the 27th of April 2014, I am declaring my own Amnesty.
Ever since I opened my eyes in the light of my ADHD diagnosis, all I can see around me is piles and piles of unfinished projects, boxes of unknown stuff, countless tools of abandoned hobbies gathering dust, a shelf full of half-read books and the blinking cursors of neglected relationships. Forty years of impulsive energy spurts that dwindled. Forty years of distracted jumping from compulsion to compulsion.
I spent a year learning to see my brain-chemistry-driven tendencies in a new light and with the help of medication and behavioural therapy I regained some control of my current day to day life. The next year the excitement of my revelations had worn off and I was left to face the grief of accepting a permanent disorder coupled with the regret of having lived so many years in anxiety, emotional turmoil and disarray.
I began this year with renewed energy and ambition to complete projects, clear out the clutter, let go of anything cramping my style. But it's been only three months and I have to face that fact that it is JUST TOO BIG. My 'To Do' list has turned scarlet and screams at me daily. I have folders full of mindmaps, pages of brainstorming and planning but I just can't seem to get a handle on the task. How does a mere human simultaneously establish keystone daily habits (exercise/meditation/sleep/journalling/heathy meals/reading), keep a house clean, tidy and well-stocked, attend to admin/bills/emails, keep a garden weeded/pruned/nurtured, finish a mountain of unfinished projects, work through an everest of mending/fixing, sort through mystery boxes/piled shelves/dusty corners, practise my instrument, maintain my voice, write new songs, look for business opportunities, record albums, book performances, publicise performances, prepare for performances, learn other repertoires, re-establised work goals, learn new skills/software/workflows, AND spend quality time with my husband/friends/family? Just the task of organising all these different categories into a manageable plan is so overwhelming I want to jump back into bed and pull the covers up permanently.
Truth is... I can't do it all right now. Something will have to give.
The complicating factor is that I cannot predict what that will be at any given time. I know that I am at my most efficient when I abandon fear and self consciousness and throw myself into a task. Only then can I embrace a flow state and the total sensory immersion of hyperfocus will bring the purest, quickest and most successful results. But I've discovered I can't enter that zone when I'm carrying around the weight of expectations and walking over shards of guilt and anxiety. I also can't predict on any given day what tasks will flow and what will need to be put aside.
So I'm declaring my own amnesty.
I am freeing myself of all the mostly imagined weight of assumed responsibilities and I will accept the consequences with grace. All commitments to regular newsletters, social interactions, publicity, creative deadlines and new business plans are now released. My friends and followers, I care about you but I just can't take the pressure of guilt about contact and catch-ups. I'm am genuinely sorry that there has been frequent radio silence, broken promises about when projects will be launched and a general lack of constancy from the Liz Frencham camp. But it seems to me that I may just have to be a 'bad' business person, a 'bad' friend, a 'bad' publicist, a 'bad' musician, a 'bad' house-wife occasionally in the short term to achieve the goal of being a better version of all these things in the long term. It's the only way I can see my way through catching up after forty years of life mismanagement. I need to let my little boat bob in the tide next to the jetty while I clean it out and get it ship-shape again.
I hope our connection lasts through this. I have a feeling that a more centred, calm, inspired, productive and generous Liz will be waiting on the other side.