One day I woke up with the crazy idea of writing a letter to a ‘frenemy.’ We all have frenemies, people we’ve fallen out with and decided not to talk to anymore. My nutty idea was …
One day I woke up with the crazy idea of writing a letter to a ‘frenemy.’ We all have frenemies, people we’ve fallen out with and decided not to talk to anymore. My nutty idea was to write a letter to a former bandmate who basically kicked me out of a band we formed together forty-plus years ago. The letter went like this:
You were my best friend. We shared the same sense of humor. Our band marked some of my best times. I don’t know what you remember of what I’ll call ‘the final phone call’ but I’d like to tell you what I remember and even more importantly what I never got to say and wish to say now.
I remember you called me when I was just waking up. Now I don’t remember the exact words, just the gist; that you and the other band member ‘decided’ I could no longer sing in my own band until I took singing lessons. It was a nice gesture to offer to pay for the lessons, but it was tagged onto a decision made without me.
Had I the maturity I have now I would have said, “Hey, could we all get together and talk about this before any final decisions are made? Because there is something I feel you should know. Plus, I feel that right now you’re making a decision about me without me.” Here’s what you needed to know:
I had already taken singing lessons with prominent singing teachers in and around the City. I was frustrated because I wasn’t really progressing. Therefore, I felt more singing lessons would not necessarily have been the best direction. And yet, I didn’t know the direction either. However, I felt that NOT singing was NOT a good direction.
I did want to improve my singing. If it were today, I would have said, “Let’s meet and brainstorm on this a bit because I DO want to improve my singing. And I appreciate the offer for singing lessons and sure, I’ll take them, but I still want to talk about it before any final decisions are made.”
Now I understand that you wanted to bring the band to a more polished level. But I never got to say those words as a ‘decision’ seemed already made.
I’m only sorry you were the one who had to deliver it. I do believe you and ‘L’ (the only other band member) were a couple or becoming a couple around the same time making the phone call even more alienating. Nothing in my life had prepared me for that call.
I wanted to be heard around a decision that involved a band I co-founded. I would have wanted to know; after singing lessons, how it would be decided that I was ‘allowed’ to sing again in my own band. Was I supposed to audition for the two of you? How would that part have worked out? It just appeared as an order, not a discussion. This is why I quit. I was angry and, lacking social skills, didn’t know how to navigate the situation. I’m not blaming anyone. Not blaming you. You were caught in the middle it seems.
In writing the letter, I realized that I had actually quit the band when in all these years, I thought I had been fired from my own band! I mailed the letter and for a long while heard nothing. I didn’t expect a reply and, although it may have been helpful, it was not important. And then I got an email that said a response was on its way. Oy!
To be continued…
RAMONA JAN is the Founder and Director of Yarnslingers, a storytelling group that tells tales both fantastic and true. She is also the roving historian for Callicoon, NY and is often seen giving tours around town. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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