This is an open letter to anybody I’ve ever bailed on. And trust me, that’s quite a broad audience.
To the perfectly nice boy who’s been asking me to coffee for MONTHS, but I always seem to have other plans. To the girl from high school who wants to catch up over dinner, but my car keeps breaking down, or I have to go see my aunt who’s last night in town happens to be this one, and can’t we try again next week?
To my old coworker who cheerily invited me to go jogging with her week after week when I started complaining out loud about my general lack of fitness, but I was always “too tired.”
To the genuinely good and nice and warm people who did nothing but request my company, but I wouldn’t or couldn’t show. To the ones I ghosted; too much of a coward to even offer a fabricated explanation.
I want to start off by apologizing. My tendency to inconsiderately back out on plans that we’ve made together at the last minute has absolutely NOTHING to do with you. In fact, I want nothing more than to have followed through on those aforementioned plans, and gotten to know you and perhaps even have had a little bit of fun.
If I may, i’d like to offer a bit of an explanation of what is going on in this anxiety-ridden noggin that the good Lord gave me. *If there is one*
I never make plans with someone that I don’t 100% intend on following through on. My intentions are pure, I assure you. I’m always eager to meet people and create new experiences with them and so forth.
But then, as we near our time to meet up, my anxiety elevates. Gradually, at first, and I start to have doubts about following through on the plans I’d made. “What if he/she doesn’t like me?” “What if they hurt me?” “What I’m uglier/dumber/less funny than they expected me to be?”
I start to feel unsafe. Not because of the person I have tentative plans to see. Not that, at all. It’s like a reflex, a constant need to protect myself from an unidentified threat. A lump in my throat and a sinking stomach. Thoughts that move at the speed of sound.
I slowly stop responding to your text messages. I pop a Buspar (a fast-acting anti-anxiety drug intended to prevent panic attacks). I convince myself that I’m much too tired to engage with others now.
You send me a “We’re still on, right?” text.
I don’t even open it. I turn your notifications on “mute.”
“M? You okay?” you inquire.
I probably end up passing out at 8 PM, and waking up to one or two more messages from you, with an air of either completely justified disappointment or frustration. And I ignore it. And then we likely don’t talk again.
And I feel alone.
The worst part of it is that it’s entirely self-inflicted.
I hunger for human connection constantly. Watching other people grow and develop amongst each other is devastatingly painful, because I can”t seem to allow myself to do the same. And I end up frustrating people I care about and want to be around, but I keep standing right in my own way.
In summary, I really appreciate everyone who’s ever reached out and tried to make me feel included and wanted. Even if you’ve ever just asked me to go on a walk in the park or get an ice cream cone. And I’m truly, genuinely sorry that I was unable to follow through. I’m sorry if I made you feel sad or mad or frustrated because I flaked on you. It’s not you, it’s me.
I’ve found myself struggling with this especially lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to return to therapy, and stay compliant on my medications, so that’s my fix-it plan. If you haven’t entirely given up on me, I’d still like to get that cup of coffee or see that movie with you.
Wish me luck, friends.