Here’s the thing, I didn’t even really realize I was a flake until a couple of years ago. Dropping out on things or annoyingly changing my mind is never something I intend to do. When I was still in high school, I remember my grandmother telling my brother, “You know how Carly is, she’s not like you, she’s so flighty.” I’m not even entirely sure what she meant by that–but obviously it wasn’t a compliment.
Let me be clear–if I have a deadline for work, I’m finishing a commission, I’m repaying a friend, or mailing off art to a client–I am on it. I follow through, and I get that stuff done. I do my best to be professional, reliable, and considerate.
When I’m chatting with a friend or acquaintance–I don’t agree to hang out, or mention how we should grab coffee unless I really mean it. I don’t see the point of making mutually fake plans for small talk. When I agree to go to something–a game night, happy hour, a concert, etc., in that headspace, I am so into it! I want to be around people, I want to see humans I care about, I want to catch up and laugh. In that headspace, I’m the caring involved friend I want to be, and who my wonderful human-friends deserve. The problem is, sometimes, when the time arrives to actually go, I just lack all motivation. It doesn’t have anything to do with the company–the company I keep is delightful, and always a joy to see. So I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
I don’t know if it’s partially based in a subconscious fear of the vulnerability involved with letting new people into my life? Or that I tend to over commit myself? I don’t know if it’s related to my mental health issues of depression and anxiety, but that would make sense. It could also just be that I don’t take good care of my body, so my energy levels are low? Regardless, I’m not using mental health as an excuse, because ultimately–for the most part, I’m a functional adult in the world and I’m solely responsible for my actions–or lack thereof.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve skipped out on things I’ve really wanted to do, because I couldn’t find the energy to leave the house. I’ve canceled coffee dates with some of my favorite humans because I felt off and the idea of having to drive myself to Uptown sounded exhausting, let alone interacting with anyone. I put off responding to texts or emails, even short ones sometimes because my mind doesn’t feel like it has enough focus to respond properly. Last year, I skipped a Lizzo concert with a great friend (when I’d already bought a ticket) because I just felt sad and drained and didn’t have the motivation to leave the house (which is dumb on my part, because a Lizzo concert probably would have been vibrant and fun and made my heart happy).
Maybe I don’t want to leave the apartment in the dark cold during winter, or because it’s too dreary, or too humid. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I know–“Hey, Carly, just stop being flakey.” Bam! Problem solved! Well done, me! You’ve fixed it.
I wished that worked. That somehow my energy, intention, and motivation could all align to be the consistent, reliable, social human I’m capable of being (at times) all the time.
And sometimes I do work through my hesitation to go out even if my mood has shifted since I originally made plans. Plenty of times, I’ve had anxiety but still went to that birthday party, coffee date, art opening, or whatever. And most times, I’m glad I went. But for the time being, sadly, all I know is that this is a character flaw that I don’t quite know how to fix.
Therefore, I just want to apologize to those friends and acquaintances, that I’ve let down by canceling plans, delaying texts, or being generally flaky. It’s not you, it’s me (as I’m sure you know). I’m trying to get better at not overcommitting myself, and taking better care of myself to stay in a healthier headspace. Because, you, kind human that has invited me into your life in some capacity, deserve better. And to those who have stayed in my life through the years, thank you for your kindness, patience and understanding.