An Open Apology To Everyone I’ve Ever Known

Dear Person In My Life,

I’m sorry.

Over the years/months/weeks we’ve known each other, I’ve undoubtedly been a bad friend at one point or another. I’ve fallen short of the expectations I’ve set for myself to be there for you as much as I’d like.

I pulled a real bait-and-switch on you, and I’m sorry. When we met, I was probably performing at an 11. It’s my defense mechanism. The happier and livelier I appear, the less chance there is that you’ll figure out my secret: that I’m the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet. I seem like a social butterfly, but the truth is that I have to spend a lot of time alone to recharge from being around people.

Literally me.

You probably met me while I had it turned on, while I was in performance mode. And we hit it off and we shared a good time or two or a thousand, and that’s who you thought you’d just made friends with, huh? But over the course of our friendship, we both know what I’ve done. I’ve ignored your calls. I’ve flaked out on our plans. I’ve taken too long responding to emails, even though you know I have time to reply. It’s not that I don’t have time. I just don’t have the energy.

And now that I’ve come out of the Depression Closet, I’ve been letting myself slide even more.

Photo by Debbini. Quote by Nick Hornsby. GPOY by yours truly.

I’m not going to make excuses. I’m just going to say that I’m sorry. That I know how much of a shitheel I can be. When I go from “hot and heavy” to “distant and MIA,” it’s not at all a reflection of you and how I feel about you. I wish that I had the ability to be that fun, lighthearted girl all the time. But the truth is, after I put on the show to pass as a normal person in front of you, I go home and deflate and crawl into bed with my clothes still on and switch it off, surrendering to the fatigue and emptiness that lives in my belly.

Please don’t take it personally. It doesn’t matter if it’s a work meeting or happy hour or a day at the fair. The end result is always the same: every moment I spend trying to pass myself off as a happy and productive person costs me time in the tank. In solitary confinement. Where I take off my Shiny Happy People mask and let my inner monster come out.

I have an inner circle of friends whom I confide in when shit hits the fan, but Donnie and my dad are the only two people who I let see my inner monster, whom I can turn completely off with. It’s partly about trust, but it’s mostly about protecting everyone else. People like you. People I don’t want to burden with seeing me in all my grotesque glory. So if I don’t tell you that I’m feeling empty and useless and wondering what the point of everything is, don’t think it’s because I don’t trust you or value your opinion. It’s the opposite.

Don’t believe me? Take it from an expert*:

“When a depressed person shrinks away from your touch it does not mean he is rejecting you. Rather he is protecting you from the foul, destructive evil which he believes is the essence of his being.”
― Dr. Dorothy Rowe, Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison

*Disclaimer: I have no idea if she’s actually an expert. Her first name could be doctor. I found the quote on Good Reads, cut me some slack or I’ll cry on you. That’s not going to end well for either of us.

So whether you saw me yesterday or haven’t heard from me in months, my apology still stands. Just know that I’m trying to be a better friend. Thanks for putting up with me: I appreciate the hell out of it, I’m glad to have you in my life in any capacity, and I know that I come with high highs and lower lows. I want you to know that I know, and I’m working on it.

But hey, rollercoasters can be pretty fun sometimes.

Are we having fun yet?! Photo by Grace Robertson.

Sincerely,

Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey
Formerly of the Land of Flaking
Current resident of Atonement Town

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23 thoughts on “An Open Apology To Everyone I’ve Ever Known

  1. I kind of relate. I’m also an extroverted introvert, and I think I’ve become more so with age – like I just don’t have as much of that energy as I used to and so it takes me longer to recharge. Hang in there, girl, and know that you are not alone in feeling like a total flake sometimes. 😛

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      UGH, me too. I’ve put “having lots of extended friends” on the Murtaugh List: I am too old for that shit. 😀

  2. Bev

    You touch on so many important points here, I’m afraid I’m going to miss something.

    First, there is no inner monster. Escuchame, chica: Il n’y a pas de monstre d’interieur. IL. N’Y. A. PAS. I know what it feels like to think there is, but remember what the Bloggess says: Depression is a lying bastard. And the number one lie is that there is something especially foul at your core, something that makes you different, in a worse way, from other people. Really, it’s quite narcissistic; it’s a way of asserting uniqueness and separating from others. So, and keep in mind I get to be blunt because I’m in the same canoe and I need to hear this as much as I need to say it, believing in your own inner monster is itself a self-serving defense mechanism. It’s a depression inspired lie, and it should be battled. I sure as shit don’t know if it can be defeated, but it needs to be recognized for what it is if we have any hope of managing it.

    And if you don’t want to buy that, ask yourself this: What the hell is wrong with your dad and Donnie that they would keep you around (i.e., CONTINUE TO LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING) if, at your core, you were nothing but a festering pile of worthlessness? Are they stupid? Are they masochistic? Why do the people who know you the BEST love you the MOST? Put that in your pipe and smoke it–I have destroyed your inner monster hypothesis. QED

    Now, as to the face you show the world? You don’t owe the world the truth; you can be whoever and whatever you want to be. If getting through the day with the least friction means wearing a slick veneer, then do it. If that costs too much psychological coin, don’t do it. To our friends, of varying levels of intimacy, we all show varying levels of honesty. This is not a crime; it’s the way relationships work. Look, we met online because of “your act,” as you like to call it. You were absolutely entertaining and you attracted a lot of followers. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. But we didn’t become friends until we started sharing faults and vulnerabilities. In other words, your friends are the ones who KNOW you’re not perfect. Some people don’t want that level of knowledge; they want to be entertained by you, and that’s all. Well, okay. Those people fall into the “audience” category. If you don’t want them, stop entertaining them. But there’s nothing wrong with being an entertainer; if getting laughs makes you feel good, then go for it. Your audience appreciates it and god knows we can all use a laugh. Just don’t do it if the net effect leaves you feeling depleted.

    All right, enough from me already. “This isn’t your blog, Bev,” says my better judgement. Now I need to see if I can walk the walk.

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      I’m firing my therapist and driving to Oregon. But for real, I’m going to email you a proper response…and I won’t even feel like it’s something I HAVE to do! ❤ forever.

  3. Heather Willis

    I read that while eating a giant bowl of broken doritos crumbs leftover from someone else’s wedding that occurred last week. I was in my pajamas in the dark. This is probably the only contact I’ll have with anyone outside of my husband for the rest of the day, and it’s taking all my social energy to share that with you.

    You are a great person and a fantastic friend on every level. You don’t have to be “ON” all the time for me to know that. If you owe anyone you know an apology… then I’ve gotta lotta splainin to do.

  4. Norelle

    Thanks for writing my apology note for me. Now all I have to do is copy and paste. It is incredibly hard to put that damn mask on day after day. The energy required to “pretend” all is wonderful is more than anyone would guess. I think my family sees it at times when I make my appearances in public. I then come home to sleep for 24 hours and not leave the house for another 2 weeks. I don’t mean to be a bad friend, but I don’t have the energy to be the person I want to be.

  5. Hi, I saw this on Twitter and what a raw honest message. I think we all at some time in our life feel like this – I am definitely a bubbly, fun person, but sometimes I take a break to be by myself and then focus on me and recharging. It’s a part of life and some don’t realize that – you spelled it out. Great job!

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      Thank you so much! I’m flabbergasted by how many people relate to this feeling, it’s such a relief to know I’m not alone! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. i saw your comment on my blog and then popped over here and started writing a reply comment back on my blog, then was like wait no. but this is what i wanted to say! : your open apology is so brave and i hope you know we all still like you very very much. BIG LAHB!! don’t know if they will help but i hope they will – i want to play my new songs for you one day ❤

  7. I felt flaked on as well. I can honestly say that I don’t know but a few people that have flaked over a period of time, owned it, apologized, and vowed to change. Usually flakes stay flakes. I can’t say how relieved I felt to read this. You’re a fantastic personal and all is forgiven!

  8. Brian Kim

    Wow! What a powerful lesson in and of our lives! You shouldn’t need to apologize but be praised. You put on the happy faces for us and made our lives happier. You are a friend we all want to have. All who knew you and know you are truly blessed. Thank you!

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      I definitely did not get something in my eye just now. Oh, wait, I totally did. That’s really kind of you, thank you for saying so! I’ll just be over here having a lot of feelings for ten minutes. 😉

  9. Dear Nicole, I totally want to do this! Actually, I am still at the phase of shaming myself for my depression, being too afraid of anyone finding out. I recently just opened up to three close friends who didn’t know before, just because I felt even more like shit for going MIA and leaving them in the darkness about everything. But I have more friends that do not know and your blog post is such a brave and honorable thing to do. You must be an awesome person. Best of luck to you!!

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