An open letter to my tribe

Dear You,

This letter has been in my heart for a long time. If I’m being completely honest, all the other letters I’ve written lately have been done in procrastination of this one. This one is harder because I’m writing as me, as the me who really doesn’t know how everything is going to work out. The me with the shaky faith. The me who comes home and sits on her bed with the door shut for hours because she can’t take any more people that day. The me who hasn’t been there for you in over a year.

It’s not unusual that several weeks, if not months pass in between our hangouts or talking. Those weeks are filled with the flip flop of unanswered texts and “we really need to get together’s” but without any real commitment on my part. When we finally do get together I see my answer of “I’m really busy” doesn’t quite sit well with you because, well, you are too.  But it’s really hard to say, “yeah, I know it’s been forever. I’m sorry I’ve cancelled plans a million times and flat out didn’t show up several more. I promise I’m not this shitty of a friend normally, I just have anxiety, and I’m struggling to learn this new normal while trying to find ways to get rid of it completely.”

Over the last year I’ve been experiencing a sudden onslaught of panic attacks and near constant anxiety. I’ve felt like a stranger in my own head and I wish this new me would go back to wherever she came from. I’ve missed out on so much and have grown distant from so many of you. I miss getting coffee and playing volleyball, and doing daily life with you. I miss rollerblading and discussing life, sitting around bonfires having good conversations, and driving around in the wide open Jeep just because we can. I miss celebrating you. I miss being there for you. But the time I’ve spent tucked away in the quiet of my room has been in an effort to come back. I’ve tried so many things, and the things that have proven to give me relief I’ve allowed to fill my time and be okay with being away.  

In earlier drafts of this letter, this is the part where I apologize for my absence and promise to do better, but I’m not going to. I've changed it because I can’t apologize to you for fighting to get my life back and I don’t want to make another promise I can’t keep. Instead, I want to say thank you. Thank you for always welcoming me back with open arms and a big smile on your face when I’m able to show up. Thank you for not forgetting about me and reaching out when you can. Thank you for accepting my answer of busyness and not pressing, but knowing I’ll tell you the truth at some point. Thank you for not being upset that it’s taken me a full year to tell you these things even if you don't understand it at all. Thank you for continuing to invite me to celebrate your joy and celebrating mine with me, too. Thank you for allowing me the time and the space I need to figure everything out.

But most importantly, thank you for staying. The way you’ve stayed proves my most painful anxious thoughts wrong. You continue to knock on the door even when you know the deadbolt won’t move. I appreciate you, and am so incredibly blessed Jesus built a tribe like you to surround me. You are a gift both collectively and individually. I am excited to see the other side of this battle and fall back into step with you.

But until then, thank you.

Love, Jordan