I was requested to write a post about isolation and how it makes my mind change and feel. So here, my friends, is my probably less than mediocre attempt (the fault of my insufferable writing skills) at fulfilling said request.
I’ve been an introvert since before therapists started calling me one.
I’ve been an introvert since before I knew how to spell my name (and I learned a lot of words before I could finish memorizing a french last name that I later learned doesn’t belong to my bloodline).
I’ve been an introvert since before I knew that I had legs and when I discovered them, I’m sure I was more than pleased–yet, still introverted, so they didn’t get used outside much. I wonder how they feel about that.
There are days I feel it is my calling to be as such, that Locke’s idea of being born with a “Tabula Rasa” (blank slate) in terms of personality, in terms of possibilities, emotions, and other advantages (or disadvantages depending on how full your cup is) is just a load of horse shit. I was an introvert in the womb. I was an introvert when half of me was in an egg and the other half in a sperm.
My point (finally)?
Isolation is my closest friend. It came at me from both sides: it forced itself upon me as a result of my severe social anxiety that eventually resulted in agoraphobia, and it gently caressed my skin as a result of my complete and utter personal choice to be alone with myself.
There are times when it is tough. Where are times when I’m lying on the floor bleeding from a self-inflicted wound or banging my head against the wall, or ready to leap from a cliff because I just can’t handle the floods of thoughts in my head, and I have no one to lie on the floor with me.
Even when I make an attempt to reach out, I struggle in describing my experience because I’ve never been fully open with anyone but myself. There’s a disadvantage: I’ve so utterly disconnected with the idea of “sharing emotionally” that I’m not even sure I could define it properly. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the option of speaking with people who share my experiences and thoughts, or perhaps it’s because I am essentially socially inept and wouldn’t possibly know where to start to go about finding these kind of people.
School days were plagued with feeling inadequate matched up to my socially successful classmates, and being mixed race in a school of mostly Caucasian and Hispanic students didn’t go over well–I didn’t act or talk “white” and everyone I came in contact thought I was Hispanic, including the teachers who would give me papers in Spanish without asking. There we’rent enough African American students to even form a group, so that wasn’t an option either.
Race, social anxiety, and my own need to be in my head kept me isolated.
The students in the advanced classes I took were Caucasian and talked all the time about their trips to Greece and Spain over the summer. So socioeconomic status played a part as well.
I skipped a lot of high school. It’s a waste of time anyway, at least in America.
Oh uh, bold statement, I might have just lost a reader or two.
But it’s not all bad. For some reason a transition from a sheltered “kid” of 17 who was still legally unable to do anything really significant to an 18 year old “adult” signaled a time in my life where I realized how valuable my isolation is to me.
It leaves me a spot in my head where I am absolutely and utterly safe. There is no noise, no distraction, just the ocean of my own thoughts crashing on shore. Sometimes they roar and move swift in a storm, other times they creep onto the sand and only slightly lick the tip of my toes. But no matter their temperament, isolation has allowed me to feel them completely and wholly, with myself, by myself.
I wasn’t subjected to peer pressure. I was on the inside of myself looking out, observing, patterns of typical teenaged behavior and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t care to move with the crowd: did I need them to live? I didn’t care to go to the mall and get the latest fashion trend: who am I giving my money to when I buy this shirt? I didn’t care if I looked like a loner: I mind my business, they mind theirs. Simple.
The one friend I did have got sucked up into peer pressure; it became a need for her to do as they did; she absorbed anyone’s personality if she stood near them, and took on their attitude, mannerisms, and imitated their actions.
She did it to me multiple times when we were alone together. In a group, if I wasn’t the dominant vocal member, she would find who was and suck up to them.
This has resulted in her forcing herself to lose her virginity before we turned 18 (we’re both 21 now) just to say she did it, it’s resulted in her hanging out with 15 year olds at the age of 21 because the majority of people we have gone to high school with have alright jobs, party only occasionally, and grew up a bit. It’s resulted in her crashing a 12 thousand dollar car her grandparents gifted her within a month of her receiving it, only to get in another car crash a month later, a 1000 dollar ticket, and now a warrant for her arrest as a result of the unpaid fine.
She lives her life for the approval of other people; she has yet to find herself.
I was lucky. I knew myself before I knew knowing myself was a thing to be had. Who did I have to impress but myself? Who did I have to look up to but myself? Who did I have to listen to but myself?
While it results in me feeling overwhelmingly alone at times, while it results in me feeling jealous of those who can socialize, those who have friends to leave the house with every Friday night, while it results in me feeling like a freak compared to the social normality of my boyfriend, while it results in my feeling inadequate on many levels, it also results in me having a connection with myself I don’t think many 21 year olds have.
Isolation has ruined my life.
And it’s given it so many gifts.
I wish I could say more on how it changes things, but I have no personal experience with going from “not isolated” to “isolated”. So perhaps that makes my view biased.
While there are times I need a friend or some human contact, I don’t fish for it. I don’t need it to live or breathe or eat or even enjoy myself.
I enjoy making people laugh. I even would go so far as saying I enjoy entertaining, whether it be writing, videos, or just general group humor. But after all that is said and done, after I let the anxiety settle in my system, there’s nothing greater I appreciate than a good solid week in my room with minimal contact, and the title of a vampire.
In many ways I feel isolation is just a bitter sweet result of my many mental health quirks that have freed me from the disadvantages of sanity.