I have always felt I lived on a detached and drifting island, riding a current that had no regard for the usual checkpoints in life, leaving friends behind as they rejoiced in their sunbathed localities, as I continued northbound into the overcast of solitary life.
After being socially apt – while simultaneously alienated – in the conclave of my high school experience, I was college bound and ready to discover a new world, driven by the promise of finding some of my own kind for the first time.
Upon my arrival to my first (of three) institutions, (to my own surprise) I crept out from behind the thick flora of my island to make contact with those within its vicinity – only to be turned away by cyclical-routine-dialogue about the typical frivolous superficialities of college life.
I did eventually come to encounter a few individuals who I began to see my reflection in, nurturing the utopist vision that was first planted the day of graduation. Then, fate dealt its first blow. First, one withdrew due to psychological issues. Soon after, the second withdrew due to psychological issues. Now with two of my fellow tribes-people stripped away from my substantive but delicate social fabric, and another being a commuter, I felt my small plot of land in this new world suddenly receding, returning me to the (self-imposed) fetters of my island-prison. This ephemeral experience made me feel the depth of my newfound but all-too-familiar isolation – Nobody’s heavy hand resting on my shoulder, reminding me of its presence.
After eventually leaving this barren landscape, I sought out fiction writing in an unconscious attempt to emulate David Foster Wallace as Jonathan captures him in his New Yorker article, “Farther Away”: “To the extent that each of us is stranded on his or her own existential island…we gratefully seized on each new dispatch from that farthest-away island which was David.” And while aspiring to send my radio waves out into the horizon, I also discovered another world – the one inside my head. As would follow, I became interested in what was in other people’s heads, opening up the dimension of literature, and suddenly finding myself being transported into these populous and rich worlds without taking a (physical) step off my ever-drifting island.
I sooner-than-later returned to school (number two), now commuting in and out of New York City, as well as working. Despite the new-found time constraints, I decided to act against my social inhibitions, making a concerted effort to reach out to those who revealed themselves to be interesting individuals. Where this was a success in the practice of making connections, the maintenance evaporated after an apparent disinterest on their part.
Where my social condition persisted, my second and last semester at institution-two gave me the opportunity to study the likes of film, literature, and philosophy, allowing me to exponentially broaden my internal borders and populate my island with transient masses of peoples and ideas. Circumstances have now led me here, riding this wave of external isolation and populous interior – continuing with the pursuit of said studies. Yet, in this first contribution to the Oswegonian, I attempt to synthesize my inner and outer worlds with the hope that these waves reverberate out to my fellow introverts – maybe even having a few wash ashore on this remote, existential island. If not, so be it; for as the Merriam-Webster dictionary states, introversion is “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life” – and at the moment it’s pretty full.