It’s strange, I think, how change brings about nostalgia and introspection. You’re moving forward, and your life is about to be brand new, and yet you can’t help but to look backwards. Dragged along with the undertow, but the desire to remain lingers at the back of your mind… It’s been 13 years of this now. All the life that I can remember has been spent in this system. My days were regimented, my worth was reduced and evaluated time and again, and yet here I am, coming to its close. It should thrill me, I know, and it does… but that urge to glance back before looking forward remains.
We’re all afraid of the unknown, each in our own ways. There’s the life we wish to lead- the person of our dreams sauntering off into sunsets, the protagonist of this universe we can be so sure we’re the centre of- and then there’s reality. There’s the world where you are not so suave as you would imagine, where you fail to find the right words, where you fail to find your courage, where you fail to be who you think you ought to be. Where you loathe the things you love about yourself, and you love the things you most despise. Where you can realize you’re too self-aggrandized in your mind, and that no one has ever really been paying you mind enough to care, where you know all your little failures mean nothing and yet they still haunt you. Those passing faux pas and those moments of insecurities that weigh upon you more than you know they fleet through time. That, I think, is my biggest fear moving forward. Of all the things I've been taught in school, how to escape introversion was not one of those. That’s the most insidious thing. For all the compulsory waste of time it has been,- taking years of my life, and hours a day every weekday just to do busy work and worksheets and memorizing facts and figures just long enough for exams which I’ll never again have use for- for all the bullshit that all these years have proclaimed to prepare me for, how to actually go about being human is something that no one ever considered sharing.… it’s made me passive in my interactions. You take for granted the fact that you’re trapped with one another. You've been locked in an institution and forced to interact in order to pass. You forge these bonds under the same stresses. Outside of that is a world which could not care less who you are, nor take the time to notice your face in passing. Outside of that is a world of people who have no reason to speak to you, and given the chance wouldn't ever elect to. And in your own desiring mind, you have that reverie of meeting someone fantastic out in the public eye, striking up a conversation, and being happy. Finding companionship. And yet, when would that ever really happen? Something so bourgeois is hardly the commonplace of an outsider. The voyeurism of existing outside of one’s own self in such a way, as a shadow haunting at the edges of their world… is something I would wish on no one.
Perhaps it is just my youthful naiveté showing to think it should not be so difficult. Maybe I've built myself this little box of isolation on my own. The people I smile at in passing in the halls probably have no opinion of me. Those intriguing individuals who enchant from afar would probably be politely considerate were I to approach and make introductions. The acquaintances I've shared all these years leading up to graduation are probably ambivalent of me and as equally blasé. And yet here am I, the one whose own insecurities have me writing casual texts and messages that I hesitate for minutes to send and eventually never do; the one who looks on from afar at beautiful people and ‘knows’ myself unworthy; the one who can count the number of people who I feel I could actually talk to on a single hand. Not that it’s ever much worth the effort, mind you. Always having to be the one to strike up the conversation, never the one people just want to talk to of their own volition. There when needed, but just as easily forgotten. I'm a background character, I think, even in my own life. Existing and watching others actually live. Self-indulgent only to the extent of introspective pieces like this, more than likely doomed to never be published or shared. It’s probably greedy to want someone to share constant affection with… but the heart chooses for itself the finest poison.
I don’t know how much of this trouble is self-created of internal doubts, and how much of it is real, though I would hazard a guess that the truth lies somewhere in between, but crucially that my mind is, as always, my own worst enemy. Not that I'm trying to suggest that such a thing is not without weight, or not without merit as strife enough. To escape the snare of one’s own mind - to unlearn who you are- is the most difficult thing.
Everything is about to change, though. Our time is running out, and soon this institutionalization will have run its course. That freedom is a sweet poison. To remove even the false hope of opportunity, and that mandated interaction… pulling away what crutch there may have been. Then again, what little might change may be worth the end of the tedium… I don’t even know any more. I've long since lost sight of what is real. I've been going through the motions without the Emotions, and I've grown exhausted and numb.
My name is Jeffrey Hepburn, and I'm a young writer, graphic design artist, and aspiring filmmaker.