✏️ A Beginner’s Guide to Isolation: A Biography

Congratulations! If you're reading this, it means you've chosen to embark upon the wonderfully lonely road of constant introspection and assured un-relatability. This tested 4-step plan is guaranteed to produce the isolated life you've always dreamed of.

PREFACE

The first and greatest danger on your path to isolation is friendship. Especially during the crucial stages of your early development, you’ll need a foolproof way to keep all of your relationships pleasantly superficial; this will lay the groundwork for all your angst and intellectual elitism that is soon to follow. The most fail safe way to do this is to have a military father whose job requires your family to move every few years. To be safe, I also recommend his backup job be an airline pilot which requires an equal or greater amount of recurring uprooting.

 

STEP 1: Welcome to the World and Homeschool Co-op’s

Now you may always be moving, but there’s still no guarantee that you won’t be a moderately interesting person. In this case, it’s imperative that your mother raises you autistic—I mean, homeschooled. This will ensure that you grow up around Christian fundamentalists, sticky psychopathic children, and a perplexing lack of empathy for your scene phase. Retract into your head; this must become routine for you. Your skateboard and flame-y black beanie will be foreign to the other church kids—disorient them but do not fully scare them. Remain fairly amiable, but do not refuse the opportunity to beat the shit out the pastor’s kid for constantly bullying your friends (Justin Pitts is a jerk off and will have it coming anyway). This reaction will seem perfectly sensible to you, but will only sabotage anyone else's attempt to understand you. Do not fight this—the perceived complications of your personality are crucial on your journey to isolation.

 

STEP 2: The Delicate Seedling of Angst

By now you’re about 12. Luckily for you (and your avoidance of friendships), you’re built like an anorexic crane and insist on having hair down to the middle of your back. Develop a deep and indefinable sense of violent apathy, but, because of your pampered life, have nothing to point it at. This is precisely when you must discover the liberatingly beautiful sounds of My Chemical Romance. These guys get it. They get you. Despite your parent’s disapproval, continue to listen to them, tortured by your conscious as you routinely waste iTunes gift cards on bands that “seem satanic”. As your awkward phase slowly wanes, follow your older brother balls-deep into the trap that is hyper-charismatic-christian youth groups. While most of the kids will deeply believe in the lifestyle, proceed as little more than a cathartic release for your newly-emo soul. Feel smarter than everyone because of this. Fall in love with the other most cynical person in the youth group and be overwhelmed that she liked your ever-unsubtly straightened hair. Join a travel soccer team and have tons of fun with it. At this point you will be dangerously happy and connected to others. Allow your house to burn down and move to another part of Florida.

 

STEP 3: The Illusion of Cool

Especially after moving in the middle of high school, you’ve every necessary precaution to ensure your being outsider. However, you must never grow comfortable with this state. False hope is what solidifies your isolation, so you’ll need to join a number of extracurricular activities to keep new relationships at a constant arms distance. Soccer, theater, swing dancing, art clubs—any and all of these will do. Be suspiciously good them all. Be known by many and generally agreeable. As soon as people seem to understand you, release 10 live chickens into the local high school’s cafeteria. To you, this is hilarious and the most obviously logical thing to do when you’re bored. However, in pairing with your otherwise well-behaved persona, others will perceive you as an enigma. 

Now it’s time for the cherry on top the cryptic-social-reputation-cake that is your personality: start a band. This band will be a genuinely good way to express your emotions and hopefully make you a little more like Gerard Way. But since most of your friends are from church, they’ll call you a worship band and never actually listen to your lyrics. You’re a real musician, dammit. Heck, I doubt Chris Tomlin has even heard of an Adim7 chord that you definitely used in a song once. But that’s okay, high school is almost over and you just got accepted to music school where you’ll be able to explore your newly found passion and finally meet friends who understand you!

 

STEP 4: Go to Art School Instead

Welcome to art school. There are about 60% more furrys and about 34% more vegans than you had anticipated. Fall in love with one of the later. Get broken up with. Manifest your frustration into an obsession with philosophy—Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, read them all simply for the intellectual edge. If you can’t be happy, you might as well be smart; after all, you're 20 and that's the mature way to handle things. Keep reading philosophy, even after it's served its therapy. Being the only person who cares about things like post-structuralism can only help the whole not-making-friends thing. Funnel any other stray frustrations into a hobby that is deeply meaningful and twice as easily misinterpreted. For example, love anime for legitimately objective reasons but live in constant fear of your friends making hentai jokes. Then dress up as your favorite anime character for Halloween and tell all your friends that it’s ironic. It’s not; tonight you are Sasuke Uchiha and you’ve never felt so alive. Since it’s college, you’ll also start going to parties. Drink everyone's least favorite drink—straight bourbon. Drink only drink enough to fake being an extrovert and pretend to enjoy trivial conversations. Sustain this easy-going personality and fail to reconcile it with that fact that your favorite band is literally called "The World is a Beautiful Place and I'm No Longer Afraid to Die". The duality of one-dimensional-self and vehement-existentialist-self will eventually grow so familiar that you won't even give it a second thought. 

Congratulations! By this point you've have grown so accustomed to your isolation and will have formed some sort of Stockholm-Syndrome for it, which was exactly the goal.