Stranger Things (CJ #2)

What started out as a project intended to explore the minds of others has drastically shifted to a project about my own anxieties and fears. When trying to find an audience who would read and appreciate my capstone project (besides my lovely classmates who will be forced to read it), I was stuck.

For those who are unfamiliar, my project started with a curiosity for a made up word. Sonder can now be found in the Dictionary of Obscure Words, and can be defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid & complex as your own.” This word has been stuck in my mind for years now, and I suppose I have romanticized it over time. The harsh reality struck that others don’t think the same way about the concept of sonder as I do. Some people think “of course people have their own sh*t going on.” But for me, I’ve realized my affinity for this word is derived from my anxiety of comparing myself to others. With just two months until doomsday (otherwise known as graduation), the countless possibilities my future holds bears a weight on me. As my peers begin to sign contracts, I am forced to consider the likely chance I won’t have a job after college. And that’s probably because I don’t exactly know what I want to do yet. So that’s why I like the idea of sonder. I’m so curious about how others know what they want to do. When I overhear conversations in the street I can’t help but wonder who the people are and what it is they want to do. And how they figured it out. So, I guess my challenge was not only realizing the route of my project, but also trying to find an audience. My audience is people like me. People who are on the brink of a life change and don’t exactly know how to cope. People who feel lost, and look to others for certainty but instead find more confusion. At the same time I’m an optimist, so my project is also about how strangers can impact our own perception of ourselves. How one person can say something to us and it completely spirals and changes what we do.

One thought to “Stranger Things (CJ #2)”

  1. Hi Blair,

    I am so excited to be “forced” to read your Capstone project! I think your idea is very unique, in particular that you have been developing your understanding of sonder for a long time. I definitely don’t think that is wrong that you may have romanticized it, and I appreciate the way you parse why you have seen it this way compared to everyone else. I am especially curious how you will differentiate between the sentiment behind “of course everyone has their own problems” (which to me appears to be a perfunctory response that still positions the speaker as having a more vivid life) and a much larger observation of the complexity of many individual and intersecting lives. Sorry that was a long sentence!

    I definitely contemplate how I compare to others in a similar way as you. For me, it feels like everyone has so much energy and certainty (in contrast to my chronic fatigue and uncertain future because of it). I think the way you are developing your idea is helping you to broaden your audience, but simultaneously constrict it to those who really matter–those who are willing to take the time to reflect inwards and outwards.

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