enjoy the silence

The controversial Tik Tok, if you’ve never been, is a place where short videos are entertaining and educational. Some entire videos are 15 seconds, some last 3 minutes. I learned so much in my year + on the app. Soon after arriving, I started to post my own videos. I organically grew a little following of about 6500-ish people.

My content was based on things I found absurd, such as inconsistencies in masking policies during the height of the pandemic, and that ridiculous person who scans the items in your cart at the Sam’s Club exit. I also tried to include positive content, because there is just so much negativity on the internet.

People – nameless, faceless strangers felt comfortable slinging insults my way when they disagreed with my stances. The comments did not hurt, but they did open my eyes to the sad state of humanity. Too many anonymous people feel entitled to try and shred a person who isn’t hiding their persona, with insults and unkind combinations of words, in order to leave a real zinger.

A lot of Tik Tok thrives on that festering negativity. Many creators on the app spend hours trying to refute trolls and dish out even more cleverly created insults.

Besides that, I learned a lot. I picked up several recipes and cleaning methods. I didn’t waste my time watching people dance (except for two dude ballet dancers who used their dance and experiences in creative ways.) I felt comforted hearing stories of people with similar experiences. I rejoiced in feminist perspectives and attitudes.

About a month ago I gave it up. Deleted my account. Said good-bye to my little following, and put away my ring light and microphone. Besides the thought that the app developers in China might be using our data for malicious intent, I just didn’t want to passively spend my time allowing people to entertain me. I became bored with the concept of scrolling until I found something that piqued my interest.

Social media in general, and the concept of scrolling puts out a lot of data, that I didn’t want to have to process anymore. Is my mind still sponge-esque at midlife? Or is it starting to dry out? Because I found the whole concept to be overwhelming and somewhat stale. I wanted to force myself to get up more often and find something to do that satisfied me and my creative interests or domestic requirements. Now, I seek content on topics I’m interested in by doing a search. Or I watch a show that I choose. It’s not just all falling into my lap and weighing me down with the need to then process and filter the influx of content.

My screen time analytics have dropped. Which was certainly a goal in banning Tik Tok from my life. It was fun, it served a purpose, and then I outgrew it. We’re allowed to do that. Our opinions of things are allowed to change as we realize they no longer serve us. The goal of using crutches is to allow healing, so that we no longer need to rely on them, no?

So I healed from the pandemic-created void, and no longer needed to find connection with strangers during a terrifying time. And I certainly didn’t need to read about how my glasses indicated that I was progressive before I ever opened my mouth, and that that was somehow an evil thing. I’ve worked on puzzles, writing, reading, and my own hobbies more. And I feel more rewarded and satisfied. I seek information when I have the energy for it, otherwise, I live in peace trying to manage my own life, and not worrying about all that is happening in parts unknown.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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