When “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” Meets the 21st Century

TikTok. Two tiny words (or is it one medium word?) that represent the biggest time waster in my life right now. When I don’t want to clean the house or cook the food? TikTok. When I am waiting at school pick up? TikTok. When I can’t sleep? TikTok. TikTok is there for me 24/7. When I am down, TikTok always makes me laugh,. Sometimes I think TikTok is the best friend I’ve ever had.

I fall down an endless TikTok hole at least once a week. My sister told me that there were people who will pop into your TikTok feed and tell you that you have been on the app too long and it is time to find something else to do. I thought she was joking. Until it happened to me. Because I have PTSD-level anxiety from my childhood about behaving and staying in line, I try to get off TikTok before I get scolded by one of those random people. I can’t handle being caught. It brings up too much shame and remnants of Catholic guilt.

Recently, though. I’ve started a new game with myself. I’m becoming a TikTok risk taker. I’ll be on for like an hour, watching funny dogs running around while a sound clip from The Office is playing a bit about parkour, and in the back of my mind I start wondering if I am about to be called out. But then I decide to push my luck. This is how I live on the edge these days. I flip up one more time. Certainly the next video won’t be the one. Maybe I’ll watch another four, five, or even six videos, tempting fate. Sometimes I see how long I can go before one of those videos comes on to tell me to get a life. Most times I get tired of videos before that person appears, but it’s fun to see what will happen first: will my stamina give out or will I get chastised?

So, yeah. This is my life now. This is what a year and a half in relative social isolation has done to me. I hope we put Covid-19 to bed soon. Otherwise, I don’t know what stage of mental decline I will be in next year at this time. For now, I will try to believe that maybe my TikTok time isn’t anything to worry about. We all need an escape from the insanity we are currently living through. I’m trying not to drink too much or to rely on THC to check out, and at least TikTok can’t nip at my liver or destroy brain cells. At least, I don’t think it does. Maybe it is a fair, if childish, pointless, and mindless, escape. But, if I ever send you a video of me performing one of those TikTok dances, please take my phone. I have to draw the line somewhere.

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