You are not a true TikToker if you haven't said "I downloaded this as a joke, but now I'm obsessed." Like many people, I originally downloaded TikTok to simply watch other people's videos. As the reality of quarantine becoming a serious thing started to dawn on me, TikTok became the savior to all my boredom related issues. I started out by posting old videos of mine; travel videos, scare cam videos of my siblings, and of course - food related videos. My first video to go viral was one I took in 2019 at an airport. I was vlogging about how expensive airport snack is when my cousin called my name and asked "Raquel, should I get Naked?"
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As the number of my views started to go up, so did my likes and following. People started liking my other videos, and I felt the need to constantly post content so that my followers would not disappear. My baking videos started to skyrocket, I started to think I could actually become famous. Within a month I had over 300,000 views on my content, and the need to keep my followers entertained turned into an obsession. I was posting three videos a day, always trying to find the latest trends, hashtags and songs, I'm not a dancer so my videos were always food or comedy related.
Although, I soon learned that going viral wasn't as simple as landing on the For You page, your content had to be good. I landed on the For You page plenty of times, the amount of views per video I had attested to that. I spent hours every day trying to come up with things people will find funny, or trying to find recipes worth drooling over. I soon felt as if TikTok consumed my life.
Things then started to take a turn, I think the turning point for me was when I started receiving hate comments on my food videos. I had people commenting rude things like - "that looks good, next time add bleach." Don't get me wrong, the comments didn't upset me. In fact, I enjoyed them because I used them to create funny reaction videos. I replied to that specific comment with a video asking "thanks for the tip, what brand do you recommend?" I also answered each hate comment by saying "I wish you healing and peace." Nothing more, nothing less. Hurt people like to hurt others, and I knew there was no use in getting upset or arguing with someone in that position. Ultimately though, it got exhausting.
After some self-reflection, I decided I had better things to do with my time and deleted the app. I have to say, life is so much better without it. As fun as TikTok is - it can become a drug. You get sucked into the app in a way I can't really describe, I lost countless hours of sleep every night because all I did was scroll through the For You page. My friends were shocked when I told them what I did, each saying I was on the verge of becoming famous (a bit of an exaggeration in my book). I decided I rather not be famous and have some sort of peace of mind over being famous and having to deal with that sort of toxicity.
After going through all those motions I realized how hard celebrities' have it. I'm not talking about their net worth being in the millions, I'm talking about their emotional and mental health - which ultimately is worth more than money. Personally, I rather not be rich and be happy, than be rich and be surrounded by all sorts of toxic things and people. Although social media has its benefits, taking a step back from it can do wonders for you. That doesn't necessarily mean you should delete all your platforms after reading this, but I do hope you consider taking a break here and there. Take care of your mind and body, find some inner peace, you deserve it.