Important life update: my resistance to TikTok has crumbled.

Initially I assumed it was a whole lot like Snapchat, which is the one and only app I think I’ve ever opened, stared at with great confusion and mounting concern, then closed forever having decided that I was simply too old to understand its function and appeal. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember what was so baffling about Snapchat but it was an immediate full-bodied no, kind of like the first time you try boba tea and a tapioca pearl aggressively hits the back of your throat. Like … unexpected things are happening and is this thing going to somehow kill me?

Then I tried it a few times but the experience felt chaotic. You open TikTok as a newbie and the video is already rolling and it’s like your phone becomes a vertical portal into a mystifying dimension where everyone has a background in professional dance.

I decided I was not just uninterested in TikTok, I was actively against it. I didn’t like how Instagram was getting inundated with Reels, which I assumed were exactly like TikToks, and if I didn’t like Reels what was the point of deliberately seeking out yet another time-sucking social platform filled with more of the same?

Here’s what eventually got me to give the app another chance: my workplace asked us to watch 15 minutes of TikToks per day.

(For context, I work for an influencer marketing agency. We do campaigns across all the big social platforms, and more and more brand clients are getting pretty damn interested in figuring out TikTok.)

I was honestly grumpy about this at first — 15 whole minutes!! — but in retrospect, I suspect this was because I was a little afraid that I just wouldn’t be able to make sense of it.

That was several months ago, and I think it’s safe to say I am fully on board at this point. I don’t create TikToks, because I am an ancient crumbling pile of Infinity-war dust with no special talents or capacity to entertain via multimedia, but I happily consume them every day.

I don’t understand the point of being social on the app if you’re not a creator, so I don’t accept follow requests and I only follow people if I want to see their content. I have this maybe-misconception that if I connect with people the algorithm will factor that into my recommendations, and I don’t want to mess with that because I currently feel like TikTok really gets me.

That’s probably the biggest difference with TikTok, at least in my experience: there’s this almost-spooky sense of being seen and understood by the platform. Instagram’s like, Look I know you want to see your friends’ posts but how about this dumb keto hacks Reel? You like keto hacks don’t you fatty???? Whereas TikTok somehow knows my fucking SOUL.

I’m pretty sure this is the first TikTok that truly converted me. I have never IT ME’d so goddamned hard, I can’t explain why this little skit makes me feel better about myself and less alone in the universe but it DOES.

TikTok knows that I have major phone anxiety, crippling social anxiety, regular anxiety, and depression that manifests as a reluctance to do things or connect with people but not a desire to stay in bed all day. It knows that I’m a recovering addict but I enjoy funny cannabis-related content. It knows that I am here for nearly all good animal posts with a particular fondness for people who live on actual farms of poorly-behaved rescue animals. It has correctly pegged me as a person who is largely disappointed in men but not yet ready to give up on them completely, as well as a person who will watch a certain kind of evocative food post without any sort of intent to ever attempt the recipe. It has seen my inability to relate to thin bodies or conventional plus-size bodies and is the one and only platform to deliver “mid-size” fashion content to me, insane bonus points for somehow realizing that what I really want are bodies that are collapsing gravitationally and so I am also seeing posts from creators who are my size after having lost a lot of weight.

I don’t know how TikTok has essentially mapped my entire human genome and I don’t particularly care, except of course for the distant dystopian bell-toll of it all. All I know is that I’m here for it, belatedly but enthusiastically.

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My aging cat and I both take thyroid medication now, except hers is supposed to slow her thyroid down while mine is supposed to goose mine into action. Probably that’s not a hugely accurate description of how they work but you get the idea: my thyroid is apparently kinda sluggish and needs a swift kick in the rear, while hers is stuck in overdrive.

My own thyroid medication is a teeny little pill that I’m supposed to remember to take a full 30-60 minutes before I drink coffee in the morning. In theory this doesn’t seem a major logistics issue: I wake up early to pee every single day of my blessed life, and I leave the pills in a little bowl on my nightstand. You’d think it would be quite easy to remember to take one when I go back to bed, and YET.

Meanwhile, Callie’s medication is a transdermal deal that comes in a little clicky pen. The pen disperses a dose of medication that looks sort of like a blorp of sunscreen, which I must then apply to the inside of her ear twice a day.

The INSIDE of her EAR, yes. This is what I chose in lieu of giving her a pill, because we already have to periodically give her pills for flea medication and that is a Whole Entire Thing. So twice a day I’m coming at her with this weird wet willie action (she tolerates it but her face is always like I DO NOT CONSENT) and I’m always wondering if my brief skin contact with her meds is undoing the effects of my own tiny pill.

I paid the hojillion trillion bajillion dollars to have her blood re-tested again recently and the vet called to tell me that her thyroid numbers looked a little better but not much. She wanted to know if I felt like she was getting the full dose each time, and it’s just like, dude, I have no idea. I’m doing my best to shmear the ear but there’s no definitive method of verifying success. If I had to run a QA department on cat-ear dosing I’d have a hell of a time establishing the benchmarks, you feel me?

She’s too skinny, I feel too heavy. Both of us have fur that has seen better days. Probably we could each benefit from a better medication regimen. But what can I say, we are muddling along the best we can.

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