What exactly do I want?

There’s a section on this website that I have desperately been wanting to put into words. I was going to call the webpage “sentiment”. I never ended up publishing it because the subject matter I was writing about had me changing my opinion on it too many times for me to concisely write down something coherent which reflected my beliefs.

It wasn't really a controversial and daunting topic to write about. It was more of a means of venting about my current opinion on everything around me, about the ever-changing world in the 21st century, the media I consume, the media I don't consume, the technology around me, and what it means to connect with people. It wasn't really just about sentiment, it was about everything on my mind I wanted to get out into the world.

By the time I was halfway through writing it, I extensively rewrote the first paragraph, because I thought I was sounding too different to what I was initially conveying. But, upon rewriting that, the entire entry ended up sounding like some drawn-out incomprehensible rant with no flow. When I read it, and really reflect on what was written, I always mentally ask myself, "What exactly do you want?" I've got a lot of weird frustrations. Not really any kinds of serious ones, but just specific ones. It's awfully common to be fed up with things and the way how they are, but when it's out of control, the frustrations kind-of evolve into these ever-changing amalgamations of hyper-fixated beliefs on minute things.

Let's take a retrospective of this website and what exactly it means to me.

Before moving to Neocities, I was a pretty semi-typical Generation Z internet-child that spent half of their childhood in front of bright colors and content on-demand. I was in internet communities, actively participated in internet meme "culture", and played some video games. I was on all kinds of social media. I was active. Constantly active. The internet could give me instant gratification from my actions. I cannot tell if I was really happy in this era, but I was for certain content, but not in the peaceful sense. More-so just positively accepting of what was around me and what I was doing.

When I moved my website to Neocities, my mindset had begun to slowly change. I was beginning to see the internet in a more apathetic mindset. Internet memes weren't funny, content was reproduced, and music was shit. I still stuck around my "beloved" internet communities and my general activity online, since they gave me a means of talking to people through a screen. I was beginning to gradually just get really unsatisfied with the internet and how it was dictating society

Six months later or so, I was now giving up on my activity online. I ghosted myself to the public internet community I was so very active in. It was a Discord server, so people either immediately notice my drop in activity, or carried on not knowing about my presence. I stuck around the private chats, but the public chats were becoming this screeching chalk board of kids likely younger than the required age to join Discord that constantly spammed the most mind-numbing stuff you'd ever witness. I felt a little happy going quiet there, and still being able to stick around the private chats with my friends. Along with this, I slowly began to decrease my activity on social media, and began deleting and privatizing older posts that I made. Activity was going down in general, and it turn, I began to focus on this website a lot more.

Summer of '22 comes, and my social media was now looking like they've been abandoned. I change my usernames, delete all my posts, and start manually unfollowing a lot of people I once knew. I leave many internet communities as a whole, even the ones that were tied to my interests. I was really beginning to get somewhat annoyed with some people I knew on the internet and had an urge to get rid of them from my life.

One of those internet communities was the aforementioned Discord server. Between '19 to '21, I had an incessant attachment to the community. I had given three years of my life to that rather moderately sized community. I made connections, yes, but I was never fulfilling myself anything worthwhile. To be fair, this was an era of my life where I had a limited social life and was ever-so thirsty for any kind of interaction, so my mind was susceptible to this need. Particular moments between those years had me quite literally spending eight hours a day with my back hunched over like an old man sitting at my computer screen speedily typing some stupid one-liner phrases that would get thrown into a sea of fifty users sending their own stupid messages. I think I had gotten to realize that none of this was worthwhile. I never got anything beneficial from being so active that I became a rather recognizable name in the community, because as soon as you leave that desk and walk out into the real world, you were still the same dork that you were before you joined that community.

I was pretty fed up.

Out of a pure need to get something more out of my life, that's when I left all of those online communities and abandoned and deleted all of those social media profiles. I thought that maybe by doing this, I would feel a lot happier about being myself. I would focus on my endeavors without an audience. I'd keep to myself, and try to make connections with real people, not through a screen. I looked back at my childhood and feel a bit fed up that that was how I spent it, and I still am. When parents say that you won't make memories from your childhood in front of a screen, take that for granted. There are certain parts of me growing up, in particular my later years, where I cannot remember a single thing worthwhile that I did.

Heading into Fall '22, I stopped looking at my phone. I stopped browsing the web mindlessly. I tried to focus on my interests a lot more. Because I know that whenever I had an urge to peek around the corner, I would feel an immediate sense of dread. Nothing on the front page of Reddit would make me happy, anything that anyone sent me in a chat, or any piece of internet content that was publicly posted. Only some thing I cared about, but as a whole, it was a generally depressing landscape, and it got more-so like that the more I didn't look. I thought that by refraining from this kind of behavior, I would initially feel a greater sense of happiness in the world around me when I factor in my newfound ignorance.

At first, I did feel like a lot of weights were lifted off of my chest. I could focus on things that mattered to me. By using Neocities a lot more, I could at least make my single mark on the internet something sentimental that could connect with people. It'd be a way to creatively convey myself as an internet user. No bounds, no restrictions. Just me and no one else.

With a newfound urge to now connect with people through a means that mattered to me, I joined my campus's radio station. To be fair, I had wanted to join it for a long time by that point, but now I could with a great drive striving me. Upon joining, I met so many people that I can now safely and highly regard as friends. A whole new sea of people, that despite having a lot of different tastes, all connected by a means that we loved music in our own way, shape, and form. Through that, I could broadcast myself through a means of analog signals, bouncing waves across an atmosphere where it could finally reach someone's car or home radio. I could introduce people to music that I loved, whether it'd be some post-hardcore band that existed a decade before I did, or a alt-rock band that were the talk of their scene in '99. I really dug older music, but nothing classical. Lets put it as... music that existed five years before I was born. I had a weirdly deep personal connection to this kind of music.

I had began to amass collections of physical media and things. CDs were adorning my shelves, and blank CD-Rs were sitting on my desk ready to be burnt. Being a DJ, I preferred using CDs over some streaming service. I also had a car that had a CD player, and my crappy aux couldn't take my iPod in well. I also did give up a lot of streaming in favor of buying music outright and owning it, hence where my iPod comes in. I started taking more photographs, and getting prints of them. I bought more clothes. Cheap thrift store stuff, nothing incredibly daunting in price. I wasn't a part of the wave of people popularizing thrift stores, I kind of went to get specific kinds of jeans and button-up shirts.

I really began to focus on art as a whole. I took up an interest in specific photographers. I never really liked a set-style or genre of photography, I mostly just focused on photos that I liked. With this, I began to look outward to other forms of art in general and took it more seriously. Not even just art, but reading. Journaling. Expressing oneself. A lot of consideration into the mind.

With all of this in mind, you may think that I fulfilled myself in changing my lifestyle to what I wanted, out of my own haste and distaste.

Nevertheless, I still ask myself, "What do I want?"

I still end my days with an ever-present grudge. I still feel unhappy. I still feel a sense of unfulfillment. I'm not living up to my mindset. It's not a sense of feeling hate for myself. I just don't understand it. I think I do? I'll explain further.

I have a strong sense of fondness and admiration for the days before me. The quiet internet, the screaming electron tubes, the cars with radios, the lack of social media. I love those days. I wanted to live them. I think I was unconsciously trying to be living those days in '22. I tried to quiet my life down in a loud, loud world. It's impossible when it feels like it's screaming in the back of your head. I don't even have "FOMO", rather the opposite of it, and yet I still never end up missing out, because the world is so loud that someone's going to tell you what you've missed out on, no matter how much you want to miss out.

I never lived in the days before me, and sometimes I feel the need to shut down my admiration. I look at the past through a rose-tinted telescope. Like the phrase, "rose-tinted shades", you look at something with a ignorantly positive perspective, despite an ever-present negative side to it. Combining that with the object of a telescope, and you get the best way I can describe how I feel like I am looking at the past. When you look at something through a telescope, be it a far-away planet, you can see the minimal details of it, as if you're there (almost), but you're really not. I'm looking at the past from a far away perspective, through a rose-tinted outlook that wants to put things in a way that you prefer and admire about it. You never experienced it. I do say past specifically. I'm not going to say a specific decade or small set of years, because I feel like this notion can apply to everyone with every era from the past. We're all susceptible to the rose-tinted telescope, because we're all human. We like things. We want things to be seen in way we like them to. We like eras, and want to live every bit of our lives in them, despite adversity, and general inexperience. Just look at the '50s as a whole! That was certainly a shitshow of oppression from every minority in America, but we see it the singing and dancing Hollywood-ized black-and-white tiled diner, drinking soda pop with your highschool crew. I don't think I really need to explain this point in detail.

I feel like I need to realize I live in the year 2022. I just need to be content again, and stop trying to seek out a preferred life I cannot and can never acquire. I don't, however, need to put myself back in the internet limelight like how I once used to. I can change the things I can control, but not try to seek out something more from my lifestyle change. It's not like the world changes when I do. To answer my question: what I do want is a preferred way of life that I can try to imagine. A weird pseudo-utopia that can only exist in dreams. One where life is much quieter and more focused on the individual. I need to subside this want, because I know damn well that I can never achieve it.

The one thing I can exempt from this grand emotion I feel is my participation in radio station. That's the one thing in my life right now I feel truly happy about, the one thing I feel like I fulfilled so much with. I'm very glad I connected with people through that place.

I wrote this up in an hour and a half at midnight. Ignore any mistakes, I didn't bother proofreading this and just uploaded it onto the website.

November 24, 2022