"What exactly do I want?" Revisited

Just about one year ago, I posted a rant to my website talking about my personal struggles about the world I was living in up until that point.

There's a lot that I vented about, how I saw the internet, how I saw my interests and hobbies evolving and building up, distancing myself from my technology, etc, etc. There's also a bit of talk about how I was fed up that I still was in doubt and still trying to find myself, hence the title of the rant.

Since then, a lot has happened in my life, as well as a lot of changes in my personality, and in general how I see the world. I would like to think that I am in a better state of mind as opposed to then, so reading back on this rant is quite hard. I've even deleted it from my website as a whole because of how stupid I thought it had sounded a year later. It's good to self reflect, I suppose, so instead of hiding away from reading it, I might as well write up a bit of one year reflection/update on this rant.

What really was "sentiment"?

"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."

In May '22, I was planning on writing up this journal talking my view of the 21st century, and how we've lost the idea of sentiment. That was pretty much it! I brought it up in the rant and made my description of it sound a bit run-on, but in reality, it was going to be a weird little journal/rant talking about something that I had began to hyperfixate on. To explain this further --

At the beginning of college, I had began to hyperfixate on how I fit in in the early 2020s. There was a moment of my life where I was very fed up with smartphones, social media, whatever people my age were using, and sought to un-associate myself with that lifestyle. I then proceeded to delete as many old social media accounts as possible, deleted nearly every app on my phone, and didn't even begin to answer texts and calls on time. I stuck to myself, stayed quiet, and never really interacted with people too much. There was a conflict to this lifestyle, however -- the fact that I wanted to join my college's radio station.

One thing to know about current-day college radio is just how inherently social it is. It's just one of the many student organizations that populate colleges, which themselves are inherently social, but college radio provides a certain type of powerful outreach that other student organizations cannot lift themselves up to.

Now, imagine me -- an outgoing at first, but still socially withdrawn guy that you cannot seem to find anywhere online. Whether I liked it or not, if I wanted to actually join and retain a membership within college radio, I would have to change my lifestyle a bit. Despite my bitter rants about withdrawing myself away from the 'modern tech that people my age are using', keeping up such a mindset wouldn't be too beneficial for me in the long-run.

The year following this rant, I very gradually began to care less and less about these thoughts that I once held, and just unconsciously began to socially open myself up more. I started showing up to more events, gigs, and overall tried to make my presence seem less 'withdrawn'. Once I got voted into chief engineer, an administrative role within the radio station, I was essentially one of the the guys that everyone in the station knew. Tech issues? consult me. Upgrades? I'm the man. In-studios? better go email the bands. Everything was social, talking with people, being a present human being. And with that, I began to focus less on my stupid little grievances about tech, my former disconnect, and me thinking about society. I've pretty much just stopped caring, and just began to live my life.

Neocities & the Internet

"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."

I won't necessarily deny my upbringing and how the internet affected it, but saying that I was "positively accepting what was around me" is just an unusual and wrong way that I put how I saw it around me.

Perhaps I should've set something along the lines of just being content, and for the parts of the internet that I went to provided more-or-less an outlet for existing in this world. The aformentioned 'internet communities' that I mentioned were some of the Discord servers that I had joined when I was younger, and stayed active on for about three years, up until writing that rant. There is a specific one that I was kind of hinting at, but I won't mention it here for privacy reasons. To summarize it, I practically spent three years of my life constantly messaging on this Discord server.

Pretty much from the first day, to the last, I sent about somewhere between 100 to 500 messages a day, and with that, I quickly became one of the more well-known figures in this community. This was at a point on my life where my social life was something I had abandoned, since my social environment wasn't what I would call friendly, and I would use this Discord server as a little retreat for me to hide from the social problems I had faced in the past. On the internet, you can form a completely different identity for yourself, and I took advantage of that. People saw me as level headed, goofy, and for some reason way older than they actually thought. For some reason, I had chosen to use my real first name as my username, so I guess I had two identities at the same time -- one of which was my real identity, my socially withdrawn one, and my Discord one, my more social, I guess 'different' identity.

At around the time of writing the rant, I had just left that Discord server. I made it seem far more dramatic in the rant, but in reality, I just wanted to move on from it. It was a figment of my social life for three years, and at that very moment, I was just joining a huge social environment and student organization, and I was aware that my social life was just about to change drastically. Lots of the people I knew on that Discord server, I was pretty much having the same conversations with them every day for months and months, and I suppose I just wanted to distance myself from that, having been tired of it.

That's not really to say that I regret my time on Discord. I've met some great people that I still talk to to this day, people that I would genuinely consider my friends. After I left the Discord server, I decided to bring some people I wanted to keep in touch with to my personal server, which was just this group chat with 20 or so people in it, usually only 5 people in it that were active. A year later, I would say I'm more seldom active, occasionally dropping in here and there to say something stupid or to say hi, but I still have it just because.

I suppose I was a slightly bitter and less level-headed person a year ago, because I can't really recall why I resented my time on Discord so much. I mean, I do feel maybe embarrased as to the dumb stuff I said, and maybe I do regret being on Discord constantly, but I just see it mostly as a chapter in my social life.

Haste, Distaste, and Myself

"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."

Around Fall of '22, I started changing drastically what I consume. I began getting really into fashion and my appearance, caring drastically about what I wear. I pretty much only wore Converse, huge button down shirts, loose fit jeans, kept my hair up a certain way, etc., etc. I started collecting music, and gave up my Spotify account in a proactive attempt to "protest" against the streaming service. I even started using an iPod.

I bring this up because this was mentioned in the rant, I guess to sort of set me apart from the rest of everyone making these types of rants on Neocities. Something like, "Oh, YOU say the same things that I do, but I'm actually a different person!" I'm not one to largely talk about my interests or personality on my website, so I find reading this to be a little hard to do. I also think I brought it up because during that time I lived as a different person my whole life, and at that point, I was changing drastically. It was a gradual yet quick change that happened over the Summer of '22. I wanted to tell someone, whether it'd be the entire world or a brick wall, that I am not the same person as I was.

The Rose-Tinted Telescope

"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."

The rose-tinted telescope is an analogy I came up with to represent my obsession with the past and how things were, despite being aware that I am likely looking at it through a perspective of someone in the present, not knowing the experiences people felt back then. I made a parallel to how people nowadays see the '50s, 70 years later, how oppresion of minorities and sexism is often not taken to account when people reflect on how the '50s were the "good ol' days". I saw my place on the internet with my tiny website to be a means of me talking to the way the internet used to be, and if I didn't have the website, I'd lose a part of myself.

I guess I still have an admiration of the past, but I've largely given up my lament knowing that the future will just keep moving along, making new "pasts" and pushing me further away from older "pasts". I've taken on a more present perspective, knowing that having an ancient perspective will end up being harmful to my psyche.

"What Exactly 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 no longer dwell on such thoughts, as they can become meaningless.

Seriously though, what's the point? I only cared to fulfill myself. Now I just try to live in the world and be myself without trying to impress myself.


You can read my old rant here. It won't be up for long, probably as long as I keep this up.