TikTok helped me rediscover my true self

I felt slumped. In a muddle.

It was the middle of lockdown in the UK and each day felt like the same old sh*t – wake up, eat, Chloe Ting (if you know you know), eat, Tik Tok, eat, sleep, repeat.

One day, that changed. More specifically, a day when I was in the ultimate slump of 2020: the dreaded 10 day isolation period.

I’d tested positive for Covid-19, and filled in much of my time sitting aimlessly, allowing my screen time to climb to a ridiculous amount. But, during a mindless TikTok scroll, I finally saw something that made me stop.

‘To find your true passions’, it said, ‘go back and do what you loved as a child’.

My mind was blown.

Since I could read and write, I was always at it: flicking through books, scribbling pointless passages of short stories, writing and illustrating my own novels (nothing grand, I was about seven). I entered all sorts of writing competitions. As I got older, that passion dwindled. 

I never lost this obvious talent and knack I’d developed for writing. I just got swept up into other things, things I still do to this day. That being said, I never got the same rush of adrenaline that I did when I was trying out a makeup look or seeing how my fake tan turned out after letting it develop. 

I put it down to simply not having a ‘thing’ that I truly excelled at. I had interests for sure – one of which being music, something that began at the age of four. I picked up the violin, learned music theory, and amassed numerous qualifications in these over the years.

The role that music has played in my life has never ceased as an interest. I played the violin until the age of 17, simultaneous to my attendance of gigs and live events from the age of seven. I had an interest, but no way I could utilise it.

Or so I thought.

Rather coincidentally, I’d also attended a session arranged by my university, in conversation with a music journalist and editor, days after seeing this Tik Tok. The penny dropped soon after. I was hooked to this journalist’s job. Music and writing? That was the dream. Soon after realising this, my mind raced back to that Tik Tok. There was my ‘thing’ – laying in front of me, dancing about and waving its arms, as clear as day.

From that day onwards, I took action. I joined a university society magazine, for which I now write regularly as part of the music section. I started my own blog and website, and began contributing to small startup publications. Only 6 months on from that penny drop moment, I’d even managed to bag some paid commissions: something I never thought possible. Getting paid for doing what I’ve loved since I was a child had never crossed my mind.

Ultimately, I look back at my early teen self and wonder why I didn’t think of this sooner. Writing had always been a part of my life – I was forever jotting down random notes and thoughts in notebooks, ideas for an article, gig reviews, album reviews, all kept to myself.

Perhaps I was ashamed. Writing isn’t really ‘cool’, is it? Well – it isn’t when you’re thirteen. Going to gigs was cool. Writing stuff, just like you do in English class, wasn’t. 

Maybe I was a product of societal conditioning and shaping, maybe I was afraid of other people’s perceptions.

All I know for sure is that my 18 year old self today – still young, still naive – is ridiculously thankful that she saw that TikTok that day.

She’s finally found her ‘thing’.

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