(My)space and time

Photo of Lauren Harvey

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Early quarantine passed with the indelible mark of mundanity. After three hours of Zoom classes, a reading session on the roof and several failed attempts to make whipped coffee, I would succumb to the allure of instant gratification offered by TikTok. Slowly but surely, my media consumption became reduced to the banality of repetitive sound bites, strung together in a terribly enticing order. I spent my days scrolling the time away, bound to an app I simultaneously claimed to detest.

But one March afternoon, a rabbit hole of random Google searches left me in a wonderland of early 2000s nostalgia. By some combination of keyboard clicks and Y2K intrigue, I ended up on Myspace. Once a popular social media platform, this site has since become a ghost town, populated only by the apparitions of users past. I felt as though I alone existed in a vast terrain of semi-recent news and outdated music, sprinkled in between the remnants of a once active Paris Hilton fanbase. Here, I could satiate the temporal escape I so desperately craved. 

What was initially intended to be a short excursion somehow became a year-long ordeal. It is now March 2021, and I still find myself returning to this nostalgic space.

Deep down, I know that Myspace is a public platform, but I continue to treat it like my own secret corner of the internet. This seemingly secluded space holds a journal of my quarantine experiences, punctuated by arbitrary connections to inactive users and random links to my favorite sites. A stream of consciousness not quite ready for Twitter makes its way into this sacred space, carrying my momentary obsessions in its irresistible current. It is in this way that my musings are simultaneously preserved and buried in a place largely hidden from the public view. 

Myspace allows me to pin a song to my profile, and I naturally choose “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne. There is something so inexplicably romantic about associating myself with a lyrical narrative. For those brief three and a half minutes, I am the girl waiting backstage, cheering on her punk boyfriend as he sings about a girl he used to know. This song serves as a sort of testament to a past iteration of my identity, and I find myself reconnected to my 16-year-old bad boy phase. 

One day, I decide to connect with Kanye West. I don’t particularly consider myself a fan, and I’m not quite sure of my reasoning. Nevertheless, I get a certain kick out of clicking the little icon in his profile, sending a friend request with no expectation of reciprocity. My corner of the internet consists of hundreds of these one-sided interactions, built upon mindless, momentary obsessions. I get to indulge in these nostalgic impulses without judgment, and I enjoy this liberty more than I can comprehend. 

Sometimes, I can’t help but sneak a bit of 2021 into this space. My fandom of none is no stranger to my obsession with “Bridgerton” or my love of Phoebe Bridgers. I once tried to separate these past and present planes of reality, but now the two appear to intersect. Almost inadvertently, I have begun to dip my brush into multiple decades, painting a watercolor landscape of past and present. Much to my surprise, the colors bleed into each other with relative ease. 

This muddling of time has left me with an odd array of contradictions. Kanye and “Bridgerton” float in the same stream of consciousness. Nicole Richie and Phoebe Bridgers rub elbows in my Top 8. “Stars are Blind” plays while I rant about “Emily in Paris.” I, a 19-year-old girl living in the year 2021, scour the pages of a site that reached its cultural peak in the year 2008. I am a living anachronism making my way through the ghostly terrain. The result is an intermingling of past and present — a convergence of (My)space and time.

A year of quarantine has passed, but time has become a sort of blur. I don’t know what life will be like a year from now. I don’t even know what it will be like tomorrow. It doesn’t help that I am caught in a constant push and pull between past and present; I feel as though I belong here and there all at once. But even as Myspace magnifies my temporal distortion, it offers up remedy. It is here that I find my escape from the monotony of quarantine life, and it is here that I find alleviation from my growing distaste for TikTok. 

Myspace is an odd polyphony of past and present, but it is a space that is wholly mine. So, for the time being, I will continue to inhabit this ghost town, and I will continue to furnish my own little corner of the internet.

Contact Lauren Harvey at [email protected].