Mind Poison

Laura Nicolescu, Co-Editor-In-Chief

As a recovering addict to memes (I would have two thousand memes on my phone in a special folder that I refused to delete), I get it. I get the hype around memes. They’re funny. They’re relatable. They’re a nice break from the stresses of school.

“When you rock back in your chair farther than expected and your life flashes before your eyes.” Ha ha.

“When you’ve been home for four hours and you look up and see ‘LTE’ instead of the Wi-Fi symbol.” Even better.

And then there’s “that annoying feeling when you wake up in the morning instead of dying in your sleep.”


*hit by car*

Driver: omg are you ok

Me: kill me next time

And: “When you hear something go bump in the dark but then you remember you don’t care whether you live or die.”

Notice a pattern?

Sure, they’re in good nature. Teens don’t actually wish they would get run over by a car. It’s just a meme, right? They don’t really want to die in their sleep, they just think it’s funny to say “I wish I was dead.” Or “I’m gonna kill myself.” After all, people seem to say “I’m gonna kill myself” in response to any minor inconvenience.

I stubbed my toe on the table. I’m going to kill myself.

They were out of hot sauce at Taco Bell. I’m going to kill myself.

I can’t find my other sock. I’m going to kill myself.

Teens look up to memes, so naturally, they repeat them. They repeat them until they start to believe them.

Teens look on their phones and “relate” to memes about wishing they were dead. They consider themselves a “pathetic failure” and a “disappointment.”

After all, all the memes say that. It must be cool to think that way.

I, for one, favored self-deprecating memes, because I felt they were “relatable.” The more I read “they say you are what you eat, but I don’t remember eating a pathetic failure,” the more I believed it. I thought liking who you are as a person was lame, so I obsessed over every little aspect of myself that I didn’t like until I was convinced I was better off dead. After all, I’m a pathetic failure, anyway.

When the majority of memes teens see online are about suicide, feeling inferior, and wishing they were dead, it stops being funny. Memes do more to lower a teen’s self-esteem than raise it. Everywhere I go, I hear teens speaking in meme until I can no longer tell if they’re joking or not.

And they don’t even know either.

Last summer, I took the leap of faith and deleted all two thousand memes on my phone and all apps containing memes. I was tempted to look at them again, but I knew what they would do to me. Instead of being a stress reliever, they would make everything that much worse.

And I noticed a clear change. I didn’t know it at the time, but one day I realized that overall, I’m happier. More positive. About self-care rather than self-hate. It turns out I didn’t need memes to make me feel better about myself.

I needed to get rid of them.

I only relapsed for five minutes to google “self-deprecating memes” as examples for this story. Five minutes was all I could take until I became convinced I was worthless and that car I crossed in front of this morning should’ve ran over me.

That was a joke. Yeah, hilarious, isn’t it.

Just like you would stop taking a medicine that only made you sicker, it’s time to stop looking at the mind-poisoning memes that are only making teens feel worse.

It’s time to take a step back and think, “do I really feel this way, or am I just being brainwashed? Am I just being pressured into hating myself because that’s just what teenagers are supposed to do?”

It’s time to declare self-love cool again. Self-hate is so 2017.

I’m serious.

Self-love is in.

Let’s lead the way.

Let’s begin a self-love revolution, deleting one meme at a time.