You call it nihilism, I call it perspective.
Back in the old days, I could go weeks without anyone noticing my armpit hair. But thanks to the internet, every teeny tiny detail about the way I present myself is loudly scrutinized, and there’s always someone with a hot take on every choice or change I make. It’s all too easy to obsess about how I look and what people think of me. Thankfully, the TikTok floating rock trend is here to remind us that none of this shit matters.
Victorian Hutchins, a yoga teacher in Hawaii who posts TikToks from her life and yoga practice, recently shared a video of herself floating in the ocean. “Feeling self conscious in my bathing suit after reading my DMs,” Hutchins wrote, looking anxious but irrefutably gorgeous. The video then zooms out — first to a shot of the whole earth, then even further to show how tiny our planet is in the context of the solar system, and then the cosmos. The caption reads: “Truly nothing matters less than cellulite on the butt of a random creature on a random floating rock in a random galaxy.”
Hutchins’s video is one of countless #floatingrock TikToks, but it perfectly encapsulates why I think this trend is so inspiring. First of all, how #relatable is all of this? Who among us has not caved into the insecurity thrust upon us by strangers on social media? That Hutchins admits it earnestly and with sincerity would be inspiring on its own. But that she then puts it into perspective without invalidating her own experience is truly touching.
Sure, there are more than a few angsty teen TikTokers using the trend as a way of justifying their small rebellions — like not studying for exams — but it seems most folks are using the trend to put shit into perspective. An anonymous TikToker who goes by the handle @sexysandwich19, for example, used the same zoomed out earth effect to comment on his fear that people will think he “looks poor.” The TikTok is in Spanish, but even if you don’t speak the language, you’ll get the point: Who cares what you wear on this floating rock in space? It simply does not matter.
TikTok is designed to suck us into an alternate reality, but the “floating rock” trend seems to be checking reality in a heartening — and often hilarious — way. Some people argue that the “floating rock mentality” is nihilistic and dangerous, but that’s often a critique that conservative folks resort to when they want to mansplain the dark consequences of tolerance and acceptance. Personally, I am here for every small effort we make to put our lives into cosmic perspective.