“Mouse Moments” happen even to the best of us
Do you ever feel a sudden wave of melancholy hit when you’re alone in public? It’s weird and unexplainable, but you swear it’s not a figment of your imagination. If you’re looking for an explanation, TikTok says that you’re not alone (as ironic as it sounds), and there’s even a term for what you’re experiencing: Mouse Moments.
You can simply call it “solitude” or “the unsettling feeling of being with yourself,” but TikTok has its own term for it: Mouse Moments. The term finds its origins in a meme of sorts that surfaced from a kids' show called Creature Comforts on YouTube. In the clip, we see a mouse eating M&Ms all alone quite peacefully. Eventually, this clip began circulating on the internet with some melancholic music playing in the background. Somehow, this little mouse caught the hearts of plenty, which marked the beginning of the trend.
@jiiiaaai sad #foryoupage #trending #viral #xyzbca #jiiiaaai #foryou #fy #fyp #trend #trendy #mousemoment #lonely ♬ Mouse eating sound – حيدر🇮🇶
As the trend began to pick up, people all over the world started sharing TikToks of themselves being in their own company. Some posted videos of themselves at work eating their packed lunch alone in the back room on a late night shift, while some shared their mouse moments having dinner on a rather busy weekend in a packed restaurant. And whether these videos carry an optimistic or rather saddening undertone to the idea of solitude, these TikToks ask a very simple question—does everybody need a buddy?
Everybody, find a buddy
There’s a strange sensation that wells up in the pits of one’s gut when you’re all alone in spaces where companionship feels almost mandatory—case in point, while eating. Especially in a Filipino context where meals are generally associated with bonding time, it’s almost “criminal” to be spotted alone during meal times. Whether you first felt this unsettling sensation on a random high school lunch break when your friends had other plans, in college when your barkada’s schedules just never seemed to match, or in adulthood when making friends at work drained you more than the idea of just being alone. There comes a point when you find yourself alone and, for some strange reason, begin to feel sad (even if nobody’s actually pressuring you to feel this way). But of course, our culture has a great deal to do with that. Remember that game we used to play at kiddie birthday parties: “The boat is sinking! Group yourselves into…”? It’s almost as if we’ve been programmed to find a buddy all our lives; otherwise, we’ll sink and drown.
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Does everybody need a buddy?
Despite what our culture has lead us to believe, notions against such negative perceptions of being alone actually serve as counterarguments and great learning opportunities—in this case, Mouse Moments teach us a very valuable lesson. Whether it’s finding peace in your own solitude or it’s breaking free from society’s expectations of always having to spend your time in the company of other people, the key message is this: it’s okay to be alone.
The stigma around it is nothing but a social construct that preys on us all. However, even if the idea of being alone is simply a figment of our imagination, it still affects us in a very real way (physically). Yes, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re on your own is part of that automatic response that comes from deep within your sub-conscience.
It’s definitely a process, and it may take some time to overcome the jitters and anxiety behind it. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! If there’s anything the Mouse Moments TikTok trend has taught us is that we can always find a buddy in ourselves. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be making friends at all; it's more so about getting to a point where taking yourself out on dinner dates or quick errand runs becomes an enjoyable experience (and not something that makes you feel uneasy). And as time passes, you’ll be surprised that you can actually find the best company in your own presence, too!
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Words Vanessa Tiong
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver