I taught myself to code using MySpace. I mean, I can’t build my own website from scratch or, like, make an algorithm, but I spent many a school night hunched over my massive HP laptop experimenting with HTML in order to make sure my MySpace layout conveyed the type of person I wanted to be. Floral, neutral, sparkly, cluttered, clean: I was constantly grappling with indecision about Who I Am and how to distill it down to a handful of aesthetic elements that only got more complicated with my discovery of Tumblr and, later, Instagram. These identity crises now manifest themselves in my job and, like, whether or not I should own a house, but they’re still very much a part of my daily anxieties—which is why I want no part of iOS 14.

I first learned about this update not from my phone itself but TikTok, where users have started teaching each other how to get the most out of their iPhone’s new capabilities. The iOS update allows for a lot of things, like multitasking FaceTime and other apps and, finally, cycling routes on Apple Maps, but the main thing everyone on my For You page is excited about are Widgets. Widgets means the same thing on your iPhone as it did on Blogspot: on-screen features like time, date, or photos that display on your screen instead of in an app. The basic ones come with the update, but TikTok is downloading cooler ones from an app called Widgetsmith. That, combined with some other customization hacks, means people are getting their phone screens to look like this:

I want it. I need it. I can’t allow myself to have it. For some context, seven months later I only just switched my home screen from a photo of my dead cat (when she was alive) to an illustration from an Instagram artist, and even that change seemed like a fundamental decision I was making about the type of person I am (crazy cat lady to sophisticated artsy woman who, don’t worry, is adopting a new kitten come January). Now I need to figure out what else there is to say about me, and find the widgets to do it? I’m going to explode.

Do I want to make it funny, like this person who turned their home screen into a Windows computer screen?


someone appreciate my hard work #ios14

♬ D R E S S D O W N - Meli

Do I want it to be color-coordinated and Pinterest-a-fied?

Do I want it to just be something I like, which is actually just an accumulation of things I’ve seen and learned from other people and will replicate in an attempt to trick people into thinking I share similar qualities? 

Should I be concerned about the fact that when I try to come up with things I genuinely like, devoid of any outside influences, it’s basically just the movie Homeward Bound and Reese’s Cups? Are there widgets for those?

Nope. I can’t do it. It’s too much pressure, and seems to require more Photoshop skills than I currently possess. I did download iOS 14, and without touching anything, it looks basically the same, except when I scroll to the very left, the weather and calendar widgets sit above the usual feed of Bad News. Maybe my aesthetic choice this time is to opt out of it entirely—but more likely I’ll forget all this and embark on a crazed 11:30pm customization spree I’ll then abandon a week later when my personality changes. Again.