If you'd said to me when I first downloaded the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app in July 2014, "From now until next May, you will be as passionate about interacting with an avatar of Kim Kardashian as you are about comedy and feminism," I would have rolled my eyes and said you were as wrong about me as every person who ever thought I was a Hufflepuff.
But as soon as I started playing the game, I realized I could get everything I'd been working so hard for in my actual life by tapping on a phone screen.
This is me. Welcome to my life! I live inside a phone.
When I got the app, I had already been busting my butt doing comedy for seven years. In the game, I was discovered by Kim Kardashian while working in a boutique within literal seconds and got signed by an awesome agent. And I didn't even have to listen to any unsolicited advice from guys in improv classes.
Great, let's do that.
I decided on a stage name, Ariel Summertime Sad, and started getting paid for tasks I wanted to do anyway, like act in a sitcom or have brunch with Kim Kardashian.
"Of course, Kim. There's nowhere in this phone I'd rather be."
In real life, I consider my shared two-bedroom apartment to be the best place I've ever lived because I can afford my rent and my landlord isn't emotionally manipulating me. In the game, I bought a luxury loft in Tribeca that I'm pretty sure is near where Taylor Swift lives.
It only cost $10,000 imaginary dollars.
And I threw awesome parties there.
Can I get you anything to drink? Sorry, this is a phone.
What have you been up to? Oh, you can't talk, because you're part of my phone.
At this time IRL, I was working multiple part-time jobs and felt like my money was being direct deposited into a garbage can. But in the game, I became an expert long-term financial planner, diligently saving K-stars (a special form of Kardashian currency) until I had enough to buy light blue 70s-style platforms or a dog. It made me feel good and it wasn't hard, unlike living in New York.
If you don't open the app for a couple days, though, there are consequences. You lose fans. The people you date break up with you...by phone. You miss Khloe Kardashian's birthday party. Basically everything good in your fake reality starts to get chipped away, until all you're left with is your friends, family, and everything you like and don't like about your actual life.
So I played every day.
Sometimes I didn't even realize when I was acting out my desires in the game, like when I started choosing a short asymmetrical haircut for my avatar even though I actually had shoulder-length hair and would never consider that style.
There's so much pressure on women to perfectly click their hair.
Over the following months, in real life, I went from a bob to an asymmetrical style to a pixie cut. I realized that I actually really, really wanted short hair, but I didn't think it was a possibility for myself. I could only express my secret wish in iPhone Hollywood, where my 400 million fans would never desert me for straying from gender norms and changing my look. (They would only leave me if I didn't log on two days in a row.)
One day, my two-dimensional agent told me I was booked to host Saturday Night Laughs, and I was inappropriately thrilled. But first, I was forced to take comedy lessons with some guy who tried to mansplain what comedy is. That is my nightmare.
The only option is to choose "I see."
After I hosted the show, the app told me the worst thing anyone possibly could.
It is my thing! Or it was, before this app.
So then I deleted the app and realized that what's really meaningful is the world of humans and tangible objects and having a conversation over avocado toast and blah blah blah...NO. I kept playing until one day, I saw an in-game ad for a different app, Covet Fashion. And it had more realistic clothes.
My new heaven and hell.
Now that I've emerged from my time in the Kardashian incubator, which I entered with truly the emptiest of intentions, it's shocking to realize that I actually know myself a tiny bit better and have more actualized hair. But what's more shocking is how much of my time on earth I've spent tapping my phone.