Playlist: My 2018 Brand Is Tumblr in 2010

[Text] 2018 Personal Brand Playlists / Autostraddle [Image] Collage of various images including feet in a blue bathtub, a girl wearing a crown over her eyes, an old vintage stamp, an instamax image of a FEMME sign, veronica from riverdale, and an illustration of a crystal.

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Toward the end of 2017, I redownloaded the tumblr app, and from there, I have experienced a swift regression. I can’t explain it! I am not ready to delve into my psyche and explore why I might be devolving into one of my past selves. I will save that introspection for, like, six months from now. For now, I’m totally willing to declare that my 2018 brand is “tumblr in 2010.” I’m fine! Everything is fine.

Tumblr in 2010 is not a time nor place. It is a feeling, an aura, a state of being. Tumblr in 2010 is going on a fanfiction bender instead of studying for finals. Tumblr in 2010 is Δ. Tumblr in 2010 is being way too emotionally vulnerable online. Tumblr in 2010 is using a weird, janky video conferencing app to talk to your internet friends around the world (RIP TokBox). Tumblr in 2010 is the apex of selfie culture. Tumblr in 2010 is spiraling over the same Christina Hendricks gif for 48 hours. Tumblr in 2010 is drinking a cappuccino at 11 p.m. and then crying about a fictional character. Tumblr in 2010 is unfiltered poetry and on-the-nose short stories and meticulously crafted photosets.

So anyway, that’s where I’m at. Not necessarily literally (although the fanfiction benders are definitely happening), but definitely emotionally. So here’s a playlist!

You might be thrown off by the fact that some of these songs are from 2010 and some are not (some even came out after!). Did you not note when I said tumblr in 2010 is not a time?! These songs embody the cosmic essence of a very specific time in my past that has suddenly become the defining cosmic essence of my present. As I probably said in a very sincere post about the movie Inception (sorry) on my tumblr in 2010: Life is cyclical.

Here’s a mood board for “tumblr in 2010.”

All photos included are actual screencaps/posts from my tumblr circa that time in my life…including a “graphic” I made of me and Olivia Wilde…with Regina Spektor lyrics on it? Please note that I believed myself to be heterosexual at the time.

New year, old me!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 842 articles for us.


  1. I’ve been listening to Q.U.E.E.N. nonstop for like two years now I love that it’s on this playlist

  2. I hope you’re happy that this made me go back and listen to Metamorphosis by Hilary Duff and I’m having a lot of weird feeling about music from a different time of my life that I no longer enjoy but can still sing every word ?

    • omg i love metamorphosis… the album and the song. and trust me, i bring out that lil time capsule at least once a year, and it still holds up. esp the song “workin’ it out”

      Some days I start off draggin’ my feet
      Some days I want to fly
      Some days it all makes sense to me
      Some days I just don’t want to know why

    • Yeaaaah, I was thinking this sounds suspiciously like LJ in 2001. Cyclical indeed.

  3. You’re so right that “Tumblr in 2010” transcends place and time. Formspring, sharks vs. cats, Tumblarity, no real way to have a conversation with someone other than repeatedly reblogging a post and adding one line to the bottom of it, ridiculously well-known power-users like kari-shma… a mood indeed.

  4. The fanfiction benders, oh my God. I had to sign in just to say that this is my brand right now as well. Only I call it ‘Lurking in 2009’ because I never actually had tumblr or livejournal.

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