This is a screencap of someone else’s TikTok account, but that someone is using a photo which belongs to me

The above is an image I screencapped from TikTok. If you are someone who has seen photos of my perfume cabinet over the years, you might look at it and think “…hey…that looks like Sarah’s perfume cabinet!” And then you might get confused because you’d think, “Huh, that username says “redacted” not “midnight stinks,” and, “hey, I know Sarah; she would probably never attach a GIF of Ben Affleck’s dumb face to any of her photos, what the heck is going on here?”

Friends, I saw that and was similarly confused. At first, before anything else, I saw my tacky pink sparkly skull and my great-great-grandparent’s antique photo, and I didn’t notice the other stuff. I thought someone had found one of my photos, wanted to know more about the owner of the photo, found my various accounts, and thought, “Aha! here’s a kindred spirit!” In this daydream, the person was posting my photo on TikTok in the spirit of, “Wow, I just found the coolest person! You should all like and follow them!”

Of course, I am terribly deluded and naive about how the world should work. It was just some throwaway post with a trending gif set on the backdrop of my photo, for which I was not credited. For proof ( I mean, you’re following my blog and probably don’t need/wouldn’t ask for proof, but just in case, here is the uncropped 2014 photo below:)

MY perfume cabinet, circa 2013-2014

If you know anything about me at all, forget perfumes, forget my books and blog, TikTok, and everything else. You may know and SHOULD know that I am passionate about making sure that artists receive credit for their works. I have built my entire writing career on it. Now, I am no artist, and I won’t pretend otherwise, but that was a photo I had taken of a space that belonged to me, so you can imagine how livid I was when I saw that this morning.

Long story short: I left a comment, and they responded. They DMed me and were intensely and genuinely apologetic, and you know what? I couldn’t stay mad at the individual. I am mad that laziness and incurious people exist in general, but I couldn’t be angry at this particular person. I am still marveling at what they said, though. I asked her where she found the image and she said she “got it from Google,” and it’s like…how can that be enough for you? If you uncovered an image that spoke to you so intensely that you took the time to upload it to social media and caption it and add Ben Affleck’s face to it…don’t you care enough to find out who was responsible for the photo? For the human behind it? I mean, what if they shared other photos that you might like? What if they SAID or WROTE things you might like? What if they were AN ACTUAL HUMAN PERSON that you might like? Don’t you want to find out? How can you not want to know more? I will never, ever, ever understand this. I just won’t.

Another photo for good measure, several years and several perfumes later

I was going to use the incident as a teachable moment or a form of behavior modeling and make a video about it on TikTok, but you know what? I am wasting my breath, my time, and my energy. I have seen time and time again that very few people are concerned with this. Also…I mean, the person did apologize, I don’t want to embarrass them. Also…the only reason I even saw it in the first place was because one of my friends reposted it, and I was flabbergasted… did they not recognize my perfume cabinet??? But also, how could this other person, a virtual stranger, whom I have never met in real life and only occasionally chat with on TikTok as of three months ago, recognize a photo of my perfume cabinet from 2014?? HA! I don’t know! But for a hot minute, I was mad at EVERYONE!

At the end of the day though, I am on that app because it’s fun to share my enthusiasm for perfume, and I don’t want to muck it up with something that makes me feel gross. Instead, I retrieved the original photo and several other photos of my perfume cabinet from 2009-2024, and on TikTok today, I shared a little perfume cabinet progression slide show, and I mentioned none of what led up to it.  I reckon it will garner just as much attention and views as the passive-aggressive scolding video (which is to say not much at all, my views are abysmal), but at least it’s coming from a more pleasant place in my heart.

And if you have read this far, gosh, and thank you. It was quite a bitchfest.

P.S. Again, the issue has been resolved. I know you all aren’t the sort to find someone and give someone a hard time but there is absolutely no need. Apologies were made and accepted! If anything, go give a comment and a like to my video 🙂

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