The Brief: People are tweeting pictures of fictional scenes with the caption "mentally I'm here" in memes about escapism.


“Mentally I’m here” memes express people’s desires to escape from the daily trials and tribulations of 2020. As much of the state of California is on fire and the Coronavirus pandemic continues, exacerbating existing problems in society, one way for people to cope with the uncertainty of the present moment is through mental escapism. On Twitter, people posting idyllic and nostalgic fictional scenes along with the caption “mentally I’m here,” suggesting that though they’re physically somewhere less fun, that they’re picturing themselves in these ideal places.

These memes lean into childhood nostalgia, the power of fantasy, and irony as people say they’re mentally in a Zach and Cody-themed video game, a Halloween movie, or on the set of their favorite TV show. Some iterations of the meme have a darker spin, as people share that they’re mentally somewhere depressing or morbid, like a coffin, cemetery, or the Twin Peaks Red Room. Other “mentally I’m here” memes lean into the more bizarre locations such as inside the fish tube or riding on David Hasselhoff’s back in a scene in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

As much of the premise of cottagecore is to escape from the difficulties of modern life, many “mentally I’m here” memes express a longing to go to a picturesque cottage.