As always, let’s get started with the numbers …
Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Physical Comics Read: 0 (2/399)
Digital Comics Read: 9 (487/539)
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 1 (29/40)
Books Read: 2 (118/170)
Movies Watched: 8 (115/143)
TV Seasons Completed: 0 (99/101)
TV Shows Completed: 0 (33/38)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 127
These are all new totals because I did a recount over Memorial Day weekend so that I could be more accurate in what I have to work through. You’ll also notice that I added another category–TV Seasons. That’s because while I have a number of television shows on my watch list that have maybe a season or two, I also have plenty that ran for years, like Agents of SHIELD, which has seven seasons total. So I thought that marking the seasons completed would show some progress instead of feeling like I am stuck when it comes to television.
TV’s kind of tough in this regard, too, because while we are working our way through an older show like Agents of SHIELD, we’re also working our way through current episodes of shows we regularly watch. But I don’t consider those for this particular blog because they are current and therefore not part of the backlog. At any rate, I am hoping that this reconfiguration will lead to more progress or maybe just get me out of whatever funk I seem to be in right now. In fact, this is a hard entry to write because my plans for so much went sideways in the last few months, and this past month was a high anxiety point because we had the pipes in our house replaced at the same time that work was pretty overwhelming.
The worst part of all of it, I think, is trying to keep a calm exterior when dealing with all of it, something I’m not very good at doing. This is going to come off as very “man” of me, but I think a number of people of any gender might understand when I say that I don’t think I always have the luxury of expressing my emotions, especially when I’m in a professional situation. And now, as we work our way out of the COVID world, I keep wondering if time is up for those feelings. During the past year, we were “all in this together” and we were all paying more attention to how we were feeling.
Okay, most of us were. And where’s where I will pause to acknowledge all of the assholes we had to deal with in the past year. I see you. Fuck you for making this worse.
Anyway, for those of us with critical thinking skills, common sense, and souls, I think we have been able to find empathy and compassion we didn’t know we had. Or maybe we did but we’d lost it along with our patience for one another. But now we have a bigger emotional problem to deal with, and that’s “returning” to life and accounting for the year.
It seems that the idea that you survived this past year and have come out of it with your health intact should be enough to feel good about, but we do not live in a society that wants people to simply exist. and we do not live in a society that accepts any form of hardship as a reason for a lack of … well, a lack off anything. Our culture celebrates the “doer” and that means that anyone who cites COVID/the lockdown as a reason for not being somehow extraordinary is just using it as an excuse for not doing enough. We’re Americans. We should have been thriving despite the pandemic, because that’s the American way.
And yet here I sit, fifteen pounds heavier than I was when we went into lockdown last March, scrambling to somehow make myself look like I haven’t just been scraping by. I hit the end of a school year whose slogan has more or less been “Can you do this one extra thing for us?”, instead of “Just make it through.” And it’s not like I completely gave up on myself or anything else over the course of this year; it’s just that I find it disingenuous to count up the positives or the gains of my past year and also find it toxic that anyone would express disappointment that they haven’t done enough.
Granted, that’s hypocritical coming from me who is constantly worrying that I haven’t done enough. In fact, I was wondering this morning who, exactly is measuring the “enough” other than me? Like, am I being graded or something? Am I in competition with other people? And what, exactly, are the metrics by which I am being evaluated?
I mean, I should count my positives here. It’s not like I won’t be taking anything with me as I look toward a much needed summer break and second half of 2021–there are some things I can look at and feel at least a little proud of–but I can’t thinking about how fucked up it is to have a voice in your head constantly tell you that you’re not doing enough, and I know that for the foreseeable future, I’m going to be fighting with that voice. Staying focused–shit, staying awake–is one of the most difficult things for me to do right now (in fact, it took me the better part of half an hour to type this because I kept having to check other websites and emails), all the while the pressure to be productive mounts. And yet there’s so much I do want to do. I want to feel accomplished when I hit December 31 … or maybe at least a little better about myself.