As always, let’s start with the numbers …
Physical Comics Read: 4 (56/63)
Digital Comics Read: 0 (469/471)
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 2 (15/51)
Books Read: 9 (116/141)
Movies Watched: 5 (105/123)
TV Seasons Completed: 1 (80/90)
TV Shows Completed: 0 (34/37)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 229
I’m writing this about two weeks later than I usually do, and on the weekend before I return to work. I guess it’s appropriate enough that I analyze data before I go to a place where I am certainly going to have to analyze data at some point.
I hate analyzing data.
Okay, I should clarify that. I hate analyzing standardized testing data, especially since we never seem to do anything with said data instead of identify and then admire various problems that we already knew existed.
I bring this up because I feel like much of this year with The Uncollecting has been about admiring the problem. The piles are not only there, but they don’t seem to shrink very much. The habits go away for a little while but then they come back, sometimes even worse. And the mental health part of it ebbs and flows. This year has been tougher than I realized it would be or that I was ever fully admitting to myself, and I think that’s the reason that this project has fallen by the wayside.
When thinking about those habits, too, I wonder a little about why sometimes my response to stress, anxiety, or even depression is to spend money on random stuff. Or eat. But I guess whether it’s calories or comics, I’m accumulating, and I wonder if that could be a sign of a mental health issue. It is for so many other people I’ve read about.
Maybe or maybe not in my case. I’m sure that if I fell down a Google rabbit hole about accumulating stuff I’d fully convince myself that I was a hoarder on the verge of having a hoard; however, I also think that I just have a lot of things. And in many cases they are things that I’ve purchased because I was interested in them or knew I was going to enjoy them. The problem is that I’ve gotten too much at once or let it pile up and I always said I’d get around to them. That is part of the reason I’m surrounded by literal (and metaphorical) piles of the unread or the unwatched.
But really, why do I hold on to all of this stuff, even after I’ve “consumed” and reviewed it? Why does so much of this stuff remain in the “keep” pile?
I don’t have to hold on to everything that I like. I already don’t own everything that I like. And some of the “keep” pile is stuff that I don’t necessarily treasure but am all right with just having. I guess part of the impulse to keep it all is so I don’t feel guilty or stupid that I spent money on it and decided to then throw it out or give it away, but that’s not entirely true. I mean, I can depart with a T-shirt that doesn’t fit very well with no problem. But a random issue of Detective Comics that’s in VG condition at best and that I can read on my iPad takes more mental effort to throw in a bag bound for Goodwill?
Yeah, it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
I’m starting to offload more and more stuff and in the last couple of days have a bit of a renewed interest in what’s been lying around here. That it took my entire summer break to reach this conclusion is quite frustrating. What happened? Well, I honestly can’t tell you except to parrot what my therapist has said, which is that I spent the 2021-2022 school year going through a stressful time and my body and mind obviously needed time to recover. But since I have this weird complex about giving myself things to do over summer break (it’s a “summer guilt” complex that I could write an entire other blog post about), I never allowed myself the time or opportunity to full relax. In fact, I’ve spent much of the past two weeks crashing on the couch in the middle of the day because I’m so exhausted and stressed. And when I woke up, I’d overindulge shitty habits.
To be all “I’m resetting! Starting NOW!” is a fool’s errand. Doing that puts pressure on me to perform again. As I look at these numbers that honestly aren’t too terrible, I think the best tack to take is to keep going. Maybe I’ll rearrange the piles a little so I can see what’s there and pick up something that I might enjoy reading or watching. In fact, maybe adjusting my approach so that I’m enjoying all of this is a good idea; after all, this shouldn’t feel like work. God knows I have enough of that to do.