Back when I started work on Registering the Registry in July, 2020, I was seeing a therapist about once a month. This was cut down from the biweekly scheduled I’d maintained for several years owing to the loss of my insurance, lower-than-ideal pay at my part-time job making the extensive travel time and gas payments required impractical, and the pandemic rendering in-person sessions inadvisable. A few months into the project (which was weekly at that point and as such a constant stressor as I worked to make it happen on a tight turnaround), I stopped my sessions entirely. Although my therapist had cut me a break and charged me substantially less than the base asking price because I was his only uninsured patient, the bills kept piling higher, and in time I simply couldn’t afford the service. Since then, I have suffered through a great number of episodes in which some little thing pricks at my brain, throwing normal balance completely out of whack, leaving me largely incapable of stopping myself from raging at everyone in reach and self-sabotaging my relationships in some demented hope that once I come to my senses and see what I’ve done, I’ll hurt or kill myself out of despondency. They’ve occurred with far more aggressive frequency and debilitating effects on those around me than they did while I had therapy as an option, and though my work may FINALLY offer me a full-time position with insurance and time off enough to resume, it hasn’t happened yet, and for the present I still cannot financially justify further visits.
So, we have Registering the Registry in the midst of all this. Despite a deleted post here blaming its cancellation on collective bastardry amongst an uncaring readership, the truth is it’s on hold for now entirely because of me. In the midst of my efforts to handle my mental health on my own, I have allowed this article series to become a cudgel against myself time and time again. Oh, I’m never gonna find an interesting or unique angle on this film. Oh, I won’t do this documentary about a past injustice due diligence in communicating its importance. Oh, the viewing numbers dipped two people below where they were last week, that means I’m a failure and a fraud and completely devoid of intrinsic value. However often other factors in my life have triggered a meltdown like the one I had this past weekend, idiotic worries over the quality and performance of the articles I post here on medium take the cake for most frequent source of consternation.
It’s not like I lack a healthy perspective on the matter when my brain is calm and cool. I know this is a big effort for a niche interest in a time when written online pieces struggle to do anything compared to short-form social media and idly-consumable video content, and I can accept I have a smaller audience. I know not everything will attract the same level of attention week after week, even big popular movies, on account of people living their lives and not blocking out specific hours of the day just for reading my thoughts and opinions. I know the kindest means of justifying the effort is saying it’s all worth it for its own sake, giving the world something it didn’t have before, making the effort irrespective to how many people see or how much money it makes me. You read what I put out on the regular, it should be plenty obvious I strive to maintain a balanced outlook on what Registering the Registry means to me, what I expect out of it as something I give to the world rather than tinker at in private.
The trouble is, I do not always have a calm and cool brain, and when I’ve had a crap day at work or when I didn’t get a good night’s sleep or when I’ve received a bad piece of news or any other little deviation from an ideal mode, I do not have the first clue how to get ahead of the worse elements at play in my head, nor any idea how to wrench active control from them until they burn out. This article series has fueled too too many of these episodes by half, and on top of this I’ve honestly come to dread working on them, resent how much of my thoughts and active time they dominate, feel constantly stretched thin by the self-driven demand for perfection on something that’s never once received more than a hundred views in a day. I’m flogging myself to the bone and then turning all the pain from the flogging on my friends and followers when it becomes too much to bear, then sighing and starting all over again like it won’t recur in another few weeks. It’s simply not good for me, nor is it good for anyone around me, and if I don’t get things under control, in time it won’t be good for the articles. If we aren’t doing each other any favors, why continue?
So Registering the Registry is on hold for the time being. I don’t know for quite how long. With the kind of break I have in mind, I’ll obviously miss any end of the year deadline when the Library of Congress announces the 2022 batch. I’ve some ideas for how I might catch up and resume a normal schedule, but I’m forcing myself to not entertain them past initial conception, because if I keep at it too long I’ll only mire myself in the same problem over again. Part of the reason I’ve driven myself so hard on this is because I earnestly believe someone needs to do the sort of coverage on these films that considers Requiem-29 worth of equal consideration to The Fellowship of the Ring, and just as this conception of the series as Important Work Of Great Social Import has driven my distress and breakdowns, I now have to admit an extended break is the only way to keep the quality of the Important Work from degrading as I degrade in tandem. Should stress again, this is absolutely nothing to do with any one of my readers giving my work the time of day or not — s’purely something said in anger by a collapsing mind looking to blame anyone for the reason they hurt in the moment other than themself.
In the meantime, I’m still at all the places I link at the end of each article — Letterboxd, tumblr, twitter, and ko-fi. Writing about film is perfectly fine with me, just not this formal series I’ve entangled with some lunatic idea of turning into a profitable career. I’m also still over on Patreon, though billing is paused until I have affairs in proper order. The last Patreon article I had prepared for Anticipating the Registry will release next Saturday, and since I went through the trouble of watching the next film for Anticipating (Dawn of the Dead, for the record, the original Romero), I might try throwing something together for public release before year’s end, as I’m happy to warble on about the picture in question for any reason. As to what will happen with the Rewinding the Registry Patreon exclusives… give me some space to think on that one.
I sincerely wish the lot of you the best health in all arenas of your life, and hope we’ll be able to resume our journey on stabler ground someday.