Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
So, in this process of my self-discovery, I’ve deemed the fact that I am a Kpop collector. I like to collect albums of groups that I’m really into, I like collecting photocards (PCs) for my favorite members in those groups, and I’m a part of the collection/trading community; something I never imagined being in. It’s taken me awhile to fully accept the fact that this is something that makes me happy and I’ve met some amazing friends along the process, so yeah – I’m a kpop collector.
It’s definitely been an experience learning about this community in the past couple of months. There’s things I never knew could happen in this community and things that I absolutely adore, but there’s also been things that I wish I could avoid being in this community, but I mean not everything in a community will be positive. But before I start talking about my thoughts on being a collector, let me tell you guys how I got to this place…
Back in February, I started to become an album collector of Victon’s. They were raising on my ultimate bias group list and I really just wanted to collect their albums. In a sense, I’ve always been an album collector; when I was younger collected most of Kelly Clarkson’s albums and, well, I guess that quality in me carried over in Kpop. My collecting was small, but I definitely looked into the kpop community as an outsider and felt like one too; I didn’t have mutual friends that were interested in kpop, and I always had some interest in collecting photocards… just not as intensely as I do now, but that’s a different story for a different post!
What got me collecting was my growing love for Victon’s Seungsik and also the lack of Seungwoo cards I had in my little collection. After their 6th mini album release, I had one card of each member throughout their discography besides Seungwoo. So, I went on eBay, saw that they were selling two photocards I really wanted to own and, well, the rest is history.
I then stared to silently collect photocards on my own time; I mostly bought them until I started to trade within the trading community. My moot, Ella, was the one that inspired me to make the trading/selling account to help finish with my collection and, I mean… my Seungsik album PC collection is complete because of the help of the trading community! Besides the trading and the selling aspect of the community, I’ve made some amazing friends a lot the way that are honestly some of the closest people in my life and I talk to everyday even if it’s not Kpop related.
Collecting, in general, should be something fun. Trading and making friendships with the community should be the best part of the collecting process, and for the most part, it is. But within the last couple of months of doing this, I’ve realized just how stressful keeping up a collection can be, especially if it’s for a popular member that everyone also is collecting. Sometimes, the hype and excitement around starting or maintaining a collection is based off of pure adrenaline and you just don’t think about how you’re going to collect all album photocards. I know that within in some of my collections, they weren’t fun to collect after a while; they became more of a race to see who can collect the fastest. I know I was also in that mentality for awhile when I first started to collect, but now it just seems so unnecessary and i just felt like I was contributing to the toxicity that comes with the community.
My collection, although it means so much to me and I’m grateful to have it, sometimes stresses me out. To upkeep a collection, it costs a ton of money; money that you feel guilty in spending because you feel like you should spend it towards other things that aren’t Kpop collecting related. It sometimes makes you think your life choices, what you should be doing instead of collecting, and makes you question why you got into this collecting in the first place.
I’m reminded every time I feel bad about my collection is that this is something that genuinely makes me happy. Having a collection of things that you worked hard for is extremely rewarding, and to have a hobby in collecting is what makes it fun. Once a collection doesn’t become fun anymore, then it’s time to let it go or stop collecting for that certain member or group. I know withn the last couple of weeks, I dropped some of my collection due to the stress of the upkeep and to let them go literally feels refreshing and light.
I don’t know how long ‘ll be a collector. I am one of the older collectors in the community and sometimes I feel myself not want to be so heavily involved in it but like, again, it makes me so happy when I make a trade for a card I really wanted or find a card for sale that I’ve been looking for; again it’s just the excitement of getting far into a collection as possible and looking at it and being proud of it! I know that as long as Victon is a group, I’ll be collecting their stuff, even if they ever decided to do some solo stuff like Seungwoo recently did with his solo debut album, “Fame”.
Collecting is not just obsessing over kpop and getting stupid little cards, it’s a hobby and it’s taken me a while to realize that fact. People genuinely collect as a way of coping with whatever they are dealing with; it’s their happy place and their favorite groups and idols are just some of the reasons they smile everyday. I’d be lying if I didn’t say Victon does the same for me. It’s something so fascinating to explain to other people because of course, not many will understand, but I think they would appreciate that everyone collects something in their lives and yours just happens to be Kpop stuff. It’s okay if it is!
So yeah, I’m Liz: writer by day, kpop collector by night.