Let’s face it. When someone says they are a fan of BTS (or even another popular k-pop group), there will always be one of two things asked first (at least in my own personal experience). ‘How old are you?’ and ‘Aren’t you a little old to like them?’
These two questions are something I’ve been asked several times when it comes to the topic of BTS. I’ll admit that when it first came to my original interest in k-pop, it was before the years of BTS and I was still in my early 20’s.
A little backstory...
I grew up in Gillette, Wyoming and spent most of my school years in my kitchen being homeschooled. My parents were strict and there were many factors about my childhood that were not exactly a good thing. I was a lonely kid and didn’t get to experience much until I got to high school. And when I say lonely, I mean, extremely. My only friends were the characters in the books I read and whatever imagination I let myself get lost in when I was bored. I was very sheltered and raised to be very obedient.
Obedience was not exactly my thing. (Still isn’t.) It wasn’t until I was 15, I was finally introduced into something that started to make me somewhat happy. Taekwondo.
The invigorating and intense exercise that came with the martial arts was what’s kept me going from week to week. But my favorite part, my instructors. One of my instructors made me feel safe and happy. The warmth I was missing was something she gave to me in a motherly manner.
Just a cute little lady who was originally from Korea, immersed me into a new world of culture that I suddenly found so much interest in. While I’m not one of those “Koreaboo” kinds of girls, I found comfort in the food, language, and atmosphere of being in a Korean home.
Being surrounded by these things, I was also introduced into the world of Korean media, which included, K-pop. Of course, my teenage mind was fascinated by the music, the colors, and just the overall flashiness that I felt that k-pop overflowed with. This initially started my deep dive into the world of k-pop fandom.
I spent years hiding how much I loved blaring the crazy fast and upbeat music through my headphones, and kept a lid of fangirling every time I caught a glimpse of some k-pop artist on the internet. I wanted to be one of those girls that got to express my love for my favorite artists even if they weren’t based on the western radio.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I gave up trying to fully hide it. EXO and BTS debuted that year in the midst of some of my darkest depression.
I was 25, a single mom, followed New Kids on the Block on every social media platform available (hey, I’ve listened to them since the 90s. I even saw them in concert), and needed an outlet to find some sort of happiness within myself. I was still sort of a closet k-pop fangirl, but decided to let a little bit more out. I mean, I was an adult, who cared what others thought.
I secretly let myself love 2 different groups that both held so much promise. There was just something different in my eyes about BTS. It wasn’t until 2018 when I was in the darkest days of my life, I made an attempt to take my own life. I’d spent countless hours pouring over every song from every album BTS had released until then (we were still in the Love Yourself era), but nothing worked. I just remember everything being so hazy around me that I could only hear my own inner voices.
I don’t know what it was, or even why it happened. But, I woke up before I’d gone too far to the sounds of Magic Shop in my head. When the haze of my mind cleared, that was the song on my playlist. I have a habit of hitting shuffle and just letting whatever comes on play through, but this song wasn’t on that specific playlist I’d started with. Yet it was what I woke up to.
The moral of my story, you should really just be yourself without letting anyone judge you for it. After my incident, I immersed myself fully into BTS ARMY and I’ve received nothing but love and encouragement from all those I’ve come into contact with. While there are some that are a bit toxic and too obsessed, the majority of us are those that are here because the group and their music has done something to help us within.
Magic Shop was my favorite song when it was released, it still is. Even now as I listen to the BE album on repeat (in tears I might add because it’s beautiful), now it has a deeper meaning for me.
My only hope to other fan girls out there who may be hiding themselves because of some sort of fear or whatever it may be, please don’t hesitate to come to one of us in the ARMY for blessings and encouragement. You can literally find us on every platform. Or for any other person who feels like they’re hiding themselves, please, talk to someone you trust who can help you bring yourself back to your surface.
There is someone or something out there that will help you understand that the real you is worth living and caring for. Your first and most important relationship is with yourself and without that being nurtured and true, it’s hard to keep on going.
Until next time...
Steam Life Goes On!