How Knowing BTS Made Me Love Myself Again

It took seven talented Koreans to make me realize that things would be OKAY amidst this pandemic.

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I don’t think I’ll be articulate enough to write this, so as early as now and before I start rambling, I would like to apologize to you, a co-ARMY, who will be reading this. I know that I won’t be able to express the bulk of what I’ve been feeling through this post because I’m scared that might turn into a mess of a post but I do hope that in a way, you’d be able to still relate to it…okay…so here it goes.

Since this quarantine, I’ve been lost. Lost in a sense that I’ve never been so uncertain in my life, especially in my career. I’ve always been the woman who stuck to a 9 to 5 job until about three years ago when I decided to do freelance work as a writer & a consultancy partner. It was a very difficult decision to make, probably one of my hardest. Luckily, I have a strong support system, most of which are friends who are freelancers from different fields reminding me to just enjoy my time and the break that I deserve. My friend/business partner and I have been diligent and persistent with our consultancy that brands trusted us. We were doing fine until this pandemic hit. The thing is, it’s not only our business that got affected, it was mostly everyone’s. This global shutdown hit me hard mentally and emotionally. I’d experience frequent anxieties, strong enough not to let me sleep and sometimes powerful enough to wake me up. Being uncertain about everything made me lost and sad.

Back in August, I heard “Dynamite” and saw these seven smartly dressed guys performing live at the MTV Video Music Awards. The visuals caught my eye; the interchanging backgrounds were fun to watch. Then the song. The song that would irrevocably be my morning anthem for months and would actually change my and BTS’ life in ways that all of us could never imagine. “Dynamite” was the song to start my morning and the rest of the day would be just fine.

BTS performing "Dynamite" at the MTV VMAS 2020.

I asked my friend Aisa, who’s been following BTS’ career for a time now, about these guys. Who are they? Why does one member speak fluent English? I think I even asked how old they are. Mind you, this was not the first time that I encountered BTS. I saw their now legendary “On” Grand Central Station performance for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and their Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. I remember being so amazed with one member that was able to hit the high notes on Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” and it was JungKook, the golden maknae. But at that time, let’s just say BTS wasn’t ready to be part of my life and vice versa. As they say, timing is everything. So Aisa said to watch In the Soop, it was then their current reality show and without knowing anything more about them (just the fact that RM learned English through watching Friends), I watched the show. Like any person who wants to familiarize themselves with BTS (abbreviation for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which means Bulletproof Boy Scouts in English), I first wanted to connect the faces with the names. “I just wanted to know their names!,” I told myself, and next thing I know, I’m so down the rabbit hole with everyone else.

BTS in the forest. They recorded this reality show during the pandemic since their world tour got cancelled.

In the Soop was the first BTS content that got me to really love these seven K-Pop idols. Watching them doing household chores, having fun in what seemed to be at a work / vacation environment (they were being recorded for a reality show so it’s still work), I slowly realized the magnitude of who they are and their impact in my life. I went back to that “On” performance at the Grand Central Station and from there, I decided to listen to the entire Map of the Soul: 7 album on Spotify. Map of the Soul: 7 is by far my favorite BTS album and the first album of BTS that I bought. It’s flawlessly produced; packed with songs sounding so different from another and yet having the same likeable appeal. “Walang tapon

I surprised me. I never thought me, a woman in her 40s known to lean towards rock as her musical preference and comfort, would learn how to appreciate and love songs that she couldn’t immediately understand. Having read some of their lyrics translated into English made me realize that these are not just basic lyrics from men in their 20s, but from men who clearly have something to say about their hardships, on not losing hope, appreciating yourself, valuing life, and always moving forward. BTS as a whole turned out to be such a good vibe generator for me that I workout to their songs, try to dance to it at times (keyword is “try” hahaha). Theirs is my current go-to music.

At the Grand Central Station NY with The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon
At the Grand Central Station with The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon

I slowly made BTS part of my routine. I listen to their music and watch content after content every day; trying to keep up because they release something new on a daily. But I love the pace that I’m in; I’m not in a hurry. I also enjoy connecting with co-ARMY friends like me who have reach that age where we stopped trying to be “cool” and just accept what we like with no inhibitions. I realize that every member of BTS makes me happy.

My Bias: The Best Hyung Kim Seokjin

BTS released a mini album called BE, nominated for a Grammy, have songs at the Billboard charts, non-stop live performances and guestings, basically breaking one record after another. And this coming from a eight-year-old group from South Korea, that never stopped dreaming, making things happen, and appreciating everyone who helped them along the way. They have made me realize that nothing is impossible and that being able to open your eyes to take that first glimpse of sunlight means that there’s a new day ahead to again challenge yourself while being kinder to yourself. And just like any other ARMY, I’m looking forward to watching them perform live after the dust settles but until then, I’ll be enjoying the company of their music everyday and continue to cheer them on.

“You gave me the best of me, so you’ll give you the best of you
You’ll find it, the galaxy inside you.”
Magic Shop, BTS

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