Becoming a BTS Fan Brought Unexpected Joy into My Life During Quarantine
As I sat down to write this, I didn't know where to start. There's a lot to consider when writing a story. What image should I choose? And how can I succinctly sum up what the story will be about in a snappy (but not misleading) headline?
Add to that the fact that there are hundreds of stories about this exact topic: BTS, the global superstars from South Korea, who have broken all sorts of records.
They're the first group to top the Artist 100, Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts at the same time, and the first K-pop group to receive a Grammy nomination this year for their hit song "Dynamite". (My hunch is that they'll soon become the first K-pop group to win a Grammy as well.)
It was actually "Dynamite" that turned me into a fan. If you haven't heard the song yet or watched the music video above, I urge you to pause right now and do so.
After a year like 2020, this toe-tapping tune was exactly what my weary heart needed. I was in an extended slump when "Dynamite" entered my suddenly very small life.
Quarantine restrictions had been in effect for months and I had recently undergone an unexpected surgery for a cancer reoccurrence that made me want to retreat even further into the quiet confines of my apartment.
For someone who had spent the last several years interviewing people on camera (and genuinely enjoying it), this was new. All I knew was that I didn't feel like talking to anyone. My usually bubbly persona felt disingenuous, and I felt the need to disengage from any outside noise, which there was a lot of.
I wouldn't say that I had become morbid. No, that's not it. If anything, I woke up to the fact that life is too short to spend simply going through the motions. The merry-go-round that I had been spinning on for years came to a stop and I decided to step off and simply wander through the park...and BTS was there, like friendly mascots, to help guide the way.
"Dynamite" had me singing in my kitchen again. It got me dancing in my living room after long hours spent hunched over my laptop. As I flapped and flailed around, trying to follow their smooth choreography, I felt alive and carefree.
Slowly, I began to reemerge from my solitude. And with each performance and interview I watched, I reconnected with the small, simple joys that I so enjoyed as a young girl. The small, simple joys that were always there, but were buried beneath the need to please and achieve as an adult. The small, simple joys—like dancing and feeling the giddy rush of crushing on boy bands again—that have nothing to do with productivity and everything to do with enjoying the present moment.
Five months have come and gone since I became a BTS fan, and a new year has begun in that time.
Though I'm still healing in many ways, and the path forward isn't as clear as I'd like, I'm also hopeful for what's to come. There are more mountains to climb and valleys to cross to get to where I want to be—as an individual, and as a member of society—but when that thought becomes overwhelming, it's comforting to know that I have BTS in my back pocket.