During my freshman year of high school, one of my close friends introduced me to the K-pop group, and worldwide sensation, BTS. At that time, I had only heard of them briefly and I didn't know anything about them. My friend sat me down one day and said, "You should really listen to BTS, I think you'd really like them." She and I share a similar taste in music, so it was easy for me to follow her recommendation. Coincidentally, during that year I was personally going through a hard time — my grandfather had been diagnosed with stage five colon cancer and had limited days left. In February 2017, he lost his battle and I was torn apart. He was the only grandfather I had gotten to know and now he was gone. I threw myself into the only comfort I knew at the time — music.
At the time of my grandfather passing, I started to get into BTS, in a sense it felt like a distraction to how lost I had been feeling. I watched and listened to every single song they had released by that point. In their EP titled, "You Never Walk Alone" two songs really stuck out to me and became my comfort songs. One is called "Dul! Set!" In English, it is called "2!3!" The meaning behind the lyrics is that we are all still hoping for better days and on the count of three you can erase all the sad memories and smile. The second comfort song is titled, "You Never Walk Alone," which, like its title, the lyrics say that no matter what is happening in your life, someone will always be by your side.
How does my love for BTS, help me love myself?
In the fall of 2017, they launched a campaign alongside their new albums. This campaign was titled, Love Myself, in partnership with UNICEF. When talking about the campaign in 2018, the leader of BTS, Kim Namjoon (also known as RM) gave a speech addressing what it holds.
What he said in his speech has not left the back of my mind. "Today I am who I am with all of my faults and my mistakes." That line stood out to me. I have always been hard on myself, and I still am. If I were to make a small mistake I'd dwell on it for months. I have a perfectionist complex, if I did poorly on a test I immediately felt the need to put on a mask to hide how I felt. Going to school, I almost always had the mask on of the stereotypical "smart, shy girl" because for the majority of my life I had only been known as that.
When I heard those words from RM, I really started thinking about how I was treating myself. I get so wrapped up in what other people thought about me that I genuinely disregarded taking care of myself.
By my senior year, I had been listening to BTS for three years. The positivity and comfort their lyrics hold has never made me falter, it's only made me want to become a better person. There is no language barrier when it comes to them — no matter what language they speak, their words are genuine and kind. I will say it was hard for me to start putting trust in myself, and I'm still learning how to, but I know that every little accident, mistake, or slip up that I may have made is what has led me to the person I am today.
There's a saying within the BTS fandom that says, "You found BTS when you needed them most." I find that to be very true.
They came to me when I was probably at my lowest and they have been teaching me to build myself up and love who I am.
They have been a blanket of comfort during my darkest times and I have grown immensely since I have found them. Some days I will have my mask on hiding what I'm feeling, but other days I know it's okay to show my true self. Learning to love myself is not something I have learned overnight, nor is it something I completely understand, but I know that I'm not alone and will never be alone. The most important thing that discovering BTS has taught me is to trust myself. My journey to loving myself is not over, I continue to grow daily. I not only have myself, but I have BTS and their music by my side.