Bang! Tan! Sonyeondan!

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Sometime late in October last year, a kpop group called BTS sparked my curiosity.

My four-year kpop phase ended in 2009, when members left my favourite groups because of a “scandal” or a lawsuit. Jay Park (then called Jaebeom) left 2PM. Hangeng left Super Junior. Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu left TVXQ. They were my original kpop loves, and the losses broke my heart, so I did what any other jaded person does and swore off the genre completely.

I didn’t think I’d get sucked into a fandom because I’m in my mid-twenties and I got over kpop almost a decade ago.

But here I am now, wishing I owned an ARMY bomb so I can wave it around when I go to the BTS concert in Hamilton on September. I’m not back on my old kpop phase though. I only follow Bangtan, similar to how I follow my favourite artists.

Quickly: How I feel into the rabbitARMY hole.

First, I went on YouTube and watched a couple music videos, because I heard they’re good dancers. I wanted to see if it’s true or just fans blinded by their love for their oppas. Then before their appearance on the AMAs, I wanted to know their names. Like, if I can learn each one of the 13 members of SuJu, I can learn 7, right?

Because watching groups and trying to figure out who’s who feels a lot like this:

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One hour and maybe 10 videos later, I learned their stage names, real names, and a few BTS memes. One week later, I was a closet ARMY, secretly listening to a “BTS Essentials” playlist on Apple Music during my commute to and from school. After Googling translations of the songs one day, I knew I’ll be a fan until the end. Hell, I’m stanning them harder than I did SuJu or 2PM. And eventually, I came out to my family sometime during the holidays.

To be quite honest, their music helped me a lot late last year. So on this day, their 5th anniversary as a group, I’m dedicating this post to the seven songs that got me through the last eight months…

7. Tomorrow

Continue reading “Bang! Tan! Sonyeondan!”

Be your own (fucking) hero.

I am writing this as I play BTS’s “Anpanman” on repeat and after watching the latest episode of Boku No Hero Academia with my sister. After the episode, I was telling her how this one BTS song from the new album gives me massive Hero Aca vibes.

Heroes are something we’ve always had around us growing up. They’re mostly in fiction – from Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura to Frodo Baggins and Harry Potter. There’s always something special about those characters – something mere mortals like myself thought I didn’t possess – that made them heroes.

As a kid, when shit happened, I would wish I had something special about myself too. Or knew someone who had it, so I can be saved. Growing up on Disney movies conditioned me to wanting a knight in shining armour or a prince charming to save me.

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But why can’t I save myself? Why do I feel the need for someone else to do it for me, when I know I have the potential to do it better?

Continue reading “Be your own (fucking) hero.”

If you want it, then I want it.

My favourite songs tend to have lyrics that move me or hit my core to the extent that I am reminded of feelings and fears I have buried deep down and tried to forget. I tend to value the words in a song more than the beat or the music itself simply because I don’t know much about music, just text. The beat and the rhythm add to the emotion that I feel from the words. And with all of it combined, I lose myself.

Lykke Li‘s going to release a new album on the 8th, and from the songs she’s released and teased early this year, I know it will tear me apart just like I Never Learn did four years ago. “No Rest For The Wicked” is and will always be my song (among others), but when I heard “utopia”, a few tears were shed right before I added it to my main playlist.

 

I see, I see, I see a light in your eyes and I want it
It’s burning bright like a fire from a comet
Take your heart out the box, I won’t harm it
If you want it then I want it

We could be utopia, utopia
You and me, utopia, utopia

There’s an old Tagalog saying that is the equivalent of “if there’s a will, there’s a way”, but I like the Tagalog one more. Kung gusto, may paraan; kung ayaw, may dahilan. It can be translated to: If you want it, you’ll find a way, and if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Continue reading “If you want it, then I want it.”

Hungry for good things.

 

We all have a hunger

Florence + The Machine is one of my favourite artists of all time. Ceremonials got me through some rough times, especially “Shake It Out”, “No Light, No Light”, and “Never Let Me Go”. Even back when I never paid for music, I spent my hard-earned McDonald’s money on all the albums because I love her music that much. The lyrics speak to the core of my broken soul. The melody mends my fractured spirit and lifts it back up to where the light is. When I have my dark days, I put on Ceremonials on repeat until I am cleansed of the darkness.
Continue reading “Hungry for good things.”

Escaping out the ‘Fire Exit’

[Trigger Warning: self-harm]

No Exit is the first existentialist work I’ve read by Jean-Paul Sartre. I had to read it for a philosophy class in my second year, and it acknowledged my idea of an afterlife that is pretty much in limbo. It’s about three damned souls in a hotel room, waiting for the punishment of the sins they’ve committed when they were alive. Only there was no fiery abyss, no torture chamber… so what was the punishment? I remember one line that read:

“Hell is other people”

And they’re meant to basically suffer in each other’s company for all eternity. They’re dead, so they cannot die again even if they stab themselves over and over. Shit like that can drive you mad. At least I believe so.

And as the title suggests, there’s no exit. No end to their suffering.

There are many moments I find myself searching for an escape.
Continue reading “Escaping out the ‘Fire Exit’”

Just (burning) desserts.

You know pain the same way you know falling in love. All too well. And it has left you bruised up and broken like a busted light bulb unable to radiate once again. You know you can’t because you tried. The last few times, you were able to flicker, but the brightness did not last long enough. It may have lasted years, but the light died down. It seems to always return to darkness in the end and you have to unplug.

You’ve had that image of that broken light in you all this time. You’ve been carrying it with you since you flew to this crazy, cold country. That’s why it didn’t scare you to try and shop around for new things. Something that might bring that spark back up? You’re just going to test things out. You weren’t scared because you knew there’s nothing in you left to break.

Your heart had been broken years ago and it has stayed that way since. You believe you’ve had the love of your life, and it went to shit. Everything and every one else after could not compare, even though they’ve tried. You’ve tried too.

He was like you’ve tasted the best cake you’ve ever had. Perfect flavour, ideal consistency. But you had to give it up because that cake was damaging you in ways you didn’t realize until it was too late. That cake is the reason you still struggle with your own self-esteem. He wasn’t as great as you thought because he made you feel like shit. So you moved on, knowing you would never have that cake again, and you could go for ice cream instead anyway.

The problem is: you tasted one delicious ice cream that puts others to shame. Or was it more of an ice cream cake? You felt like it was an upgrade to your favourite cake, and it was satisfying. You had to have more, so you did. You forgot about what worries you had, let your walls down, and went in one spoonful at a time.

But like the cake before it, it consumed you as you consumed it. You’ve never had a healthy relationship with dessert. But you cannot put the spoon down. You’re pissed. You swear off all desserts, but you know yourself… You may be able to give up cake or ice cream, but you will always look for something sweet eventually.

So right now, you are frustrated at the thought of more dessert. But look at it this way. This feeling, that anger. That is proof you’ve still got something left in you to feel. You’re not as empty as you thought you were. You’ve still got a heart. It’s not as perfect as before, and others may break it today or tomorrow… but there’s still a spark left in you, so you can’t just give up.

Darling, you cannot play with fire without eventually getting yourself burned. Scorched. Charred.

xx

I gave up my resolution for Lent.

Remember when I declared finishing Tolstoy’s War & Peace (by reading one chapter a day) my one and only 2018 goal? Well…

I am about 350 pages behind on my reading.

Right now, I’m (jokingly) calling it as giving up my one and only resolution for Lent. I’m not even religious anymore, so it was a terrible joke to tell my traditional Asian parents to say the least. Sure, I pray from time to time because it’s therapeutic… but I haven’t gone to church in years. Not even for Christmas. Or New Year’s. So if that even counts as a thing to give up for Lent… no? I’m going to Hell? Yeah. I already know.

Anyway… Continue reading “I gave up my resolution for Lent.”

How I deal (spoiler alert: it is not good).

A few months back, my grandma stayed with us and I found her cooking dinner in the kitchen one afternoon. I had a terrible day at work, and my family isn’t the “let’s talk about it” type. I do not communicate my emotions well, or sometimes I find I just can’t do it well. So I grabbed a bottle and drank the problems away.

My grandmother saw me, her 20-something granddaughter, drinking a tall glass of beer alone at 5 in the afternoon. I saw her give my glass a look, that little, judgy, disapproving look that all grandmothers serve, then go back to her cooking. Part of me felt like I disappointed her a bit for following my grandfather’s footsteps (but he’s good now, he doesn’t have a drinking problem anymore).

In my head, I channelled my inner Brandi.

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When I find myself having writer’s block, I reach for a glass. When I’m feeling shitty, I pop a cork open. When I get disappointed (yet again) by another person, I grab a cold one. When I want to celebrate not spitting on some entitled, rude douchebag’s food, I DRINK TO THAT. Continue reading “How I deal (spoiler alert: it is not good).”

Dating game.

A few weeks ago, I started this draft after talking to my cousin who is also a writer. It was a little rant-slash-conversation about dating and men after I had an all-out, unfiltered conversation with my best friend over the same topic.

Relationships are tough. Dating is difficult. I hate “going out there” and “making myself marketable” for the sake of “not living the rest of my life alone”. Pardon the overuse of the quotations, it’s just I don’t necessarily agree with those. To an extent.

Because I am “out there”or here, I guess, wherever the fuck here may be. I am not closing doors (except the ones I’ve closed behind me). And I don’t have to make myself marketable. I’m not changing who I am to fit someone’s idea of a partner but role playing is a thing I am open to, but there is a time and place for that. And I’m not going to smile more so that people find me more approachable—I know I have a resting bitch face, DEAL WITH IT. Finally, I do not mind being alone. I will have my (future) dogs. And modernity and technology have made it so I can have kids either though artificial insemination or through adoption, the latter of which I prefer better.

And like I said, dating is difficult.

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Continue reading “Dating game.”

Count 1, 2, 3. Resuscitate.

I’m reviving this blog because, I want to. I didn’t really stop writing, I simply went back to writing more on my personal journal since I had to go through some things. Since I’ve gotten my life in order (sort of), I’m gonna try this blogging thing again.

So, what happened since my NYC trip eight months ago?

I started my fourth year of undergrad, and I’m currently on my final semester. Despite my age, I’m not really rushing into getting into “typical adulthood”. Fuck that. I’m going to live my life on a pace I am comfortable with. Kids? Marriage? No thank you, at least not now. If I hear any “biological clock ticking” from anyone, I will shove that clock–ok no, but I don’t care about no damn clock. There’s no race. I’ll get there when I get there.

For now, I am alive and that it all that matters.

“Love yourself. Love myself. Peace.” – Suga