A Family Affair

Summer 2018: “She’s a bit old to start fangirling”, I thought to myself, when my 18 year-old daughter began gushing about a Korean boy band. But since she rarely shared things dear to her heart, I happily listened, but without giving it further thought. (Months later I was surprised to discover that a song I grabbed from her Spotify playlist was in fact “Change” by Whale ft. RM.)

“Would you like to watch their latest MV?” she asked some time later. It was “Idol”, and I have to admit, it was overkill for me, optically, as well as musically, and I was like “Oooooookayyyy… not quite the music I’d choose for myself.” However, the next video she shared was “Spring Day”, and that was something else! I loved the track from the very first moment, and I was extremely intrigued.

That same summer, she explained that BTS were invited to the United Nations to give a speech. I was tremendously impressed by Namjoon, his words, and by the way he and the boys presented themselves. I still wasn’t quite sure why they were chosen to address the UN, but awe-struck on multiple levels. And by and by their music found its way into my playlists: “The Truth Untold”, “Epiphany”, “2! 3!”, “Mic Drop”…

Fast forward February 2019: The Love Yourself, Speak Yourself Tour was announced, and my girl, who already had missed their Berlin concert 2018, was determined to watch one of the Paris shows. However, as a student, she was always short of money, and needed her parents to assist. As it happens, I love the city of Paris, so my only thought was: “When she’s going, I will, too!” And since I was paying for the trip, she was fine with that. “So will you join me for the concert, too?” she inquired, and without a moment’s hesitation, I said yes. These guys are nice to look at and make amazing music – so why wouldn’t I go? But she added, “If you’re really attending, you have to know who’s who and a lot more!” So, she made me learn their names, get to know their discography, and watch their content. That’s when I started slipping over the edge. I will never forget the day they performed “Make it Right” at Colbert’s Late Show. They were sitting still, so I could practice their names. And I finally discovered which one of them was able to give me chills by the little growls in his voice.

Paris, 06-08-2019: It was the first time in ages that I’d been to a concert, and I was thunderstruck by their performances, stage presence, and by the mere atmosphere of a BTS concert.

They reached out for me then, and I’ve never let go. However, it wasn’t until fall that I would dare call myself Army. I remember watching a stream of the final Seoul concert, and crying like I never had before, because music never had affected me like that. They are able to touch something deep inside of me, something I had kept closed for the better part of my life — the part, where my feelings live, where everything is weak and raw and easily hurt — the part, I had stored away, because that was what I had learned as a kid: “Don’t show others that you’re weak. Don’t give them a chance to hurt you. Don’t cry over meaningless stuff.”

I’m so thankful that BTS was finally able to crack open that shell! I’m still struggling with my feelings, and afraid to show my weaknesses, but it’s getting better. BTS and Army are by my side, I’m on my way to accept myself, and maybe even one day, to love myself. I will forever be grateful for

  • their music
  • the joy they spread
  • the inspiring thoughts they plant in my head
  • the wonderful people I met thanks to them
  • intensifying the bond between my beloved daughter and me
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