Love. My parents showed me what love is, and for child-me, love didn’t mean anything much beyond my family. Then, adult-me “met” seven people from across the world and they reminded me to love myself as much as I loved everyone close to me. Till then, I hadn’t realized that somewhere along the way from child-me to adult-me I had lost that function of my mind.
After my graduation in 2017, I had a lot of days where I didn’t want to wake up and face the day. Days when the hopelessness and uncertainty chipped away at my mental health. I didn’t know how to stop it. Everything and everyone seemed to be moving forward, but I was there, just stuck with no way out. Every door I opened was either a dead end or was shut in my face. However much I tried I couldn’t hold onto a positive thought or feeling for long. I had found BTS a month after my graduation, but for a few months I was only a casual listener. Gradually, they became my rock and whatever strength or happiness I felt during those days was linked to BTS’s music and BTS.
December 2017 was the month my mental health took the biggest hit, though I still don’t know why. I think I was not hiding everything well that month because a few days before Christmas my mom asked me why I was so down lately. Because I couldn’t say it out loud, I wrote it down on a piece of paper. After my mom read the note, I saw shock, sadness, and helplessness on her face, and so I took it back and said that it was just a phase and that it would go away. Just like an annoying cold. I realized then that opening up to my family and close friends would only lead to awkwardness and pity, and I already did that very well all on my own. During that lonely time, BTS was the one who took hold of my hand and I never let go. Maybe the universe knew that I would need a light to guide me back and led me to find these seven amazing human beings — true to the well-known fact within our fandom “BTS comes into our life when we need them the most.” 2020-me has come a long way from 2017-me. If I hadn’t, I think I would have given up amidst all the top-notch uncertainty and suffocating chaos that makes up 2020. Of course, like everyone else, I am still a work-in-progress. I still have those bad days/weeks/months. I still fall down, and sometimes when I do, I feel like I don’t want to get back up because my mind keeps asking “What’s the point anyway?” There are days when all my defense mechanisms fail and I am back at that cold place. Even through all that sadness though, I can remind myself that I’m not horribly alone because I have seven beautiful voices that keep me company, constantly cheering me on.
No one around us will truly understand how or why we feel such a deep connection with them and why we love them so much, and each ARMY will have their own answer to those questions. For me, it was because with them I always felt understood and heard. In “I Believe” and “Magic Shop,” Namjoon mentions a galaxy that we all have within us — all the yet-to-be discovered aspects of ourselves, the immense strength deep within. Some people find out about it on their own and some people like me need someone else to show it or bring it out of them, because it might be buried under all the fears we have. BTS was that someone for me. Their music, their words, their laughs, their smiles, their passion, their determination, their diligence, their courage, their confidence, their humility, their vulnerability, their warmth, their sincerity, their love, their wonderful selves, all inspire me and guide me to a better me. Every day I learn to love myself more, see myself more, cherish myself more, all because of them. Seven young guys who set out to do what they love and be a voice for their peers changed my life without even knowing me. Through them, I found a big community that shows me every day that love connects us all even through all our differences. They — RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook . . . Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook . . . BTS — taught me to believe in myself and to appreciate myself more. They taught me that life is about enjoying both the little things as well as the big things. They taught me to trust again and brought all the color back into my life. They taught me to dream multiple dreams. They taught me to be free. They taught me that getting back up after falling down is what matters. They taught me that as long as I am happy, living as I am is enough. These seven wonderful human beings taught me the importance of love and the vastness of it. They became my strength, my support, my guides, my fire, my happiness, my hope, my warm blanket, my constant, my safe place, and my lights.
In a way, we are all always in a never-ending MMA match against Life. There are punches thrown, noses broken, legs twisted, and sometimes when we are lucky, we get guest opponents like doubt, fear, etc. We lose some rounds, we win some rounds, and some rounds end in a tie. It is exhausting because we are the only one fighting the opponents, but when you always have someone in your corner, it is not so bad. So, thank you for coming into my life and staying in my corner, BTS. I will always stay in your corner, too. I love you and I purple you.
Forever is too long a time to promise, but because it is you, I can.
Always and forever,
— Tina Thomas
@sosa_nico435. (United Arab Emirates)
Illustration By: Kit @thisiskeets (Twitter) / @jellyfishcakes (Instagram)
Thomas, T. (2021). A thank you essay to my seven forever loves. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , (2). https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/a-thank-you-essay-to-my-seven-forever-loves
Thomas, Tina. “A Thank You Essay to My Seven Forever Loves.” The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , no. 2, 2021, https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/a-thank-you-essay-to-my-seven-forever-loves.
A Thank You Essay to My Seven Forever Loves by Tina Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
© Tina Thomas 2021