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Growing up, one thing I loved to do was writing. It brought me so much joy. I had notebooks filled to the brim with story ideas, stories in progress, and character backgrounds. In middle school and high school, I used to spend all of my free time in my room, writing. Writing was my escape from my boring and mundane life and into a more vibrant one.
As an awkward, pimply-faced teenager, confidence was not something that I possessed at all. But insecurity? I had a lot of that. I did not grow up in the most emotionally supportive family. My mother was often quick to criticize and slow to show affection. I had a difficult time seeing the good in myself, lamenting over how I was lacking in everything. Simply put, I didn’t feel like I was good enough. Good at beating myself down, and keeping myself there.
My self-loathing only worsened as time went by. As I entered university, I started feeling less motivated to write. I often compared myself to other people, and it felt like whatever I would produce, it would be worthless in comparison. My thoughts started to manifest themselves to the point where the thought of writing stressed me out. The creative spark had gone out. Writing was no longer my solace, my source of joy now a burden. I was frustrated and disappointed with myself. Eventually, I set my pen and notebook aside and gave up writing, retreating into the abyss instead.
Life began to go by in shades of blue and grey. Insecurity and inadequacy, like shadows, followed me through university and into adulthood. After graduating from university, I moved to Japan and became an assistant English teacher, but work felt unsatisfying. The weird thing was, I knew that I had to do something to improve myself and my situation, but I was unable to do anything. I was always hesitant to try anything new because I feared failure. What if it didn’t work out? What if I won’t be good enough? I was stuck in this loop of negativity and hopelessness. My own abyss, but somehow, it seemed safer here than trying something new.
It was in 2016 that I met BTS on this strange journey called life. I was introduced to BTS by a few of my students who were also K-pop fans. I was already stanning a few K-pop groups at this time so I was open to hear about their recommendation.
“You have to check out BTS!” one said enthusiastically, a sparkle in her eyes.
“There are seven members, and they’re all really cool. But Jungkook is my favorite!” another student beamed. “You should listen to their song ‘Dope’!”
And so, I did. That night, I turned on my computer, went on YouTube, and searched BTS “Dope.” I was impressed by not only how good-looking they all are and their amazing dancing skills but also by their positive energy. Although the song was in a totally different language, I somehow felt the meaning. After the first listen, I played the video again but with the subtitles on. Instead of regurgitating themes often found in mainstream music, BTS seemed to carry a stronger message, one of hope and resilience to their listeners. Music and artist for healing.
In the darkness, a small spark ignited.
I decided to look more into BTS, to learn more about their message as artists, falling into the rabbit hole as I went. I watched more interviews and Run BTS!, checked out more of their discography, and looked at the song lyrics. The lyrics resonated with me the most, feelings and thoughts so eloquently captured in the songs. Songs like “everythingoes,” “The Last,” and “Epiphany” never fail to bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes, it pains me to listen to them because it feels like my own feelings or thoughts, but at the same time, it is comforting to know that I am not alone.
Life became more vibrant again. I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn about the BTS universe and the storyline. Watching their music videos, I was intrigued by the way in which they tell a story. Even the most trivial of things held a significant meaning; everything had a place in the narrative. The dark void that I had become consumed in was now bathed in a purple light. Story ideas started popping up, and I felt like I had to write them down quickly before they slipped away. I took my pen and notebook out, jotting everything down. And when I finished, I felt impressed by what I had accomplished. I hadn’t written anything in almost years that I almost forgot how happy it made me feel. A small part of me that I thought had died was alive again.
On this journey with BTS, I have learned so much. Thanks to them, I was introduced to an array of literature and art, while opening my mind to a whole new world of knowledge and perspective. In order to achieve self-love, it is important to accept all the sides of yourself, even the bad and the ugly. In doing so, you can become whole. On this journey to self-love, there will be times when it feels like one step forward and two steps back, and that’s completely fine. Be kind to yourself. It is okay to take breaks, as long as you keep on going.
Another thing I have learned is that it is okay to ask for help. I respect how members of the group openly talk about mental health and how they’re seeing a therapist, and they have inspired me to do the same. After years of convincing myself that I did not need help, I decided to take counseling. This has made great improvements in my life. Rather than being stuck in a loop, it feels like I’m on a road to endless possibilities. It is still scary, but like J-Hope sings in “Ego,” I have to “just trust myself.”
“You gave me the best of me, so you’ll give you the best of you. You’ll find it, the galaxy within you.” — “Magic Shop” by BTS
I cannot put into words how much I appreciate everything these seven boys from South Korea have done. I will always be thankful for the way they use their platform to promote positivity, empathy, self reflection, and self-love. In this chaotic, turmoil-filled world, BTS is a beacon of hope, a living reminder that things will get better, that you are valid and important. I will always be thankful for them reminding us of the abilities and strengths we already possess, of the galaxy that resides in each and every one of us.
I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t discovered BTS. Perhaps in a less colorful, a less purple headspace. But I’m here now, writing about how BTS has changed my life. Confidently, I can say that there’s no other place I’d rather be.
— Aimeelee Vinas
Assistant English teacher just enjoying this adventure called life. (Japan)
Illustration credit: @thisiskeets (twitter) / @jellyfishcakes (IG)
Vinas, A. (2021). Colour me purple. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , (2). https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/colour-me-purple
Vinas, Aimeelee. “Colour Me Purple.” The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , no. 2, 2021, https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/colour-me-purple.
Color Me Purple by Aimeelee Vinas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
© Aimeelee Vinas 2021