🌸Ahjummas Story Time🌸

✨ Change ✨

By: Jamie

Wow, how do I begin to express the impact BTS has been in my life. I've always imagined that by the age of 40 I'd have things figured out and be this confident adult. I never imagined myself in a fandom, starting a fan account at the age of 39. So how did this happen? Well, here's my story...

I've been listening to kpop for a long time, since the 90s. You can imagine how happy I am now that it's actually popular. Talk about feeling like an oddball; listening to music in a foreign language back then meant two things, you're weird or a FOB (Fresh off the Boat). Since I was born in the US I guess it meant that I was just weird. 

I grew up being taught that I should try to fit in, not get noticed and just get by. If someone is in trouble, don't get involved, why bring trouble to yourself. If something is not right, unjust...just let it go, be a doormat. All of these contributed to how I lived as an adult but deep down inside I knew something was wrong. First off, I am different, very different and I knew that at a very young age so trying to fit in was like trying to stick a triangle in a circular hole. Second of all when I saw injustice or someone in need, I knew I should do or say something about it but I couldn't.

As an adult, I've learned that I've suppressed myself so much and I'm SO cautious that I've become useless to myself and society. This is when BTS came into my life and changed it all.  

It began with Dope (of course). When I first watched the MV and saw the lyrics it immediately inspired me. What stood out to me about BTS was the precision in how they danced, their uniformity, their hard work (song lyrics). With each comeback I remember thinking oh their just a passing band I like, I'll move on. It never happened, why? Because of who they are, because of what they believe in. 

It's been such an amazing journey watching them grow into men. They truly inspire me. The song that ultimately tipped me over the edge was Not Today and Change. I remember listening to the teaser for Not Today and thinking oh I don't think I'll like it that much, it's too hardcore for me. But when I read the lyrics and saw the MV which I watched a gazillion times, it hit me so hard. It was like the anthem that I needed to start standing up for the things I believe in!

I have an old pastor who does advocacy for the homeless, immigrants, black lives and so much more. I have him on my timeline and I see him day in and day out fighting for the underdogs. I soooo wanted to be a part of it but was too chicken to. One month after Not Today was released RapMon and Wale released Change. Another blow at me to wake up! Stand up! Do something!

I called up my old pastor and met with him, telling him I am so inspired by what he does but am so scared to stand up and fight. He was so gracious, non-judgmental and encouraging.

This is my pastor watching RM & Wale’s “Change.”

This is my pastor watching RM & Wale’s “Change.”

I'd like to say that after I met him I became a big advocate for the underdogs but I'm not. For me to gain courage to fight for others I learned that I first have to fight for myself. I have to learn to "love myself" enough that what others say about me will not crush me. My courage right now is allowing myself to be seen and with that I am finding my voice and standing up whenever I can. 

Wow, I was actually going to tell a totally different story but this one came out instead! I have too many BTS life-changing stories to share. I think I'll save it for another edition of Ahjumma Story Time. Thank you ARMYs for caring for one another and reading each other's stories. I learn so much from all of you! Oh gosh yes! That's another story I'd like to tell one day. The impact young ARMYs have had on me! But again, I'm not writing a novel here. I should stop. Thank you BTS! Thank you ARMY! ~ Jamie 🐌

🐌 This is me & my mini ARMY in the back. 🐌

🐌 This is me & my mini ARMY in the back. 🐌

🌸Ahjummas Story Time🌸 ~Meesh Edition

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016

Twelve years ago (2007), I enrolled my son in a local taekwondo studio.  I knew nothing about martial arts, it was location that brought us to this studio. The instructors were enthusiastic and friendly, but what sealed the deal was that they gave him a paper with “philosophy” on it. Each belt level had to learn different aspects of Korean TKD as well as some general culture.  The homeschool mom in me was thrilled, physical education plus cultural studies, where do we sign?  

Nine years later, I was introduced to Kdrama From there I began listening to some K-pop mostly OST's. One of the older girls at my daughter's ballet school also happened to watch K-dramas and we would often chat about them between rehearsals and classes. One day she told me she had been too distracted by a kpop group to keep up with the dramas we'd been watching.  She told me about BTS and said I should really go on YouTube and check them out.  I have to admit I just couldn't fathom that anything found on YouTube could hold my interest.  

Several months later I went to KCON for the first time.  At one of the vender booths I found a variety of BTS stickers.  I immediately texted my dancer friend and asked who her favorite (I had not learned the term ‘bias’ yet) was from BTS so I could get her some.  I remember asking the girl behind the counter to help me decide which J-hope & Suga stickers to get for her. I was not at all familiar with even their names at this point. That changed when I got home and gave her her stickers.  She was genuinely thrilled and happy, so much so, I felt compelled to find out just who these boys were that a couple stickers would make her so happy (and would keep her from K-dramas).

She suggested that I watch the Dope MV.  That was it, game over, I was in.  I could not believe a group could be so coordinated, so in sync, so GOOD.  I proceeded to spend the next 8 months or so sending daily Bangtan bombs, vlives, pictures, and songs to two fellow kdrama watchers. We all became fast fans and even eventually went to Wings tour in Anaheim together.

By this time I had also enrolled in taekwondo and was well on my way to black belt.  In 2017, I earned my black belt, took a trip to Korea with our studio, was attempting to learn Korean and I had help start a small group chat of other older fans of BTS. The Hallyu wave swept me up! I had made friends from all over the world.  

I found BTS at a time in my life that was happy & full of good things. I didn't need them, but they brought me a joy that was consuming.  I have gone through several hardships since finding them & I am grateful every day that they are a part of my life.  They inspire me to work harder, to be better, to give more and to love who I am.