Don’t trust anyone but yourself with your faves.
I like kpop. This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me or who has in passing read my blog on occasion. While I’ve liked idols and groups, I’ve never really been part of any fandoms. Sure I like EXO, but would I consider myself an EXO-L? No. I’ve been a fan for years and only bought my first physical album last year, and only because we were in Seoul, and only because we went to the SM-Store… by mistake. It was at the mall where the aquarium was (which was amazing by the way).
Lightsticks, fansigns, fanmeets, photobooks were stuff I appreciated, but didn’t really care about. I was obsessed with P101 Season 1, and I voted! I.O.I are probably my favourite girl group, I’ve watched all their variety appearances and stages (on Youtube), but I thought their first album was garbage, so I didn’t buy it. Which is why when the kpop bug truly bit me at the ripe old age of officially too old for this, I was shook. It all happened because onibugi was robbed! Rank #14, 미쳤어 ? Lemme explain.
Nu’est is a group I literally had no idea about until four of their members appeared on Produce 101 Season 2, a show where 101 male hopefuls battle it out to be the Top 11, and debut in an idol group for a year. While most of the participants were actual trainees, Nu’est were officially debuted idols of six years, I mean damn. Coming on a show with a few failed comebacks is one thing (lol DIA rip), but years of being an established idol? Competing with people who have only been trainees for two months? Humiliating. But that’s not the point of this post, we’re here to talk about what pushed me over the edge, what made a L.O.Λ.E (Nu’est fan), made me make a V Live account, purchase two albums from Amazon Prime and subscribe to KakaoTalk Music?
Only k-fans were allowed to vote, so I decided I wouldn’t become invested like with season one but then this episode happened.
Kim Jonghyun, the leader of Nu’est, just being a completely selfless leader for a stage of one of my favourite kpop songs. I was hooked. Every time he was on screen, he was being this kind, camera shy, selfless leader, who inspired all the trainees around him to be better skilled and better people. He didn’t take all the best parts for himself, instead ensuring the lower ranked trainees shone, that everyone suited their role and he took whatever was left.
As the episodes rolled around, his ‘Angel Edit’ earned him the nickname of, ‘Nation’s Leader’. Any group he was assigned to, he became the leader, and the members of those groups, went on to emulate his style of selfless leadership in other groups. Wanting to pass on the same care and support that he did for them. It became a given that he would be in the final 11. I mean, who else would lead the group if it wasn’t for him?
When he was announced as final rank #14, the whole stadium went silent. I was silent. No-one could believe it. How could he not be in the Top 11? I was so angry, fans were so shocked, and honestly I think that might have saved Nu’est from eternal nugudom (obscurity). Nothing brings a group back from the dead like the collective guilt of Korean idol fans. Within minutes, he was a trending topic on Twitter, soon Nu’est albums and songs climbed up the charts, then they were sold out. I went on Amazon Prime, bought two albums and spent three hours translating Korean terms and conditions in order to purchase a KakaoTalk Music pass in order to stream my favourite songs and help them climb the charts. Thanks to my bestie for helping me purchase it through iTunes ❤
The next day, I woke up still bitter and feeling only a little bit silly. I’d spent all this energy (and money oh god) on something so trivial. But then like? I don’t know, I felt mostly okay with it. Sure, my few streams and two albums are tiny in the grand scheme of things. Being annoyed about this is so utterly trivial, caring as much about it is so silly! But all this in a weird way reminded me that if you don’t, you can’t assume that someone else will. Not just in kpop (lol), but in life. So much of life is out of our control, but that doesn’t mean we give up because the little part we do is so small. Try. Try it anyway.
I’ve spent a lot of my time this past year, kind of low key freaking out about all the changes that have been happening because now so much of it is out of my control. Lots of the dreams I thought I was building, and things I was moving towards just aren’t going to happen anymore. So I kind of floated through, just letting my plans die through apathy. So my strong reaction to this, shocked me, I mean it really threw me. It’s been a while since I decided on something and made a decisive decision based on it. I felt the most like myself I’d been in months.
It’s kind of funny the things that happen in your life to snap you out of a funk. Apathy has it’s place, it’s a good cover when you’re not quite ready to deal just yet, but I think I’m ready to deal. It’s been a long time, but I’m back now.