Truth Untold - Thoughts on BTS

Everything contained herein is my solely my own personal thoughts and feelings.

If you are a fan of my work or Aeon Dream Studio’s, then you might notice I have been quiet lately. Since this is my personal website, I thought I could be honest here. I’m an intensely private person in many ways, but right now I want to speak out because there’re people that I want to help. Unfortunately, there are things I can’t say. I wish more than anything I could speak candidly about what I think, but I don’t yet have enough power to be able to do that. All I can do is hint to those things I can’t say and urge you all to think for yourselves.

I’ve lost focus lately. I didn’t even realize it was happening. I’m used to going through ups-and-downs, with focus, with creativity, but this one I didn’t recover from. It’s been next to impossible to be passionate about my work lately, and as I waited to be able to give my best, time kept passing on with no change. It’s true that there are personal things going on in my life, but there always has been. So why was it different this time? With BTS’ Jin’s statement about them potentially disabanding at MAMA 2018, I feel that a spell has been broken, and I understand why it is that I cannot work.

Tracing things back, I feel like my focus has been scattered since the injury of Jungkook (JK). I’ve never really spoken publicly about this, but he is an important person to me. That’s an understatement, but there are some things even writers can’t put into words. He has become many different things to many people, and I think all of those feelings and thoughts are valid for each one of us.

JK is an eternal inspiration and comfort to me. For me, it’s not about his looks, or what he can do, but the beautiful soul inside. That is the person who was able to inspire me to change my life years ago, and continues to be my motivation to push forward. I’m not when sure things became like this, but I don’t mind it anymore. When I first started watching him, and the rest of BTS, at first, they were all a wonderful light in my life and that of my friends. But over time - perhaps partially due to being an empath - I felt that I could see BTS’ struggles. Especially JK’s.

For you, I could pretend like I was happy when I was sad.

For you, I could pretend like I was strong when I was hurt.
— FAKE LOVE lyrics

It was very hard for me because at that time, years ago, it wasn’t many ARMYs that saw BTS as the vulnerable humans in a difficult situation that they were. Outwardly speaking about it…I knew it would just make people upset. So for years, we simply watched and stayed silent. But things got worse, as their fame increased. I wanted to do something for BTS, both to give back, and to help others maybe see what they were going through. I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless.

So I created To the Edge of the Sky, which was formerly a tribute game to BTS. Yes, although I didn’t know if we’d ever tell anyone, the honest truth is that To the Edge of the Sky was written to parallel what it might be like in a high pressure situation with little freedom. I wanted to show the struggles and pain of similar people in this kind of situation. I couldn’t say what I saw and thought directly, so this was all I could do. I hope that those of you who have played it can look back on that experience with new eyes, knowing that it was created with this intent. I just wanted fans to try and think about what it might be like for BTS a little more.

I was so grateful when Burn the Stage came out. Finally, I hoped that I would learn more about what caused the pain I was seeing, and I hoped that ARMY would open their eyes and see the reality of their job. And for many, I think that it did. Gradually, I have seen the fandom mature on its own. ARMYs are always impressing me now. The fandom has changed so much from those early days of 2016 when I came in.

But, that wasn’t enough to change things. I knew that BTS would still need to speak out before things could change. And in a way, they did. The content of their music changed. I believed they were finally trying to express the feelings they had inside.

You know that I can’t
Show you me
Give you me
I can’t show you a ruined part of myself
Once again I put a mask on and go to see you
— The Truth Untold lyrics

I know first-hand that artists use art to express the strongest feelings in their soul. So, although it was painful to see the truth I had suspected confirmed, I was happy.

Still though, things didn’t change. And things continued to get worse as ARMYs push BTS higher and higher. I have been blessed to see BTS perform five times. The most recent is when I was able to see them at their Citi Field performance. It felt so vastly different from the energy of the first time I saw them in 2016 at Kcon. Seeing them all alone on that incredibly huge stage with 50,000 people behind me… I wasn’t able to enjoy the concert.

And then JK got injured a few days later. I was upset and immediately worried, not about the injury itself so much as the mental toll it would take on a performer to not be able to perform, but still have to be on stage. This is a man who left the hospital after being diagnosed with the flu to perform comeback shows in 2016. I knew that, were I him, it would kill me and I would blame myself. Fans know how JK subsequently cried on stage that day, and if you’ve watched his V live in October, you’ll know that he said he struggled immensely afterward.

I’m feeling just fine, fine, fine

I’ll yell it out myself

Casting a spell

On this repeating nightmare.
— I'm Fine lyrics

Blaming himself, drinking until he fell asleep, wishes that he could be happy even when he is thirty (and his current contract will be over)…These were all mentioned by him. Finally, I saw ARMYs being concerned in the comments. It was a bittersweet feeling, seeing other fans feel like I do. Pained that we can’t do anything more. I personally believe that that event would have been traumatic for anyone, and has taken its toll in ways we can’t know.

We’ve seen JK release tons of selcas in December, and chat with fans on fan cafe. Some fans are thankful for the increased interaction, but anyone who knows JKs usual social activity can tell he’s done a 180 this month for the first time since he began his career. I’ve seen fans worried. About the change in JK’s behavior. About his loneliness and drinking. About Hobi breaking down crying like he did. Tae breaking down like he did. About JK and Tae’s fan cafe letter…Both of which mentioned an “ending” for the first time.

And finally, Jin bravely revealed the truth about their situation on stage in front of everyone at MAMA 2018. I had suspected the whole time, but to hear it…Again, it’s a bittersweet feeling. Getting confirmation that everything I and my friends had suspected for years was true…Seeing the fallout from some ARMYs beginning to wake up and open their eyes…It was a wake-up call for me too. To get serious about trying to help, not only artists everywhere, but BTS themselves. My friends and I discussed what we could do and came up with a few ideas.

But first and foremost, I decided to risk it all and be honest about my feelings. Because of the courage of many ARMYs who began to speak out to help, and because of the ARMYs that spoke out in concern. I saw ARMYs that said BTS should do whatever they need to do to be happy, ARMYs that realized they had been too emotionally dependent upon BTS and that it was dangerous for both of them. …ARMYs mentioning Jonghyun. There is so much anxiety in the fandom as people re-evaluate all they know.

I thought the time had finally come to do whatever I could do, too. Maybe all I can do is write, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed to start a change. A voice in the silence, a light in the darkness. I think that’s what BTS has been for many people. And I think that’s what they need right now.

I think that BTS should know that there are ARMYs that want them to be happy more than they want them to be BTS. That there are ARMYs that will support whatever it is they want to do, or NEED to do, to be happy and healthy, no matter if they are BTS or not. That ARMYs will be fine whenever they do decide to end things. I felt like JK and Tae, in their fan cafe letters, were trying to comfort ARMYs and hope that what they have done as BTS, that the memories they have given everyone, will be enough to continue to provide that comfort.

I think that if they knew their precious fans will be okay, no matter what happens in the future, that that would give any artist peace of mind to do whatever they need to do. But I want to say to everyone that is feeling concerned about things in the future…It’s okay. Endings must come at some point. But they also mean new beginnings. In order to have a happy new beginning, I think we all need to have a hand in making sure the ending, whenever it comes, is as happy as possible.

For me, I want to let them know it’s okay… It’s okay to feel whatever it is they are feeling lately. It’s okay to rest whenever they decide it’s time. It’s okay to put their own happiness and health first. That they have given the world more than enough.

JK in particular is always saying that he hopes ARMYs will be happy, and that he takes comfort in comforting others. For me, I think that I discovered I can’t be happy if he isn’t. Whatever form his happiness takes, whatever path that is, whether or not it’s in the public eye, or if it’s music or something else, I want to support it. I would not be who I am without him, and I can’t just stay silent anymore when I think he and BTS are struggling.

Whatever form happiness takes for BTS, I want to support that, no matter what it looks like. And I want them to know that the love true fans have for them isn’t conditional. That we love them no matter if they are BTS, or just themselves. That ARMY will always exist even if BTS doesn’t. I hope you’ll join me in telling them that. I think that knowing that could lighten their burden, maybe enough for them to be able to choose their personal happiness.

For me, because of their bravery, I think I’ve begun to rediscover my passion. I want to help them, and other artists. I want to advocate for artists, and I want to continue to tell stories that give voices to the voiceless and comfort those in pain. My voice is small right now, but I will keep speaking until I’m heard.