It’s my favorite international holiday today: BTS’ Suga’s birthday.
My timeline is filled with Min Yoongi fanart (from Agust D-inspired ones to those alluding to the fan-given nickname Li’l meow meow) and edits. I get to see BTS tweet photos and videos of him that they’ve been saving for this occasion. But most importantly, I get to spend the day fondly looking back on the reasons why I chose him as my emotional support K-pop boy.
Even if you’re not an ARMY, you don’t have to look too hard on the internet to find at least one article talking about how one of the biggest draws to BTS is the comfort they provide their fans. Sure, Suga can make me instantly happy by doing his trademark :] expression and gummy smile. But it’s his messages (not so novel but delivered with kindhearted conviction) that I carry in my heart like prayers. Yes, it’s ridiculously sappy hours.
“Giving up decisively also counts as courage”
When he released his “D-2” mixtape last May, “Burn It” wasn’t one of my top tracks on my first listen. But then we got the translated lyrics and one particular line struck so many of us: “I hope you don’t forget that giving up decisively also counts as courage.”
The line is similar to something he said to comfort an ARMY during a “Kkul FM 06.13” (Suga’s radio talk show-style live)” episode. One fan told him in the comments, “I gave up on my dream.” Suga replied, “I don’t know what circumstances you were in, but I think you must have had tremendous courage. Giving something up decisively takes lots of courage. And you worked hard. Fighting.”
Society often dictates that we should work toward dreams and have careers if we don’t want to waste our lives. We develop inferiority complexes (hello, life crises!) even though we should really pat ourselves on the back for trying at all. Suga reminds us that it’s also not easy to let things go.
“It may feel like your world is collapsing when you don’t get the results that you want, but that’s not true. That’s not how our lives work.”
One of my all-time favorite V Lives is the one titled “SUGA’s Interlude,” which Suga streamed after his collaboration with Halsey dropped in 2019. The track is about falling in and out of love with your craft and fans had a little chat with him about their own struggles—as fellow artists and regular people.
One ARMY asked him for advice on overcoming a slump and he said, “You just have to keep going. Don’t think. Just keep going. Don’t put too much thought into what you’re doing. Then one day, you’ll realize you’ve grown dramatically. This is the truth.” It’s nice to hear this from someone who has a reputation for being able to constantly churn out good music.
The live is filled with other tender words of support like “It may feel like your world is collapsing when you don’t get the results that you want, but that’s not true. That’s not how our lives work” and “Everything will be fine. I guarantee you. It will all work out.” Where can I get a Magic 8-Ball that’s just filled with his words for when I need a quick pick-me-up?
“If we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help.”
Mental health is a key point of discussion in a lot of BTS interviews. In a conversation with Billboard, Suga responded when asked about depression in the idol industry, “I really want to say that everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad, and if we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say that we miss someone when we miss them.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Suga said that depression should be talked about as openly as we talk about a common cold. He’s right. We don’t need kid gloves when talking about mental health issues. Personally, it makes me feel so much better if I’m not made to feel like something’s really wrong with me just because I have this illness.
“There is this culture where masculinity is defined by certain emotions, characteristics. I’m not fond of these expressions.”
As an LGBTARMY™, I tend to interpret some of their quotes in a way that fits my own experiences more. Suga once told Esquire, “There is this culture where masculinity is defined by certain emotions, characteristics. I’m not fond of these expressions. What does being masculine mean? People’s conditions vary day by day.” I have since regarded it as a sort of balm whenever I feel like an impostor for being nonbinary.
The BTS members shouldn’t have to look or act a certain way to be accepted by their peers and taken seriously. It’s the same case for me too. We might be facing different things but Suga makes me realize that maybe they’re not too different.
— Esquire (@esquire) February 24, 2021
“Don’t blame yourself. When it’s hard, you can rely on us.”
It’s cheesy but a mantra that’s something in the lines of “living is hard but we’ll get through it together” can be so potently positive. In an interview with Dispatch’s Dicon magazine, Suga left this message of encouragement: “The world has never had you dream, or taught you anything. And then you say it’s your fault. But it isn’t your own. Don’t blame yourself. When it’s hard, you can rely on us. If someone is having it hard, please be their support. This is the reason I started music. That our music could become a small strength.”
I often think about how we’re able to share burdens in parasocial relationships like those between fans and idols. Sometimes, what you need besides an IRL shoulder to cry on is to be told by someone you admire greatly that it’s not your fault that you’re having a difficult time. Thanks for being my life coach, Min Yoongi.
Art by Neal Alday
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