Voice Over - Don't Call Me Artist
I am currently hooked on KPop and KDramas. I don’t know how this happened. Or I know the sequence of events, but I’m not entirely clear on the alchemical process that flipped the switch in my head from American politics to Korean idols. One day I’m obsessively following political twitter, reading the New York Times and listening to US political podcasts; The next I’m downloading Netflix Korean dramedies and mainlining EXO and K.A.R.D.
First I’m here, then I’m there. Change.
It’s moments like this that prove to me unequivocally that we don’t resist change; We just don’t like being told what to do. No one told me to start unpacking the mythology of BTS movie videos. Someone did tell me to stop following American political twitter… over two years ago. When Trump was elected, my husband declared that he wasn’t going to read the papers or pay attention to the news until that man was out of office. He refused to talk about it. We were by ourselves in a small van in Australia, and I nearly went out of my flippin’ mind. I was so angry. In campgrounds with wi-fi, I would slip out late at night while he was sleeping and drink down the New Yorker and Washington Post like a hard core news junkie. #resist
Fast forward and I’ve suddenly lost interest. Arguably, I’ve also somewhat lost the will to live on this subject, but mostly I’ve just changed. I manage my simple news needs with brief morning dip into the major papers, use my discretionary twitter time instead to keep an eye on Jimen and V as they start their world tour, and my evening hours trialing C Dramas (Chinese) and J Dramas (Japanese of course).
If I could bottle that switch, put it in a framework, and reliably roll it out, I’d be able to radically increase my hourly consulting rate. Sadly, I don’t think that my experience is all that magical. In classic change curve language, Dean got to ‘denial’, eventually moved to ‘rage’, and is more or less simmering there without any effort to get over it. While it is true that I sloshed around the pit of despair at the bottom of the curve for a very long time, I think I’m back to baseline. I loathe the current situation, but it’s out of my circle of control. It’s also just absurd. The whole thing has reached such a banana republic state of absurdity that it no longer deserves my attention. I give up. Moving on. Looking forward.
You know what is forward for all of us? China, Korea, Asia in general. I don’t think it’s really a coincidence, my new obsession. I think that as usual my subconscious is paying more attention than my rational day brain. She’s easing me into a future where those countries on the global stage are more dominant politically, socially, culturally, and economically. This is particularly true for our small country on the lower edge of the Pacific. My back brain is telling me to get ready for more change.
Real resiliency is preparing in advance for possible futures, not in a morbid fearful way but in a positive, enthusiastic way. Maybe that is the clue to explain why it has taken so many of us so long to get past that man’s election. We weren’t prepared for it. None of us. The polls showed only a 1 in 4 chance and surely the American people wouldn’t be that stupid. Surely the UK wouldn’t Brexit. Surely Germans of all people wouldn’t hold white nationalist rallies ever again. Surely we’re not in literally the worst timeline that doesn’t include global thermonuclear war.
One of the most treacherous aspects of getting stuck in a dark part of the change curve is you stop loving yourself. You’re not a person that’s enjoyable to be around. All you think about or talk about is elements of your life over which you have little control and/or you refuse to move above and beyond. If the change is just an element… well people can work around it. “So she’s obsessed with US politics, most of the time that’s not what she talks about it.” If the element is large enough, big enough, it overwhelms your whole person. I felt that in the months after Dean was diagnosed -- like cancer was the only thing we were, the only thing we could be, the only thing anyone wanted to ask about.
Have you ever seen a BTS video? I recommend the new one: Idol. Literally the most energetic, enthusiastic, forward looking anthem you’re likely to witness. The theme is essentially a big middle finger at haters. Don’t hate us because we’re idols, we’re still artists. Don’t hate us because we’re popular globally, we’re still Korean. Don’t hate us because we’re successful, we’re still people and we still have feelings and passions and goals. And of course, for the English speaking viewers, the repetitive verse that pops “you can’t stop me loving myself” is irresistible. I ran it on a loop following the release this week. Bounce bounce bounce, you can’t stop me loving myself! Whoop whoop!
“고생 끝에 낙이 온다”
Go-saeng kkeut-e nag-i on-da
Translation - At the end of hardship comes happiness.
~ Korean proverb