I was screaming my lungs out and it felt like my heart was about to explode from pure joy. The memory of seeing my ultimate favorite K-Pop group live on stage for the very first time is still very much vivid to me. My legs hurt insanely as I had stood in line for about 8 hours! Then there were another 3 hours of jumping and dancing to the beat, all while trying my best to survive the crowd squeezing and pushing against me. It was such a crazy concert experience, but I felt nothing but genuine happiness. I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t stop smiling as I re-watched the fancams I took until months after the concert!
Previously on Part II of Fangirl Diaries, we heard personal stories about how difficult it is to be a K-Pop fangirl. It’s no easy hobby and the unique activities that come along with it can be absolutely draining at times. On the other hand, while being a K-Pop fangirl is undeniably tough, it can also be a very rewarding experience. For the final installment of the Fangirl Diaries, we will look at the golden sparkles that come with being a part of K-Pop fandom.
A Rewarding Experience
Chi has been organizing fan club events and projects with fellow BBPH (Bigbang Philippines) members for years. While these activities tend to be very difficult, she shares the inexplicable happiness she feels at the end of the day. She expresses how being part of Bigbang’s fandom affected her positively on a personal level and that it has even led to lasting friendships.
“It gives you this pure happiness, ‘yung tatagos sa puso mo’ (something that really goes through your heart). Say, you are in a very sad place and when you pop in their music, it saves you. When I go to concerts, it gives me this awesome, butterflies-in-your-tummy, heart-thumping kind of feeling. Not only that, being a fangirl allowed me to meet a lot of people along the way. That, for me, is very rewarding.”
For many K-Pop fans, official merchandise and albums are more than just material possessions. EXO collector Emma agrees. She told me how her collection preserves her priceless memories of her fangirl life.
“There is something about collecting, which I love. I love the fact that I can look through albums or watch concert DVDs from years ago and reminisce about that time period. In a way, my collection also serves as mementos of all these amazing moments which I will always be able to look back on. Well, there are times when I collect things simply because they are cute! I’m not sure if I can accurately describe the kind of happiness I feel, but I have to say that I am a sentimental person and I truly love adding things to my collection, which I know will always remind me of that precious time.”
“A lot of precious memories and friends have been made, and I would never trade what I’ve gained through my time spent fangirling over Chanyeol & EXO for anything.”
As for K-Pop Youtuber Gao Lo, she believes that her efforts of showing support contribute to the happiness and success of her favorite K-Pop artists. To see BTS being globally successful makes her feel that all her efforts are worth it.
“The things I’ve done for my favorite K-Pop groups are countless. I’ve attended many concerts/events, traveled to other states to see them, bought their albums, merchandise, voted for them on award shows, stayed up late to match with Korean time just to watch their live shows and many other things. The happiness they receive from us gives me happiness as well. And that is one of the greatest feelings ever.”
Every fangirl has this one unique moment that’s worth treasuring for life. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that gives you pure joy whenever you look back at it. I asked Ian, a K-Pop entrepreneur, to share a very memorable experience that truly made her fangirl life sparkle.
“One of the best memories I have experienced all throughout my fangirl life was back in Nov. 22, 2014. I went to Dongwoo’s family restaurant for his birthday. It was freezing cold as I waited outside with my fellow fans. When he finally arrived, I greeted him a happy birthday and we finally got inside the restaurant. I was standing at a corner when his dad pushed me towards Dongwoo! Unexpectedly, Dongwoo gave me a hug! OMG! Haha! Just thinking about it makes me laugh out of joy! I have many other memories with Dongwoo, but that one will stay with me forever.”
Ian also added that the time she spent attending fan-related events let her meet a lot of people from around the world – all of whom share the same love for K-Pop. She expressed how rewarding the feeling is; that after a long tiring day, she gets to build lasting relationships with fellow fans. She also mentioned, “With the help of some friends I met along the way, I have more knowledge on how to get into music shows and showcases.”
K-Pop: A Little Luxury of Happiness
Many people may consider happiness a luxury. Life can be excruciatingly difficult at times, so it is quite significant to find your own source of happiness. Some find pleasure in solo travels, some in adorably huggable pets and some in K-Pop. While we all have different interpretations of happiness as individuals, we sincerely know how it feels, don’t we?
Being a K-Pop fangirl is a beautiful experience. It’s a unique hobby that involves true dedication and effort. A fangirl’s life can be filled with ups and downs but either way, each one is special and filled with memories that deserve a spot in the books! It’s no surprise that people would think it’s a type of unrequited love; with fans splurging on the artists despite K-Pop idols (most probably) not knowing about their existence. But on the contrary, being in K-Pop fandom is a two-way street. It’s like working so hard on a valuable gift you would give to your loved ones—it makes you happy and your loved ones happy as well. The kind of mutual happiness that is shared within the circle of fandom is definitely something priceless and we, as K-Pop fangirls, wouldn’t trade this fulfilling experience for anything.