I wanted to share something about how I ended up listening to kpop. This is personal but I think other people probably have stories like this, too.
Until the end of last summer I had really never listened to kpop. At the beginning of September, I was on an annual vacation with my family when a serious car accident put both of my grandparents in the hospital. I stayed there to take care of my grandma when she was released from the hospital. My grandpa remained on life support. What was supposed to be a 10 day trip turned into a stressful, heartbreaking 1.5 months away from home. Usually, my favorite music is my biggest source of comfort but during that time I could not listen to it without crying and I really needed not to cry; I was in charge of cooking for all the relatives coming and going, keeping house, making sure my grandma was following doctors' instructions, and calling the hospital for updates and I couldn't do those things if I couldn't stop crying. I stumbled upon kpop, having never enjoyed pop music of any kind before, and found that it helped me stay focused and keep it together. I listened to a few things at first and then mostly EXO.
Once I was finally able to return home, I kept listening. I found that I had actually started to really appreciate the music rather than just using it as a way to avoid tears. My grandpa's condition improved and then all of a sudden deteriorated to the point of no return. I stayed home the day they turned off the ventilator because I couldn't stop crying. I was a mess. And then, about the time they were turning it off, I got a notification on my phone that there was an EXO broadcast on the V app. I turned it on and listened. For about 45 minutes, I think, I listened to Chanyeol's soothing voice. I don't speak Korean so I had no idea what he was saying but it was comforting just to listen to the sound of his voice and I stopped crying.
This past week I was inexplicably on the verge of tears many times and kept thinking about my grandpa. I didn't understand why until I noticed a notification I had set on my phone to remind me yesterday: today would have been his birthday. And then, last night, there was another EXO broadcast on the V app before the concert I was unable to attend (so close and yet so far!) and at one point Xiumin started singing "Good Morning" from Singing In The Rain. That was pretty random but it struck me hard. One of the last memories I have of my grandpa before the accident was when Singing In The Rain was on. I had brought it especially so he could watch it because it was one of the movies he liked to put on when I was kid. He really liked to start arguments so even though I knew he liked the movie he started complaining about it, right when that song came on (he loved to pick on me and he knew I had brought it for him).
This morning I decided to pull up my EXO playlist and hit shuffle and the first song that came up was Run, which reminds me of my how my grandma and grandpa loved each other so much; it has ever since I looked at a translation of the lyrics a while ago.
I'm really glad I found kpop. I needed it.