Today is a special day for fans of five shining boys, and a very special day for each one of those boys now grown to young men.
Particularly, for this blog, a special day that a big-eyed, hardly sixteen year old boy gifted us with the most precious and innocent smile. Sticking to stage images was mandatory, on top of being what most kids are that age - an awkward teenager trying to figure one’s own self out. It tended to leave him in the shadow of others. But some of that kid’s personality got through, and seven years down the line that personality is brighter than ever.
I admire his effort and how he’s stayed stable while growing. I adore how humble he is still to this day.
He isn’t my idol. Rather, he’s a friend I’ve never actually met. His nature of being a flawed human allowed me to relate in a manner I wouldn’t towards an idol. I found myself in parts of him, as well as he helped me through some difficult times indirectly. Laughed with him, laughed at him, wanted to protect him, wanted to say I was proud of achievements, wanted to sit him down and tell him it’s okay and weakness is fine, wanted to be constructively critical in hope of more growth or at least acceptance that we are all flawed instead of perfect and that’s okay, wanted to say take care of yourself as much as you take care of everyone else. He’s the friend I never met.
Though I haven’t been in this fandom since the beginning, not everyone knows but I was there when news dropped of a new sm group. I was curious, as I sort of liked sm back then (wow seems like just yesterday it was 2008 or earlier. don’t get old kids), and once the mv dropped I watched it. It’s not fair to say everyone was supposed to be wowed and really taken by them at first. But though I didn’t know names, one kid with a sweet smile stuck out to me and pulled at my heart strings.
Shortly after, I left nearly all kpop behind for other interests. It wasn’t until late 2010 I was back and was told to check out a few groups, and was surprised seeing that one sm group I remembered as the new kids back in summer 2008. I was still taken by that smile, but I wasn’t into the stage image at all.
I was told to stick around. I did. I watched a pretty smile turn into someone I thought of more as a friend as he grew and layers appeared and there wasn’t a stage image obstructing the view. I saw hatred towards him simply for sticking to an image out of his control (and later for *not* sticking to the sm debut image) and not having the glowing idol talent others have naturally. I loved him more after the hate, held him closer figuratively. Didn’t even get offended, because not all of it was baseless, which for me was a reminder of his flaws in a perfectly fine light. Why get in a huff over legitimate shortcomings. Acknowledging them hurt him less than sweeping it under the rug, as we later saw in confessions of not being as competitive as everyone still thinks.
It was like a lame ‘destiny brought us back together’ story or something, that I get a laugh out of now.
Some day I will have to say goodbye to a friend I never actually met. Some have to move on in life. But I like to think I can recall that innocent smile happily once I do.
Not that flaming charisma guy.
But a friend I want to protect while neither putting him on a pedestal as untouchable.
“[…] more than anything, I want to be happy.”
I hope more than anything he, and everyone here, achieve that goal in life.
- admin L