You worked hard. Please rest now. You did well. Goodbye.
I've been so sad this whole week. I found out about the news at work. It took everything I had not to burst into tears right there and then. I'm not a hardcore Shawol, but I like their music and watch stuff about SHINee a lot. To be honest I still can't believe it. Even though I read his suicide letter and watched his last broadcast to fans... I saw and felt how far gone he already must have been but somehow I'm still waiting for someone to say that this isn't real.
His death and how it has been displayed online got me thinking about a lot of things. And I felt I had to write it somewhere so that I can get it out of my head.This is eating me from the inside and I know from experience that these kinds of thoughts are not something one should carry with them. And I don't know if this can help anyone but maybe there are people who feel like me, and maybe find something from this post they can relate to.
It physically hurts my heart to read his letter. He felt so alone and like his life had gone in a completely wrong direction. He felt pressured by his music and fame. How could things have gotten so bad for him? How he worked and made plans while already knowing that he isn't going to be here much longer? How he convinced himself that he had no other choice but to end his life... Then I remembered I've had a similar conversation with myself five years ago, and again three years later. The only difference is that I managed to talk myself out of it.
You see I had convinced myself, that I had no one left, I felt so guilty towards my parents and my brother. I had horrible nightmares all the time and I didn't sleep much/at all. I wasn't happy to be who I was, or how I looked and how my life was going at that time. It felt like I was in a dark box with a person I hated, and that person was me.
Human mind is a scary thing. A powerful thing. And yet it can break like glass.
I'm glad that I wasn't brave enough to murder a person, to leave. That I ultimately felt I had no right to leave. I mean I couldn't even see my parents off. If I couldn't face their untimely deaths, how could I face my own? How could I do it to them? Well I can't. And I never will.
I found my solace in writing. I can now let go of negative feelings by writing them down in one form or another. But I can totally understand how creating and publishing things can turn against you like it did with Jonghyun, I felt pressure when I self-published my poems this year. And I'm still afraid to promote them properly. I closed down my vlog channel with over 50 videos years ago just because I had one hater. This blog I've had for 11 years... At times I stop writing it for months, the Blogger icon seems to be whispering to me: "Do you really dare to write all this shit, there's nothing going on in your life, try and make a post about that!" Sometimes I hear those words in my head.
I don't know how public figures like K-idols and writers and such do it to be honest. There could be thousands, or tens of thousands, even millions who don't like you and aren't afraid to voice their opinions very loudly straight to you.
Through a mask and a safe distance that the Internet provides.
Then a thing about the media circus. I'm really afraid this will become "the second Chester.". They will get money from the songs, photos and MV Jonhyun was working on shortly before his death. And from all of his previous work. Much more now that he is no longer with us. I'm sure people make "merch to remember him by". Personally I don't just get that... There are better things to help us remember those who have left. And so if those profits don't go directly to his mother and sister, or towards updating and developing South-Korea's mental health care, I will lose all my faith in people in charge of those things at his company.
Then there is the funeral hype. My YT recommendations are full of videos like "Shinee members can't hold back their tears at his funeral." "Super Juniors Leeteuk Cries at Funeral." "Members from this and that band go to say goodbye. DO YOU REALLY NEED TO BE ABLE TO HOLD YOUR TEARS AT A FREAKING FUNERAL?! DO YOU REALLY CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT WHO WENT TO A FUNERAL? To make tens of videos about the subject... And I shudder to think there actually are people who use someones death to draw traffic to their channel and make money in the process...
The poor people in K-pop. They think they are gonna, get rich, famous, highly regarded, win loads of awards, have lots of fans. But all of it comes at such a terrible price, being made to spend hours training and performing from such a young age, not being able to see and contact your family and friends whenever you want, being forced to go on unhealthy diets, getting constantly watched and criticized by people very insensitively. Being forced to do things when you are unhealthy and need treatment and rest... These K-pop idols appear so happy and cheerful and carefree on TV shows, but it seems like that because they are putting on an act. They can't be free to show their true emotions and say how they really feel, because if they do it'll make their company look as bad as they really are. It seems that once you sign to a company you are basically signing your life away and letting yourself be a puppet to entertain people.
Damn it has taken me days to get to this point in the text. Bear with me.
I feel conflicted. My time with K-pop has been short, 9 months. And when I learned about those dark things behind the glamour... I mean they are people who I have come to respect, and they have chosen this difficult path in life. I wish there was a way to support the artists without supporting a bad company. But it's impossible. That is why I think, as fans we need to maintain a levelheaded, critical thinking towards what the companies are trying to sell to us. Maybe the idols we love can't say anything because of the backlash but last I checked, their censorship doesn't cover the fans. We can say if something they do isn't right. I hope we can start to change those unfair things to a more humane direction.
But I don't think we can change the main culprit so easily. To do that we would need to change a mindset that is considered normal and even admirable throughout most of Asia: the work till you succeed or drop from exhaustion. Or both. I'm sure it's a culture thing when I don't just get how overworking can be a common and a valid reason of death.
And the one who came up with the phrase "If you have time to sleep and dream, use that time to achieve your dreams instead." or something along those lines, needs to have their head checked. Lack of sleep kills you. Either you go crazy to a degree or your body starts to break down. I tried that no- sleep thing too, involuntarily, so I know. It just makes all the bad things and thoughts 100 times worse. And no wonder K-pop idols don't feel like their hard work is enough. It's like walking through a marsh without waterproof shoes. You feel weak and like you are stuck, even trying to do things normally is incredibly difficult.
I don't have a clear ending point to this ramble but I think I said everything I wanted, or at least the things I remember wanting to say. Please be kinder to those who you don't know. Stay strong Shawols, SHINee, everyone. Have a good end of the year. And Jonghyun. I don't really know if there is an afterlife or not, and even though I wish you feel better now, I also wish you regret leaving so many people behind to grieve. Even a little. Do you see now how much you actually had, when you thought you had nothing?