12:03 AM | 2 comments
Going to go with the tl;dr first: I love Ailee, and I love the people that I've met by being a fan of her. This is my journey of trying to find who I am, and where I belong. In the 4 years of me being a kpop fan, I think I've finally found my place.
Now onto the long ranty rant rant post.
I'm going to talk about something that I've been following/been a part of, for the past year or so: the Ailee fandom. As you may, or may not, have noticed, I've been working as a Graphic Designer for AngelicAilee(Ailee's international forum) for a while now. In fact, it's pretty much my one year anniversary there. It's also the longest I've ever stayed in a forum without quitting.
See, I originally began my life as a kpop fan with Girls' Generation's "Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby~" that still brings back so much memories and it wasn't long before I learned about soshified (Girls' Generation's international forum). At that point, it was already really big. I applied to be a Graphic Designer there (with my... less-than-average portfolio which consisted of mediocre work from high school) and as most of you can guess, I didn't get in. However, that didn't stop me from continuing as a fan of them, which I will use the correct term: "SONE" (pronounced so-won), to represent from now on. This is what ultimately became my inspiration of a goal to reach. As soshified grew, I noticed how amazing it was in connecting the fans to the girls. The members that knew english would visit occasionally, and in a time when most international fansites had the unfortunate fate of maybe never ever getting acknowledged by their #1 group due to the distance and language barrier, it was a pretty big deal.
The reason I'm mentioning this is because in the world of kpop, SONEs have one of the biggest fandoms internationally. With over 200K members, 5mil posts on their forum, a site dedicated to cataloguing anything and everything related to Girls' Generation, a weekly radio show, as well as countless projects and events where fans overseas can help out and support the girls both irl and online which resulted in the girls themselves acknowledging, it was a place that many other fansites out there can only dream of achieving.
When I look at how fast AngelicAilee is growing, I sometimes pinch myself because I wonder what kind of good have I done to be accepted into a family that I only dreamed of being a part of when I was a SONE back then. Looking back at the younger and more naive me, I feel like if I met my past self, she'd be so happy hearing that the future holds so much promise. That one day, she'd be part of something that she holds close to her heart, and that her dream of finding her place in the world has began and is only going to get better.
To be honest, I'm surprised at how much has happened in just one year. AngelicAilee was a forum of approx. 100 members when I joined. It seemed empty, and felt like being in a desolate place in the middle of nowhere. The world of kpop was already full of new group debuts. Who was going to pay attention to Ailee, let alone a tiny, lonely international forum?
In one year, AngelicAilee became a place that just celebrated it's 1k members. It's twitter following is a definite source for all things Ailee, and I've met a ton of amazing people from around the world who I end up relying on for the most up-to-date Ailee news. To you, it may sound like I'm FAR away from that goal that I mentioned above, but to me, I feel like it's already been fulfilled. Of course I'll continue to have higher and higher hopes for AngelicAilee, but that doesn't mean I'm not already proud of what it has become and what it has achieved in such a short amount of time. With Ailee walking the red carpet at the Pre-Grammys this very moment, I can't even imagine what is going to happen next.
Now I don't mean to sound like I'm advertising the forum or anything, because I'm honestly not. That's your decision to make, not mine. What I'm hoping for you to take away from this, is that even though sometimes having a goal feels like you're never going to reach it in a thousand years, you just have to trust yourself to persevere and keep on trekking. You'll reach a moment where you look back and the realization hits you and suddenly everything is put into perspective. Look forward to that moment, and don't stop until you reach it. Once you're there though... take a deep breath and embrace it. Use it as a motivation to keep on going and keep inching your way to that goal.
If there was ever a solution to becoming happy, I sure hope this is one of them because it feels right to me :)