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Picture this, it’s 2013. You’re back in middle school, posters cover your walls, Wattpad is the most used app on your phone, you spend exponentially more time on your fan accounts then your real accounts, and you want nothing more than to see O2L, One Direction, Dan and Phil, or whomever else your fandom of choice was, live and to buy all their merch with the money you don’t have. Your biggest concern is yet another pointless fandom feud on Twitter.

Ah, good times.

Like many, my fangirling wasn’t exclusive to one person or group. During this time, I was mainly obsessed with boy bands and youtubers, which was pretty much standard for the 10-17 year old age range. I was also, of course, obsessed with Twitter, Wattpad, and Tumblr.

While I have definitely outgrown this phase, these people, these groups, and these experiences are all still held very deeply in my heart.

My fangirl phase died down when I was about 16, shortly after One Direction started their (uh, how many months has it been now, 73?) incredibly long hiatus. (Thanks Siri!) After the tears and sadness went away, I eventually started to put away the posters, the merch, deactivate my fan accounts, and honestly, grow up.

When something is such a big part of your life for literally so long, it’s quite sad to move on.

During peak pandemic, think March and April of 2020, however, I fell, hard, into the world of K-Pop and K-Dramas. A few months prior, I had started listening to BlackPink and a few other artists after deciding I wanted to learn Korean, and from there it was like falling down the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland.

Obsessed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings towards BTS or their fandom, ARMY. I spent a lot of time watching Run BTS (their variety show), their almost daily live streams, their music videos (we’re trying to break records!) and pretty much everything else they had to offer.

I also spent more money than I’ll ever admit on merch and more time then I’ll admit on making homemade merch to trade and share with my Twitter friends.

That fangirl phase has also since died down. I’m still big fans of BTS, and (almost) all of the people I loved when I was younger. These creators and artists, but most importantly, their fandoms, shaped me, and for that I’ll forever be grateful.

There is never an age where you have to outgrow this phase, and honestly, you probably never fully will. I just got busier and busier and eventually fell out. If something makes you happy, who cares what others think. Especially when it comes to BTS, a worldwide phenomenon encouraging and helping ARMY to love themsleves.

Kaytlyn is a junior at MSU majoring in Marketing and minoring in Creative Writing. She has been a published journalist and writer for over 5 years. Kaytlyn is currently the Chapter President and Campus Correspondent for HCMSU as well as being involved in the Campus Trendsetters program and Internship Credit program. You can reach her by email through khmg2001@gmail.com or gannonk3@msu.edu.
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