Remember the first time you ever saw them, a blurry recording of HiYaYa Summer. Remember thinking Changmin was the best thing ever, then Jaejoong, then all five (but usually Jaejoong). Remember when the lights dimmed and the sound of the crowd rose to a crescendo like no other, feeling the electricity in the air, charged and alive from screaming for a common cause. Remember meeting the eyes of fellow fangirls and smiling, thinking yes this is it.
Remember late nights staying up for a music video release, an album drop. Remember saving money to buy different versions of the exact same thing, photobooks both official and unofficial, fan merchandise, everything and anything else in between. Remember Paris and Prague, Bora Bora and Los Angeles, Saipan, feeling like you’ve been to those places, just through different eyes. Remember the in-jokes that fandom has, how eukyangkyang will only ever make sense to people who’ve seen Junsu laugh or how oh my god sun was everyone’s favorite phrase for months and months.
Remember Yunjae, Yoosu, soulmates, tall-brothers, every other ship you’ve sailed with. Remember looking at them knowing there is more to this. Remember writing about what-ifs, back-thens, soon-to-bes. Remember posting your first fanfiction, the first comment that made you think hey I think I can do this. Remember taking writing a little more seriously, remember finding comfort in knowing this is something you could potentially not fail at.
Remember the people you’ve met along the way who can say it’s okay, it gets better, hang in there just as easily as aksjdnak I want Yunho’s babies. Remember how the path you’re carving for yourself now, the future you want, the job you aim for, it’s all been influenced by five men and the hundreds of thousands who cheered them on, are still cheering them on.
Remember Shenzhen and the concert that never was, the friendships you forged there, the people behind the screen names and the smiles behind the emoticons. Remember walking down the street in the middle of the night in a foreign city with people you’ve only known a day but still having a lifetime of things to talk about, all because of a band. Remember how you’d never see beyond this tiny little Malaysian town to Finland, to Italy, to the United States and Spain and Japan, Thailand, Singapore, if not for the people you’ve met along the way.
Remember how fandom can never only be just fandom but friends, people you’ve come to call family.
Remember how fandom doesn’t judge by race, age, religion, country, orientation.
Remember how borders mean nothing.
Remember faith and hope and trust, finding acceptance in the presence of strangers.
Remember how it feels to look upwards for a constellation that you still chart your life by, no matter how unconsciously.
Remember how Dong Bang Shin Ki can never only be just a band.
(And always, always remember, there is a light-
that never goes out.)