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Spill the Beans: Cool moms and heartfelt letters

To submit your story, email us your stories, and we’ll keep sharing them as long as you guys keep sending them in.

 
There was no turning back once I hooked my mom on kdramas either. Aigoo. DM shares her story:

Ever since I was in middle school, I was a huge manga fan. When I was in high school, I came across the manhwa “Goong,” and I loved it so much that when I heard there was a drama based on it, I HAD to check it out. Though it wasn’t really all that great according to me, I ended up watching You’re Beautiful and Coffee Prince, and there was no going back.

My mom just labeled me as weird until one day when I made her watch Coffee Prince, and then we watched Emergency Couple together. And now, let’s just say I’ve created a kdrama monster.

Now we’re this weird Indian mother-daughter pair that calls each other “Ommo-nim” [Mother] and “uri ddal” [our daughter], haha. We even do the whole “Aigoo, Kim Sajang” thing from Answer Me 1988, lol. Oh well.

 

 
Paula has a fun story about being a mom and a kdrama addict. Moms rule!

Unlike many of your contributors, I am a 63-year-old ajumma. My daughter became a fan of kdramas when she was in high school and naturally, I tweaked her about it. I tweaked her for several years. 🙂 I will say that although she watched ardently, her grades never suffered (but maybe her social life did). In 2012 she talked me into watching You’re Beautiful. Not the best acting or plot, but I was inexplicably hooked.

Next came Boys Over Flowers, and now I have watched over 170 dramas. My favorites: Healer, City Hunter, Signal, Descended From the Sun, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Queen In-hyun’s Man, and the list goes on! I now watch much more than my daughter. She is in the working world, a home owner, has a boyfriend and a dog to care for. As a retired ajumma, I have LOTS of time to indulge and I do without guilt. Her biggest criticism of me is that I won’t watch anything without good-looking male leads.

My response? I’m not dead yet, and I really like eye candy. As a side effect, I have become a fan of the music. My husband once commented to our son, “Did you ever think your mom would be blasting Korean rap throughout the house?”

 

 
Running Man forever! InkyWinky shares her story:

My foray into dramas started when me and my friends were introduced to Playful Kiss at a hostel in the first year of my medical school. That’s it, there has been no turning back. My favorite past time is to share drama stories with my friends.

Healer is my favorite drama of all time. I still remember reading the recap one hour before my final exams! Running Man is like family to me, to the extent that their posters on my wall shocked my mother.

Pros: We cannot be easily shaken up in life as we have literally come across all situations in dramas, the OSTs are unique, and it unites people from very far away.

Cons: Data connection, data connection, data connection. We became the culprits of data over usage. Our comfort bubble is only with people who can appreciate or at least understand kdrama fans. Ideal life from dramas doesn’t match real life though!!!

 

 
Oh man, the reality of ugly crying during a drama marathon is real. Thanks for sharing, Loripopop.

So back in 2009 when the Hallyu wave hit my hometown hard, my friends and I discovered kpop. I liked it enough, but then my friends introduced me to the kdrama Stairway to Heaven (*cue hallelujah chorus*). I was so hooked, I mustered up the best sick person impression I could and stayed home for days on end just to watch the drama.

When I finished it, I was ruined. I called my friend that night ugly crying and ranting about how life was so unfair. Since hitting adulthood, my friends’ affinity for kdramas has waned, but I have managed to find better ways of managing my addiction. Watching You From Another Star on a different browser tab at work, pulling all-nighters to finish Healer, reading Producers recaps while doing research for my thesis.

I have been mostly unsuccessful in my attempt to curb my kdrama appetite, but I have no regrets. I have even managed to get new friends and family into them! I just hope I manage to continue finding creative ways to get my fix, and be a successful adult.

 
Ria, you are a strong woman, and your perseverance is inspirational beyond measure. Keep fighting the good fight.

Dear javabeans and girlfriday,

I’m sure that you get plenty of emails like these but I wanted to do my part because there is no such thing as too much positivity!

I’d like to begin by thanking you for your wonderful website and the effort you put into it. I love my dramas but sometimes, I like to take a break and I know like any other job, sometimes the going must get tough with this job as well.

But I’d also like to tell you how personally this website has affected me. My background is Pakistani but I’m American, born and raised, so although I watched American, Pakistani, and Indian film and TV, I didn’t start watching Korean dramas until about three or four years ago. I also found your website around the same time since it was so useful in helping me find what I wanted to watch next and explaining the Korean context that sometimes went over my head.

A few years went by and life was starting to really work out. I finished my master’s, fell in love, and even the last bit of lingering acne from my teenage years cleared up. And then it all came crashing down with all the elements of a Korean (or any) drama. There was an evil potential mother-in-law. She had cancer. There was even a second female lead that the mother-in-law dragged in to prevent him from marrying me. The person I loved and who also loved me, left at his mother’s insistence that she’d die because of him. My grandfather passed away. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. My weight dropped to below one hundred pounds. My acne came back with a vengeance. And all in the span of less than a year. It sounds unreal and I wish I were making it up, but the tears I’m holding back right now tell me that I’m not.

I fell into massive depression. I stopped working. I cried day in and day out. I didn’t exactly contemplate suicide but being alive seemed way too hard. Eventually something had to give, and it did through intervention by family and friends and also myself via the little bit of backbone I had left. I am going through therapy now and it has gotten to the point where I am not constantly in a state of pain and tears.

Before the depression, I was a person I am proud of. I’m actually a pretty good scientist who has done some significant research, have gone through school without a single cent in loans, and you know, I’m not that bad-looking either. 😛 I don’t fall down and if I do, I pick myself up really fast. That’s what made my depression worse–realizing how low I had fallen and not being able to get myself back up. Knowing what I was and what I could be if I just wasn’t SO sad, made my situation feel even worse.

I’d stopped watching dramas. Watching the average Korean romance was like watching my life which I definitely didn’t want to do. But with the start of therapy, so began my re-interest in life. Re-entering life means you start from the bottom up which means you begin as a couch potato. This sounds self-critical but I actually celebrated when I could interest myself in TV and food again. Enter Korean dramas and Dramabeans. I didn’t start off with romances obviously. Crime, thriller, revenge, side-splitting comedy. That’s what I was looking for. I found it in kick-ass female characters and bad-ass male heroes.

Whenever I watch a Korean drama, I read your commentary simultaneously and those are what finally began to make me want to really, really do something again. You probably already know this, but you both have a penchant for feminism and always cheer on the strong female lead. And that made me want to be a strong female. I applied to two different jobs yesterday and am working on applications for three more.

I know people who work in the entertainment business often wonder if they’re making a difference. I wanted to tell you that you are. Reading your work helped me to breathe, hope, and laugh again. (Well, along with the therapy.) My skin is looking great again, the autoimmune disease along with the debilitating pain it comes with is being controlled by medication, and although I can’t bring my grandfather or the man I love back, I don’t cry about it every day. Maybe by the end of this summer, I’ll even have a job.

I know that you both have not made yourself public and I understand your reasons for that, but if I knew you for just one day, I would give you a both a hug, take you for lunch, and tell you thank you. But since I can’t, I’m writing this mushy email instead, hoping that it will express my gratitude.

I wish you and everyone at Dramabeans the best of luck and much happiness…always and forever!

[Thanks for taking the time to write us, and for the kind words. We’re just glad to hear that you’re doing so much better, and that Dramabeans is a happy place for you. We love to celebrate strong women, and you’re definitely one of them! Consider the hug given, and the lunch eaten! –javabeans and girlfriday]

 

 
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Ria, you're making me cry! Your story is so inspirational and as Heads, JB, and GF said, you ARE so strong! Your story just goes to show how important the arts and entertainment are in our world. :) It brings us the joy and emotion that we sometimes need to feel, even if we are at a point where we feel like we may never feel those feelings ourselves again.

It's so inspiring to hear how something we all love has brought you such immense strength. We're all here in this fandom for a reason, probably multiple reasons, and it's stories like yours that remind us of all the GOOD that these shows do in our lives. Thank you so much and keep going strong!

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Ria made me cry too. I wonder, for how many of us did dramas and Dramabeans helped to pull out of depression.

Ria fighting!

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I read as a kid to feel emotions depression took from me, 2000 - 2008. Anime helped me get through depression in 2009. Then Jpop to Kpop. I was running out of Asian entertainment and panicking about graduating high school and all the life changes that went into it. My sister finally convinced me to watch BoF in early 2013. While, it wasn't amazing it let me out of my head a bit. Then I discovered DB and their recaps cracked me up. They gave me info on the culture and meaning. It wasn't until late 2014 that DB became a bookmark on my computer. Eventually my tablet and then phone. And now the beanie community is so important to me. Even if I don't get a chance to watch a drama, I still check DB at least once a day if not multiple times.

I received a Bipolar II diagnosis early this year. But now I have books, anime, music, kdramas, twdramas, jdramas, I'm branching into Thai dramas, and of course the DB community to anchor me during the lows.

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Hi Purple Owl,
Thank you for sharing as well ?
It's wonderful that you have many things including DB to help you through the tougher times now. *virtual hug!?*

It's an amazing community here where people feel comfortable enough to share such personal stories, esp when there is so much hatred/fear in the news around the world. I feel very honored and special to be part of it really. ❤️

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@Purple Owl - I read as a teenager to suppress my emotions. I didn't know I had depression until my 20's. I know of others diagnosed with bipolar, so I'm glad to hear you have a healthy coping mechanism. Fighting!

I just love this site because it alone helps so many and the community itself can help strengthen the fighting spirits of our members when they need it.

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Come Rain, Come Shine helped me heal old divorce scar wounds I didn't even realize I still had but were still affecting me.

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I'm just 18 so I have no idea what you've been through but Come Rain, Come Shine helped me through a rough patch too. Education wise.
Obviously not something that huge but i'd watched it on this rainy day when the world seemed so grey and i had tutions to go to and exams to write but when the end came and she says "It's gonna be alright" I just knew i'm gonna be fine too.
This was just last year though ?

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It certainly played a part in getting me through difficult times. Thank you Ria, for being so vulnerable and honest and I hAve no doubt that you will be back to being the kick-ass female lead in your own life before you know it! I'm a fan already, cause girl you are incredible!!

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Ria - thanks for sharing your story. All the best to you. Hope love finds you soon again, k-drama rom-com style this time!

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Ria- just WOW! You are a truly strong woman since it takes a lot to pull yourself up from the depths of depression. I believe everyone here would like to give you a hug, take you to lunch and tell you that you are an amazing woman. I have no doubt that we will soon here you got a job. Remember you have beanies all over the world rooting for you so keep fighting.

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I'm so touched by Ria story, and so happy to have read this and also find strength in it.
thank u.

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Send a virtual hug for you @Ria , be strong and God bless you

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I'm feeling so emotional after reading Ria's story! I'm awed and inspired by your perseverance. Stay strong. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Haha OmG the amount of desis watching kdramas makes me so happy! :)

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Indian TV serials are the worst of the worst. They are uninspiring and utter waste of time. Just one episode of any series is enough to pull your hair out from your scalp or keep banging your head against brick wall! There is no wonder we turn to foreign television. And thank God for Internet!!

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Agree with you!

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Oh, and don't forget the crazy storylines and if someone is dead you should know its going to take 5 times atleast for that person to actually die and not get reincarnated again. God, the number of times they do plastic surgery to get a new face to get revenge gets annoying fast!

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Indian TV serials are definitely annoying. This from a person who has a grandmother at home who likes watching all the stupid Indian soap operas ever made. You would actually know the story of the whole month if you just watch the advertisements cuz the story does not move forward at all in a whole month.

No wonder we love Korean shows. 16- 20 episodes and it is done! Even American shows have lost their charm after I discovered kdramas!

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Massive agreement. They are crap and utter waste of time and intelligence. Even if they start out with well intentions,somewhere along the line they lose the plot and the IQ level drops to single digits. Don't even get the started on the female leads. Sure, some kdrama also have it bad with the subtle patriarchal insinuations, but Indian soaps are at a level where the girl will probably dig her own grave and cover herself with mud so as to not have any harm come her husbands way.

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I am not indian, but i remember watching my first ever indian drama many years back on my local television.

It's called sanjivani (if i am not mistaken) about four young doctors. At first i was really really addicted to that drama. But thoughout its course that drama became very weird and i stopped watching. they even changed the hero! Same character but two different actor without any explanation.

But there's one good thing that came from that drama, i was inspired to become a doctor and i just graduatef from med school. All because i really really like the character of one O&G specialist in that drama.

I even plan to pursue my study in O&G

It all started with that crappy indian drama XD

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Sanjivani started off quite nice. I remember watching it as a kid and loving it. But that was one of the exception and those exceptions don't happen at all nowadays.

I am really glad that it helped you find your aim in life. I used to love the male and female leads in it.

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Although i never finish it, sanjivani will always have a special part in my heart.. i ll just remember the good part of the drama :)

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It was Sanjeevni, i think.
It's good to know at least one good thing came out of our Indian serials ?
All the best *fighting*

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Agreeing with you a million times may just not be enough ?

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Hello! Fellow Indians..its daebak to see you all here:)

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Never watched an Indian TV series but I have to say that Indian movie called 3 idiots is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time!

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3 Idiots was a good movie. Indian movies are good (not always- but there are many amazing ones), the TV series not so much.

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Yaa 3 idiots was good.
Most of the Indian serials suck but there are good movies.
If you wanna check out more try 'The Lunchbox' or 'Kahaani'. I am ready to suggest more ?

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Same feels here. The amount of desis here is overwhelming ?
Especially when I come across more in my virtual life than real

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Hey Ria, you made me ( & many others here), smile through our tears:) life has been difficult for you but we keep going desiring something to keep us from stopping forever. It doesn't have to be love always, a simple thing like Signal recap will do! And this place is our heaven :*

I will keep praying for you always and this month of Ramzan will definitely change your life for good!

Lots of love from your indian fangirl!!
Be happy and healthy

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Dramabeans, my happy place❤

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Forgot to add..dramabeans is my only social networking platform..coz here are the ppl who would understand what I am talking about.

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Ditto to that... it irks me how no one can relate to us fangirls... love the db community! Thank you so much for all of the hardwork you awesome people have put into this site! DB has not only become my usual hangout place, it's become part of my life!

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@Ria Your letter had me crying in office. You are amazing and immensely brave for writing that letter. Putting your problems in words takes effort and you have accomplished that. It also is a way of self- healing as when a million things are going wrong, it gets hard to even understand where to start from. Putting your pain in words will help you deal with it so much better. Hope you overcome all your problems and come out stronger than ever.

I haven't gone through much hard times recently but if I am having a bad day, Dramabeans is the place that cheers me up. It is the only place where others talk in the language I talk, breathe in the air I breathe (figuratively of course), and love the oppas and unnis I love.

Also know that this is coming from an Indian to a Pakistani (American- pakistani like you said). I feel so happy that Dramabeans is such an amazing place where people from two non-friendly nations can get together and share their highs and lows.

Loads of love and thanks to the Dramabeans community.

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Sending love to Ria from my side of the world too. ❤️ You are stronger than you will ever know and everyone here is cheering you on! ❤️

And I totally agree with Paula said:
"I'm not dead yet, and I really like eye candy."
*nods head vigorously* too many Oppas, too little time!

Dramabeans really has helped bring so many strangers together to share in their love for Kdramas.

May there be a never ending supply of Chaebols, Geeenius doctors, Plucky heroines, Birth secrets, Back hugs and Piggyback rides in our future!

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Ria, thank you so much for sharing your story. It inspired me. And I totally believe you when you said that life can go all makjang on us. In my story it's cheating father(he has been cheating on us for 4 years now). Mom and I discovered about it in mid-may this year. I feel like words cannot describe what we are going through right now but I will try anyway.
We went through a whirlpool of emotions. From denial ( I have his WhatsApp text msgs, duh) to anger, betrayal (27 years of marriage) self loathing ( on my mom's part because she gave up her career to take care of family) and massive heart break. We decided to file for divorce and this is where the makjang part comes. Divorce is a taboo in my society. You see I am from conservative Indian family and it's ALWAYS wife's fault when husband cheats on her because obviously she is not being a 'good wife'. My grand parents, whole paternal side of family blame mom now and they say it's woman's duty to be patient, bring the man over to the right path and stay married to him of course. So it requires lot of strength and courage to stand up to our own family to get what we want.
Kdramas, Dramabeans, DB staff and Beanies have all been one amazing source of strength for me. Thank you guys so much!!
@Ria your story made me stronger today. It gave me hope that I can overcome my situation too. Let's keep our respective battle going till we come out of it stronger and as more amazing human beings. FIGHTING!!
And special shout out to Girlfriday!! You are the reason I fell in love with Dramabeans, heck even kdramas. *eagerly waits for your next recaps*

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I applaud the courage your mom has in deciding to divorce and you for standing up and supporting her. I know little of your culture but it is hard enough even when you have the full support of your family. Especially as your mom has been married so long. I will never understand why women have taken the blame for men cheating in every culture Ive read on. Give your mom a big hug and let her know it does get better. One of the best designs my mom made when she divorced my dad was to move a few hours away. Not being a 20 minute drive away seemed to help both of them. Stay strong!

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This is a shoutout to everyone on DB and Ria and everyone who's ever written their story. Thank you for sharing, thank you for caring, thanks for the privilege of reading you and thanks for being the listening and giving community that you are.

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@Paula,

Are you sure you're not my long-lost unni from another mother?! You're a few years older than me, and I don't have offspring... But we ARE "ladies of a certain age" -- and I'm not dead yet, either! Sageuks keep me happy as a clam with flying Manes O' Glory and hunky warriors running around with swords. Contemporary eye candy is dandy, too -- but I'll take a good swordfight any day.

I've gone bonkers for Kdrama OSTs with meaningful lyrics that are in synch with the action... and fully orchestrated like movies. The sheer beauty and emotion gets me where I live.

Imagine my surprise when I flipped for MC Sniper in the CHUNO soundtrack, and then found more of his stuff in FAITH and ARANG. I don't like rap, but certain specimens of the Korean kind really float my boat.

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@Ria,

Thank you for courageously sharing your healing journey.

I, too, have dealings with depression, and "Kdrama therapy" has been a godsend. When my ability to feel joy or optimism is missing in action, I sometimes get an "emotional jump-start" that primes the pump. Sometimes I have a good cry. Other times I get inspired by a character whose travails hit close to home... And sometimes my funny bone gets a workout and I remember how to laugh again.

I never know where I will encounter inspiration that buoys my spirits when the little black dog comes to visit... I often find it in song lyrics. More and more, I find it in Kdrama, where the feels are often deeply therapeutic.

There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word.... Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, Series I (Spiritual Laws)

That passage has been encouraging me for decades. I just never expected that the "right word" would be in Korean...

Blessings to you, Ria, and all our fellow Beanies who find peace of mind and heart through Kdrama... to the folks who make the dramas, and to the DramaBeans crew for making them accessible to us. ;-)

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Wow thank you for that Emerson piece. Saving that!

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@Paula - you and I are twin souls!!!!! I'm a young 64 and started watching k-dramas 4 years ago - now over 180 shows watched. Because of dramas I fell into k-pop. While watching IRIS I became intrigued with the villain - researched and found his name was T.O.P. What the????? Then I fell into Big Bang and all the other k-pop boy groups. Just two days ago, during my cross country drive from Virginia to California, I was driving through western Colorado in the north part, with wild beautiful country all around me while I was blasting EXO and BTS and Big Bang with the windows down and singing all the way. K-dramas and k-pop have changed my life!!!

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Omg Paula and I have the same favourite dramas o.O
City hunter, Healer, Signal, Queen in hyun's man and My girlfriend is a Gumiho are in my top 10 too. I have not seen 170 dramas though just over a 100 I think.

P.S. Stay strong Ria! I don't know what to say exactly but just know that we are here for you. Aap akeli nahi ho :) Sarangeyo!

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@ Ria
words cannot begin to describe how i appreciate ur courage in writing about ur life today. Even though i am usually a lurker here, but i would like to appreciate how ur words have encouraged each of us here today. God bless and i wish u all the happiness in the world. To the DB crew and my fellow beanies thanks for creating such a wonderful environment for us to express ourselves.

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Ria....aja aja fighting!!!!!

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@Ria
I dont know if I'm as strong as u.But just keep in mind that u are one of the strongest I've ever come across...And dont worry u will find love again..
This one is from a beanie all d way from Nigeria... fighting...

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For Ria and all the beanies, here is a quote from Zelda Williams, the late Robin Williams' daughter that is astonishing and amazing from someone so young.

"Moonrise on the lake. I spent this night shivering and laughing under a clear, cold sky full of stars with people I love just to witness something beautiful. We mooned the moon and laughed ourselves hoarse, and I'm so incredibly grateful for every silly second. I came to a realization this year that I feel compelled to share here, for whomsoever may need it: Avoiding fear, sadness or anger is not the same thing as being happy. I live my sadness every day, but I don't resent it anymore. Instead, I do it now so that the wonderful moments of joy I do find are not in order to forget, but to inhabit and enjoy for their own sake. It's not easy. In fact, I'd say it takes much more effort to consciously do than it does to just stay sad, but with all my heart, I cannot tell you how worth it it is. And for those suffering from depression, I know how dark and endless that tunnel can feel, but if happiness seems impossible to find, please hold on to the possibility of hope, faint though it may be. Because I promise you, there're enough nights under the same yellow moon for all of us to share, no matter how or when you find your way there."

To me, this the heart of "That's Okay, It's Love" my favorite Kdrama as well as so many others and why I love kramas so much.

Be strong, surround yourself with loving positive people, disregard the rest. Find joy in culture, especially our dramas and beanies. And, eat well!

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Ria's story made me cry. I wish you all the best Ria, and I salute you for willing yourself up, and hopefully we will get to hear from you fully recovered emotionally and physically.

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Ria, you are inspiring.
Although I didn't go through times as hard as what you had to face, I can relate to your story so much.
So many things can happen in the span of a year, and I personally am getting better too with the help of therapy.
My love for dramas has changed, as I cannot bear watching female characters that have their lives dictated by anyone but themselves. I freaking love watching strong and feminist female characters that aren't sexualized. It might only be fiction but it helps so much. Anyway, life is hard but makes us stronger!! fighting :)

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