[2019 Year in Review] The ME movement
by Guest Beanie
I like to think that a combination of dramas and life experiences lead me to who I am today; the cumulation shaping me, for better or for worse. This year has been a big one for me, between graduating, getting a diploma, and deciding to pursue higher education, I have become what society would call (against my better judgement) a “professional adult.”
You’d think having had 4 years of university under my belt, along with a past anxiety-related breakdown, I’d be ready for what a higher education degree and professional life would throw at me, but boy was I wrong. All those years of self-work that I put effort into were destroyed within a few days to weeks. Deadline here, life obstacle there, backstab here, health scare there. Against your better judgement, when too many things happen at once, you lose yourself in the race of life. Everything crumbles down and you realize you’re no longer happy anymore.
Introspection was necessary. Dramas and writing have always been my sanctuary and escape to sanity. So while last year I compiled useful tips for myself – and others – on how to watch dramas, this year I felt it was crucial to go back to the basics and to see what 2019 dramas taught me to work on – myself.
Be aware when something isn’t working out and act out on it.
This year I found myself falling into patterns that I had already fallen in before. I let myself be pushed and pulled, Let myself put the “wants” of other before my own needs. This leads you down a never-ending rabbit hole of crying, misery, and disinterest. Like Eun-jung in Be Melodramatic, you need to take a step back and realize what is happening. In a moment of self-awareness, Eun-jung realizes her coping mechanism for her husband’s passing was not healthy. Realizing how lonely and sad she really was, she called out to friends and family for help, and they were quick come to her aid. It takes a certain courage to realize you’re not happy, and it takes even more courage to decide to take the initiative to change.
Don’t let negativity influence you.
It was A Beautiful World’s Sun-ho that said it so movingly in one of the best drama scenes this year: “You know what? If you’re brave enough to kill yourself you can do anything. So you must live. You need to keep going. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Like a bad cold, the negativity virus is easily tractable. Being constantly put down can eventually warp your reality and mindset. You are capable of seeing past this. You’re worth more. If you’re brave enough to go into such a dark hole, you are also capable of getting out. Be positive. Be good. You matter. Don’t give up.
A Beautiful World
Become aware of your faults.
In a moment of weakness, obliviousness, or maybe simply out of spite, it’s possible you’ve hurt a person or two, whether intentionally or not. You need to take the time to understand other people’s perspectives and admit to your mistakes when in the wrong. Lee Ki-hoon in Class of Lies starts out as an arrogant, insecure high school kid with an obsessive crush on his schoolmate Jung Soo-ah. Understanding his true feelings and how selfish he was, he lets go of his ego and tries to uncover the truth behind Soo-ah’s passing. Yes, I know what he attempted to do to Soo-ah is not pardonable. There are certain things that cannot be forgiven. Learn to grow past them and walk away despite any shame of your past.
Class of Lies
Forgive yourself too.
Hotel del Luna’s Man-wol lived most her life with resentment. To keep it brief, she resented herself for having fallen in love Chung-myung and for being, what she felt, the ultimate cause of her best friend’s Yeon-woo’s demise. Resentment can make you blind to the things around you and make you unable to move on. We are usually quick to forgive others but we often forget to forgive ourselves. Do not be so hard on yourself. It takes effort to love yourself and Man-wol took that step forward to be happy.
Hotel del Luna
Be unapologetically you.
Some personalities are loud and your voice may get lost in the din. This doesn’t mean your opinion is any less worthy than another person’s. No one can love you if you cannot even love yourself. Veronica Park in The Secret Life of My Secretary came off as loud, annoying and selfish at the beginning of the series. However, as the series went on, you could see she was just being herself and never actually hurt anyone despite her flamboyant ways. Be confident without being arrogant and people will come to respect you, just like Gal-hee learned to respect Veronica Park.
The Secret Life of My Secretary
Cherish the little moments.
The Light in your Eyes’ Kim Hye-ja tells her son that while she had experienced her fair share of tragedy, she had lived a complete and fulfilling life. The hardships she faced made the small tender moments that much more special. She learned to give up on her regrets and cherish the present so as not to lose what was left of herself. Learn to let go of your hardships so you can truly see the blessings you do have.
The Light in Your Eyes
Take charge, go!
Between realizing she had a terminal heart condition and was living in a manhwa world, extra character Dan-oh in Extraordinary You had a lot going against her. Despite it all, Dan-oh remained resilient and decided to choose her own fate. Accepting that she couldn’t change everything, she made due with what she could. In between Stage scenes, she treated herself by doing what she wanted with the people she cared about, without ever sacrificing her integrity. Sometimes we can’t have control over everything, but when you do, do what you want and treat yourself. Because you’re worth it.