Things I Have Learned During the K-Pop Phase

We are heading into roughly the sixth month of Hope’s K-pop phase. This phase was preceded by the EDM phase. I thought that phase was challenging. It was electronic music all the time.

That phase didn’t feel that much removed from my interests though. I am a house music fan, so there was some overlap in our musical tastes. We occasionally shared songs; we rocked out at a EDM music festival.

I learned just how music affected Hope. I learned that she heard notes that I just couldn’t hear. I learned how she could thread beat influences through artists and songs like a seamstress. I really did marvel at how she interpreted the songs and how she put her playlists together.

In retrospect, the EDM phase was a good phase.

And then 10th grade started and kicked off the K-pop phase.

Hope fell hard for the boy bands. She didn’t particularly care for the girl groups.

I wasn’t as attuned to ADHD behaviors during the EDM phase, but now I see how easily she can go down a rabbit hole chasing new songs, information about the groups, e-stalking the group members. Some of this is typical teen behavior, but with Hope and the ADHD it’s always on overdrive. And because the K-pop scene has a whole culture thing to it—the group members live together, work together, get storylines on soap operas, spin off into solo careers—Hope’s propensity to get caught up in the minutia of it all is incredibly powerful.

Hope knows that I found this K-pop phase interesting for the first month. I was intrigued by the obvious American and Afro-Caribbean influences in the music. I thought her desire to learn Koren was really cool. Ok, we’re going to watch a K-drama? Cool.

The K-drama has 16 episodes and I just realized 10 minutes into the first episode that this is a Korean interpretation of Cyrano?

Record scratch—I’m out.

February is 7th month of this phase for Hope and I am trying to be supportive, but I was over this phase about 5 months ago. But this phase has shown me some things about myself.

I’ve learned that I have a reservoir of patience that I didn’t use to have.  I knew that I was more patient because: parenting. But I really had no idea how patient I have become. After 7 months the only good things I can say here is that Hope is learning a new language on her own and thinks that a career as an interpreter could be on the horizon—in Korea.  For a kid that thought she had limited options 3 years ago, I’m down with this line of thinking.  I loathe K-pop, K-dramas.

I’ve learned that living by the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is one way of coasting through conversations about ish I can’t stand.  93% of our conversations are about K-something. It really is just about all she can talk about. When the conversation starts, I take a deep breath, a slow blink and just keep my mouth shut. You want to know why?

Because I don’t want to do anything to make her stop talking to me.

I might loathe K-pop, but I love Hope, so I just keep quiet, let her talk. I typically zone out a bit and drop back into the conversation every 30 seconds or so. She will regale me with the entire synopsis of a K-drama; she knows I hate it, but she wants to talk to me and she knows I’ll listen (kinda).

I’ve learned that Hope still has a lot to learn about money and responsibility. It’s February 6th and all the Christmas money is gone. She’s $20 in the hole to me and she hasn’t paid her phone bill which means she’s really $40 in the hole to me. Why? Because she had to buy K-stuff. This is also normal behavior for a kid her age, but something she definitely needs more time to learn about.

I’ve learned that K-pop may have made her more isolated. Hope can spend hours watching music videos and soap operas online. HOURS. She has access to the Chromebook to do homework and then after homework is done she can spend an hour or two as she likes. She has dove into this world, and while she has a couple of friends who also enjoy it, her obsession has actually resulted in less external communication than more. I believe that she dives into these phases initially allying herself with the people in her real life, but she just takes it so far that they get left behind. I blocked her online access for two days this weekend and made her emerge from the depths. I’m going to have to do this more often.

I’ve learned that as much as I can stretch and learn new things, I’m getting to the stage in life where I want my own box. I’m good and grown. I know who I am. I’ve accomplished some stuff, done some stuff, been some stuff. Hope has brought something amazing to my life: new stuff. I like a lot of the new stuff, but if I’m honest and keeping it all the way real, I like my stuff better. I just want my stuff. I want to curl up on my couch with my stuff and just be. Like if I could get one cable channel that just played Law and Order episodes (from all of the different kinds of L&O) all day, life would be 15 steps closer to my version of perfect. That’s my kind of stuff.  K-pop is not my kind of stuff. All that dancing and bopping around and reading subtitles on a soap opera? Not my stuff.  I mean if it was a Korean movie where I was making a 90-minute commitment, I’m in but a 16 episode show at this time in my life is just the most. I am a middle-aged woman and the cement around being set in my ways is quickly hardening. In short: I don’t wanna do new teenagy stuff; I need her to get some friends so I can get back to my Law and Order with my blankie and my dog.

I’ve learned that I’m super curious what Hope was like as a little girl. Seeing her now, as she develops these hopes and dreams about her future, I find myself pondering what did she dream about when she was little. Were the dreams temporally focused? Did she dream about life changing for her and her family right then? Did she dream about a future and what did that look like? I see how different things are from just three years ago; I wonder if there was ever a kernel of big dreams like being an interpreter in there long ago. There’s so much that I don’t know. I haven’t yet mustered the courage to ask Hope what she dreamed about when she was little; I don’t know what such a question might trigger.

I’m trying to see the stages as opportunities to learn about myself. Why do I react the way that I do? How do my reactions change from phase to phase? I’m hopeful that my stamina and patience continues to grow. Despite the annoyances, I am hopeful that it’s helping me be a better mom.

 

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

6 responses to “Things I Have Learned During the K-Pop Phase

  • FutureAdopter

    So I knew what K-pop was but I wasn’t aware of how ‘serious’ it was, lol. They featured K-pop on Noisey last week (a music show on Viceland that looks at various music genres and in various locations). I was kinda scared yet kinda intreged by it. Also, like you, I could probably only listen for about 1 hour before giving up the ghost…I’m an old school R&B girl myself. If it makes you feel better my son’s current obsession is Ninjago; a show about lego ninjas….think if the power rangers were a lego cartoon. The kid has watched each season no fewer than 5 times each. I do not understand how. If I have to hear about this ninja ‘drama’ one more time or hear about how *spoiler alert* Lloyd is the green ninja with ALLLLL the powers I’m gonna lose it.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      It is *so* serious; I am thisclose to thinking it is a lifestyle that I’ve been dragged into. It was intriguing at first, now not so much. I am currently believing that if the Holy Homeboy wanted me to love k-pop, he would have wired me differently, but he didn’t. #nope

      Ok that Ninjago….hahahahahha! I just took a look-see, how awesome is that!!! I might have to watch a few episodes, but then I imagine that I’ll be over it. Uh, yeah, I got from the clip that the green one is all that! LOL.

      *clinks* adult beverage–keep the faith! We’ll get through it.

  • Beth

    hey, it could be worse, my 12 year old’s passion/hobby is credit card fraud…I’d take k-pop in a heartbeat.

  • Jackie

    “…but if I’m honest and keeping it all the way real, I like my stuff better. I just want my stuff.”

    That snippet still has me giggling. It reminded me of the other day when I was peacefully stretching with my favorite Pandora station playing. My stepdaughter (7) wandered in and offered to put her music (girly pop) on for me. In my mind I screamed “PLEASE NO!!!” but I outwardly said, “Thanks for offering, but I like stretching to this music.” She then assured me she wouldn’t mind putting on better music for me. I assured her I was quite happy with my selection. She was confused, but relented. LOL

  • Audrey

    “Seeing her now, as she develops these hopes and dreams about her future, I find myself pondering what did she dream about when she was little. ”

    She didn’t dream. She survived. Every day brought a new nightmare that took all her energy just to make it through. No two days were ever the same; there was no time for dreams.

    Dr. Phil today said on his show that parents are an island for kids, where they swim out further and further knowing there is something to go back to when the going gets tough. Emotionally abused kids turn around and there is no island, they are just floating in a giant ocean trying to think how to survive. I think that is one of the best analogies I’ve heard.

    She was fighting sharks, electric eels and wondering where the food and water was going to come from, not dreaming about the stars or her future. The fact that she has dreams now speaks volumes to how safe she feels in your home. You are making a difference. Treasure that more than the short annoyance of her growing up. You are doing this.

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