I just wanted to watch a BTS video.

I’d seen friends posting on social media, about their love for these boys, their happy music, their beautiful videos and even more beautiful dancing. I’d seen Dynamite and Butter, and I really thought they were fun. I’d been listening to BTS on Spotify for the past few weeks, in fact. The music just made me happy.

So this morning, I looked up the Permission to Dance music video.

I was most intrigued by what I read, that they had incorporated sign language into the choreography, that the purple balloons were symbols for disability pride, that the whole video was all about hope. So I checked it out.

I was not expecting to burst into ugly tears.

It was the part where people started tearing their masks off their faces. With each shot, from the teenagers to the little kids, from the couple to the school staff, I just lost it. Tears that I didn’t know I’d been holding back just wouldn’t stop.

I watched the video again, with my son on my lap. As he danced and said, “I like BTS! They’re colorful!” I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes again, and I was glad he couldn’t see me, because I wasn’t sure how to explain why I was crying.

Only later did it make sense to me, that I very desperately longed for the same freedom, to tear off all the protective gear, to throw fear and caution to the wind, to dance and embrace and just be. It hurt to think of my son and all the kids his age, who can’t be in school and hug their friends. It hurt that there are so many friends and family I haven’t seen and hugged, haven’t eaten and laughed with, in far too long. I have two nephews and a niece I desperately want to hold and play with.

It hurts that this pandemic has robbed us of so many goddamned things. It hurts to be so angry at how bad things are, and at how much we have lost. It hurts to carry this grief and sorrow all day long, too tired at night to let loose the tears, so that they creep up and burst forth in the moment we are most unprepared, in the moment we just wanted to hear a song and see some beautiful dancing.

It hurts that instead of joy and love, I see these seven young men and I weep.

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