by ownes, August 2, 2020

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay might be the hottest show airing right now. When I asked MDL if it was worth it, one person commented that it was good, that it was about healing.

At first, I really couldn’t understand it. I watched the first episode, and my initial thoughts were to drop the drama. Why spend my summer watching an apparently somber drama when I could be watching yet another lovey-dovey romcom or even an action-packed thriller? Nonetheless, because of my curiosity, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Episode 4 left me speechless, astonished, and with my mouth agape, looking at my computer screen. I thought back at that first comment.

What is “healing”? What does it really mean “to heal”? Is healing all about protecting those we care, just like Gang Tae does for Sang Tae? To endlessly shield them from what we believe will harm them? Is it about forgetting our own scars, bottling up ache after ache, rubbing it under the rug, living day by day, burying them deeper, similar to what Moon Young?

Or is healing all about letting go? Is it about showing our weak and ugly sides, the ones we try so hard to hide, to forget? Is healing all about losing shame in not being okay, in being weak, broken? Just like Ki Do did in the 3rd episode, to let ourselves loose, to live in peace with whatever causes us pain?

And does healing last forever? Are we meant to heal ourselves and those we love until the day we die? Or is healing, the emotional and psychological, just like the physical one? Is it temporal? Will it only leave a scar once it ends?

It might be obvious that we all heal differently. We are human, imperfect and relentlessly different from one another. I believe that we are all in a constant process of healing and that that process is all about one on-and-off balance. Healing is a constant thing in our lives, but it isn’t a constant thing itself. Healing is like water, it takes the shape of the situation we have to face – much like the drama seems to be showing us. And many times, it’s not possible alone. We’re social creatures, so we long for each other. We cure the pains of others the same way they cure ours.

Because time doesn’t stop for anyone, we all choose the “form of healing” that best suits our life (let’s say, meditating, journaling, relying on a loved one, food, etc.) – however, I think it’s one of the drama’s purposes to show that what might be best to bear, to continue living, might not be best to truly overcome our pains, our traumas.

  In all my fairy tales, the witch is always the one that’s pretty. 

Moon Young is still a mystery, but my guess is that she is afraid. Afraid of truly facing the real consequences of her actions, those that scarred her and the pain, the memories that she went through and tied her back till this day. Fear leaves place for her bold, scandalous and often called crazy behaviour, but eventually drains her, leaving her empty. Having Gang Tae looking after her is her way to heal, like a lighthouse amidst the dark. He guides her to safety.

I’m done with being someone who is needed by others.

Gang Tae lived his young years hearing that his purpose was to look after Sang Tae, so he revolved his entire life around his older brother. His healing has been about repressing himself, running away and taking care of others, instead of himself, instead of chasing whatever he’d wish or needed. That too leaves him empty and draws him to Moon Young, someone that doesn’t run away, that doesn’t look after others, that chases whatever she wishes and has a sharp tongue (two aspects that he seems to need). If he guides her to safety, Moon Young guides him to self-discovery, to integrity.

Fairytales are a recurrent theme in the drama, and there’s a theory somewhere that Moon Young is supposed to be Rapunzel, and that Gang Tae is the prince that encounters the high tower the witch locked her in. I find it particularly interesting given that, if that’s the case, this time around the prince won’t ask her to let down her hair and let him climb- he’s rather encouraging, helping her to leave the tower on her own. And she reminds him that he isn’t the one locked up, that he’s free and that it’s time for them to cut whatever shackles that hold them back.

I’m sure this article seems a bit all over the place and vague, but I hope that those that are watching this drama can understand it. I like when dramas leave me thinking, and I felt like sharing these open questions the drama left me with. IONTBO is an amazing drama so far and tackles trauma and such in a very interesting, creative way. I encourage everyone to watch it.  

What do you think? How does this drama make you feel? 

Does it leave you thinking too? Do you agree with me? 

Please share your thoughts, I’d love to read them!

To those that made it to here, thank you for reading my first article!

I hope you enjoyed it! ^-^

Note: This article was made after finishing episode 4. Credit for the gifs and pictures go to their respective owners. 

Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor) 

healing its-ok-not-to-be-ok psycho but ok