Being 21 and Still Loving One Direction

I kept this hidden for years, but now that I’ve grown a little more confident in my opinions, I’m here to scream it from the rooftops. 


I’m a 21-year-old One Direction fan, and I’m proud of it. 


I’ve been a fan of One Direction since I was 13 years old, which means that as of this year, I’ve spent a third of my life obsessing over five boys who have no idea I exist—and that’s okay with me. 


The song that started it all for me was “What Makes You Beautiful,” which I heard for the first time in March 2012 when someone posted the lyrics on Facebook. Once I heard it, I was hooked. Every hour of every day was spent listening to their first album, Up All Night. However, it took me two weeks to realize that this boy band was already the object of so many other girls’ infatuations, and I immediately changed my mind. One Direction? Stupid. Hated them. Their music? Pfft. I maintained for months that the Jonas Brothers were the better boy band of the two. 


And then I got appendicitis. 


No, One Direction didn’t use their magic powers of fame and wealth to cause my appendix to become inflamed. However, after my surgery, all I wanted to do was read cheesy teen magazines, a hobby I had picked up in elementary school and never really got over. 


My mom came back from the store with the usual Tiger Beat, Bop, and M Magazines, but on the top was a special edition of People Magazine


“I don’t know who these boys are, but they’re cute, so I bet you’ll like them.” 


“Mom, I don’t like One Direction.” 


I read the magazine cover-to-cover. I still maintained my dedication to not falling victim to the trap that was the One Direction Infection. I continued to defend my stance on loving the Jonas Brothers and the Jonas Brothers only


Then I had a dream about Harry Styles. And here we are. 

In middle school and early high school, I kept my love for them a secret so I wouldn’t be made fun of. Liking boy bands was lame, and it was especially lame if you liked One Direction. Even just the mention of them could cause an outpour of homophobic comments and bad jokes about them. 


It’s crazy to me when I think about the fact that I’m now older than they were when I started liking them, and it’s even crazier to think that they’re nearing their 30s. 


The weirdest thing to me is to think about how they’ve truly changed my life. The butterfly effect of events that spurred from me liking them is something that blows my mind. 


I met one of my best friends on the internet in 2012. Courtney is someone who I think deserves the most credit in shaping me into who I am today. She’s been there for me through everything since I was 14. And even though she lived 669 miles away, she still managed to show me what real friendship was. 


Through Courtney, I met our other best friend Tanner. She introduced us, and since then, the three of us have truly shown distance who’s boss. Our friendship spans across Minnesota, Michigan and Kansas, but you’d never know based on how close we are. 


If I hadn’t liked One Direction in eighth grade, I would have never become close friends with my friend Lexi, who ended up being my best friend throughout high school. I also would never have reached out to my best friend Kendra in ninth grade. Knowing they shared the same love for the group I held so dear to my heart made it really easy for me to feel comfortable in our friendships right away. These two friends truly shaped my high school experience, and without them, I can’t imagine where I’d be. 


If I hadn’t liked One Direction, I don’t know that I would have fallen so deeply in love with their opening act for their 2013 tour, 5 Seconds of Summer. This band has equally changed my life, but it all started with One Direction. 

If I hadn’t fallen in love with 5 Seconds Of Summer, my life would be nowhere near the way it is now. My current roommate, Kasey, is someone I met on the internet through this band. Our shared friends also are all people who we’ve met through them, sharing AirBNBs for concerts, driving each other to the airport for flights when we need to, having people drive seven hours just to celebrate my birthday with me, endless late-night video chats and so many more memories we’ve shared. All of these things wouldn’t have happened without—you guessed it—One Direction. 


It’s always an awkward topic to talk about when we’re asked how we met considering Kasey moved all the way here to Winona, Minnesota, from Oregon. We know how crazy we sound when we say that we met because of a “silly” band. But to us, our friendship is just as genuine as any other. 


I owe so much of my life to One Direction and to be able to say that they’ve been there for me for a third of my life is really astounding. I walked across the stage for my high school graduation with pictures of Niall Horan in my shoes since my high school didn’t allow us to decorate our caps. 


Since they’ve done so much for me, it’s only fair I give up on the shame I’ve been holding onto since they’re just a “boy band. I promote their solo music and make all my friends listen to their newest releases in the car. I tweet my support for them whenever I can. I do everything I can to repay them for what they’ve done for me or helped me do for myself. 



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