Why I'm Grateful for my One Direction Phase

I can vividly recall the first time I heard about One Direction. It was the summer of 2011—the ends of my hair were dyed red with Kool-Aid, I wore bright pink wayfarer shades, and I thought I was the coolest girl at my summer theatre camp. My friend brought a magazine to camp which featured articles strictly about One Direction, including life-size, glossy posters of the boys. My friends and I studied each page, reading the magazine from cover to cover. I hadn’t heard about the band prior to this, but after seeing their dreamy, modelesque faces, I knew I was in love. I went home and scoured the Internet, searching for every video on YouTube about them. I listened to all their music, watched music videos, and stalked their Twitter accounts. From then on, I basically became the “One Direction girl” at school. You know what I’m talking about.

As a cringeworthy, One Direction obsessed tween, my parents rolled their eyes and smiled along when I plastered my walls with their posters. They believed, like most things, I’d eventually grow out of it. Yet, my love for those five boys was unconditional. During my high school years, my One Direction fan account was almost like a diary to me. When I felt that no one understood me, my Internet friends, formed due to our love of the band, consoled me and made me laugh. I listened to One Direction’s music and cried, smiled, and felt overjoyed when new events came up with the band. 

 

Personal photo- My best friend and I at fourteen years old, living it up at our first One Direction concert. 

 

In a sense, I sort of grew up with One Direction. While it may seem silly to some, their presence was a constant source of happiness throughout the emotional rollercoaster of my teenage years. When I felt upset, I looked forward to seeing them in concert and cried tears of joy when I finally got to hear them perform their music live (and traveled to two different states to see them.) For me, loving One Direction was so much more than just being a fan of a band. It was my community, my safe space, and a way to connect with others. 

As I watched the boys of One Direction grow up, I grew up as well. The experience of being a One Direction stan not only shaped my identity in a multitude of ways, but it also allowed me to transform from a quirky tween to a (still kinda quirky) woman. As their individual music has matured, I continued to listen to all of their new work. I especially love the message that Harry Styles sends in his newer music about love, confidence, and expressing oneself. 

    

Today, the boys may not be together, I may have laid my fan account to rest, and I may have some more important things in my life to worry about rather than Harry Styles’ wardrobe, but I am not embarrassed to say that I once was a One Direction super fan. Though I may almost be 19, a little piece of my heart will always love One Direction.