About 11 years ago I made the difficult transition from elementary to middle school. While monumental, this date also marks another important moment in my life: I found One Direction. Many people laugh when I recall my time spent worshipping five teenage European boys. To them, liking One Direction seemed like a phase that I would simply outgrow. In a sense, I guess their words turned into reality. My bedroom back home no longer displays vibrant teal walls covered from top to bottom in posters and cardboard cutouts of the One Direction boys. I am not convinced anymore that Niall Horan may spot me in the crowd, immediately wanting to marry me. Similarly, I lost hope that the “hiatus” One Direction promised us would end.
Although times change, I can never forget about One Direction’s impact on me.
When I entered the fifth grade I quickly started questioning what the new faces flooding the hallways thought about me. Although I wanted to meet different people, my stomach turned thinking about the process. Lucky for me, I carried around One Direction notebooks with me to every class. Some laughed, finding my liking of a boy band immature, yet I continued to walk the hallways proudly. Fast forward to a year later, on my first day of sixth grade, I walked into an entirely new set of classes with even more One Direction school supplies. Prepared for negative comments from my peers, I felt shocked when two girls approached me to discuss their similar love for the band. Pretty soon, our friend group expanded while we Directioners remained dedicated to our jobs. We constantly stayed up to date on the band, which often made the boys a focal point of our conversations.
However, it also brought us closer together as friends.
When asked to think about the best moments of my life, I always reminiscence on the six years I spent loving One Direction with my friends. I remember time spent in our sixth-grade homeroom, where my folder initially caught the glances of my then new friends. We needed to read throughout the week, however, we didn’t always make great use of that time. Sitting on giant beanbags in the back corner of a silent classroom, we always talked. Whether the topic involved One Direction or not, we often found ourselves struggling to hold back laughter from our silent, rule-obeying peers. Because of this, we knew our teacher well. I can still hear the sound of her footsteps walking to the back of the classroom, forcing us to separate and open our books.
My One Direction “phase” also consisted of my first huge concert that I attended with my best friends.
Although we didn’t all get seats by each other, we made sure to meet up beforehand. I remember the hours we spent preparing for this moment: checking Twitter fan accounts, making signs, picking out the perfect outfits and of course, listening to music. I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach when One Direction stepped on the stage. The excitement escaped my body through extremely loud screams and dancing throughout the night. This event took place in 2014, but it feels like it happened just yesterday.
During these six years, I started writing for fun more often. With the title of a One Direction fan, my job involved reading fan fictions. Eventually, my friends started writing their own, so I found myself wanting to write too. Even during our English class, we always twisted the topic of the day to write about our favorite boyband. Yet, not only did my love for writing increase during this time, but I gained a realization: I love writing about things I am passionate about. Although everyone doesn’t love to read One Direction fan fiction, I credit this time to the beginning of my current passion for writing. Younger me would probably not act surprised to hear that college me abruptly changed to a journalism major.
Sitting down writing this, I am no longer the same person that spent six years dedicating most of their time to a boyband.
While I remain in contact with many of my old friends, the distance from college caused barriers to form between some of us. Yet I could never forget about all the incredible times we shared; moments that started because of five celebrity boys. When people call liking One Direction a phase, I consider that to mean something pre-determined to end. From the beginning, everyone around us awaited the day we would stop liking the band. Eventually, One Direction did stop making music and I grew older. I kept some posters in my room, but it never reached the same intensity that my younger room displayed. However, even with increasing adult responsibilities, I still find myself thinking about One Direction often. I still listen to their songs, both from the band and individual members. A lack of new music could never stop my love for a band that created some of the best memories of my life. Because of that, I continue to call myself a Directioner with pride.