Before any of you click away, being a One Direction fangirl isn’t always rainbows and sunshine; mentally, it has messed me up pretty badly. Like most of my YouTube addictions, I watched interviews and performances of theirs whenever I had the chance. However, I was also comparing myself to the band members’ girlfriends. Not that I wanted to date the members of One Direction myself, but I kept on thinking about how I wasn’t as tall, skinny, or as pretty as their significant others. I still have those thoughts, but I’m trying to break that habit and accept myself for who I am.
First of all, let me explain how I became a fan of One Direction. I first heard “What Makes You Beautiful” on TV in the seventh grade, and I hated that song! But then, I guess after hearing it a billion times, it became engraved in my brain. I found the music video for “One Thing” on YouTube in 2012, and I liked it! I don’t remember when or why I decided to buy their first album, Up All Night (2011), but I did because it was sitting there at Walmart. Like most of the One Direction fanbase, my favorite member was Harry Styles because of that voice, and his looks also played a factor, haha.
One Direction came in third place on the seventh series of The X Factor UK in 2010. Before discovering them, I watched clips of their performances and videos diaries from the show on YouTube, so I knew they looked familiar. It seems like it was destiny for me to discover One Direction! The members were Liam Payne, Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson. Other than Tomlinson’s outgoing personality shown through their video diaries, I had no memory of him because he never had solos during their time on The X Factor UK. Why do I bring up Tomlinson? I’ll explain later!
I made some friends in eighth grade because I was a fan of One Direction. While my love for the English-Irish boy band was growing, my love for Justin Bieber was declining because his high-pitched voice was long gone! Mentally, I was in a fine place, though, because I had people to talk to at school. Despite that, I still had confidence struggles in intermediate school. I was already comparing myself to the other girls, so my liking a boy band with a devoted female fanbase decreased my confidence and self-esteem quite a lot. I researched One Direction all the time, so of course, Google had to shove it in my face that the members had beautiful girlfriends (or friends that were girls).
Regardless of that, I still liked their music, saw their movie One Direction: This Is Us (2013), had posters of them on my wall, wore 1D shirts, and I bought their next two albums, which are bangers! Then high school came around, a weird time for me that I do not want to revisit; I told myself that I wanted to put my childish and fangirl ways aside. As a result, I stopped listening to One Direction in early 2014, during the second half of my freshman year of high school. The last song I heard of theirs before my “break” was “Steal My Girl,” and it was pretty catchy! I was sad to give them up, especially since I started liking Tomlinson out of nowhere, and he replaced Styles as being my favorite member of the band. But I thought, “they have loads of fans; they’re going to be fine!” Boy, was I wrong!
On March 25, 2015, the band announced that Malik would be leaving the group. I don’t think I was too affected by that. Nor was I affected by the band’s split in 2016 because I was listening to alternative rock bands instead, like Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil; I thought it was “cool”!
Suddenly during the summer of 2018, before my sophomore year of college, I started listening to One Direction again, and my fascination with Tomlinson increased to the max! Not only that, it was the first time I listened to the band’s last two albums, Four (2014) and Made in the A.M. (2015), which both featured a much more mature sound than their earlier days. After watching more recent interviews and performances of theirs, and Louis Tomlinson’s best vocals-type videos, I finally reacted to the band’s split, and I was devastated!
That’s not the worst part, though. Because I was fascinated with Tomlinson, I researched his past relationships. I knew he had a girlfriend and that I wasn’t in the right mindset, but I pictured Tomlinson as the perfect guy who’d never be interested in a girl like me. In a way, I used Tomlinson to represent all the guys in the world. He liked these girls with certain body types, long gorgeous hair, and were tall, etc. I kept on thinking, “Guys don’t like me because I don’t look like Louis’ girlfriends!” Then again, how am I supposed to know what types of girls he dates? I don’t know how his mind works.
Anyway, I got sadder and sadder looking at pictures of Tomlinson with his girlfriend(s), to a point where my self-confidence was gone. I follow his (current) girlfriend on Instagram, too; she’s a model and a fashion blogger. She seems nice, and this girl was a saint considering what she goes through because of the Larry Stylinson shippers (that’s for another time). I also tried to get Tomlinson to notice me on Twitter, and that’s when I realized, “ok, this is getting weird!”
Another downside to getting back into One Direction is knowing that times have changed. They weren’t the same innocent, young boys they once were. Instead, they’ve all grown up, got tattoos, and have solo careers of their own. Styles and Tomlinson were close friends in the early days of One Direction, but their interaction became minimal in the later years, to a point where they hardly hugged each other, let alone stood next to each other anymore. They still had their moments following Midnight Memories (2013), but not like The X Factor UK days. It was hard; actually, it’s still hard dealing with the fact that things change and that nothing stays the same forever.
I took another break from their music in early 2019, but then I go through phases where I watch One Direction videos and listen to their music still. That’s why I never got rid of their albums because I knew I would revisit them. I even bought their movie on DVD at the Book Off around mid to late 2019. Honestly, I regret giving up One Direction in high school because they were my happy place. I enjoyed listening to their music, and I should’ve supported the band when I had the chance because how was I supposed to know that they’d split up two years later?
Being a One Direction fangirl is one big rollercoaster ride, but I still love the band because they became a part of me; their funny compilation videos cheer me up, and Tomlinson’s solo music is incredible. I got caught up comparing myself to Tomlinson’s girlfriends that I forgot to only focus on him and his music. I enjoy Styles’ music too, but I connected with Tomlinson’s songs and how he struggled with confidence as well.
I keep on telling myself this, but everyone is different, and nobody is perfect. We should strive to be the best versions of ourselves, rather than comparing ourselves to others and focusing on what we don’t have. Yes, I have a disability, I can’t feel on the right side of my face, my hair is uncooperative most of the time, and I wear a lot of black, but I’m still me, and my appearance should not define who I am! So remember, be you and don’t try to be like other people!
Take care and see ya real soon!