If your heart was not pounding at 9:59 am on May 5th, 2017, you were not trying to buy Harry Styles tickets. And you were probably also not sitting at a campus cafe trying to regulate your breathing after you sprinted there 20 minutes after you woke up so that you would be on time to class AND ready to buy a ticket.
No tickets are available now, but I couldn’t even get 2 tickets in Best Available. Thankfully, my dad made up for his lack of Hannah Montana ticket buying-parenting days and was also on a computer trying to get a ticket in case technology did not work out on my side. That worked out pretty well because he actually ended up getting a ticket around the same spot that I had for The 1975 concert (which blew my mind, btw).
After getting the news that I was going to see the love of my life Harry Styles for the third time in my life, I started crying. And this whole weekend has been filled with moments of me stopping to stare at the floor and cry for a few seconds. I’ve also been frantically checking my email to see if I was selected for the Los Angeles listening party because your girl is HERE and LIVING in Los Angeles and ready to go to the ends of the earth for anything Harry Styles related, but judging by only two tweets in existence about the Los Angeles listening party, the invitation was send out early this morning and I have nothing.
I won’t lose hope, though. At least I have a ticket to The Greek.
I just wanted to explain the large moments of my life that have happened with One Direction and Harry Styles because I am BACK.
The First Magazine
Back in the day, I was the #1 financial supporter of teeny bopper magazines like M, J-14, Twist, Bop, and Tiger Beat (which I would love to work for one day, so please hmu if you like what you see). I only bought the magazines if they had anything to do with High School Musical, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, or One Direction. I needed them to survive. I put up so many posters in my room that two of the walls in my childhood room truly need to be rebuilt because of the tacks that I used. The first time that One Direction was featured in a magazine that I owned was in the winter of my freshman year of high school. I saved that picture and I have it framed in my bedroom at home. I also have some really old 1D posters that I just can’t take down yet, because once they come off my wall I’ll forget where I put them and then they will be gone forever.
I was a lucky child. One Direction didn’t make the news until probably a year later, so by my 16th birthday everyone knew who they were and everyone knew that they were mine. My parents got me this One Direction birthday cake and I actually cried when I saw it.
THEN I DID cry, and I mean I howled, when my parents got me tickets to see them in Chula Vista that summer on their Take Me Home Tour. It was the highlight of my sophomore year of high school, and I spent so many months devoted to making sure that my life was all about One Direction. I became more active on Twitter and Tumblr, running fan accounts and writing fanfiction and I became a true teen internet user. I woke up at the crack of dawn not only to get to school to study for the SAT and useless AP exams, but to watch any new video releases that I might have missed, or posts from my fellow tweeters and bloggers that I had missed in the night. What made being an online One Direction fan hard was that my parents turned off the wifi every night at like 11 pm, so I would actually have to sleep at night instead of endlessly scrolling like I do now.
I’m fully aware that by linking my face to this post about how devoted I am/was/always will be to my guy(s) might be a bit of a deal breaker for some people, but you have to understand that people also doubted me when I was going through this /insane/ One Direction phase, and I still ended up where I want to be in life. So, mid-post, I just want to tell you that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what you love is stupid. I will never be ashamed of what makes me happy.
So there I was. Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen, knowing who the loves of my life were, and loving it. Owning it. My Tumblr was blowing up and the things I was reblogging and posting were going viral. I found my own community within a website that my parents would have banned from my wifi before I was even born. It was amazing to be thriving in a digital space and also waking up and suffering in so many useless AP classes. I was living a double life and it was so much fun.
So I end sophomore year with Valedictorian standing because I was just that naturally great at multitasking and seeming like a well-rounded student. (This would later change, but that was actually something really great that happened to me because I became more accepting of who I was, and I didn’t try to hurt myself over not being perfect in USELESS AP classes), and I devote my summer to tutoring and saving money to buy all the merch at the 1D table.
Finally, it’s August. The night before my first One Direction concert, my friend had a giant birthday bash and I was downing multiple cups of Chai tea UNBEKNOWNST TO ME that Chai tea actually has a level of caffeine that I still can’t handle to this day, and I ended up lying awake in my bed all night feeling my heart pound and wondering if I was going to die before I ever got to see the loves of my life in concert. It did NOT help that the wifi was off, but I remember I wrote this small diary-like entry on my iPod to keep track of my thoughts through the night, and it only made me realize the next morning that I did not, in fact, sleep at all the night before my first One Direction concert. I will transcribe it here with some comments omitted because they are just not relevant anymore:
- I went to bed at 11:30 pm last night and at 11:45 I realized I was probably not going to sleep at all.
- I purposefully stayed awake until 12:00 am so that I could tell myself “tonight I see One Direction.”
- I only slept for two and a half hours last night.
- I wanted to scream from excitement at 2:45 am but alas.
- People make weird noises in their sleep.
- My heart was pounding pretty much every second I was awake, thinking about tonight.
- *deletes selfies to make room for concert videos and pictures*
- Only three more hours until it’s okay to get up and walk around.
- I had ONE dream the entire night and I thought I was actually snapchatting with a member of the opening act of 1D, 5 Seconds of Summer. (It was Ashton okay shut up and he sent me a snap of his fully clothed legs)
- 2:52 am: I discovered the world “snapchat” is a verb.
- You know maybe I can sleep in the car?
- WHY DOES DAD TURN OFF THE WIFI
- Let’s play a game called try to put your iPod back on the iHome dock at 3 am in complete darkness without making any noise.
- 3:02 am: how much do you know about Harry Styles? He was born February 1st, 199- Shit.
- 4:20 hollaaaaa oh wait I’m not even cool enough to say that
- *scrolls through camera roll* Why do I have so many carroty pictures saved? Oh cause they’re funny
- 4:38 am FINALLY MY DAD IS UP OMG GOODBYE DARK BEDROOM
- 4:41 am: wow i’m so tired of thinking to myself
- 4:45 am: dang the concert actually starts in like 15 hours I waited 20 months for this. It’s like… My child
- oh my god am I okay
- No I’m not okay I barely slept two hours you can’t even say I really slept because I fake-snapchatted ashton
- 4:48 am you know lets just try to focus on – HOLY SHIT I AM SEEING THEM TONIGHT
There are just. So many. So many things I need to address from this note in my iPod touch from 2013.
First of all, Rest in Peace 16-year-old me who did not know that her entire first year of college at her “”dream school”” she would be surviving off of going to bed at 2 am every night and waking up for 9 am classes. And now bravo for 20-year-old me who can handle 5 shots of espresso, but not any time before bed, and now also works graveyard shifts.
I completely forgot that “carrot” was a thing. I think it meant that you were a fan stuck in the past. I actually wrote an entire One Direction dictionary for my dad because he was coming to the concert with me, and I wanted him to know the cultural revolution he was walking into.
I remember waiting outside the bathroom at 5 am for my mom to get out (we were driving to San Diego that day so we were all up very early) and she looked at me calmly standing outside the bathroom and said “You didn’t sleep at all, did you?” Moms know everything. I probably lied. I also asked to take an ibuprofen because my brain was suffering and screaming for unconsciousness and oxygen about 15 minutes before we were leaving for the road, and I ended up knocking out for a while in the car.
So fast forward a million hours later. What I wore to my first One Direction concert and how I decided to wear it, I will never experience or be in that mindset again. Looking at it now with half of an English and Film degree, it’s 100% a symbol of purity, youth, innocence, and 16-year-old who is a freak for One Direction but an angel to the system.
I wanted to be cute. I wanted them to know I loved them, and I wanted my life to be perfect for those 3 hours. I ditched the wedges in the parking lot for sparkly gold flats because I couldn’t commit to heels yet. I actually graduated high school in those wedges. They weren’t even wedges. They were like platform espadrilles. They are probably good shoes for college, but I’m not about feeling cute anymore. That part of my life is over.
I told my mom I was off to get married. My dad told me not to say that. I tweeted that I was on my way to the concert, and my high school friends favorited it. (Another tragic thing – the place I was staying at had JUST gotten wifi in all the rooms but it REFUSED to connect to my iPod touch, so I missed out on blogging for the ENTIRE WEEK after my concert.) I also almost put a giant water tattoo of Niall’s face on my wrist, because that’s just something that made sense in 2013, but I didn’t.
I picked up my poster that I made with a gallon of glitter and I drove off with my dad to the venue. My poster said “Promstagram?” because I wanted to ask Harry Styles to prom in a cute dress, and I also wanted to say that I had taken a poster to a One Direction concert. Here is a photo of me during the creative process, duck face and all. Ugh, if there ever needs to be a poster child for 2013 please give them my web address.
Unfortunately, I had to throw my poster away before I could enter the venue. Then Liam said, “If you’ve got a poster, hold it up!” and in my iPod recording of the concert you can hear me screaming bloody murder “They took it away!” I would have been the only one in my section with a poster. I could have gone to prom with Harry Styles.
Obviously in 2013 we were not living in the time of Everyone Has an iPhone 7 Plus And That’s Why No One Has An Excuse For A Shitty Instragram, so that is why every photo I have from the Take Me Home era is so grainy.
This is probably the best image that I got from that night.
Except for this photo of myself, freaking out to 5SOS
With quality photos and my seats, I was TOTALLY blowing up on the internet. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I lost followers when they realized I was just a normal kid at a 1D concert and not some great photographer blogger. I also did not have meet and greet passes, but that was okay, because I sobbed through their entire opening number “Up All Night,” and if I would have met them I would have probably peed myself.
This is a photograph taken my 5SOS’s team at my venue, only Ashton (the fake snapchatter) is blocking my section, so you can’t see me.
It was a beautiful night, and I cried, and I knew that I loved them. A person’s love for a boyband cannot be denied, and I absolutely hated when my internet fandom and myself would get teased about it, because no one will say now that the Beatles were useless to society and future meaningless people to the teen girls who were carried out on stretchers every night. (Someone was carried out on a stretcher at my first 1D concert.) People just don’t want to acknowledge that teenagers have passions. Teenagers and fans in general fuel these fandoms and it’s just a waste of time to try and knock people down for their wholesome passions.
The pre-college era
Fast forward to about one year later. I had gotten tickets to see them at the Rose Bowl in September on Niall’s birthday, and THAT was insane. I had never been in a venue that big before, and they ended up breaking a record for consecutive shows and capacity or something like that. Now, let me tell you, I am somewhat of a believer in signs and the paranormal. In the fall of 2014 I knew that I wanted to go to UCLA. I traveled all the way to Los Angeles to see One Direction at the Rose Bowl, home of the UCLA football team, and it was there that my want for UCLA grew. Liam was even wearing a UCLA jersey. It was just all really great and exciting to see that my potential place in the world was at the same place where One Direction was.
So that’s why I chose to go to UCLA.
I’m just kidding. But it is incredible that the two mixed like that, because around that time I was working on my college applications. (I actually sent Harvard an application essay about how One Direction, Big Time Rush, and the Jonas Brothers were the biggest inspirations of my life, and I wouldn’t feel confident about applying to college if I had never known what it meant to love a boyband.) I didn’t know that my life was going to change just one year after that. I took this selfie the morning before we drove to Los Angeles, and I am wearing my first One Direction concert t-shirt (and this is also the era of me trying to grow my eyebrows back after blindly plucking them for two years). My hair was so long! I spent a long time trying to find the perfect concert outfit again (and that has become one of my favorite parts of going to a concert), and I wore a black romper from Loft that I almost wore to prom, and ALSO graduated high school in. I also found blue suede flats at a TJ Maxx in San Diego, and the just screamed Harry Styles, so I bought them. I considered it to be a more mature outfit for a One Direction concert, which symbolized my growth from my first One Direction concert. And I did feel older. I was a senior in high school trying to write down what I thought I was worth on paper, and I had to constantly analyze my life just to get a good sentence out.
That was a really great era, before I was worried about acceptances and rejections, before I was stressed about being a freshman, and before there was any indication that Zayn was going to ruin everything I had ever known about true love.
I haven’t been back to the Rose Bowl since. I don’t go to football games because the aesthetic is too gross for me. I don’t want to endure beer, vomit, and sweat for something I don’t even have an interest in watching anyway. I will be making making my return to the Rose Bowl this October to see Coldplay with my younger brother (who will also be a Bruin, props to me for my originality).
THIS is my idea of going to the Rose Bowl and having fun.
Attending One Direction concerts became an interesting era of my life, because One Direction was no longer a post on my blog or a Tweet I screenshotted as if my life depended on it. They were actual performers in front of me, twice.
AND NOW I’M GONNA SEE HARRY AGAIN.
Yes, it’s true. I have a prized ticket to Harry Styles’ show in Los Angeles, and I am already hunting for the best outfit that encapsulates my lifelong dedication to boybands and my undying love for Harry Styles.
I am specifically obsessed with these shoes from Forever 21 because they just scream Harry Styles and they are only thirtysomething bucks. I would also wear these to literally anything else. I’m going to see Shawn Mendes in the summer and I would wear these. They are so cute.
I am so excited to spend the next five months of my life listening to his album and preparing to see him live. My favorite song from his album is 100% “Ever Since New York.”
I am very excited that Harry Styles is continuing his career because he really is this genuine person with genuine talent, and I want him to be happy. He is my teenage dream, he is my teenage everything, he is the person who, when I am 80 years old, I will look back on and see it as one of the prime moments of my life. Chasing a boyband around California for a few summers will be a life memory that I love forever. I want my legacy to be that I shamelessly loved this boyband and this person.
By the way, if you have ever wanted to read a really great One Direction fanfiction, may I suggest “New York” and “The Journals” on Wattpad (by user now known as TheNewYorkSeries).
The first installment (link):
I have read this fanfiction probably ten times (it also has a sequel and a third installment of deleted scenes). And I think it is more than just a One Direction fanfiction. As an English major who is chugging along through classes on great literary figures like Chaucer and Milton and everyone else… the author of this fic, Zana, truly ranks among the greats. I honestly think that this should be published. (As an English major, fanfiction keeps me going, honestly).
I first read New York in high school when I was either a sophomore or junior. I think the last time I read it was last year during my first year of college. But the first time I read it, let me tell you, it was a journey. I cried like every chapter. I read it in my math analysis class, crying. I read it until 12 am every night, which, in high school time, was not a time that I was used to being awake at.
What is really interesting/revolutionary about the series is how it was written around the time of Up All Night and Take Me Home, and pretty much all of the songs on the albums following the release of these two fics seem to NARRATE the entire series. If you follow her Tumblr, iwouldsellmysisterssoulfor1D.tumblr.com, you can see a bunch of readers commenting about how her work literally predicted the music that One Direction released after Take Me Home.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post about my history of loving One Direction and specifically Harry Styles. I was pretty much shunned for having this obsession in high school (someone literally said: “Natalie needs to talk about smarter things than Harry Styles” in my senior year of high school), but as a 20-year-old woman with a job and a pretty decent college career happening, I am unashamed to say that One Direction is one of my favorite things ever (and has been my favorite thing ever since I was a wee fourteen or fifteen years old), and I am not ashamed to express my love for Harry Styles and One Direction at all.
What good is the world if we can’t love what we love? What good is the world if happiness has to be censored in order to appear intelligent?
I leave you with a link to Harry’s album on Spotify. (I’m also sorry that the quality of this blog post deteriorated as it went on – I wrote this post over a couple graveyard shifts that I worked… did I tell you I paid for my own Harry Styles ticket? #workingwoman)
Meet me in the hallway.