I found a quote a few years ago that stuck with me for a bit and then faded into my memory bank. Today, it found me again.
“Good people are like candles; they burn themselves up to give others light.”
When I first read that quote; one name came to mind…Louis Tomlinson.
Louis is many things to many people, an enigma of sorts. To his fans he’s a hero, to his friends he’s a jokester, to his mom he’s a baby, to his sisters he’s a protector, to his band mates he’s a brother, and to Harry he’s Lou.
Louis to people who don’t understand him is a scapegoat. He’s someone who isn’t taken seriously; the “bad boy” of the band. To some outsiders he’s the easiest one to pick on, the one with the shaky voice because of years of lack of confidence, the one who gets too loud and drinks too much.
None of the latter is true; but I’m not here to change your opinion on him if you believe anything negative, it’s truly your loss to not experience the light he gives away.
I’m here to talk to the people that appreciate for him, to talk for the people who love him.
I’m here to write and write and write and write and hope he reads it and hope he smiles because the world is a little darker without that thousand watt grin plastered across his face.
I’m here because I’ve seen the Louis who stops believing in himself. I’ve seen the Louis who gets thin and stops smiling, I’ve seen him look down at his feet to keep himself in instead of looking out at the world and greeting it, and I feel obligated to let him know that we would do anything to prevent that from happening again.
When you think of Louis Tomlinson it’s impossible not to smile. I think of a thousand different things depending on what sparked the come up of his name. Sometimes it’s fetus Louis in striped shirts and braces. Sometimes it’s soft Louis in sweat pants and a t-shirt that’s two sizes too big. Sometimes it’s Louis with his bare arms, not yet inked with a story he can’t tell, and an optimistic smile; still young and naive.
Sometimes I see a Louis with hollowed in cheeks and sunken in eyes, one that smiled through choked back tears and hung his head to avoid answering questions he didn’t want to lie through. Sometimes I see a boy who was made to feel like the things that made him unique were wrong, and it breaks my heart. Sometimes I see a boy who lost hope in things, in life, in love, but not forever…just enough to make him less soft, just enough to make his heart a little harder than it should have been.
That Louis is the only version I hate seeing, and it’s not because he isn’t beautiful, even then; he is, so beautiful it’s painful. I hate seeing that version because that version is the one that believes the lies he’s been told, believes his truth isn’t worth speaking, his love not worth having, his smile not worth showing, and his voice…not worth hearing.
None of those things are true either, but it’s hard to know fact from fiction when you’re thrown into a world you didn’t expect. When you pack your bags one day and don’t ever really return home.
It’s hard to believe that the little voice inside your heart is right when the voices you hear louder speak the opposite.
So Louis; this is for you.
You are sunshine personified, you are absolutely a light in this world. I believe in a way your spirit shines through you and creates an aura around you, one that enchants people, brings them in, makes them want to know you. You are the kind of person who doesn’t keep light to themselves, you’d rather give it to everyone else, even if that means yours runs out. You don’t selfishly hold onto the good that comes to you, you give it away freely to people so they can taste it too, so they can feel it too, so they know what warmth and love and light feel like. It takes a special kind of person to have what you have and be willing to give it away, to not hold onto it and keep it all to yourself.
You have a heart of gold, and it’s beautiful, but I know it can be heavy. The most beautiful things in life are never easy, never just pretty, never just good. They’re lovely, they’re brilliant, but they’re weighted. You are gorgeous; mind, body, and soul…but there are parts of you that are weighed down and although it happens to everyone, it’s sad when it happens to someone who deserves so much more. I hope you know that even when things get heavy, when your heart feels hard, that it’s not you who’s weak, not you who can’t carry everything. It’s the world, it’s outside forces taking too much from you, leaving you with their baggage while they take your light, and it’s a reflection of them, not of yourself. People who give always get more in return, even if in the moment it seems too far from the truth to believe in.
You are still vibrant, still young, and still full of life; sometimes those qualities in ourselves are hard to see, we feel old to the ways of the world, broken by it’s weight, dulled by the times fingers touch us while they take too much, but you’re not any of those things; you’re so much more than you see within yourself. You’re the kind of laughter you feel all the way through your body, the kind of song that gets stuck in your head for days at a time and you never quite tire of it…you’re the kind of person that people want to remember forever, because the thought of you brings them happiness.
So thank you Louis.
Thank you for giving your all to your fans, thank you for all the times you laughed with us, cried with us, smiled with us, understood us when we told you how you saved us, took it seriously when we told you you were one of the only good things in our lives. Thank you for your continued generosity with the people who look up to you, you don’t know what a few kind words or a gesture from you can mean to someone.
Thank you for loyalty, it shows in the way you keep your friendships, the way you love your band mates, the way you protect your family. The things that keep you grounded are the things you give your all to and it’s refreshing to see. Loyalty is something most people don’t give a second thought to these days, always wanting more, new, different…you keep your heart in the company of people who keep you up, and in return you do the same for them. You make sure the people you love have good lives, you make sure the people you care about don’t need to want for anything, and that is just another way that you show how selfless you truly are.
Thank you for staying. You had a chance to leave, a chance at a normal life, all of you did; you could have said thanks for the run and walked away from the spotlight, but you didn’t. You decided to stay, even if it wasn’t all glitter and gold, even if there were parts of it you hated, you stayed. You are still here, still part of the band, and you still grace the stage with your talent every night, you still write and allow us to get to know you through you words. You still let us in and still remind us that we’re the reason you’re here. The same could be said for you, you are the reason some of us are still here, too.
Thank you for being yourself; even when it’s hard. I don’t claim to know your story, I’m no one more than a fan, but from things we’ve gathered, collectively…it hasn’t been the easiest ride for you, but you’ve tried anyway. You’ve remained loud and outspoken, you’ve kept your laugh, the kind that makes your smile crinkle all the way up to your eyes and throw your head back. You’ve kept your heart, the one that makes you strong at the very same time it makes you weak, but in a good way. You’ve kept your spirit, the one that shines light upon not just you, but the ones around you, and you’ve kept your kindness, your compassion, and your generosity. You give to those less fortunate, you give to those who are sick…be it with money or with time, with acknowledgement or with physical presence. You show up and you’re willing to help and it’s admirable to see that in someone who has as much power as you do, someone who has a voice that people listen to.
Thank you for standing up for your friends, for yourself, and for the people around you. Thank you for standing up for us, the fans. Thank you for letting people know that we’re important too. I’m not the 14 year old fan some people still think of when they think of One Direction. I’m in my 20?s and I have never been moved by music or talent the way I am by all of you, and knowing that even though some people don’t get it, that you’d take up for me, and for the rest of us, gives me the strength to be the same way in my own life. You inspire a lot of us to be strong too, give us the courage to think our voice matters, even when it’s weak, even when it fails.
And last but not least, thank you for helping me find a place where I belong. Thank you for making me feel like I’m important, like I matter. Thank you for inspiring me to live my dreams, to follow my heart, to chase my talent. Thank you for being the reason I have the best people in my life now, for helping to write songs that move me to tears, to laughter, and everything in between. Thank you for giving so much of yourself so freely so that your fans are able to think of you as a pal. Thank you for helping us feel safe, protected, and like we genuinely matter.
You’re a source of sunshine, and we can only hope to be that back for you. Lately I know the road has been rough; and regardless of what’s said, what’s done, or what’s unspoken…you’ve got the most supportive fans in the world. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, behind the lights, behind where you stop being Louis Tomlinson from One Direction and start being Lou, but the glimpses you’ve given us into your personal life do allow us to think that maybe right now, this is one of the rougher times, one of the places in life where it’s harder to make sense of what’s going on around you. So if you feel weak, if you need to step off stage, if you miss a mark in a song or can’t keep going in a moment…know there are people like Liam, like Harry, like Niall, who will pick you up when you’re down. Know the fans care about you and would protect you just as your lads and mates do, and know that we all believe that through the darkness you’ll shine, through the ruble you’ll come out stronger, and through the struggle you’ll find deeper love.
Thank you, Louis, for everything
We love you.