Tonight, after 5 long years, One Direction will walk off stage after their last live performance for awhile. While we don’t know how long they will be gone for, what their plans are, or controversially if they will actually return at all. But we do know one thing, the impact they have had not just on the world of music but on peoples lives. I’m going to let you all in to the impact they have made on me, things are about to get personal. Now, as you know that the stereotype of a One Direction fan is incorrect, for the most part. I must tell you, that I am a 25 year old dude, living in London, I’m at university studying Japanese. Nice to meet you.
We had some good times didn't we?
We had some good tricks up our sleeve
Goodbyes are bittersweet
It's not the end
I'll see your face again
— Sonny Atticus-Styles (@atticusstyles) December 10, 2015
One Direction first bounded into my life, like for most people, when they appeared on the X Factor. Now I’m not going to sit here and say I was a fan from the start, I wasn’t, it took me until the Live shows! During the live shows something clicked, an emotional connection, they resonated with me, right from the start they felt like home. I felt happy and safe when I was watching them. At the time I had just started a new job and was feeling out of place so this feeling was something I craved, and I found it.
The years ticked by, as did the albums and tours. Traveling all over to see the boys, catching them on TV shows when I could, and even playing their tracks when I DJed in some random nightclubs. I was lucky enough to meet them a few times at book signings, and in random places. I appeared in the This Is Us movie in Summer 2013 (in a crowd shot, but hey, that still counts!), I was at many a football match for Louis, and even shouted at Harry for trying to steal my banana. (That is a weird sentence). All was well!
However in the Summer of 2013, my closest friend was taken ill and it was cancer. At this point I was living away from home and couldn’t visit him. I didn’t know how ill he really was and I felt helpless. I was looking to just do anything so I started to look at charities, I’d always raised money for charity but now so more than ever I wanted to find one that I really identified with and that’s when I found Trekstock. It was my love for One Direction that helped me find them, I donated in hope of having dinner with Harry & Liam, then running off into the sunset with Harry. I started to look at Trekstock’s work and ethos and I really identified with them. A few months later another diagnosis was made for my friend, he had multiple brain tumours. I came home to visit him in October, where we talked about Trekstock, we talked about him starting a blog, and how they could help. We talked about my work with them and how One Direction helped me find Trekstock. I never thought in my wildest dreams that would be the last time I’d see him. He sadly passed away in March 2014. The first song I heard after he passed was Don’t Forget Where You Belong, this song holds a special place in my heart. Every time I see it performed I’m a huge mess. In fact when I have to check the video below is working I fell I will start crying!
After he passed is when I started to struggle, my life started to fall apart, everything began falling down around me. One Direction served as my escape, my safety net. I knew no matter what was going on in my life – they were always a constant. I still had that safe feeling somewhere in my life when I needed it most. During this time I lost most things, my job, my house and I had to move back to my parents in late 2014, I had a complete mental breakdown. My depression and anxiety got on top of me, and for a few months they won. I couldn’t get out of bed most days and during this time One Direction released the album Four. I didn’t open it for weeks as I was worried that I would link this beautiful album to a horrible point of my life. Luckily that didn’t happen and to this day it reminds me of the fact that I made it. I survived.
It’s not just the boys’ music that has helped me. Their personalities and attitudes have changed me as a person too. Now, I know what I’m about to say will make some of your eyes roll but Harry is my favourite. He is such a beautiful human, and I feel he has grown the most within the band. He’s gone from worrying what everyone thinks of him to wearing flairs and a floral suit. Prancing around without a care. His attitude has changed mine. Love wins, all the love. Kindness is the most important thing in the world. I don’t care what people think about me, I care what they think about themselves.
2015 has been hard for the fandom as a whole, but for me it made me stronger. My rocks, the one thing in my life that has made me feel safe and has stayed constant was changing. Zayn left. That was a shock I thought nothing was safe. I learnt that you can’t control anything apart from yourself and that’s ok. Things change, people will come and go but memories are forever. Nothing and nobody will take those from you and that’s the happy and safe feeling you need. I’ve learnt that you can show emotions, it’s ok to cry, let people in – some people will hurt you, but that’s life and that’s how you grow.
Made In The A.M was the album I’ve always wanted from One Direction, it was so personal and spoke to me on a level that music hasn’t ever done before. A.M reminds me of drunk times at home with my friends, upon hearing that some memories came flooding back that I’ve not thought about in years. It was beautiful. Walking in The Wind reminded me about my close friend who I lost. History just sums up my last 5 years with the boys. If my life was to burn down like a house, this is the musical memory I’d save. And yes, I do think that metaphor works.
2015 was my busiest One Direction year by far, I attended the Apple Music Festival, all of their O2 dates. Which made 6 One Direction gigs in 7 days, a feat I’m not sure I’ll ever match. I mean I don’t even go to work 6 times in 7 days! I attended an O2 date and the BBC Music Awards alone, just to show my anxiety just who is boss. This is something I would not have been able to do without the boys and Harry’s positive affect on my life and attitude. I was even front row at the last tour date in Sheffield and witnessed THAT hug with my own eyes.
So here we are, 13th December 2015. The last LIVE performance from the boys, and I’m losing my safety net for a while. We don’t know how long they will be gone, but the impact they have had on me and the changes they’ve helped me make as a person will stick with me for ever. I could never thank them enough.
So for all the drunken singsongs, for concerts we booked a million months in advance, for new friends I’ve made, for experiences I’ve had, for the merchandise that still litters my house, for my massive overdraft, for THAT drunken legal name change, for those stressful text conversations, for all these memories; Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall, I thank you.
Zack?, I mean Zayn? You had a choice and you made the right one for you. Which is commendable and serves as an awesome lesson for people.
And lads, Don’t Forget Where You Belong…..