One day when I was in middle school my mom walked in on me counting pennies in order to be able to pay for my ticket to see One Direction. My mother was a reasonable woman, she offered to pay for my ticket to see my favorite band, but I was an unreasonable child and I insisted that I had to be as close to those five men as possible.
With floor tickets running around $300 apiece, my mom told me there was no way in hell she was paying that much for a concert ticket. My 13-year-old self refused to take no for an answer so I began to barter my life savings and count my spare change. Long story short, I made it to that concert and I sobbed when I realized just how close I would be to a band that my mother swore I would not care about by the time I turn 20.
Flash forward a couple of years and here I am. Turning 20 in a day and contemplating getting a One Direction-themed tattoo. To my mother’s dismay, I have not outgrown my obsession with the European boyband and I still have not stopped counting my spare change to support them.
To me, One Direction is something that will always be a part of my life. God, it sounds ridiculous and I cannot help but roll my eyes as I type this, but I really do love each of them as if somewhere or somehow I knew them. I mourned the departure of Zayn Malik as if he was a family member going to the beyond, and I cried in the dark when they announced their hiatus.
I am not ashamed to admit that under the right circumstances and maybe after a glass or two, I am known to put on various One Direction songs and cry as the people around me look on in concern.
Here is the thing though — I have spent most of my life being teased for my devotion or told that I simply will not care once I hit a certain age. Maybe it is because people see boy bands as a trivial thing that young girls obsess over in their teenage years while their hormones run rampant, or maybe it is because society just does not not want to let girls enjoy things.
Either way, I have never let any of that stop me from being annoyingly obsessed with One Direction. I write about their albums in my college music classes and I am writing about them now for my college newspaper. I like to joke about it to my boyfriend and I made fun of myself when I was in One Directions’ top 1 percent of listeners on Spotify last year, but when it comes down to it I do not see myself ever being able to let One Direction go.
For me, One Direction gave me some of the best people I have ever known. In fact, I owe my love for them to one of my best friends in the entire world. I met her while we were stalking Justin Bieber in downtown Atlanta with my mom (she is a saint, I know). Fast forward seven years, lots of money and a One Direction concert together, she and I are still friends and are surrounded by three more One Direction obsessed 20-year-olds.
For me, One Direction is the soundtrack to our high school years. For me, One Direction is something that all four of us will always be able to talk about, no matter how long it had been since we had seen each other. When I hear "History" play I see them and remember our late night drives to Cook Out, sleepovers and basement mishaps.
For me, One Direction gave me people that were worth being broke and made fun of for. I may never see them in concert again but I will always have them and for that, I am eternally grateful.
So yeah, maybe it is lame that I cry when I hear them in public places and maybe my parents think I am insane for wanting a tattoo for a boy band that has not put out new music in more than five years, but I have reached the age where I simply just do not care anymore.
Why put an age limit on music when you could plan to dance to a One Direction song at your wedding? If I have learned anything in my almost 20 years of life, it is that life is way too short to not enjoy things, and if One Direction is one of those things then so be it.
Elana Ortiz is the Sports editor of The Daily Targum.
*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.
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