When I was twelve years old, Blink-182 were my favorite band. Their juvenile antics, the democratic nature of their vulgarity, their palm-muted power chords...everything seemed to resonate with me on an intimate, psychological level. I craved dangerous music free of danger, a theme that would carry me through adolescence and eventually adulthood.
When the band announced a single show in my native Germany, I begged my dad to take me. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," I said, "No, that show's six hours away," he said. I cried for what felt like a year. Months later the band would go on a break, an "indefinite hiatus," three days before my 13th birthday. They wouldn't play another show for half a decade. When it comes to bands "taking a break" and really breaking up...I'm a pro. I feel it in my bones.
Last month, rumors surrounding the end of One Direction flourished when the Sun reported that the band has no plans to tour their upcoming fifth and most likely final studio album, their first and only without Zayn Malik. The tabloid was the first to report on Zayn's departure and Louis' impending dad status; they're rarely wrong in the 1D department. Liam Payne and Niall Horan, now the most vocal members of the group, did their best to ensure Directioners that the end isn't nigh, but a "well-earned break" is on the horizon. It's politically correct language, not unlike the kind used by Blink-182 almost 10 years ago. It's the language that keeps fans happy, and allows your group to dissolve into obscurity, into nonexistence: To disband.
The girls of the final date of the One Direction's mostly sold-out stadium world tour, On the Road Again in Foxborough, Massachusetts knew this, but chose to ignore it. Their tears wouldn't let them.
One Direction gigs are like nothing else on this earth because nothing else is like them: Their music comes from a place of total girl-worship, and the ladies who look to them for solace believe/inspire every word. It's a gorgeous circle of giving and taking and loving. Their live shows only seem to exacerbate this...for many, it's seeing your very favorite band for the very first time, for others, it's remembrance of how important joy is. Being a young woman is one of the hardest things anyone can do and 1D, for 20 songs in two hours, remind you it's also the best.
Entering the venue at their last gig fueled this. There was no real feeling of loss, because it's impossible to be professionally sad here. Girls in homemade Tomlinson tees fringe the ends with intricate beads, it looks like it might as well have taken them years to craft...they're not going to cry unless it's in full on celebration. Their moms next to them bask in their enthusiasm, the gig brings them closer together. I imagine they cry because they picture their daughters growing up, moving out and away. Today, they can squeeze each other harder than they ever have before.
“Being a young woman is one of the hardest things anyone can do and 1D, for twenty songs in two hours, remind you it's also the best.”
The ladies of my section, 108, seemed to be particularly mesmerized by Irishman Niall Horan, who would turn 22 hours later. His life helped alleviate the pain of his band's possible death. When my seatmates scream-cried from the bottom of their hearts the lyrics to the ballad "Little Things," it wasn't a moment of loss, but of unbridled and unrivaled pleasure.
If this is truly the end of One Direction, which feels truer every day, then they went out with a bang. In this football arena in the heart of suburban Boston, I looked around to see 60,000 of my closest girlfriends singing along to the songs that make them most happy. If only I could tell my 12-year-old self that. If only I could've chosen celebration instead of wallowing in the demise of my favorite group—I wonder what kind of person I would've become. Maybe I would be as brave and beautiful as the girls around me. Maybe.