"After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction." I read this statement 8 minutes after it was posted and well, this statement messed me up. Being the loud and proud adult directioner that I am, I was well aware of the details leading up to this revelation. This did not prepare me for the jaw-dropping, flat-out shock I experienced Wednesday morning as clutched my iPhone. As surprising as Zayn's announcement was, I was equally shocked by my own inability to express what I was feeling. Here I was, a grown woman, with all the wisdom and tact to spin situations into positives or to rationalize facts, and I was not doing very well at all. I decided to give myself some time and space to process the trauma, by staying (ish) off the internet. But today I feel compelled to reach out to my fellow Zayn girls and boys who might be struggling to deal with this blow and hopefully help them cope like a levelheaded adult.
1. Be Shocked.
Oh my god. What? Is this real life? Are you sure? It is? Yes. Okay. Moving on.
2. Be Sad.
You are absolutely allowed to be sad. This is sad stuff. If you're anything like me, One Direction isn't just a band you like, they are a representation of something greater in your life. For me, One Direction and boybands conjure up feelings of excitement and fun, so do I want those particular elements in my life being tampered with? No, I do not. I am sad for myself, a long time "Zayn girl" it really sucks to lose your fave in such a dramatic fashion. I'm sad for the fans; young and old, the ones who can't articulate the feelings they're going through, the ones too young to understand, those who haven't seen 5/5 perform. I'm sad for Liam, Louis, Niall and Harry. How difficult it must be for them to try and stay positive as the world's focus shifts to them, awkwardly trying to fill Zayn's high note slayin' boots. Okay, most of all, I'm sad for Zayn. My compassionate, adult heart aches for this poor 22 year old. He is so young and thinking about him making a decision that will be heavily scrutinized for the rest of his life makes me cringe. He just wants to be a normal 22 year old and I think it will be a long road to normal for this Bradford lad.
3. Be Thankful.
Listen up, young ones. I've lived through a couple different boyband's time in the spotlight. When I fell for my first boy in band, there was no internet. Think about that. No paparazzi pics of them leaving the airport, no instagram peeks into their personal lives and definitely no tweets from the guy's themselves telling me how much they love me. I could not "youtube" performance clips from their last show, because a) no one filmed concerts and b) that whole no internet thing. Bands and artists also did not release albums yearly for my listening pleasure. What I'm trying to say is that all this access and stimulation, can be a little misleading and confusing to the fans, who now feel entitled to all this information all the time. Just be thankful, you have so much content to reflect upon. It may have only been 5 years of One Direction but there is about 50 years worth of midnight memories for you to enjoy.
4. Be Supportive.
This is the most important step. And this is where being mature really comes into play. This may not be any one's ideal situation but it is reality, so you've got to grow up and adjust. Zayn is a not just a member of a band. He is a human being. He is choosing his mental health, family and quality of life over fame and fortune. That is no small feat. So you should be both, supportive and proud of his choice.
So go ahead: be shocked, shed a tear or two while listening to You & I, remember to be thankful for all of Zayn's hairstyles over the years and stay supportive and remember to think of him as an actual person. Then go ahead and be proud of yourself for dealing with Zayn Malik's departure like an adult.
Stay strong. You got this.