I’m 23 years old but between you and me, I’m crazy about One Direction. So you can imagine the extreme devastation I experienced when I found out that Zayn quit the band nine days ago. I know that the news has been hard on everyone, but it’s especially been rough on my coworkers, who have to listen to me cry about Zayn from 9 AM to 5 PM daily. Most importantly though, it’s been absolute hell for me; I actually have to live in a world where Zayn doesn’t sing the high notes in “You & I.”
These past nine days have been unbearable and I found myself going through the five stages of grief over and over again. These five stages of grief manifested themselves in the following five (or, uhhh, four) members of One Direction:
THE NIALL STAGE (DENIAL)
Niall is arguably the best one. His bandmates have described him as “carefree,” “so carefree,” “the most carefree,” and “Irish.” When I first found out about Zayn’s departure, I laughed about it. I didn’t take it seriously because who cares about five idiots who spend the majority of a concert derping around? The idea of Zayn leaving is funny because it’s so absurd it can’t be true at all. Why would he walk away from this? It doesn’t make any sense! Hahaha! This is a joke, right? A poorly timed April Fool’s joke! I only want to have a laugh! Zayn’s gonna come back! He has to! We’re bros!
Always have struggled to bite my tongue
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) March 30, 2015
THE LOUIS STAGE (ANGER)
Louis and I shine best when we can make mean, snarky comments we will regret later, so this was the most natural stage for me. Like, yooooo, fuck this. I am livid. I hate this. After all we’ve done for you, Zayn? And you repay us with this? We’ve forgiven you for cheating on your girlfriends. How can you do this to us when you know that Liam can’t carry the entire band vocally? How can you hurt me this way? It’s so rude. I deserve better.
THE LIAM STAGE (BARGAINING)
A strange joke that I don’t find funny is that Liam is called “Daddy Direction.” He’s the dad of the group because he’s practical, particular, and he stresses about minute details just like my dad does. And so after it sunk in that Zayn was truly abandoning us, I rationalized: this doesn’t matter. Did you know that their entire discography is still available on Spotify? For free, Jay. So how will this really affect me? Zayn’s the most boring one of the group anyway. He isn’t funny or charming. He’s got a great face but a person’s handsomeness is only interesting for a good six seconds before I’m searching for a personality and a good heart. So, like, whatever, you know? I’m over it. Liam is almost as good at singing as Zayn is. We can do this without him. Zayn is characteristically quiet so will we even notice when he’s not around? Nah.
Plus, Liam is really good at Twitter:
@BarackObama hi mr Obama have you got up all night yet?
— Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) March 18, 2012
THE ZAYN STAGE (DEPRESSION)
This is my favorite stage because it is also my default life stage. I don’t wanna do anything. I wanna cry all the time! I’m too saddies to think about One Direction without Zayn, whom God has blessed with perfect hair, talent, a great face, and really long eyelashes. Why would Zayn break my heart like this??? I loved him! I am clearly still suffering!!!
THE HARRY STAGE (ACCEPTANCE)
Zayn wasn’t meant to be famous. In the One Direction documentary This Is Us, Zayn said that Harry is “the perfect pop star. Just born for it. He loves it.” This is telling of Zayn’s disinterest and unhappiness with fame but it’s also indicative of Harry’s ability to capture a room. Harry is the only one that matters, honestly. He’s charming enough for the entire band and Zayn leaving doesn’t matter when Harry can carry the group just by his pop star charisma. Harry is also the one with the purest heart and the kindest soul. And so I channeled Harry in trying to accept that Zayn wasn’t comfortable with zillions of dollars and the unconditional adoration of millions of fans. He wasn’t cut out for this kind of life and that’s fine because everybody deserves happiness and love and peace.
An optimistic person once told me that there is a silver lining even in the most awful of situations so it is best to try to find comfort in the idea that Zayn is One Direction’s most talented vocalist and therefore the one most likely to find success in a solo career. So he probably won’t be gone for long.
Meanwhile I’m going to be listening to Kiss You until my coworkers yell at me.