Today marks the day millions of teenage girls have been dreading for the past three years: A member of One Direction is engaged to be married. Zayn Malik popped the question to his long-time girlfriend Perrie Edwards, and I feel as if every emotion I've ever felt has been tossed into a blender and made into the most tear-filled smoothie ever.
My natural instinct is to be thrilled for Zayn. He was the first voice (and face) that caught my eye when I was first introduced to One Direction back in 2011. He was special to me then, and still is now, and of course I want him to be happy. Perrie is an incredible girl -- as a member of insanely talented girl group Little Mix, she is ultra-chic, well-dressed, and beautiful inside and out. If this is the woman he wants to marry, I am more than okay with it. They both deserve someone who is over-the-moon in love with them, and after reading Zayn's interview with Fabulous magazine in which he stated, "I'd fly 10 planes to go home and see her," this is obviously the case. Need further proof? Check out Zayn's Perrie-inspired tattoo.
However, I can't deny that, despite my acceptance of "Zerrie," I am still kind of torn up about the engagement. The notion that 1/5 of One Direction will be permanently off the market gives me actual goose bumps. If you're a fan of 1D, you love them all equally, but there's always going to be a special place in the deepest chamber of your heart reserved for one special boy. When I look at Harry, I feel like I basically know him -- I've spent so much time, energy, and money staring at him, learning about him, figuring out what he likes and what he doesn't, that I would be crushed to pieces if he was getting married. It would be really, embarrassingly painful, and I probably wouldn't leave my bedroom for a couple of days. It isn't about the girl, or the ceremony, or the tuxedo (okay, it might be a little bit about the tuxedo, because they all look really good in suits). It's the fact that the daydream that has kept me going through basically my entire high school career is being destroyed, all by a diamond ring. If you fall asleep every night creating scenarios in your head of you and Zayn holding hands, talking on the phone, kissing in the rain... your whole illusion is being blown to bits. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Zayn isn't even my favorite boy, yet it still feels, in my melodramatic state, kind of traumatic.
The tricky thing is this: Of course, we want One Direction to be happy. When they smile and laugh in interviews, it's like the sun shining on a kitten's face. What's hard to admit is that we want to be happy, too. We want these illusions and daydreams to become reality for us. We want to be the girls holding their hands. We want to be the ones walking down the aisle to the tune of "Last First Kiss." Are you kidding me? I would (to the chagrin of my parents) give up my college tuition to move into a beautiful mansion in the countryside of England and raise a family with any member of One Direction. It's just not possible. I am a "normal" girl living in suburban Illinois who can barely look at an average high school boy, much less an international British heartthrob. We can't count on hope when it comes to 1D. We can be happy, but in a different way. We don't have to give up our daydreams; we just have to allow a little wiggle room. We have to keep them as daydreams. Sure, my heart might break into little smithereens when Zayn and Perrie have their first kiss as husband and wife, but I know that they'll be really happy, and that makes me happy, too.
As I write this, I've transitioned into a new stage of grief. I'm scared. I already worry about One Direction's well-being enough as it is, but now I'm at a new level of panic. The first thing my mom texted me when she heard the news was this: "He is too young to get married. Live a little Zayn!" My dad expressed similar feelings, wondering how long the relationship would even last between two 20 year-olds. It is a kind of terrifying thought. I don't want Zayn and Perrie to rush into something as permanent as marriage, but similarly, I don't doubt their relationship. I think it's hard to be sure of anything when you're so young. It's also hard to be sure of anything when you're a spectator to a celebrity romance. What's important now for One Direction fans is trust. Trust that Zayn knows what he's doing. Believe in his choices and support him no matter what. If he's getting married, be happy for him. If it doesn't work out, don't cheer and rejoice or degrade him for his age and quick decision-making. Everything happens for a reason, and acceptance and support is important. It's what being a fan is all about, especially at times like these.
Many girls on Twitter are comparing One Direction to the Beatles, but in a really depressing way. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's engagement is what broke up The Beatles -- what's so different about Zayn and Perrie? History rarely repeats itself. The Beatles had so many creative and emotional differences that the engagement that tore them apart was the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't know if One Direction is different, but what I do know is this: the bond between the boys in One Direction is strong, and it has been for three years. I don't foresee this being the end of anything for a band that really is going in only one direction: up. Anyways, Perrie is in a band too, and her star is rising. It would be a difficult time to put two high-profile careers on hold.
When I told my 13-year-old brother about the impending nuptials, he noted the tinge of sadness in my voice. "Are you sad your little One Direction is growing up?" he asked. I realized that I kind of am. It's emotional, but in kind of great ways. Besides, at least we still have single Niall and Harry to pine over.