5 Crushes = 1 Best Friend

Katie Poetz

Looking back on my younger self, I’d like to call myself a hopeless romantic. In reality, however, I really was just boy-crazy. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who my first crush was; could it be the neighbor boy I sat with on the bus in elementary school? Or maybe it was Kovu from the Lion King 2. Perhaps it was simultaneously every single boy in my kindergarten class. Years later, though, I had my first love. Loves may be a more accurate description, actually. This memory remains clear as a boy band chorus. I driving in the car with my mother when I heard “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction for the first time. I had the song stuck in my head all day, and decided to do a little research on the band. I fell down a rabbit hole of watching all of their interviews, their X Factor auditions, and listening to every song of theirs I could find. To this day I still have not escaped this rabbit hole.

My room quickly became a shrine to One Direction. My walls were completely covered in posters I had ripped out of magazines, I wrote each boy’s individual name on the blades of my ceiling fan, and for Christmas, I even received a lifesize cardboard cut-out of my personal favorite member: Niall Horan. Half of my brain was dedicated to useless, obscure One Direction facts. Of course I knew (and still do know) all of their birthdays, middle names, hometowns, etc. But I also knew all of their family member’s names, the exact date and minute the band officially formed, and even their blood types. As I type this I’m beginning to grasp just how creepy they would have thought I was… I spent my days reading One Direction fan fiction and running an Instagram fan account for them with my friend Nicole. One of the best things to come out of my One Direction obsession was the relationship that was fostered with her. Our moms were best friends in high school, and we grew up as long-distance pen pals that saw each other a couple times a year. Luckily, we fell in love with One Direction around the same time. We began texting all day, Facetime regularly, and even got to see them in concert for the first time together. What a magical day that was. We were always there for each other. The day Zayn left One Direction, I climbed off the bus sobbing and inconsolable, and locked myself in my room. The only thing that brought me any comfort was Facetiming Nicole so we could cry together. We did the same thing in 2015 when One Direction split up, except with much more crying. All these years later, she remains one of my best friends (and we send each other One Direction TikToks most days.)

Though One Direction is no longer together, their impact is still present in my life today. I continue to keep close tabs on all of the boys, Harry Styles is my most listened to artist, and I have all of their individual Twitter notifications on. Few people can say that their first crush (or crushes) still has such a hold on them over a decade later, and few people can say that their first crush brought a best friend into their lives. I feel incredibly lucky that I can.