Eleanor Bogart-Stuart staff writer
Six years ago, the words “one” and “direction” had little significance to the life of the average teenage girl. Now, those words have taken shape in the forms of four British boys, and have the power to elicit tears, screaming and pure bliss from millions and millions of young teen girls across the globe.
These boys became their idols, their “boyfriends”, their lives. But now, these young teen girls have grown into young adults. As these girls matured, the world watched with bated breath to see which One Direction member would do the same. Although heart throb Harry Styles was the projected winner, it was 23 year old Zayn Malik who took the cake.
It’s bittersweet to see any teen idol grow up. But as a teen who was infatuated with One Direction and its assorted members, hearing the news that Zayn Malik has decided to leave the group and go solo hit me right in the heart. It didn’t only hurt me, though. I felt excited. We all know what happened when Justin Timberlake left NSync, when Beyonce dropped Destiny’s Child, when Gwen Stefani doubted No Doubt…
As Zayn Malik left, he took on the moniker ZAYN, which almost seemed to signify his transition from boy band pop artist to the in your face, adult R&B style which he has now adopted. But his new persona means more to me than just different music.
I’ve realized that it’s a new chapter, a turning page, a sign that my childhood is coming to an end just like his is. And perhaps the reason why the millions of One Direction fans were so upset at Malik’s departure from the group is the fact that, not only are they devoted to him, but that they are devoted to their childhoods. They’re not ready to let go of Zayn… or their adolescence.
Malik has changed more than just his musical niche. Along with his new style, Malik found a new girl, super model Gigi Hadid. In a recent article with “Fader”, Malik unabashedly smoked marijuana in front of a reporter. Much to the shock of the youthful One Direction fans, he even has started to openly curse in front of the press. Oh the humanity! Malik not only dipped his feet into the pool of adulthood, he’s taken the full dive. Although I’m not condoning the use of drugs or explicit language, I think it’s important to acknowledge and commend Zayn for not being afraid to leave the comfort of his teen years.
We, like Zayn Malik, should embrace change. He has made the leap into adulthood. Just because he is no longer part of One Direction doesn’t erase the fact that he was for five years. Just because we, and Zayn, are growing older, doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the past.For those of us still clinging on to Zayn, It’s time for us to accept his departure. We shouldn’t treat it as a loss or failure on our part, but merely a normal process of life.