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I'm Not a Directioner But Zayn Leaving Still 'Paynes' Me

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Did you get that joke in the title? Payne and Liam Payne? It's just one of the ways I'm coping with my feelings over the recent announcement that Zayn Malik is leaving the international boy band sensation One Direction.

I'm the last person you would expect to feel this way. I publicly groan whenever One Direction's songs are played anywhere, from the radio to the mall. I've never been to a concert before and have been dying to go to one, but I turned down an invitation to go see One Direction in concert. I think it's ridiculous that the band has had their name slapped on everything from talking dolls to makeup. In short, I'm not a fan.

Despite all that, I still find their story interesting. I'm not a big supporter -- I've never been able to get behind a group of celebrities unless they're the cast of Harry Potter -- but if I see a headline with their names on it, I'll probably click. That's because, like the rest of America, I find the lives of celebrities incredibly fascinating, especially celebrities who are in a band.

Being in a band is like going on that one-week school field trip where the entire fifth grade stayed overnight at a nature camp together. You wake up at the same time, share a bathroom, eat every meal together, participate in the same activities, and feel the same awe at seeing new sights. Every experience is shared. It allows for acts of spontaneity like a pajama fashion show in your cabin with your fifth grade teachers or the ability to understand what your friend wants without speaking. It's a moment of such intimate closeness that can never be replicated because chances are, you're never going to share this much with each other again. When you get back home, you suffer from camp withdrawal. You yearn for that experience again, that communal way of life. Home feels lonely compared to camp.

Zayn lived my -- our -- dream life, a tour with four of his soon-to-be very best friends, a five-year equivalent of my fifth grade nature camp. It was captivating. He, too, shared everything with his friends from songs to shirts. He lived the life we can only dream of or read about on Wattpad. The shock and the little bit of sadness that followed when I heard the news of his departure was because of how I wanted to live through him. Through the news he and his four other friends would be making, I would be able to see what my life would be like if I were living with my best friends and working on something I loved with them. It hurt to realize that even this seemingly never-ending summer camp Zayn was a part of could also come to an end, too.
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