In a world congested with pressure and implausible expectations, I found my home.
It's now a month since I saw One Direction when they came to Manila for their On The Road Again Tour - a month since the skies suddenly became brighter and misery became a thing of the past.

Now, I'd love to drown you in my cheesy sentiments as a fan of this band, but I'll save you the trouble and pour my random-capital-letters-induced emotions into a separate post. Instead, I'll narrate the bittersweet quest that lead to lotusland.
This is what happens when a frantic and extremely lazy teenage girl makes important fashion choices - she ends up in pajamas. With bedroom slippers. Despite almost leaving a slipper behind in a packed passenger bus and being in an even tighter crowd for a whole day, I never regretted any of it; heck, I was proud, even. Besides, I saw the whole shindig as a big slumber party.
Micah, whom I met in line, even added me to her snapchat story. I win.
We knew the line would be hellish, but no one anticipated what we were about to go through. Arriving at six a.m. was close to meaningless as the queue was a mess - it was like anxious teenagers were put together under the brutal sun and caged by barricades. They weren't letting us in the venue until five in the afternoon, no matter how loud we chanted 'let us in! let us in!'  Some personnel, however, regularly brought us drinking water and (here's the best bit) sprayed us with water using a hose attached to a cute little backpack thing. 
As the day got older and the queue moved nearer to the doors, the songs we all knew and love started playing and everyone instinctively sung along. Excitement filled the air as the mere fact that this is actually happening struck everyone, including me and my witty companion Micah so we both cried while scream-singing the lyrics to Strong, and the stress of waiting subsided as we all slowly found a commonground in which we all belonged. The weather may not be on our favor but together we were inseparable, unbeatable, and determined. Being with people who actually gets it and feels the same way you do is surprisingly satisfying, and it made everything seem easier. 

You could talk to anyone - backgrounds and any other thing that serves as an imaginary barrier were all shattered by the cosmic vibrations brought about by the guitars and drums and voices. If you cracked a joke, everyone would laugh. If you were screaming or crying or jumping, no one would stare at you in disbelief - those around you might even join you in your attempt at releasing immense emotion. It's like we've all known each other for so long, since we've all been through similar things. Being in this crowd made me realize how much music can do; you can take a a middle-aged woman from the city and a teenage boy from an obscure town and put them together in a room, and they would still find a way to connect through what they listen to. Who cares if you're six or sixty? In here, you belong - we all do. 

It also made me realize how much I owe this band, for giving me a place where I can just escape, where people wouldn't care if I got an A on that test, where I would just fall into place like it was the most natural thing in the world. The fanbase of any artist has a sacred bond that shelters anyone who would like to seek refuge in it - everyone treats everyone like family, no one gets left behind, and whether you came from a really dark past or a pink magical castle in the woods, you will be welcomed with open arms. I knew I was.

A few songs later, a voice (I'm still not sure who it was hA) said, "Thank you for singing along," over the microphone, and of course everyone went ballistic. "I don't even know who said that but I'm gonna scream AAAHHHDNJEWBNFE." God, I love this fandom.
The feeling you get when you enter the venue and see the big screens and the stage and all the seats is incomparable; it made everything look so bright and beautiful. I automatically burst into tears as I thought, I'm finally here. I made it. Good grief I made it. 

I was too overwhelmed to do anything other than crumble as I struggled to call my mom. My friend's boyfriend, who was the only rational member of our group, lead us, a string of crying teenage girls, to our seats. It was kind of a funny sight - "Okay, we'll sit here." "*sobs* b-but this is *sniffles* too far *sobs*" "but this is as near as we can get" "*sobs*" 

A couple hours later, the introduction video flashed on the screens.

Ah, the introduction video. Watching it has got to be the most gut-wrenching, tear-inducing thing any fan can experience. A few more minutes, and they will be there. In the flesh. A few more minutes, and everything will be worth it - all the saving up, the waiting, the frustrated attempts at getting seen - all hardships will seem recessive compared to what's about to happen is the next few minutes. Maybe it's just my anticipation speaking but the video was longer than when I watched it online. 

I heard his voice, then everything else suddenly became background noise. 
Everyone stood on their chairs (that wasn't allowed but fans will stop at nothing) so I did too, and even on my tiptoes I couldn't see them. My seats were fairly near, and I'm not the shortest of people, so I was getting so persistent on pushing everyone to get a better view. I could hear them and I was crying and I could see them on the screen and I was crying and I couldn't see them on stage and I was crying. I'll have you know, it was the embarrassing, noisy kind of crying. 

Among the mass of phones, flailing hands, and god forbid the humongous bloody ipad in front of my damn face, emerged the love of my life. 

I saw Harry first - he was wearing this yellow blouse that made him look like a banana, and he is so beautiful. There stands the man that taught 11-year-old me everything that she knew about love; that love doesn't need to be reciprocated to be appreciated, and that all kinds of love is real - there are no unreal/invalid kinds of love - and the kind of love I feel for him is just as special as the kind of love one commonly feels. I cried even more; I was suddenly hit by my immense fondness for him that grew inside me for four years, and by the fact that he is standing right there - my sun, my moon, my stars, my whole damn sky, standing right there.
Me ignoring my friend after she kept tugging on my sleeve and screaming "they're real!!" over the music just proves how bad of a concert buddy I am, but what she was feeling seems justifiable as I think many of us were uttering her exact words too - we grow up believing in flying superheroes with capes and later find out that they're not real and never actually saved that cat from a burning house, or anyone for that matter, that when we ourselves get saved, we question if our saviors are even real.

And they are.
I saw Niall the closest as he went into the runway (and therefore closer to the audience) a lot and he radiated so much sunshine; people cheered the loudest during his solos and he seemed appreciative of it, and when Harry did the 'frozen' bit on Story of My Life, he sung Let it Go. He did his signature crotch grab too, and you can't even begin to imagine the crowd's reaction. There was also a time when his electric guitar was strapped to him and one of the boys poured water on him so he jumped and said, "[very, very heavy Irish accent] I'm gonna get electrocuted because of you! It's called 'electric guitar' for a reason!" GOODBYE FOREVER.

Liam's talking voice was so wonderful that the voice in my head kinda adapted the way he talks a few days after the concert??? He was wearing a hoodie amidst the Philippine heat so everyone chanted for him to take it off  but he just lied down on the stage to dodge everyone's request hahaha. He also attempted Zayn's high note in Best Song Ever and he ran out of breath midway so he stopped and acted like nothing happened he's unreal.

Louis surprised me the most because he's way different in person. He looks small and petite in pictures but his arms are actually bulky (I was in a farther section but I could still see dem biceps bye) and his tattoos are unbelievable, they're just so beautiful aaahhh it's one of my favorite things about him aaahhh. His voice isn't actually as high-pitched as it sounds, it was a lot deeper and every single solo of his made me cry (but I was crying the whole night so). He also looked notably happy and that alone can send me over the moon.
Harry also told us to get off our chairs or he'll arrest every single one of us, yet no did so and we were all arrested by Harry Styles. (My children will definitely hear of this in the future.) He was also running around saying, "Let's love each other! Flowers! Flowers! And candy!" so we all got invisible flowers and candy from Harry Styles too. (My children will also hear this in the future.)
The show concluded with the most magical fireworks, and it reminded me of New Year's, where I'd usually vow to get rid of my old self for a new, better version. Seeing them live on concert and fulfilling one of my biggest dreams completely washed away any sign of misery trying to creep back into my system. I was always the person to try and put on a happy facade but that night, I didn't need to hide behind my seemingly joyous walls - I was actually happy. And it wasn't the kind of happy that slowly slips away when I get home again - it stayed, and it's still here. Suddenly I was brave enough to fight my demons, and even when I found out a few days later that I achieved less this school year than I did last year, I was happy. I didn't feel the need to conform to everyone's expectation of me just to prove myself and get their acceptance anymore, and that, I think, is the biggest thing that this band has ever done for me.
Note the unruly hair.
I always thought post-concert depression was a myth until it was two days after the concert and I still didn't have the nerves to enter my poster-plastered room. It involves a lot of actual crying (when you wake up, when you open your phone, when you open social media, when their song plays, and it sometimes hits you in random periods within the day) (I had to go to school three days after and I'm actually glad I only cried once), and you feel that the bond between you and this band has so much more meaning now, like you're reminded of how much this band actually means to you. The magic concerts can do.
I  remember writing that note when I was 11 (and apparently I can't draw a proper heart at the time), and finding it somewhere in my room when I turned 14. I kept it sealed all these years, but I opened it after the concert. (Technically I didn't meet him but HEY I saw him in person and that counts??? 11-year-old Andrea has such implausible demands??) I thought it was going to be a profound 'dear-future-me' letter, and I couldn't be more wrong.

It was a bio-data I would have if I was married to Harry - I listed him as my spouse and the person to contact in case of emergencies. We also have two imaginary children named Darcy Anne (cringe) and Harry Andrew (an even cringier cringe)

I may have opened it without moving in at Holmes Chapel with my favorite band member, but I think I did 11-year-old Andrea justice. I bet she exploded into hysterics over her ~*1D merch shrine*~ after finding out 14-year-old her got tickets to see her heroes.
I tried really hard to write about Zayn but I just can't bring myself to do it. Besides, would you really want to read about my first bittersweet heartbreak? 

1 comment:

  1. Ah this post, you're giving me all the feels Andrea! This is getting me all excited for seeing 5sos live.
    Great post as always!