March 25, 2016 is not just the day that Zayn Malik dropped Mind of Mine, his debut solo album filled with the kind of slow jams that people are probably already having sex to. It's also the one-year anniversary of Malik quitting One Direction, the kind of earth-shattering life event that devastated millions of One Direction fans around the world and put the wheels in motion for the boy band's perhaps inevitable hiatus. As fans have been doing to mark every month since Malik left the group, 1D stans took to Twitter on Friday to trend #1YearWithoutZayn memes, sharing a wide range of superimposed photos that run the gamut of every emotion out there. There's sadness, anger, wistfulness, nostalgia, denial, happiness — and it's all part of the process of adjusting to life with solo Zayn and without One Direction. Because despite Malik's insistence that it was not planned, there's no way that Mind of Mine's release date — on the exact date he left the band — was a coincidence.
As to be expected, there are a wide range of reaction memes from fans, with many reflecting on the differences between this time last year (when Malik announced he was leaving) and this time this year. While some are still mourning the loss, others are relieved they don't have to feel that kind of sadness again. There are tears, there is anger, there is appreciation, there is gratitude. And oh, there are memes:
While memes, for the most part, are hilarious and relatable Internet in-jokes, the 1D fandom's #1YearWithoutZayn memes are more reflective of serious emotion (albeit sometimes packaged in a funny way). In this case, the Photoshopped images and fan art are not just mourning the anniversary of Malik's departure from 1D, they're also filled with input from fans who are coming to terms with the fact that today is also a significant milestone in Zayn Malik's solo career. And because it's only human nature to bond with others who are going through similar life events and emotions, by tweeting these photos out into the One Direction community, fans are connecting with others who all ~feel the same feels~, so to speak.
In the 1D fandom, March 25 is now twice as significant as it was last year, and with it is going to come some seriously bittersweet feels. And what better way to cope than to lean on your One Direction fan friends for some crucial moral support? The online community of 1D fans is an unquestionably powerful presence — hence #1YearWithoutZayn being a top trend on Twitter all day — and it's the perfect place to come together to discuss all aspects of Zayn Malik's new solo career.