Listen, guys. I'm not a Directioner. I know One Direction's music by virtue of being a sentient human being in the 2010s, and of course I've enjoyed it immensely (my heart is beating, isn't??). But if you pointed a gun to my head and said, "NAME ALL FIVE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF ONE DIRECTION RIGHT NOW OR MEET YOUR END," I'd probably croak out Lance Bass's name and then have to deal with the fact that it was the last thing I said before I departed this earthly plane.
I tell you this not just to entertain statistically improbable threats to my mortality, but because I need to offer you some context on how, despite a good seven years of societal warning and inevitability, I am utterly stunned to say that I am an adult human woman with a crush on Harry Styles. I think of him and get the kind of giddy I was when my crush walked past my locker in high school. I listen to "Sign Of The Times" so often that I have to hide my phone from view on my commute. I just blacked out for a few seconds in the middle of typing this because I was imagining us riding bareback together on a white horse through a field of wildflowers as the sun sets.
TL;DR: It's bad, you guys. It's real bad.
See, most of humanity had the chance to acclimate to falling in love with Harry Styles. I, however, have fallen head over Dunkirk trailer, with nothing (aka, the smiles of four other adorable One Direction boys) to cushion the blow. Consequences include and are not limited to intermittently Googling Harry's name every ten minutes to see if another single has dropped and talking everyone's ear off about it — so in an effort not to get rightfully murdered by my peer group for blasting my love for Harry right and left and into the next dimension, here is a complete timeline of how I got from Point A to Point OhMyGodHesSoCuteYouGuysYOUGUYS:
1. Wondering What A Harry Styles Even Is
I'm not sure where I was or what I was doing the summer of "What Makes You Beautiful," but I emerged from it as I always do — slightly embarrassed that everyone knew all the words to a song I'd never heard before, awkwardly mouthing it in a crowd to pretend I #belonged.
2. Realizing That It Is An Infant
In 2011, I was 20, and Harry Styles was 17, which, YIKES. (It is worth noting that in 2011, I was a broke college kid with half a psych degree and Harry Styles was about to embark on a multimillion dollar career and adorn the walls of teenyboppers everywhere, so like, that was also standing in the way of me allowing myself to develop a crush on him. But I digress. )
3. Seeing The Word "Haylor" Pop Up On My Facebook Feed
Remember that time Taylor Swift just barely dodged committing a crime in the state of New York by dating then 18-year-old Harry Styles? The relationship just lasted long enough for people to go, "Wait, what in the world is — " before ending as fast as it started, and then inspiring Poseidon only knows how many hit singles from them both. Still, in the grand scheme of "moments building up to my ridiculous adult crush on Harry Styles," this did very little to fuel the fire.
4. Mortally Fearing The 1D Fandom With Every Part Of My Heart And Soul
Was there a day between the years of 2014 and 2016 when a One Direction hashtag wasn't top trending news? Honestly, the amount of power this fandom has amassed will hopefully get put to good use once they all can vote, because damn, can they assemble.
5. The Terror Shifting Into Confusion
... "Burger"? So many of Harry's tweets in his ~minimalist Twitter~ phase inevitably hit my dashboard, but what did it mean? And why does it have more retweets than the amount of money I'll ever make in my adult life???
6. Having Legitimate Hair Envy
Long before my attraction to Harry Styles came the bitter sting of my jealousy, watching him throw back his Garnier Fructis hair as mine remained as frizzy and existentially-fraught as ever. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET, HARRY EDWARD STYLES?
7. The Near ~Brush With Fate~
Christine DiStasio, esteemed fellow Bustler and our site's associate app editor, ran into Harry Styles down the street from our office in the December of 2014. I did not. I felt nothing. Everything was normal. Everything was fine. And then ...
8. Feeling Things During The Dunkirk Trailer???
Harry Styles went underground for a bit after the One Direction hiatus was announced, so many people (i.e., me) did not get a glimpse of him for many moons until the release of the Dunkirk trailer, which was when a tiny seed was planted in my soul. He was so handsome? And not a child?? But possibly also drowning, which is a thing that suddenly I was deeply invested in???
It was a lot.
9. Beholding The Half-Nekked Bath Tub Pics
"What? Huh? No, no, I just have several open browser tabs of a man wading naked in a Millennial Pink bath tub for ... for work stuff."
10. Listening To Sign Of The Times Enough Times To Warrant Getting Smacked By A Sign
How am I supposed to "stop my crying," Harry?? HOW????
11. Beholding The Glory Of Harry's Feminist AF Interview
"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?" said Harry Styles in an interview with Rolling Stone that shook me to my fangirl core. "That's not up to you to say. Music is something that's always changing. There's no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they're not serious? How can you say young girls don't get it? They're our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."
Hi. Hello. Is this the line for Harry Styles' heart? Officially taking a number and queueing TF up.
12. Losing An Entire Night's Sleep Stalking Harry Styles' Career
I can tell you from experience that it's a little bit like trying to download the sun.
13. Waking Up To 23 Open Tabs About Harry Styles' Latest Album
Personally I thought that my "what happened last night" moments at 25 would give me a lot more street cred than this, but at this point I was in too far deep.
14. Open-Mouthed Weeping When His Concert Sold Out In Two Minutes
Stages of not getting Harry Styles tickets: denial, rage, bargaining, despair, stealing a box of cookies off your coworker's desk and taking five of them to the face, and acceptance.
15. Saying, "Wait. Do I Have A Crush On Harry Styles?" Out Loud In A Mostly Empty Office At 8:30 AM On A Monday
16. Gchatting Your Coworker "It's OK! He's A MAN Now!!!" In The Middle Of A Workday, With Very Little Context
May the One Direction gods that judge us at the gates of heaven forgive me for my sins.
17. Accepting That You Are Now Officially Trash For Harry Styles, And Writing This Ridiculous Article
To be fair, though, NOBODY STOPPED ME. We are all in this hole together.