All I ask of you is your ear. Just listen. Please. Thank you. <3
· Him, Version Adorable
“One was raised in a town where many called him ‘different,’ was made fun of due to his interests, wasn’t invited along with his older brother’s friends, was brutally cut down in front of a massive audience, took a huge chance, and is now called ‘worthless’ and ‘untalented’ despite his success and beautiful music…yet he still accomplished his dream.
And he still smiles.”
There are three prominent features that you notice at first glance of Niall Horan: his innocent, wide blue gaze, iconic loud laughter, and that bright, contagious smile that always seems to be on his lips. In fandom circles—and outside, as a matter of fact—he is known as the adorable, childish one that eats everything and still never gets bigger; he is known as that cherubic-faced nineteen-year-old whose laughter can pick up anyone’s day; he is known as the one who is always happy.
All of those are good things. But others? They include those sentiments, but dip to a point that’s downright pestilential in its cruelty.
And the truth is, Niall James Horan is so much more than that.
On September 13, 1993, one of my heroes was born in Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland. He already had an older brother, Greg, and I have no doubt in my mind that his parents, Bobby and Maura, were ecstatic to have another son. They were fantastic parents, and supported both of their children in whatever they wanted to do: in fact, both of Niall’s parental units have said that they knew from the start that Niall would be involved in music. One of their favorite—and everyone else’s favorite—photos is a candid shot of the four-year-old boy, strumming a plastic guitar and singing into a toy microphone. For anyone else, it would simply be an adorable shot of their smiley, charismatic, and entertaining child. However, to the Horans, it was a sign. As his father said, “He really is doing what he wanted to do since he was born.”
Unfortunately, things got a little bit harder when Niall turned five. That year (the first year that the Irish constitution allowed divorce), Bobby and Maura Horan split. At first, both Greg and Niall stayed with their mother, but, after a year, they decided to live with their dad. Niall didn’t necessarily like the half-and-half setting, but he dealt with it in a miraculously mature way for a six-year-old: he took care of himself. Since his father worked as a butcher, a full-time commitment, Niall was often at home by himself or with his elder brother. In consequence, he provided the basics for himself. He cooked, cleaned, got himself to school and back, did his homework, and worked out the skeleton of plans with friends. Though it isn’t to say his parents did nothing, as they both worked and took care of their boys as the loving parents they are still, Niall did do the majority of the work to provide the necessities for his life, excluding earning money until he was a teen. That, there, proves something that not many individuals have to go through: the Irish lad was forced to grow up faster, and, though he has an easygoing, carefree personality, he is still vastly mature.
As Niall grew older—at first attending a Catholic school, then switching to what we Americans know as public education—he was cheerful and happy, the talented joker and laugher that we all love today. However, he went through something no one should ever have to go through: bullying. For the most part, it was for a terribly stereotypical reason: that every male who is involved in the arts (theatre, writing, music, and all that lovely jazz) is automatically weaker than the rest of society. He was mocked by a few of his classmates simply because he loved to sing, merely because he would rather play the guitar than get high. Luckily, Niall is amazing at hiding things like that; unluckily, they still hurt. “Sticks and stones may break my bones” is a horrible lie.