I'm 18 now and I've gotten used to the eye rolling when I mention my love for Justin Bieber, but what no one understands is that being a true fan is not only about obsessing over Justin's looks or his music. He also represents an opportunity to get crazy about something.
There's a thrill to feeling starstruck. Like the time I met Justin Bieber backstage before a concert. A horde of anxious girls were all waiting in line. The curtain opened as each girl went in and every time I caught a glimpse of him, my stomach dropped… and then it was my turn. A golden light surrounded him and I heard an angel's chorus as he shook his head and did his signature hair flip. He smiled at me and gave me a hug, or rather let me hug him. That's when the security guy tapped me on the shoulder and told me it was time to go.
From the beginning, it was YouTube. That's where I first saw his music before he was signed, before he was famous. I think I was in the sixth grade. It felt like I had discovered him. This is true of lots of super fans. Part of why Bieber Fever went viral is because we all feel like we were responsible for his rise to fame.
Justin's now in trouble for drug use, vandalism, drag racing. His career is on the rocks, and it's hard for me to watch. Of course I don't support his decisions, but I still like his music. Regardless of how things go for Justin, I'm getting older and my fangirl days are probably numbered.
What I'm going to miss the most aren't the catchy songs or elaborate concerts, it's the permission to let go. I'm the kind of kid who takes school seriously. The swim team seriously. I don't go to wild parties. Being a Justin Bieber fan gave me license to walk down the street singing lyrics at the top of my lungs with hundreds of other teenage girls. To actually be a teenager. And that's something worth believing in.
WIth a Perspective, I'm Sophie Varon.
Sophie Varon is a high school senior in Berkeley. Her commentary was produced by Youth Radio.