I may be late to the game, but I think I am in love with Harry Styles. I can even pinpoint the moment this obsession started. I was scrolling through reels on Instagram, when I came across a 15-second video depicting him — in a glittery jumpsuit covered entirely in paillettes with the deepest V-neck imaginable — and Shania Twain — fabulous as always — singing “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” at Coachella.
When the “Oh, oh, oh, get in the action, feel the attraction” comes she reaches out and slides the palm of her hand over his chest. For a split second his face looks equal parts surprised and pleased. Lucky her, I thought. I mean lucky him, of course, for singing duet with a legend. But who wouldn’t want to run his hand over the butterfly on Harry’s abdomen?
It could have ended right then and there, but once you linger a second too long over a video, Instagram assumes it’s your life goal to learn everything there is on the topic. So over the next few days every time I opened the app I was bombarded with tiny videos of Harry Styles hitting high notes, showing off his playful little dance moves (google his cover of Wet Dream — hot!), and doing the so-called “whale blow” (damn hot, google it too). I am currently watching One Direction music videos. Send help.
Although, One Direction Harry is not as mind-paralyzing as the current Harry. Maybe because when the band was formed he was 16, I was 22. My dream men at the time were Colin Farrell and Gerard Butler, 12 and 18 years my seniors. But now I am 34 and Harry is 28 which is totally fine, especially that he is currently dating Olivia Wilde, who is 38. So I think I still stand a chance… if we forget the fact that I am happily married, with two kids, for a second.
I am known to have celebrity crushes. They don’t happen as often as they did back when I was an impressionable young girl. Only about every two years. My last crush was Regé-Jean Page, the lead actor in the first season of Bridgerton. And before that it was Cauã Reymond, a Brazilian actor who inspired me to write this piece chronicling my movie star obsessions from the age of 12.
But this thing with Harry is different. I usually fall for the guys’ looks — how very shallow of me, but it’s not like I could get to know their incredible personalities. And boy, does Harry have the looks! But this time the looks are secondary. I am obsessed with his talent. I don’t mean to just say that I love his songs — which I do — I am obsessed because, in my eyes, he lives his best creative life, something I aspire to. In the past couple of years he has released two albums, starred in several movies and performed on stages all over the world. In the past couple of years I had two babies. That is simply a statement of fact. Not that one is more important than the other.
To live life creatively is something any one of us can do. You don’t need to be rich, fit, or in any way privileged. You don’t need to have a platform, move to Hollywood, or know the right people. As my beloved Elizabeth Gilbert said in Big Magic, “If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”
You do need to have time, though. But, as it turned out, babies require your attention only every minute of every day. Don’t worry, I am aware working mothers exist. I’ve no idea how they do it. Probably by setting priorities straight. In my head, my priorities are as follows: my kids, my writing, everything else. In real life it plays out differently: my kids, sleep, shopping at farmer’s markets and cooking from scratch, learning German, reading, exploring Hamburg, watching endless videos of Harry Styles, then writing. The only thing on the list of my priorities even lower than writing is working out.
I could stay up late in order to write that book I’ve been thinking about for at least two years, but I value the little sleep I get with two babies too much. I could be batch-cooking or eating out, instead I start every meal by peeling onion and garlic. I could definitely do less scrolling on Instagram — no excuse here.
I like to think of myself as a mother and a successful writer. In reality, I am a mother and an occasional writer.
Every single book and masterclass on writing will tell you that in order to be a good writer you need to write daily. I’ve heard it from David Sedaris, Stephen King, and Shonda Rhimes. I am not a good writer, judged by this criteria.
Every day I wake up thinking: today is the day! I will put kids to sleep at night, sit down with a cup of tea and type away into the wee hours of the morning. Then comes evening. The kids don’t want to sleep and are very vocal about it. I am exhausted both physically and emotionally. Watching Harry Styles shimmy seems a lot more enjoyable than stringing words into sentences. I choose the former.
Here’s the funny thing: the next morning I wake up thinking “Today is the day!” And so it goes on for the past three years. My problem is — I don’t want to accept my own choices. I have to either make the necessary sacrifices — I am sure Harry doesn’t go to sleep at 9 pm — or leave things as they are and realize that for the time being my creative life is not a roaring river, but a quiet stream, that it’s not the same as it was, if you know what I mean.