How JKR Taught Me Confidence in Myself
While going through the super fun experience of puberty in middle school, I found myself comfortable only in Harry Potter tees from Hot Topic and the occasional Gryffindor scarf in the wintertime. Clothes didn’t seem to fit my “changing body” correctly, and I didn’t physically feel like myself, but expressing my love for Harry Potter helped change that. Harry Potter gave me something to talk to my peers about as well. I was shy, awkward, and uncomfortable with who I was (sometimes, I still am), but people knew that they could turn to me for the answer to Harry Potter trivia questions. Everyone knew that I had been to the midnight movie releases and could report my thoughts the next day at school. They were aware of something that I liked (a lot), and I knew that I could relate to them because they liked it too.
When the fifth book came out, I instantaneously became intrigued by Luna Lovegood. She was weird, and everyone knew it just from looking at her. Luna was aware that people made fun of her for being eccentric, but no matter the loneliness she faced or the heartaches she encountered, she stayed true to herself. She didn’t change or even hide her obscure beliefs from those around her. She was proud of who she was, and she knew what she knew! Reading about Luna and eventually seeing her on the big screen helped me be confident in my own peculiarities. If Luna could be herself, so could I. She found friends to accept her as she was, and I’ve been lucky enough to do so as well. Luna was strange, and that was perfectly fine, thank you very much.
For me, one of the biggest confidence boosters was reading about my favorite Hogwarts students in Dumbledore’s Army. Harry didn’t feel very self-assured in his own Defense Against the Dark Arts skills, but Hermione and Ron boosted him. They genuinely supported him, and because of that, I saw the lasting impact another person can have by believing in you. This was not just unique to Harry. As Neville participated in Dumbledore’s Army, he focused on learning defensive spells after learning that Bellatrix had escaped from Azkaban. Neville Longbottom – the notorious klutz and struggling wizard – felt confident in his own abilities as the years went on. He, too, had peers who helped him, mentors who believed in him, and family who eventually recognized what made him special. One of the biggest lessons that Harry Potter taught me is the power of friendship and true, genuine kindness.
As a child, I saw Harry face heartache, yet he persisted. I read over and over again about how the ones who love us never really leave us. I followed along as Harry found hope in the smallest things. I learned the importance of relying on others and being the type of person that others can rely on. JKR’s stories gave me confidence when I couldn’t find it anywhere else and gave me the power to be the kind of friend that JKR’s characters would have needed. I applied the lessons I learned from Harry Potter to every aspect of my life, and as a result, I have thrived. I have slowly learned to love myself. I have gone out of my way to make friends. I have loved and learned, and much of my success and happiness in life can be tied back to JKR’s stories.
Because of JKR, I got to be a child. And now, as an adult, I love Harry Potter more than ever.