"When people say Fruit Loops are just gay Cheerios, I tell them 'I always knew there was a reason I liked Fruit Loops better.'" - Anonymous
The funny thing about the joy associated with finding the community of Nerdfighteria is that I haven't made any close friends online in the two years since then. Sure, NotVeryCharming and I originally bonded over my "Nerdfighterlike" T-shirt (which I happen to be wearing as I type this, funnily enough), but we had already met. What it really did is make me feel...hope for myself... even if my current situation was still generally miserable (middle school sucked for many reasons I won't go into).
I started writing stories around the same time that I started reading Harry Potter, and since HP was my first, biggest, and longest-lasting love, I wouldn't be surprised if they had something to do with each other. For the sake of the story, let's assume they did.
That July, I joined the teen writing club at my local independent bookstore, which is possibly the decision (or rather, my mom making me go) that has had the most influence on my life...ever.
I would not have one and a half finished novels sitting on my flash drive.
I would not have received a check in the mail for that thing I still can't tell you guys about and I'm sorry because I honestly thought I'd be able to in March or so. I just got back in contact with the people involved and they don't know either because they're waiting on another component.
I would not be nearly so much of a well-rounded person as I am today.
I would not be writing this now.
I would still be listening to wizard rock or something from DFTBA rather than having YouTube's Death Cab for Cutie playlist going in the background. (I realize that the vlogbrothers' original intro music was by Death Cab, but that's just an unfortunate coincidence, I promise- my friend recommended them to me.)
I would not have read 90% of the books in that list over to your right.
And of course, I would be bereft of all of the myriad of experiences I've had with the people I met through that club, as well as everything they have introduced me to. But you all know how much one person can change your life, much less many.
Thank you, all of you, and perhaps it's stretching it to thank Harry Potter for causing all of that, but I really can't separate it anymore and it's nearly midnight as I'm writing this and I'm feeling nostalgic so I don't particularly care.
Ironically enough, all of that means that it was Harry Potter that indirectly dug me out of my fandom-hole, metaphorically shouted "Go live in the world!" and kicked me out the door.
I still dress up in my Hogwarts clothes and wear them to school as often as I can (we have three spirit weeks per year so it's usually pretty easy), and have pretty much mastered the art of contextually incorporating Harry Potter references into my schoolwork, so in some ways not much has changed.
However, a lot has changed since middle school. I now have far more than just one real life friend, a newfound self-confidence*, heaps of meaningful memories (even if I wish I could forget some of them), and...I could go on for paragraphs upon paragraphs, but honestly, I think 3 posts and counting on this subject is pushing it as it is. Bottom line: Harry Potter has affected my life in a huge enough way so that I can't separate it from anything else. It has made me who I am.
Story over, or rather to be continued over the course of the rest of this blog's life. Part 4: The Conclusion, tomorrow.
*Yes, self-confidence. Two or three of you are probably thinking "Hold on...she has self-confidence? What about all of those emails and chat messages crawling with self-doubt?" All I have to say about that is that time was I wouldn't have even told you those things, and that having the courage to live a fuller life gives you more reasons for doubt. Self-confidence gives you the courage to act, or to speak, even if you do feel completely terrified.