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Friday, 4 November 2016

On Self-Love and My New House Colours


Something I feel at least 90% of my generation has in common is Harry Potter. We grew up with the books and the films, and experienced Hogwarts as Harry himself was experiencing it. The youngest among us had a chapter read to us at bedtime by our parents, whilst the oldest devoured each book as they came alone. There's something so innocently magical about Harry Potter and the way wizarding life wove its way into our mundane. I especially take it more seriously than I arguably should, but I'm not embarrassed or ashamed by it.

I was intending for this post to be quite light-hearted but as I reached the final paragraph I felt a surge of sadness, relief and liberation. I'd thought my journey of self-love and self-exploration was going quite well, on the surface at least. I indulge in self-care often and tend to my anxiety every day. But I think that mental health aside I have a long way to go in terms of truly loving who I am and honestly wanting the best for myself, and bizarrely enough something as little (although big to me) as changing Hogwarts Houses has sparked something that I've been in need of for a long time.  


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I wrote a blog post not even three weeks ago sharing 25 facts about myself, and already one of the facts has been changed. I stated I was a Slytherin, but now I'm a Ravenclaw. Although I guess I always was one, really. It just took a little dose of self-love to acknowledge that.

A year or so ago I went onto the Pottermore website and took the Sorting Hat's quiz, brimming with excitement and insisting to Luke that I was going to be proven a Ravenclaw, which is what I always imagined I would be. Intelligence, wit and originality have always been the traits I've enjoyed most in others and myself, although I'm not sure if that makes me sound big-headed. I've always got my head in a book, my mind is constantly whirring wondering how and why about everything, I'm introverted af and prefer to observe rather than participate :: all things that sum up Ravenclaw House to me.

Naturally I was startled when the vibrant green flashed onto my screen and the Hat declared me a Slytherin. On the surface, I laughed it off, a little miffed sure but I'd decided it was a fluke. I re-registered with another email address and took the quiz and again I came out a Slytherin. My family carried on and were sorted into their houses - Gryffindor for Leigh, Hufflepuff for Luke and my mum - and we spent a little time together researching House profiles and the three of them had fun nodding along and exclaiming 'that's SO me!!' whenever I read certain little bits. I read Slytherin's traits and values and was instantly disappointed and, honestly, quite devastated when I realised some of them fitted me perfectly. Slytherins are perfectionistic, selective with who they give their time to, big on cost/benefit evaluations, proud, stubborn, self-preserving and self-righteous. Essentially all of the traits I hate most about myself. It wasn't a case of being in the 'bad' house because I'm one of those people that reads and adores positive Slytherin headcannons on Tumblr. It was because I was suddenly defined by all of my worst characteristics and they gradually became my identity.
I ran with being Slytherin, though. I wore it like armour. I bought ALL of the Slytherin merch I could get my hands on (a tote bag, socks, underwear, a pin, Slytherin house robes) and I wore it with pride. If the Sorting Quiz decided I was a Slytherin, no matter how at-war it made me feel within myself, I was going to wear my House colours with pride because I wasn't going to let anyone else make me feel like crap about it. Which when I think about it, is such a Slytherin thing to do.

A few weeks ago (just after the new star signs were announced) Pottermore updated and the opportunity to retake the Sorting Quiz arose. I took it again and this time came out a Ravenclaw. I was so conflicted after being convinced I was a Slytherin for so long that I brushed it off right away, and made a joke about questioning my identity on Twitter as I was apparently no longer an Aquarius or a Slytherin. I didn't think about it for the longest time until my little sister, Mum and I took our Patronus quizzes together and we got talking about our Houses again. I pulled up the House 'profiles' I'd been reading on Pinterest and Tumblr so we could again nod along with things that matched us so perfectly. I read out the Slytherin and the Ravenclaw traits and Mum insisted right off the bat that Ravenclaw suited me so much more.
I spent the following few days going over and over it all in my mind. I was suddenly being defined by the things I adored most about myself and I felt like I didn't deserve to call myself a Ravenclaw. To believe I was intelligent, original, witty, individual and creative went against everything my poor self-esteem allowed. If you've spent most of your life hating who you are and believing you're only as good as your 'bad' traits then you'll understand how odd it feels to think of yourself nicely. As soon as I figured that out, I mentally walked out of my dungeon common room and made my way to the west wing, where my new home is located.

Don't get me wrong - I am so Slytherin. Sometimes I think I probably do belong there more than I belong in Ravenclaw. But as the lovely Holly so magically reminded me - the Sorting Hat will take my opinion into account. And I choose to value my personality over my pride.

So. Here's to me, I guess. For deciding to love myself, for prizing my intelligence and wit and embracing my new House colours. To my Slytherin family - I'll miss you all (especially Sara who I'll miss the most!). Save me a seat at the next Quiddich match, won't you?
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7 comments:

  1. What a brilliant post. I'm not sure what else to say except that, as a huge Harry Potter fan, I thought this was a really clever piece of writing weaving mental health and the world of Hogwarts together. The traits of each Hogwarts house, and subsequently how they might make you view yourself, or feel about yourself, have never been something I've considered before. But reading this, I understood. I got it. I can't totally relate, I've been a Hufflepuff since the beginning, and I don't think I'm in there for any of my bad traits. But I do suffer with low self-esteem and negative thinking, so I can understand why, feeling like you were being defined by those points you hate about yourself would make you feel, well, worse! I'm glad you're not a Ravenclaw and can see the good in yourself that the Sorting Hat can obviously see too! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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  2. One of us! One of us! One of us!
    I never really thought of where I belonged until I went to a Chris Hardwick comedy night and he mentioned how he thought most nerds were Ravenclaw. It made sense and when I took a 127 question personality quiz- that was quite an internet rabbit hole, it placed me in Ravenclaw. It's weird but I have a group of 3 very close friends, and together we make up all four houses.
    I totally want to hang out with you in the common room. I'll bring the chocolate frogs!
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

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  4. I really loved reading through this, what a fascinating post.
    Pottermore was something I also tried a while ago and they did place me in Ravenclaw as well. I wasn't surprised, to say the least, I was actually quite pleased because I'd always admired the house in some way! They always spoke of wit and intelligence and I also remember thinking I'd never live up to THAT standard. But I think we need to give room for our good traits to shine through sometimes, and to allow ourselves to admit that we can actually be better than how we think we are.
    Have a good weekend, Lauren!

    Joanne | Life in Blue Skies

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  5. This was such a great read, it really made me think. I had a similar situation where I went on to Pottermore expected a lion to show up and be sorted into Gryffindor. But I was actually put into Hufflepuff! I felt the same as you at first, but now I embrace it! I think the truth is that we have a little bit of each house in us anyway. Great post!
    Steph x. Hello, Steph Blog

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  6. This is such an interesting and really well written post! I really found a smile creeping up when I was reading it! I haven't taken the new quiz (or been on Pottermore for a stupid amount of time - don't judge me I swear I'm a HP fan!!) but did have conflicting opinions on my Hufflepuff status when it was given, but I can't really deny that it's me all over!

    The wonders of this magical world and JK's incredible wisdom do show us that the house traits can often cross over - case in point - and I agree that it's so odd thinking of yourself in a new, better light after dwelling on your 'imperfections/flaws' and it must be hard sometimes to feel like these things are what define you - when really they aren't - and like you said, you can be defined by whatever you want so dwell on the good traits and embrace the 'imperfect' ones too!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

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  7. Oh, I loved reading this Lauren! Like, I've thought about the house traits but I've never really put this much thought into it, and it's so interesting to read. I think most people would fit into at least two houses as the traits do cross over a lot. Welcome to the Ravenclaws! ;)

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