How the Wizarding World of Harry Potter got me into an introspective funk.
I remember when each book came out. I would spend the week reading, proud of myself once I finished the last page, hungry for the next one. I was so obsessed over the story that there was one time I unknowingly downloaded a fan fiction version of Order of the Phoenix. It started out normal and seemed legit, until the point where things got really sexual up in Gryffindor tower ending with Harry and Hermionie hooking up. By that point I was over 250 pages into the damn fan fiction! I was just discovering the interwebs of BitTorrent, MiniNova and isoHunt — don’t judge high school me! (ps. Y’all fan fiction people can get really graphic and sick!)
Ok, stop. MCL, FOCUS:
When I first read the Harry Potter series, it was mainly for entertainment. I was finishing up high school — basically grew up with Harry and crew, never realizing that they were my first lessons in social justice.
As long as I can remember, every sorting hat quiz put me in Gryffindor. Even Pottermore put me in Gryffindor. I was lowkey proud of myself knowing I was in the same house as my Hogwarts crew.
Sorting Result Circa 2010
House: Gryffindor “With a lion as its crest and Professor McGonagall at its head, Gryffindor is the house which most values the virtues of courage, bravery and determination.”
Wand Wood: Acacia “A very unusual wand wood, which I have found creates tricky wands that often refuse to produce magic for any but their owner, and also withhold their best effects from all but those most gifted. This sensitivity renders them difficult to place, and I keep only a small stock for those witches or wizards of sufficient subtlety, for acacia is not suited to what is commonly known as ‘bangs-and-smells’ magic. When well-matched, an acacia wand matches any for power, though it is often underrated due to the peculiarity of its temperament.”
Wand Core: Unicorn hair “Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard. Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may ‘die’ and need replacing.”
Then last month, twitter queen J.K. Rowling calibrated the Pottermore quiz causing a good number of people to freak the f*ck out.
Of course I’m like, psh. Of course I’d get sorted back into Gryffindor.
But then this happened:
House: Ravenclaw “Ravenclaws prize wit, learning, and wisdom. It’s an ethos etched into founder Rowena Ravenclaw diadem: ‘wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure’”
Wand Wood: Beech “The true match for a beech wand will be, if young, wise beyond his or her years, and if full-grown, rich in understanding and experience. Beech wands perform very weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant. Such wizards and witches, having obtained a beech wand without having been suitably matched (yet coveting this most desirable, richly hued and highly prized wand wood), have often presented themselves at the homes of learned wandmakers such as myself, demanding to know the reason for their handsome wand’s lack of power. When properly matched, the beech wand is capable of a subtlety and artistry rarely seen in any other wood, hence its lustrous reputation.”
Wand Core: Dragon Heartstring “As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands with the most power, and which are capable of the most flamboyant spells. Dragon wands tend to learn more quickly than other types. While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner. The dragon wand tends to be easiest to turn to the Dark Arts, though it will not incline that way of its own accord. It is also the most prone of the three cores to accidents, being somewhat temperamental.”
Have I been living a lie all this time!?
— Chloe Donald (@chloedonald_) January 28, 2016
It’s funny how something so trivial can cause one to do some real introspective reflection.
You can say I’m having a quarter life crisis (because apparently I’ll live to be 120 – or am in complete denial that I turn 30 this year.) These days I’m taking stock of what I’ve done since 2005. I used to be so proud of myself because it took me five years to go from cashier to Modell’s to the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (with a bachelor’s degree in tow).
At that point in life, it made sense I fell into Gryffindor. I hustled… hustled HARD. It took some courage, bravery and a hell of a lot of determination for this immigrant girl from Queens to get into her 2010 form.
I can’t even be mad at my new house and wand.
“Ravenclaws prize wit, learning, and wisdom. It’s an ethos etched into founder Rowena Ravenclaw diadem: ‘wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure’”
It’s interesting to see how much my life and priorities have changed. I suddenly felt old when I realized I have been working multiple roles nonstop for over ten years. My husband reminded me that self care is a thing (though I’m convinced he believes in the “happy wife, happy life” mantra). In any case, he and my trusted advisors really challenged me to be introspective over the holidays. It was very clear that in being consumed with work, I had lost myself.
I’m in the process of finding my core. Doing so requires wit, learning, and wisdom. A lot of it is quiet thinking, rooted in self care. How am I supposed to be effective in what I do, if I am not centered in what I truly want to contribute?
Taking the calibrated Sorting Hat Quiz was a fun detour as I go through this phase. Reflecting more on the results has me accepting what exists right now and is a good reminder to trust the process as my future unfolds.
Proud to be one.