Anyone who knows me well would corroborate the fact that I am one, big, Harry Potter nerd.
The books were a huge part of my childhood and teenage years, and remain as impactful to me to this day. They’ve made me laugh, and they’ve made me cry, and they’ve given me a place to retreat to when I am fed up of mundane, muggle, melodramas.
There are so many reasons I am such a HP fangirl, but one of them is that I love the characters and what they represent.
Luna is one of my absolute favourite characters, why? Because, she is unapologetically herself.
She’s a believer in the unbelievable. She soaks up the world like a sponge, she dresses for herself, she defends her beliefs and won’t be treated like a fool, but she’s kind, she is not simple-minded, but makes things so much simpler than they first appear. She’s one of the happiest characters of any of the books I’ve ever read- and she’s the most true to herself.
Yes, yes, I know she’s not real. But isn’t this so accurate? That the happiest character is the one who is true to herself? I love that!
I don’t know about you, but I have spent so much of my life not daring to be my true self, and in all that time that passed I lost who I really was.
It’s like I had a big old trunk full of different masks to wear, and personalities to don, that the real me got buried so deep for so long, I couldn’t find her- in fact, I’m not sure I’d have even known who she was if I had!
For many years I was the perfect sheep, baa-ing away with everyone else.
I’d dress for fashion not for comfort, I put make-up on because I felt like I had to cover up my face- not because I actually wanted to wear it, I played the class clown because it seemed like I needed to make people laugh, I agreed with things I totally disagreed with, I laughed at things that were actually quite offensive…
I was so busy following and copying and hiding, that there were only ever snippets of the real me; like when the sun comes out momentarily on a dull day, to be hidden by a cloud again just a few seconds later.
But here’s what I’ve learnt:
Being anything other than yourself doesn’t really get you that far!
Pretending to be something you’re not for a long period of time is exhausting, and all it’s really given me is some serious mental health issues to address, and a lack of an identity!
I really started noticing this around the age of 21, where I had completely lost all sense of direction, and started a gruelling, grisly, dating rampage.
Oh gosh, on many occasions I was as ridiculous as the men I dated!
I tried to be the perfect balance of demure and exotic, playing the game and acting hard to get, being sexy and sophisticated (something that I should’ve known I could never pull off). I once wore stockings that wouldn’t stay up, so I used that awful double sided body tape- it didn’t keep the stockings up and when the guy touched my leg he got a strip of it stuck to his hand! Oh so sexy, oh so sophisticated.
Actually what snapped me out of the pretending to be something I wasn’t, was that very same: gruelling, grisly, dating rampage.
After some time spent in my self-destructive pit (which wasn’t very cosy at all), I realised that the men I was dating only wanted one thing; and now I know it wouldn’t have mattered if I was a multi-millionaire with a flawless fashion sense and stockings that stayed up on their own, or any other act I put on… it was about them, not me.
It was about their desires, their perceptions, who they were. So, why wasn’t I being myself? It was because I was scared of rejection.
But I also realised that I could never hope to have more with someone whilst pretending to be someone I wasn’t. That exhaustion of pretending, and the desire to have something meaningful with someone, needed to trump the fear of being rejected for not conforming.
I needed to be with someone who could give me more than what I was getting back then, and I needed to be with someone who could accept that I fucking hate stockings! But before I could find that person, I had to find, and accept, myself.
Once I clocked onto this, it was amazing! I was rediscovering my opinions, morals, and beliefs, and my experiences were shaping me into a new person- some of who I used to be, some of who I was to become… I was deciding for myself how I would allow myself to be treated, and who I wouldn’t allow myself to become.
And from that point onward; I have tried to be nothing but, unapologetically, myself.
From not wearing make-up, to standing up for what I believe in, to saying no, to dribbling in front of people (see Harry at the top of the page- that’s me!), to saying yes, to dressing for comfort, to making decisions for me and not others, to being open to change, to letting my legs get hairy every now and then, to eating a big fat burger on a date, to hugging my teddy bear at night with my boyfriend lying next to me…
I don’t believe everyone stays as they are forever, I know I am constantly changing, and developing, but I also know that I am no longer hiding. And this, being me, has got me further in life than ever before… funny, that!
So please, if you’re hiding bits of you behind a mask because you’re afraid of what people may think, afraid of rejection, or afraid of the unknown- know this, you already have one person that thinks your true self is the best version of you… me! 🙂
Learn from the Luna’s of this world: love yourself, and happiness comes from within.