Friday, July 22, 2011

LeakyCon Take Two -- Reflections

Ever have that feeling that you know you're exactly where you belong?

I had that feeling this past week, bonded together with 3400 others through the love for a boy wizard -- Harry Potter.

At LeakyCon 2011, it was not out of place to proudly display your House colors, spontaneously duel another wizard while waving your wands and shouting spells, or break out into wizard wrock songs. To see Dumbledore wandering the halls, or be greeted with a "Constant vigilance" by Mad-eye Moody, was also common.

But that's not all. Here, among all these other witches and wizards, it didn't matter who you were, where you were from, what you looked like, or any of those other things upon which "society" seems to impress importance. Here, you could be yourself and be proud of it.

I read the Harry Potter series for the first time in 2006, so I started fairly late in comparison to other Potter fans. This due to the fact that my parents were the worst sort of Muggle. Their view of Harry Potter rivaled that of the Dursleys' view of magic. I kept my books hidden very well and could only read them after everyone had gone to bed and even then only by the light of my laptop, with my bedroom door tightly shut, my ears pricked to any movement, as I posted on the Leaky Lounge. I literally felt like Harry Potter in that regards.

When LeakyCon 2009 was announced, I knew I was going to go no matter what. That conference showed me that there was a whole community based on love and Harry Potter and I felt at home. After that trip, I moved and was out from under my parents and able to be free to read Harry Potter whenever and wherever.

Then LeakyCon 2011 was announced...

I immediately made plans to go to Orlando and participate, both as an attendee and staff and presenter with the Leaky Lounge reading groups. I needed to go home to Hogwarts.

To say this experience last week was life changing would be an understatement. The new friends I made and the old friends I was able to see again will always be with me. Being there gave me a sense of purpose, a sense that "I'm not alone". To be surrounded by amazing people I could connect with easily was the best part of LeakyCon, and the Harry Potter fandom as a whole. I could be me.

To everyone out there who may feel like they don't belong, that no one understands them, that life just seems too difficult, remember this: Hogwarts is always here to welcome you home.

The weapon we have is love!

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