“There are all kinds of courage”

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore

As you know, this year has been rough. It didn’t start off that way, and I didn’t anticipate that it would be, and yet…well, here I am. With the new year quickly approaching, I have been reminiscing. While it is, of course, sometimes quite painful, I have begun to see that I have choices. I have a freedom I didn’t see before, and I accept that.

This hardship has given me an opportunity to learn about myself and to accept myself in ways I maybe didn’t before.

My mom insisted I open my presents on Christmas Eve, as we were leaving Christmas Day for Orlando. She told me I had to specifically open a large, rectangular package. As I sat on the floor, drink next to me, and opened this box, I began to realize what she had gotten me and why she wanted me to open it before we left. Lifting the cardboard lid, I pulled out replica Hufflepuff robes. I bounced up and down, hugged her, and cried my thanks. Literally, I think there were tears in my eyes.

Maybe it was wearing the robes and being able to represent my house. Maybe it was using the interactive wand and watching the scenes in shop windows move. It all felt more magical this time.

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I think, though, the reason it felt that way was because I allowed myself to be more…well, myself. I was excited. I was having fun. My mind wasn’t whirring with what ifs or trying to connect dots that don’t make sense. I didn’t feel like I was being judged by anyone, even when my mom and I went to the hotel’s rum bar for drinks and the bartender simply said “You know, I don’t see a lot of Hufflepuffs.” For once, I simply took it as a comment on my t-shirt, without a hidden meaning of a passed judgement.

As the new year fast approaches, I have begun to make my own type of resolutions. The biggest being:

  1. I am going to stop trying to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense
  2. I am going to be unapologetically me

and

  1. I am going to make plans I want to make

It’s been on my mind for a while—years, actually—but, for some reason, my most recent visit back to Diagon Alley sparked my desire to begin planning a trip to England. I texted a close friend of mine to see if she’d be interested in joining me, and, to my surprise, she said yes. We haven’t even hammered out actual dates, but just the simple idea of getting to plan such an adventure with a friend got me really excited. I don’t think I’ve come down from the high yet.

For me, this is huge. A few months ago, I could barely fathom planning a semester. The key here is planning things I want to plan, things that bring me joy. Yes, I still have to plan for my courses, but this makes it easier somehow.

I still don’t know what will happen this year, but I know it is through God that I am beginning to have some sense of clarity and patience. It is only thanks to God that I have seen I have choices, too, and I can stand by what I believe. It is only through God I have the strength I have.

As it is a holiday weekend, of course there is a Harry Potter marathon on TV. (I swear this particular station plays a Harry Potter marathon for everything.) As I’m still on my “Harry Potter high,” I’m eagerly watching as much as I can.

At the end of Order of the Phoenix, Luna gives us some wisdom: “things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

As I said, I have realized I have choices. So, this coming year, I am choosing to take Luna’s outlook. The alternative is depressing.

I don’t know what this choosing says about me. That I am a true Hufflepuff, “patient, true, and loyal”? That I have more faith than I thought? That I am stronger than I think? It tells me I have more power than I thought I did. It tells me I am growing. And that is a pretty decent way to start a new year, if you ask me.

As Dumbledore tells us: “There are all kinds of courage.”