An open letter to Luna Lovegood, who taught me everything I needed to know

Dear Luna Lovegood,

So Luna (is that okay or is that too informal? I feel like I know you well enough to be on a first name basis), I was sitting, all curled up on the floor while reading the tales of your adolescent adventures the other night and, as I turned the final page, I was struck by the urge to tell you something. Well, actually, to tell you a few things. As I relaxed and reflected on how you’ve impacted my life from a very young age, I realized that I have a lot to thank you for. Yeah, I know you’re technically fictional and I know that most people don’t consider you the hero of the Harry Potter series, but I wanted you to know that you impacted me. You helped shape who I am and taught me as many valuable life lessons as any real-life role model ever has. So, here it goes:

Thank you for teaching me that being bullied is no reason to change who you are.

I was always teased growing up, and when I was younger, I thought it was because there was something wrong with me. You didn’t even blink when the other Ravenclaws teased you for your quirky ways and took/hid your things. You never took it personally and found a group of friends that loved you for who you were, not who you could be.

Thank you for teaching me that friendship and being close to loved ones is important in times of need.

When Harry was being a bit of a tosser in his fifth year, you (and the rest of his friends) waited for him to come around instead of snubbing him. Pushing away loved ones is almost instinctual when going through hard times, but sometimes the people pushing you away are the ones who really need you the most. The thing that separates us from the dark lords in this world is friendship and love. It’s easy to forget something as important as that when we need it the most. Thank you for teaching me to always keep it in mind.

Thank you for showing me that my tendency to say and do strange things isn’t creepy, but a defining (and positive) characteristic of who I am.

Sunday night, when my uncle told me he was leaving for London in a couple of days, I suggested he visit the Tower of London after dark — because I’m fascinated by the rumors of the lingering echoes of the ghosts of the torture victims filling the halls after dark. Okay, maybe that example was creepy, but my entire life I’ve been randomly saying things that make everyone stare at me as if I had a third eye. I used to be very embarrassed about it, and I often would stay silent in group situations to avoid saying things that might make people uncomfortable. But since I’ve grown older and gotten more comfortable with who I am (and had amazing role models such as you, Luna), I’ve decided to stop holding myself back. Being myself is nothing to be ashamed about, no matter who that person is.

Thank you for teaching me that there’s nothing wrong with being cheerful and childlike.

I have always been a wide-eyed Disney princess at heart (except for that time when I was 14 and I wanted to fit in with my friend group, so I adopted a cynical edge and a bitter outlook on life). Rewatching the films helped me remember who I was and who I wanted to be. You are always so cheerful and kind, no matter what and it has always been something I admired about you…something I admired about myself. Thank you for helping me realize that cynicism and growing up don’t have to go hand-in-hand.

Thank you for teaching me not to change what you believe in to fit in.

Gnargles, Blibbering Humdingers, Crumple Horned-Snorlacks, Moon Frogs…these are just a few of the amazing creatures you’ve been made fun of for believing in. I am 20 years old and I still firmly believe in vampires, fairies, mermaids, demons…etc. I see no proof that they don’t exist and spend too many hours awake at night researching them. You were teased, brushed off, and had your place in your house scoffed at due to your adamant belief in these creatures. Who’s to say the things we believe in aren’t worth believing in? Not Luna Lovegood that’s for sure!

You go, Luna Lovegood! Thank you for helping me not be ashamed of my Loony tendencies and to keep my head up high no matter what the Muggles think.

(Images via Warner Bros., here, here and here.)