How I realized (and embraced) the fact that I am a total Hufflepuff
Hufflepuff gets such a bad rep. The other Hogwarts houses… Gryffindor! Ravenclaw! Slytherin! Even their names sound cool. Hufflepuff sounds like the Pokemon that no one wanted, Jigglypuff…
When I read the Harry Potter books, I was pretty close to the ages of our beloved Golden Trio; they were always a few years older than me, which was cool, because it gave me a chance to prepare for the twists and turns of adolescence. I idolized Harry, Ron, and Hermione — and like every other kid I knew, I imagined with great detail what it would be like if I went to Hogwarts. More importantly, I imagined which Hogwarts house the Sorting Hat would place me into.
Maybe it was the commercialization of the books and movies at the time, or maybe it was just because I wanted to wear that adorable gold and crimson scarf around my neck at a Quidditch match — but Gryffindor always seemed to be the only choice. Gryffindors, like Harry, were selfless, courageous, the heroes. I wanted so badly to curl up with a blanket by the fireplace in the common room of the Gryffindor tower, sneak out at night into the darkened hallways (and have the fearlessness to do so), and defeat Lord Voldemort.
But unfortunately for my 8-year-old self, I wouldn’t fit into Gryffindor.
I tried to fight it for a long time. I really did. I took countless quizzes online (Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In?). I even asked friends for advice. I’m pretty sure I have three Gryffindor t-shirts… and some socks. But no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I had all the traits of a Gryffindor student, deep down I knew the truth.
I’m a push-over. I’m a little insecure. I’m a people-pleaser. I live for nights in my pajamas, binge-watching Gilmore Girls and ingesting copious amounts of top ramen, chocolate, and wine. I like a good romantic comedy. I like a good book, too, but honestly, I can’t pass as a Ravenclaw given that most of my recent reading is definitely YA fiction. Which is totally cool.
But I guess that’s the thing. I’ve gone so long believing that I’m something other than what I should be. That I’m not cool or obscure enough (Ravenclaw), or brave enough (Gryffindor), or ambitious enough (Slytherin). I’m somewhere else. I’m okay with settling in for the night rather than partying hard. I’m okay with crying at another episode of the Mindy Project (what is with you lately, Danny?!). I’m okay with saying what I think, even though I am totally aware that I might not be right all the time. And it’s taken me a long, long, long time to get to this point.
Most of my best memories start with me tearily calling a friend because I need someone to talk to. I need someone else to lean on. I value friendship higher than anything else. Just like a Hufflepuff would.
We are often so focused on showing our talents — how smart we are, how heroic we are, how going places we are — that we forget that it’s okay to be ourselves. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to be raw; in fact, I’d venture to say that the world needs more of that vulnerability. So here’s to everyone else who cries at every dramatic movie. Here’s to everyone who has learned to forgive — even when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Here’s to the lovers, the peacekeepers, the empathizers, the feelers — here’s to the Hufflepuffs. Badgers forever.