This is a blog post that has circulated quite a few times in the past few years, as a way that I’ve introduced myself in the Potter fandom. It’s a pretty condensed version of a more detailed, longer post that I once wrote but that has since been long lost into the vast universe that is the internet. HPANA – and the friends that I met there – are a very large part of how I got so involved in the Potter fandom, and subsequently into other fandoms, and the Sci-Fi/Fantasy community in general. At a time when I had become very unhappy in life, very unsure of who I was, and pretty much cut myself off from everyone, this site and it’s members welcomed me, embraced me, and made me feel like I had somewhere I could go and be completely myself: no pretenses, no fakeness, no trying to be someone I wasn’t. It didn’t matter my race, my background, my religious preference (or lack thereof), my job, my status, etc.; they became my friends because we shared one single common interest in a book. Wouldn’t it be great if all relationships could be that simple?
You know the bond that people feel towards their sports teams, their Alma Maters, their fraternities and sororities? Fandom gives the same feeling to those of us who don’t share (or simply don’t care) about those other experiences. It gives us a different way to meet new people, to bond and to learn to accept people as they are, similar and different.
(Re-blogged from a post from 2010).
I decided to re-visit this post for a couple of different reasons today: first, because it makes me smile to be able to go back and read about something on the internet that had a positive impact on my life, and make me happy. So much of what I see online these days is just so damn depressing, disheartening, and discouraging. I needed a smile on my face today, and the previous post did just that.
The second reason I am posting this is because it is very relevant to a long-awaited event that I’ve been planning for a couple of years now: this weekend, I am going back to Hogwarts and – for the first time I will get to meet, hug, and hang out with some of the amazing people I met because of this little book series called “Harry Potter”. Evelyn is traveling from Indonesia; Siti hails from Thailand. Karen is coming from Washington state, Alisha and her family are coming in from N.C. All of us have been online friends since 2005, when I stumbled onto a site known then as H.P.A.N.A. (Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator).
Throughout the years, we have exchanged annual Christmas/holiday cards, participated in a Secret Santa exchange (this year will be number 8!). Along with others who for various different reasons were unable to make the trip, we have supported each other through life’s successes and defeats; marriages and divorces and babies being born and loved ones transitioning – we have maintained these long-distance bonds of friendship for longer than I ever imagined was possible. Through Harry Potter, they have become this amazing extended family and I will cry with joy and laughter the moment I am able to hug these women and share the experience of the Wizarding World with them.
“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”. – J.K. Rowling