As I’m sure a lot of you can relate to, I spent a lot of my life and time in school being teased and being bullied. It’s hard being a nerd. And I’m talking a real nerd. Lately, there’s been this blow up of “I <3 Nerds!” and “OMG I’m so nerdy!” and all that. I’m talking, straight up nerd, when you’re doing stuff that most other kids just don’t get.
So yeah, I definitely spent most of my time just being WEIRD. I’m sure, the things I liked were popular: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pokemon, etc. But the extent to which I liked these things was a lot for people to handle. I’m a very intense person and when I find something that I like, I can be really intense. And a lot of people have a hard time understanding that. They can’t understand the serious LOVE I have for Harry Potter. No one can understand the sort of passion I feel for reading and the attachment I feel for fictional characters.
So I had a really hard time finding friends in school and outside of school. I followed my best friend for so much of my life and made friends through her. That kept me happy for awhile. I had good friends. They weren’t really MY friends, but I had good friends.
But as life happens, my best friend and I grew apart. In a seriously big way. And for the first time in my life, I felt truly and totally screwed. I had to make friends on my own and this wasn’t something I wasn’t used to. I spent a lot of years trying and failing, trying and failing to make friends. I met people I didn’t like, I met people that I did like. I met people who were really cool. But I just didn’t meet anyone who really clicked with me. I found a new best friend, as our boyfriends were friends, and I love this girl to death. She continues to be my best friend, no matter what. But I still needed to learn to make friends on my own, to branch out on my own.
And this is when I discovered the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army.
Its simple: its a group of 21 and over Harry Potter fans who get together and do seriously awesome things.
I first met them at Whimsic Alley when one of the members of the group, Melissa, who is a professor at a local university, did a preview of the Harry Potter Literature class that she was going to begin teaching. I was hooked. These were people who didn’t just see it as a book…it was so much more than that. I had to find out more.
The very first official meet-up I ever went to was the Intermagical Relations Quidditch Picnic. And yeah, I said Quidditch. It was a joint picnic between the LADA, the Auror Brigade, and the awesome people behind Harry Potter Day at DisneyLand. There were Potter themed games and food and you could learn to play Quidditch in preparation of an actual quidditch game. It was amazing. I had to go back for more. I was hooked, easily. These people were so welcoming and friendly and I had so much in common with all of them. I had never felt so much in my element.
That was almost a year ago. I’ve been a member of LADA for almost a year and I can honestly say that this group is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
One, the people. This group is all adults (there is drinking involved in these meet-ups though I, myself, do not personally drink) and we all love the same things: Harry Potter, obviously, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, comics, cartoons, Game of Thrones, books, movies, video games and so much more. Every single time I am with these people, I never run out of things to talk about it. I can go from one conversation on one side of the room talking about a recent book we all read and then cross the room and talk to a different group of people about the most recent episode of a t.v. show. I’ve never met a group of people who just GET IT, they just get me. They’re funny and smart and they’re of every race, gender, religion (or not), philosophy, career, whatever. They are such a great example of diversity and yet we’re all bonded together by this.
Two, the amazing things we do. I’ve only been a member for a year and this group has been around for about four years. And yet despite that, I have already experienced a great amount of awesome times. Every month there is a book club meeting, where we read a book and get together to discuss it. And I think we all know that I LOVE talking about books.
But we’ve also done quidditch tournaments. We did a Hunger Games party where we were “reaped” into different districts, went and saw the movie, and then came back to the Capitol party to compete in the games. We had our very first, extremely successful Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. We had an Avengers de Mayo party, where we saw the Avengers and then partied and played games. I’ve met Tom Felton with these guys, we’ve had Harry Potter pub nights and Harry Potter pub crawls and Potter game nights. We’ve done beach days and we’ve celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday. We’ve done a wizard version of Iron Chef called Wizard Chef. We did a wizard version of a white elephant party called white hippogriff. We’ve done tattoo days and we hit all the cons. We’ve gone and seen geeky parody musicals. I can go on and on and on. I’ve never seen so much creativity and fun in a group of people before. Its the ultimate geek partying. There are a ton of pictures below to show the awesome things we’ve done.
We even have a Harry Potter Bowling Night coming up soon, as a part of So Cal Wizarding Weekend (more on that to come).
Just one day ago, I went to the most recent meetup, which was the second Wizard Chef. And after we held our cooking competition, which was SO MUCH FUN, we all kicked back, opened up a couple of beers and just talked. And while I was sitting there, I realized something, something super happy.
I have met an amazing group of friends and an amazing group of people. Not only are these people my friends because we have so much in common and we’re all nerds together, but they’re all such amazing people. They’re mothers, and fathers, and teachers, and writers, and filmmakers and artists, and they can sew and knit and they’re creative as hell. I look forward to each and every meet-up because I know I’m going to have a fun and unique and badass time and I’m going to do it all with the best friends that I could possibly have.
Intermagical Quidditch Picnic
The costume winners at our Hunger Games Capitol Party
Me meeting Tom Felton at a small convention we attended
My fellow members at our White Hippogriff party
Celebrating 100th Meetup at Harry Potter Game Night
The various super heroes of Avengers de Mayo
The first ever LADA Pub Crawl
A few members meeting Tom Felton <3
If you’re in Southern California, I definitely urge you to join. Its the best decision I ever made. And if you’re not in Southern California, then I encourage you to go out there, and find that group for you, no matter what your thing is. Meetup.com is a great place to start. Good hunting, everyone! We all deserve to find a place where we belong :D
Are you a member of LADA? Do you feel the same? Are you part of a group that you’ve had some awesome experiences with? As always, let me know in the comments.
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