In life, I have found that being proud of who you are goes a long way towards being a better person. I have tried to be comfortable with how I look, how intelligent I am, how much people like me, and how boring my penis is. These were long processes – you cannot just wake up one day and decide that you are okay with being one hundred pounds overweight. This sort of acceptance takes time to heal. However, some epiphanies have more weight than others.
Finding out I was not going to get any taller was understandable – my dad is short as well. But finding out he wasn’t my real dad, and that I was just short for no fucking reason – now that one was a shocker. Yeah, I guess you could say it took me a while to come to terms with learning my real parents gave me up because they thought I was an ugly baby. But I digress, acceptance was a key step in learning to love myself.
To be fair, these are all common issues – people find out all the time that their birth information was a sham, or that their penis is average on a good day in warm weather. You can prepare yourself for these sorts of problems, because of pop culture, and the shared life experience of people who have been through the same things you have. If you are an alcoholic, you can go to alcoholics anonymous – and if you have a shit penis you can complain about women on Reddit.
One year ago, I was perfectly comfortable with myself, and so I thought myself ready to take some Pottermore quizzes. “What is the worst that could happen?” I asked, “I get Hufflepuff? Cedric was in Hufflepuff! I’ll be fine. And who cares if my patronus ends up being like a dog or something? It’s not a goddamn stag but I’d take it.” Little did I know that my life was about to enter a whole new phase of soul searching.
I answered the questions on my Patronus quiz to the best of my ability, comfortable with the fact that no matter how honest I was, my results would be fine. At the end of the quiz, I was shocked when it told me my Patronus was a moldy pizza slice! How does this happen? At first, I thought it was a joke, or a glitch or something. So, I took the quiz again – but I got the same result. The first thing I did was call my best friend Joe. He told me that the result was ridiculous, and that it didn’t make any sense – a patronus had to be an animal. I felt better after talking to him – surely there must have been some sort of mistake!
Naturally, I decided to consult the Pottermore website. There was no mention of faulty Patronuses (Patroni??) in the FAQ, so I decided to call up customer service. After a lengthy complaint, the service rep. explained that moldy pizza slice was an option, but that I was the first person to ever get that result! The lady on the phone told me I should be happy because I was unique. This news shook me to my very core. It was worse than the time I slept with Cherry and she told me my penis was so lame, I would have to pay extra. Up until that point I had thought my penis was perfectly normal – though I had no frame of reference for this, because I was, admittedly, a virgin.
Anyway, my thoughts immediately turned to my own inadequacies. I had spent so long building confidence, working towards acceptance of my looks (or lack thereof), my smarts (or lack thereof), and my general persona (or lack thereof). It had taken me years to accept that no woman would ever love me and no company would ever hire me. Those years were filled with pain and bad life choices. But I made it through, and I came out stronger for it. This time was somehow different. To find out that the true essence of your life can be defined with a moldy pizza slice is not on the same level as any other epiphany.
The day I found out is a day I remember vividly. I will remember it for the rest of my life. After calling Pottermore and learning that there was no mistake, I did what anybody would naturally do. I fished through garbage like a goddamn raccoon until I could find a moldy slice of pizza. I examined the slice closely, trying to figure out how the hell this little thing could so wholly define me. For what must have been hours I just stared at the slice – begging for it to enlighten me. The pizza told me nothing – and it gave me asthma.
The next year of my life was something of a disaster. I was afraid to go out, meet people, eat pizza, or really do anything that confident people do. Before doing the Pottermore quiz my life was starting to get better – I was finally confident enough in myself to get a Jdate profile! My life was just about back on track when it was suddenly derailed once more. I spent a year in mental hell, with no confidence whatsoever.
However, eventually I was able to turn things around. I did so by looking inward, and deciding for myself the kind of person I wanted to be. Last year, I finally said enough is enough, and decided that my Patronus would no longer define my essence. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. Slowly, I began to repair my fractured self-worth. It has been two years from when I took that Pottermore quiz, and one year after starting to fight back against my lack of confidence. I feel like my life is finally my own once more, and I’ve never been happier.
Acceptance is tough – and more so when you’re accepting your own self. Being comfortable in your own skin is not always easy, but you must remember that nobody is perfect. Some people are six pack abs – but some of them have tiny penises. And yes, in my case I got the wrong end of that exchange, but I am still okay with this. Because in the end, I am who I am – cheese, mold, warts, and all.