I know the title sounds extremely cheesy but hear me out I’ve got a story to tell.
Ever since I was a kid I had this ability to feel… a lot. I could empathize with everyone else’s pain, I had fully developed range of emotions that affected me in every way possible. I used to live in extremes. I could feel euphoria when I was happy and emotional agony when I was sad. This ability to feel every emotion larger than they were always left me exhausted and overwhelmed with little to no energy left to focus on other aspects of my life. Even though my physical pain endurance level is astounding my emotional pain endurance not really. The memories of emotional pain from my past still haunt me.
As I grew up and started watching a lot of movies across every genre, one specific genre that fascinated me beyond comparison was “True Crime”. Ah! the world of serial killers, narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, their inability to feel emotional pain, their incapability to be bounded by love and other stupid emotions. They don’t care about social status or being single or other trivial stuff like nobody to love and dying alone. It seems like a fantasy land where there is a unique species of humans devoid of emotions, one of the most important things that set us apart from any other living being. No doubt it fascinated me, and no doubt I wanted to be it, Oh! the amount of time I’ve spent on Wikipedia consuming information about serial killers! I mean who would not want to feel emotional pain for the rest of their life and just kill people for fun and then mock police and media by sending cryptic messages! Okay, not me (only the emotional part maybe).
And ever since I’ve been coming-of-age (I’ve realised its a continuous process), I’ve been learning to accept and love myself with all the good, bad, and ugly parts. Especially last year when being all by yourself was the only option, also reviving your old hobbies and trying to pass the time seemed like a good idea. So I took up reading Harry Potter which I never did before. I wasn’t expecting much as I’ve already watched all the movies, knew all the spoilers, what new could I found? Boy! was I wrong!
As soon as I read Voldemorts back-story I realised that the Dark Lord was a born psychopath. No mercy, no guilt, treats people like his tools, has no friends, collects valuable items as rewards, thinks he is super special and has every narcissistic tendency possible. Harry had similar childhood just like Tom Riddle, an orphan, neglected, lonely, invisible, but he cared, he loved, had compassion and empathy. I will give up anything to relate to Voldemort but no I could relate to Harry Potter more.
I remember reading Half-Blood Prince and how my perspective about love changed completely. Throughout the series, Dumbledore tells Harry numerous time that what sets Harry apart from Voldemort is his ability to love. Yeah I know, even Harry rolls his eyes every time.
Harry: I know. I can love! Big deal
Dumbledore: Yes, Harry you can love, which given everything that has happened to you, is a great remarkable thing. You are protected, in short by your ability to love! The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort’s! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering you remain pure of heart, just as pure as were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mirror that reflected your heart’s desire, and it showed you only the way to thwart Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!
This struck a chord. Everything Dumbledore says is very much comforting but this one hit home. And now that I think of it, the whole undertone of this series is ‘Love’. Every characters action is motivated because of love. Be it Helena Ravenclaw who trusted a man too much, Tom Riddles mother who gave up her magic and lived a common life, Severus Snape (I don’t need to say why), the obvious- Lily Potter, and even Dumbledore (can’t elaborate because huge spoilers here). Isn’t it the same with our lives too? I am aware of how easy it is to brush everyone off, not let anyone in, and run away from our feelings. It does take a lot of courage to trust all over again, to love without expectation, and let ourselves feel things. And this is exactly what sets us apart and inspires most of our actions.
I never in my life thought reading Harry Potter will help me in self-acceptance, but I guess that’s the power of fiction. You learn as much as you allow it to, you find a new outlook in unexpected places and most importantly you find characters you can relate with, no matter how boring your real life is.
I strongly believe, the next time our world is in mortal peril it will be love that will save us and not the other way around.