Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impact. Sometimes those small things are books.
When I was in the fifth grade, I was introduced to a certain boy wizard and his quest to defeat a very evil snake-looking guy. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about Harry Potter. At first, the books were just ok to me. I got through the first two and said “meh,” but I was hooked by the third. I was an avid fan, and with each book release, my love of the series and its author, J.K. Rowling, grew.
Fast forward to five years after the final book was released to the Spring of 2011. I had probably reread some of the books at least twice during those five years, yet I still brought most of them with me to New Jersey when I worked a 6 -month internship in NYC. At first, I had doubts about whether I would even have time to read any of them, since I had hoped to have a crazy NYC experience and be out and about every day. Little did I know how wrong I was.
The day that I moved to NJ, my father received a phone call. My grandfather had passed away, and since I was just starting a new job, I was not able to attend his funeral. That stuck with me for a while: not being able to see my family much since I had relocated from Boston. I started to get anxiety about something happening to my loved ones while I was away.
For the majority of my time working in NYC, I didn’t have any close friends around. After work, if I wasn’t invited out by one of my co-workers, I would usually just go home and watch TV. Over the course of the six months, this loneliness got the best of me, and coupled with the anxiety issues I already faced, I was in a pretty bad place. While I look back on the good memories I had in NYC, a lot of the time I spent there I was dealing with mild depression.
One day, while being a mope around my apartment, I remembered that I had brought the Harry Potter series with me. I don’t know if the books were literally magic or what, but reading them made me feel better. I was much more comfortable being alone when I was reading a book. The strength of the characters, along with the underlying themes of friendship and love, brought me out of my depression. I was able to go home and not be entrenched in my own negative thoughts. J.K. Rowling had written me back to life.
Today, everyone knows how much I love Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. What many don’t know is the hope that those books brought me during a time when I wasn’t myself. I now have a tattoo of one of the symbols from the book on my ankle. It is called the Deathly Hallows and those who possess them are said to be invincible. I got the tattoo to remind myself of how I feel when I am immersed in Rowling’s world and how strong I am in this world for persevering. I won’t go as far as to say Harry saved me, but he damn sure helped.