How Harry Potter Saved My Life

by PotterFeed

Harry Potter has changed many lives. This is my life, and how this series comforted me through rough times and shaped me into the woman I am today.

Harry Potter is a magical series. Obviously it is about a magical world full of witches, wizards, goblins, giants (and half-giants), house elves, three-headed dogs, and many other creatures. I'm not here to talk about the magical creatures and spells. I'm not here to talk about the mouth-watering delicacies either. Harry Potter is a magical series because it has found its way into many of our hearts. There are many different fandoms for books, movies, and television shows, but Harry Potter was my first, and we all have a special spot in our hearts for our first love. The Harry Potter books, movies, and fandom together shaped me into the woman I am today. I want to share my story.

This series saved my life. I'll explain why in a bit, but I'd like to share how I learned of the series first. I remember two of my friends talking about Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone when I was 8 years old and in elementary school. This was before what I call "The Harry Potter Revolution". Only a few people knew of this treasure of a book, and I was soon to be included. My friends told me how amazing this book was and insisted I read it immediately. I took the book out of the library and after reading a couple chapters, I fell in love. I read it in two days. I read whenever we had free time in class and during lunch. I read instead of playing during recess. I read some more on the bus and at home until my parents told me to go to bed. I anticipated the next book release. I started a cycle many of you remember: Read a book, feel like you are dying while you wait for JK to write the next in the series, while you wait, you reread the book(s) about a million times, when the next book comes out you purchase immediately, read it, feel like you're dying until the next book comes out, reread the books about a million times, etc. I've personally read each Harry Potter book over 40 times. When the movies came out, I watched them obsessively as well.
Some people think I'm crazy when I tell them how many times I've read the books. Even fans of the series sometimes gawk at me. I know I'm crazy, but I'm not crazy for reading Harry Potter over and over and over again. I think if they knew why, they may have some understanding.
I cannot remember a time I honestly felt accepted. My friends that gave me the gift of Harry Potter were wonderful girls. I know they didn't like me, but they didn't want me to be alone either. You may think I'm just pessimistic when I say this, but no one liked me in elementary school. The few friends I had were strictly school friends. They only hung out with me to be polite or because they knew I had no one and didn't want me to feel so alone. I remember in elementary school we had little books with everyones phone number in the school. I remember begging my parents to let me have a sleepover multiple times. Most of the time, after they said yes, I'd go to that phone book and call every single girl I knew. As I went down the list, everyone was busy or their parents wouldn't let them come over. I think I only had someone actually come over two or three times between kindergarten and fifth grade. One of those times, the girl arrived at my house, started crying before she even made it in the house and left almost immediately after. I remember one year I invited everyone in my class to my birthday party. Boys were allowed over for a few hours and girls were allowed to sleep over. I remember the party was to start at 6pm. I was too excited to watch TV or play. I literally stared at the digital clock and my driveway from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. My eyes darted back and forth between that clock and the driveway in anticipation of my guests. Around 6:15 I knew no one would show.I knew I didn't have any friends, but I really thought at least a couple people would show up. Come on, everyone loves a birthday party at that age. We get cake and play games! Tears started to fall down my cheeks, but I kept watching and waiting for a little longer. 6:30 came along and my parents told me I should go watch some television or something. Staring at the driveway won't make the people come. I knew they were praying at least one person would show up. It killed them to see me so upset, yet still staring out that damn window waiting, even though I knew in my heart no one would come. Needless to say, not a single person showed. One or two people called around 6 to say they weren't attending due to sickness (if my memory serves, I think those calls were the two girls mentioned above. They at least had the decency to call, regardless if it was actual sickness or just trying to get out of going to my party), but the rest of my class didn't even bother. That day, I read Harry Potter. At least I had Harry, Ron and Hermione. They were my real friends. This memory sticks in my head so clearly because it was the day I realized my suspicions were correct. No one wanted to be around me.
They called me ugly. They called me fat. They said I smell bad. They said I have no friends. They said everyone hates me. They said I was weird. They said I was stupid. They said I was annoying. They said I should go kill myself. They said this while I was in elementary school.
Middle school was the same story. I had no confidence. I was extremely depressed. People hated me so much someone wrote an anonymous letter to the school counselor. They said everyone hated me and I smell. They think I smoke. They think the sweatshirt I wore was not appropriate. (I bought a hoodie that said "Hottie" because I thought it was funny since I knew I wasn't hot but wore it anyway.) The author of this note said it wasn't appropriate since no one thinks I'm a 'hottie' or even pretty. The counselor told me how everyone hates me. He said I have no friends. He asked me if I smoked. I was in seventh grade and smoking was the last thing on my mind. Smoking was still gross at that age. My parents smoke, so I guess the smell was in my clothing. The things this counselor told me hurt so badly. I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe. He seemed confused as to why I was crying. He thought by telling me what was in this note he was doing me a favor. He thought I should be happy and take it as a learning experience. He literally told me to stop crying, and shooed me out of his office as quickly as possible and told me he would be calling my teacher in 5 minutes to make sure I was in the classroom and not skipping. He didn't let me calm myself down before going back to class. I went into the class hyperventilating. Luckily my teacher let me sit outside the classroom to calm down and talked to me after class ended. I never told my parents that night about what happened. They found out months later, after it was too late to complain to the school. That counselor could have been fired for the things he said to me. There are certain things he said that hurt so badly I don't even want to repeat. What did I do that night? I read Harry Potter.
I started cutting while I was in middle school. I tried to kill myself twice in eighth grade. Fast forward to high school--I continued cutting deeper and deeper. I still have the scars to this day. There were plenty of times I needed stitches, but didn't dare tell my parents. They eventually found out.
This is where I will start to get vague with my story. I don't want to chance losing my anonymity. High school was a new realm of hell. People didn't bully me anymore. I actually had a few friends. When you are bullied for so long, you are stuck in victim mode. You still think people are bullying you, even when they aren't. You think everyone still hates you. They are all talking behind your back. Every step you take, they watch. They laugh.
I developed a drug addiction. I still struggle. I am doing everything I can to stay clean and sober. I want to be proud of myself for once in my life.
I know I probably lost most readers by now, if there were any in the first place. Whenever I had a bad day, my three best friends (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) were always there. I would read the books over and over and over and over. I would forget my troubles and enter their world. They had their own troubles, but the four of us could overcome anything. I would imagine I was Harry's twin sister (only because I wanted to be the same year as Harry) so I could live with him at the Dursley residence. I would twist the novels only enough to include myself in their world. I may not be a good daydreamer, but I didn't like changing the story line, so I would just tweak little things. I opened the chamber of secrets, not Ginny (although after awhile I stuck to the story to help the Hinny relationship blossom slowly as it did in the series).
The trio saved me from myself. When I was depressed, they were there. When I contemplated suicide, they were there, telling me to live long enough to read the seventh novel. Once that was released, they told me to wait until the last movie was released. At some point while I was waiting, death left my mind. I slowly decided I want to live for reasons other than reading the last book or watching the last movie. The trio taught me how to live my life respectfully. Sure, they all made mistakes. They may be magical, but they are still human.
I discovered the Harry Potter Fandom on facebook to be honest. I couldn't believe I didn't find some HP message board or something sooner. I added every single HP related page I could find and started to build bonds. I would connect to every post and every comment. I may not write anything, but I read what people write and they bring a smile to my face. I may not talk to 1% of all the people on these pages, yet I feel I know them all. They are all my family. Together we laugh. Together we cry. Together we discover the little things JK added to the series we never would have known without deciphering the clues together.
In conclusion, I love Harry Potter. Thank you JK for providing me with this series. Without it, I honestly would not be alive. This was the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you for reading this. If you stuck with this from beginning to end, I appreciate your time. I hope you can get something out of this. If it helped you in some way, or you think it may help someone else, please share this page. I plan to write more Potter related articles, so keep tuned! I love you all. Goodnight.

Updated: 11/22/2013, PotterFeed
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Rose on 11/23/2013

That was a really moving piece. The best authors speak to something deep within us, and I agree with you that JK Rowling's books fall into this category.

As someone who is much older than you, I can tell you that childhood is the roughest part of life. It really does get better as we get older, and yes books act as a sort of roadmap and friend combined. I hope you write some more - perhaps you have a novel in you that will help others like JK Rowling's books helped you.

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