The Power of Literature to Comfort

Right now, I’m going through something I had hoped I would never experience again- the breakdown of a relationship that meant the world to me. I’m obviously shattered but I’m trying to stay strong and look forward into the future.

What this experience has made very clear to me is that I use certain books to bring comfort and, in a way, protect myself from the realities of life.

As soon as the situation made itself painfully clear, I knew I needed to get away. Away into a world that felt safe, familiar and detached from my life. For me, that was dropping myself straight into the world of Harry Potter. Namely, my favourite book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I used literature during my last breakup to put a band-aid on my pain as well. Whenever I’m stressed, in pain, emotional or otherwise upset, books are my go-to treatment option. Where some people use movies, hiking, sports or music to distract themselves, I use books.

There’s something deeply comforting in familiarity. The world of Harry Potter has gotten me through hard times before. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. They were my friends when I had no other friends. Hermione taught me that it’s okay to be the cleverest girl in my class. Hagrid and Lupin were my dads when my own failed me. Dumbledore was the grandfather I never had. These characters are so very real to me. When my whole world gets thrown on it’s head, Hogwarts is always there to welcome me home.

Of course, Harry Potter isn’t the only comfort I’ve had in dark times. The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings got me through the first of two absolutely brutal joint reconstruction surgeries I had last year. They stayed up with me through the long, LONG nights. I felt like I could understand Frodo’s hopelessness as he continued with his quest to destroy the ring. I don’t have a cursed ring, but my body is seemingly intent on slowly destroying me in much the same way. It takes incredible mental, physical and emotional strength to take a step sometimes, but like Frodo, I know I must do it.

So now, as I stand alone on my newest quest… Yet again, I’m looking for my anaesthesia in words. While people can fail, words cannot.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Invictus

This poem gets me through the darkest of times. I have the last two lines of the first stanza tattooed on my back, so I never forget that I am unconquerable.

PS

To my friends (or those who I know read this), I don’t mean to say that your input and support isn’t wanted or appreciated- it means everything to me. It means more than I could possibly ever convey to you. You put up with amazing amounts of crap from me at times but still pick me up when I’m down. You’re just not made of paper, and that is your main problem. I know this isn’t your fault, but it’s really something you should start working on, you know? Just feel the paper, be the paper, make the paper a mantra going round and round in your head and so on. I believe in you! 😉

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “The Power of Literature to Comfort

  1. So honest. Books are always a wonderful escape especially when you find the right characters. That is my favourite Harry Potter book too. The studios are incredible and one of the coolest places I’ve visited. It’s one of my favourite posts.

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s