Because I Left Domestic Violence Blessing number 5,807: Harry Potter

By April Tribe Giauque

Because I Left Domestic Violence Blessing number 5,807: Harry Potter



“After all this time?”

“Always.”

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

“It’s our choices, Harry, far more than our abilities that show us who we really are.”

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”


Who was impacted and continues to be affected by a story called Harry Potter? I have been.


Short story:

I lived for nearly a decade in a troubling abusive marriage, but through the Lord, I finally got up the bravery to leave. There was a cost to leaving, and there was a cost to staying, but we need to remember that we can’t choose our consequences; we can only make choices. We escaped the abyss of abuse on November 28, 2006, and it’s been 5,807 days of being out.



After leaving and the six of us being homeless for a bit, we found stability again. I became a teacher, started my master’s program, and found a routine. I taught full time, I schooled, I “mommed,” and I prayed. That was for 21 straight months, which was the best I could do.

As the time came for graduation with my master’s degree, I was asked, “what are you going to get for graduating?” I decided I wanted to treat myself to reading all the Harry Potter books and then watch the movies. That was May 31, 2008.

Up until that time, I had never cracked a book or seen a movie. So, I plunged in. (Side note, I didn’t start with the first book. I listened to the audiobooks read by Jim Dale, and all the library had at the time was the 5th book).

I was hooked and needed to know everything! I lived and breathed Potter for that summer through the fall of 2008. It changed my life. I was 34 years old, a single mom of 5 children, and for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to dream again—of being a writer.


This dream of writing has brought me to find all of you. You have either read my two books, blogs, articles, seen videos, or posts, or I have written or edited works that you have written. Either way, writing, and story are how we are connected.


How is Harry Potter Impacted me?

The story of coming of age, good vs. evil, the complexity of the characters, the theme? Yes, of course. But there was more. There was the opportunity to learn how to embrace emotion, learn about my victim’s voice, appreciate how I had survived, and wonder if I could be happy and thrive? It wasn’t until well after my second marriage that I dared to know if I could find out if I could be a victor.


Fiction Gave Me My Testing Ground and Escape

The characters in Potter gave me a place to test out if I could let go of control to live again—to take risks again, and to love again. I didn’t do a formal digging into one character like you would in English class, necessarily. Still, I did dig into the feeling that the character would present to me based on the situation in the book and the circumstances of my life.

Why? Well, I don’t get into a lot of cultural things. For example, I can’t name the latest movie, famous people, music, names of rock bands, actresses or anything like that. I don’t know all the great books and stories of the world, but these characters from Potter and the feelings they gave me, helped me to be more. I would listen to a portion of the book, and then, along with writing and lots of prayers, I could find the strength to face my weaknesses and have the Lord turn them into my strengths.


Proving Love

I was stuck in a place where I thought you had to prove your worth to have love. So no matter what you do, it will never be enough. I based my worth on that. I was conditional. I was “reward” base. And inadvertently, that was how I was parenting. I tried to do everything when I needed to play and hold my kids more. But I didn’t know how to play, and I didn’t know how to let go because fear of having them taken of influenced by more abuse was the pain.


So, I had to find a connection that would allow me to revisit the abuse in a way that would not destroy me. You see, I knew I needed to work on my healing and not just survive anymore. I needed to present my children with love, and I needed to give them love, but I was broken, and I wasn’t doing it very well emotionally, but I always provided food, shelter, stable schooling, and I would try to create some fun in the margins of life.

Still, I did what I could do with what I had at the time, praying that my children would make better choices than I had and would find their worth and know that they are loved, just because they have life!

There are so many layers and complexities. But really, I want my children to know that I see them for who they are. I love them for who they are. I have time to make up for that. Can I be sad for the pain they have? Yes. Can I wish they wouldn’t make certain choices? Yes. But they need to come to their knowledge through their adventures to find the truth for themselves. They are in a coming-of-age story, and when I rely on the wisdom of the Lord with the feeling that the characters give me, I’m a much better parent.

Maybe I’m strange like that, but stories make connections for me. They are very emotional and powerful for me. They are my fondest pinpoints of light, and I have very few treasured books that help me understand life, but Potter is one of them.


Potter Part II

It’s been 5,807 days since leaving abuse, and it’s been 5,110 days since I started my healing journey. Heavenly Father knows each one of us individually. He knows how to love and heal us. He considers the tender mercies of our hearts as part of this. He knows this and sent Potter to me when I needed it. Heavenly Father shows me the stories of others through scriptures and good books, and this was how I connect to find His love.


I am listening to the books again with my younger children. I come to the books with time, wisdom, and a healed perspective. I ask my children questions about what they are feeling. It’s a different and beautiful experience.


So I will leave you where I started:


“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

“It’s our choices, Harry, far more than our abilities that show us who we really are.”

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”


“After all this time?”
“Always.”

Forever Shining,

April

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