We all deal with character flaws at one point in our lives or another. Comprehending them is a daunting task and overcoming them takes a life-time of humility and learning experiences.
In my near-16 years of life on this planet, I have had quite a few battles with my own character flaws. I struggle constantly with the idea that my personality in-itself is bad. Which is a lie, I know; but for some odd reason, my mind has refused to believe anything different. For me personally, pride has been a big one. It's hard to admit that I'm wrong when I truly am, and admit that I need to change my viewpoint. I could list other character flaws, but I'm not going to, because that's not what this post is about.
Before I dive into the actuality of the content of this post, we must differentiate the word flaw from the word quirk.
A flaw is something that needs fixing.
A quirk needs only to be embraced and loved as a personality trait.
As a teenager growing up in the messed up world we're in today, I've had my own war of flaw vs. quirk. Because the two are different, they should be treated as separate things entirely; but instead, they're treated with equal demeanor.
Flaws are the imperfections that are truly harmful to the character of ourselves and of others. Quirks are imperfections that benefit our personalities; and they're what make each person unique.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into this post, shall we? :)
Since age 13, the beloved Harry Potter series has been held in a position of honor upon my bookshelf. I've always loved reading, but Harry Potter has been (by far) the best series that I've ever read. I love everything about it. That's all I can say. It's truly a diamond in the rough.
Among every wonderful character that is written into the books, there's one character who has always stuck out to me as my doppleganger. Perhaps a bad comparison between myself and the character of Hermione Granger; but in full honesty, I identify with her flaws as much as I do her strengths.
I've always been an avid reader of anything that I could get my hands on. Since I could read, I've always remembered tucking away interesting facts that I come across in my reading.
Aaaaand, when I hit puberty (and let my hair grow out), it's always looked something like this:
Not that extreme all the time, of course... But styling it is near impossible and humidity wreaks all kinds of havoc on the frizzy curls. Brushing it literally makes it look like this:
Over years of reading the books and rereading the books, there are some priceless lessons that I've learned from Hermione Granger.
1. Being academically inclined isn't a bad thing. Stereotypes have ruined me, they really have. I used to think that I was weird for enjoying what I was learning. The kids around me always found something to complain about, in the spectrum of academics (whether it was the pure 'stupidity' of the idea of school or a teacher/subject that didn't agree with them), so why wasn't I complaining too?
Hermione taught me that knowledge is the most powerful weapon that you can bear... And since then, I've embraced my love of learning.
2. Having curly hair is a pain for everyone else too. Seriously, I can't do anything to my hair. Messy buns, frizzy pony-tails, gross long haired days, and dutch braids are about all I can do.
3. Reading is the most beneficial form of learning. This goes back to number 1. All the kids my age were complaining about reading, so that made me weird for loving it. But I'm completely serious... If you can teach yourself something, you can teach yourself anything. Once you become a good reader, the entire world opens up to you.. What's to say you can't study psychology, just because your school doesn't offer it? Latin may not count as a foreign language in your state schools *seethes*, but you can still study it for the love of learning. Reading is the best skill you can ever have. Trust me on that.
4. Being a girl doesn't automatically make you a ditz. I've grown up with another stereotype in my head of what a teenage girl is supposed to be. From her behavior, to the way she looks... It's so specific, it scares me to think about myself at that young age and observing the local teens in my area. Needless to say, we did not have good neighbors. The idea of boys and makeup and a general dumbness made me think (again) that I was the odd one out.
Hermione taught me otherwise. She taught me that girls can actually have mad skills in the area of observation and reflexes, rather than makeup and flirting. (Which is good, because I don't enjoy either.)
5. Appearances aren't the most important pieces of a person. If I want to look better than presentable, I have to spend a lot of time on it... I'm not bashing myself (though I don't exactly appreciate my appearance), it just does... My face is one that takes a long time to make makeup look good on. My hair is near impossible, unless you have an hour to kill with a curling iron. Hermione taught me that it's okay not to give all the effort. There are a million other things that I'd rather be doing than spending more than an hour on my face and hair. My nails are usually bitten off and my hair is generally in a messy bun. Makeup is reserved for Sundays, and even then it's minimal. And that's perfectly okay. Taking extra long on that journal entry will serve me far better in the end... An hour of makeup that I'm going to wipe off at the end of the day? Like I said, I'm going to wipe it off at the end of the day.
6. It's OK to raise your hand. In 7th grade Sunday School I was terrified to raise my hand. The class was full of people who didn't raise their hands, so why should I? I knew the answers, but I never said them out-loud.
Hermione taught me that it's okay to raise your hand. Heck, who cares if nobody else is raising their hands? If you know the answers, then you answer the questions. Besides, it'll make your teacher happy... At least somebody is paying attention ;)
7. Attention to detail isn't stupid - it's important. I'm an observant person who thinks deeply about everything. Not everyone lets on like that though, which (AGAIN) made me think that there was something wrong with me (stupid societal norms).
Hermione taught me that attention to detail can prove vital in life-altering situations. It's a huge part of developing your mind and it's not something that can be formed naturally over night. Recently I've been learning how to drive, and I think that my natural observations have saved quite a bit of stress on my part and on the part of my parents.
8. Being well-read and informed doesn't make you a know-it-all. Again, being well-read isn't a normal thing in our society (though it should be).
Hermione taught me the importance of being well-read and well-informed. Life is quite a bit sweeter when you know what's going on around you.
9. Equal value does matter. Yes, I am a feminist. But, no, feminism isn't what I'm referring to. Hermione sees the value of all life. To her, everyone is precious. When she begins her fight for the good of the house-elves, she is bitterly made fun of. The house-elves didn't see their rank as abusive, because that was all that they were used to. I'm not saying that they would be better off free, because I honestly don't know the life story of every elf. The actual cause doesn't matter in my mind... It's the face behind the cause. Hermione saw a problem and she wanted to fix it, despite everyone's opinion of her. She saw an injustice and she was not okay to sit by and watch it happen silently.
For me, this was a vital lesson to learn. I'm an extreme pro-life advocate. Abortion is the murder of a human life, and it's definitely not okay in any situation. The world just wants to stand by silently as this horrendous reality happens. I do not want to stand by silently. I've been involved in things such as petitions and protests, as well as being outspoken in the platforms I'm given.
Hermione helped me to see the importance of voicing the things you stand for, because not a lot of other people will. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, and people shan't hear any different from my mouth.
10. It's okay to show some emotion. Seriously. It may sound cheesy, but it's the farthest thing from it. In this world, we as girls and women are taught that emotion is bad (again, because of stereotypes). In most fictional feminine characters, the dominant traits we see are independence and control of self. Which isn't bad. But when I look at Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, I don't see true girls. I see steel cages. They don't show emotion. We are given emotion by our Creator as a gift. It should be used to express ourselves in our victories as well as in our failures. We're to be joyful together and to grieve together. It's what makes us human.
Hermione taught me that emotion is a wonderful gift, to be used often and expressed appropriately. Because in the fictional world, Hermione is the only character who has strengths beyond those of her superiors and still shows emotion enough to be human.
What a gift Hermione has been to me in that line of thought.
Well. That was a strangely empowering post... #feministandproud
But seriously, Hermione has taught me things that I was unable to learn otherwise.
Thank you, Ms. Rowling, for Hermione; because in the world in which we live in, I needed her to get past my flaws and view them as quirks.
I hope you enjoyed this post!
What has been your favorite lesson learned through a fictional character? Let me know in the comments!