Because I spoke about my sister, Chris, in last week’s post, I wanted to run the content by her before publishing it. After concluding that part of the discussion, she mentioned that while she does not intend to publish photos of her scale, she has started speaking more directly and honestly about her weight and her goals. She agrees that it has been freeing to do so.
And then she said, “It’s a little like saying Voldemort.”
For those few of you who are not familiar with the Harry Potter stories, Voldemort is the Bad Guy. Most people in the wizarding world prefer to use euphemisms, such as “he who should not be named”, rather than say his name aloud. They fear dire consequences from the Bad Guy himself, or his cadre of Death Eaters, if they do. But Harry, and his mentor Professor Dumbledore, believe that the refusal to say Voldemort’s name simply gives him more power by adding to the fearful lustre of his reputation.
In this blog, I have used Voldemort’s name — talking about Shame, Loneliness, Denial, my upper arms: things I have talked around or kept silent about in the past. I believe there are many Voldemorts out there — things we want to say out loud, fears we want to share, but our own vulnerability stops us from doing so. I invite you to think about your own personal Voldemorts (or, as my friend Sara would say, your Lex Luthers) and to consider speaking out loud about at least one.
Do so in a manner that feels safe and supportive to you. It can be a negative experience if you share your Voldemort with either someone who will use it against you (like Dementors, these people will feed on your vulnerability) or with one who dismisses the gravity or magnitude of what you’re sharing (like Cornelius Fudge, they miss the point altogether).
Voldemort cannot love, he can only destroy. In the books, Harry Potter discovers that he is the anointed one, born to fight Voldemort. But he also learns he has a power Voldemort does not: Harry has people who love him (and whom he loves), supporting him and standing beside him. In the end, Harry and his friends defeat Voldemort’s selfishness.
By calling out my own Voldemorts, they’ve lost much of their power to control my choices. Also, I’ve found steadfast friends, loyal family, even distant strangers who have come forward to stand beside me, to help me be victorious. I wish the same for each of you.