I love reading. I love stories. I have grown up with my nose in a book. And I am the weird person who says books are some of my best friends.
But when I really think about it, it is not the books who are my friends. It is the characters.
The reason we love characters is because we see pieces of ourselves in them. Whether it is the situation they are in, their emotions, or their fears, we look at characters and see reflections of ourselves and maybe even glimpses of our souls.
Books, films, and television shows lead us on a journey of events and stories. But they also allow us to discover and understand ourselves better by seeing our lives as played out by someone else.
One of the deepest and most moving emotional connections I have ever had is with Katniss Everdeen. I have never been through something as awful as the Hunger Games or war but I have experienced a number of fairly traumatic things. The first time I read The Hunger Games, I felt like I was meeting a part of myself. Katniss’ actions and emotions and thought patterns were not just relatable. I felt like they could have come from my own mind.
This type of understanding is a beautiful combination of self-realization and philosophy. As the words dance off the page and images flash across our eyes, they spiral through the room in a magical haze carrying you into a mind and place of strange comfort in a magical or fantastical place.
You are not walking side by side with the character. You are the character and you are part of the story.
So here’s to all the characters that have made me feel like I am not alone. To Katniss for showing me I am stronger than I think I am. To Sherlock for telling me it is okay to be different. To Mulan for reminding me I can make a difference. To Bilbo and Frodo Baggins for teaching me about courage. To Samwise Gamgee for showing me the importance of friendship hand loyalty. To Hermione for telling me it is okay to be a geek and an intellectual and to stand tall and proud exactly the way I am. To River Tam for reminding me broken is not all I have to be. To Jacen Solo for showing me that good intentions and well-thought out philosophies do not always lead to the right answers. To Lucy Pevensie for reminding to dream.
And to all the characters I have yet to meet: I look forward to our shared experiences and walking through the pages and spaces of life together.