Harry Potter is completing his first detention with Professor Umbridge. She touches his hand and pain surges through his scar.
When he next talks to his godfather, Sirius Black, Harry tells him about the episode. Harry thinks Umbridge has something to do with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Sirius tells him not to worry. He tells Harry that the world is not divided into good people and Death Eaters.
Last night, I was taking notes from The Game Changer: A Memoir of Disruptive Love. It’s a book about polyamory, having intimate relationships with multiple people. But more importantly, it’s about making relationships work. I came across this line:
““Your life either sheds light or casts a shadow.” It’s not that simple. All of us are a mix of light and shadow, good and bad.”
It’s easy to fall into the trap that Harry fell into. To get sucked in by the false dichotomy. It’s harder to recognise that all of us, at different times, play multiple roles. That the world isn’t black and white, but many shades of grey.
If you look back at your own life, it feels like you’re the star. The lead role in your own movie. And you are in a way. But at the same time, you’re a co-star in someone else’s. You play supporting roles in twenty other movies. You’re an extra, a nameless face and presence in thousands of others.
Today you’re the hero, tomorrow you’re a villain. The day after that, you’re a replaceable piece in someone else’s motion picture. Keep that in mind as you narrate the story of your life to yourself and to others.