Dear , Neville
How are you? My name is Dipa and I like to talk a lot. I talk so much that after a while my jaw begins to hurt and my mouth begins to dry up like the Sahara desert, but I know that you don’t feel the same way. Even though I know I talk a lot, I understand that you didn’t have much to say in the first book. You were known as that shy kid that made his way into the most requested house at Hogwarts. We all remember the chunky little boy who couldn’t speak out and use his voice. You were scared that you would’ve been judged for the things you said and the way you spoke. Your stutter may have been unique to you but weird to others. You were judged and ridiculed for the things you said and the way you acted, but you fought until you proved everyone wrong. Neville, you may be thinking “Why is this annoying girl talking so much or I’m nothing like this girl, but you’re wrong. I felt that I shared a connection with you from the moment you began to transform from nothing to the most famous character in the Harry Potter franchise. Yes, I think your fame surpasses Voldemort, but your transformation has inspired many, even me. I know that I may not be the only one who felt this connection, you inspired many who felt the fear you did. Children like you aspire to be as confident as you. You were the Gryffindor who doubted yourself because you neither acted nor felt brave enough to fulfill the role but look at you now, one of the best Gryffindor’s out there.
Your journey from being this shy stuttering individual placed into Gryffindor, to this confident snake slaying man has given confidence to other children just like you. I remember reading about this shy nerd in the first book and thinking, “Why the hell is this guy in Gryffindor?” But over time we saw the evolution from scaredy-cat Neville to the Buff Beefcake Neville.
We judged you from day one, but we knew that there was something off about you, we knew that this character wouldn’t last like this forever, we knew that you weren’t like the other characters. Everyone underestimated you, but as you evolved, so did others. Many children around the world, specifically those who suffered from a Specific Language disorder have created this interpersonal relationship with you when making friends became difficult. Do you know the feeling of having slugs in your throat? Well think about trying to talk when slugs are coming out of your mouth, that’s basically how these children feel on a daily basis. They, just like you have a hard time speaking, many stutter and others have a hard time learning a language, but overall it affected their way of life. Because of this, most of these socially awkward children can’t experience a “normal lifestyle”; making friends, going out, and overall having fun. Having no friends is hard, many of these children can’t even make friends because they have difficulty communicating with others but themselves. It’s already hard to make friends, believe me I know and I know that a majority of the freshman class feels the same way, but trying to make friends while learning how to interact is possibly one of the hardest things you could do.
The interpersonal relationship that these children had with you helped them gain the social skills that they had lacked prior. Not only did they see how you overcame your fear of speaking, but by reading about you, they gained the ability to read. You were the exact thing that these children were missing in their life because without you and your journey, they wouldn’t have the confidence to actually go out and overcome their fears. I’d like to thank you for persevering when times were hard. If it wasn’t for you, many of these children wouldn’t have anyone to look up to. You weren’t only their friend, you were their teacher, and you were their mentor. Because of your countless mistakes and dumbfound moments, we learned to properly ride and control a broomstick but we also learned that when things get tough, our trusty friend Trevor is here for us. You introduced us to the best pet/friend out there, Trevor. I know that others may beg to differ and say that Hedwig or Crookshanks is by far better than Trevor, but your connection with this toad was a friendship like no other. Even though you didn’t have the friends you wanted, specifically human friends, this relationship you had with this little toad shaped the kind of friendship we wanted; a friendship that let one be who they truly are.
Pop-culture doesn’t really showcase people like you. They tend to hide what’s not needed and reveal what seems to be the norm. Because you don’t speak like everyone else or you don’t act like the others around you, it gives kids like you the opportunity to step out into the world and face their fears. Children with communication disorders don’t talk like everyone else, they don’t really have an easy time when it comes to going out into the world and paving their path.
The fear of making mistakes and being made fun of is what pushes their self-confidence down. These are the kids that are scared to leave the comfort of their room because they fear rejection, hate and feeling different. All their life they have felt like the outsider, someone who would never fit in with the crowd, but seeing that you paved this path for yourself shows that anything is possible. I know that I’ve always hated feeling like an outsider. I’ve always wanted to fit in and join the rest of the crowd, but how would it feel knowing that this may never happen for you?
They don’t judge you because they understand you. You are a person that can finally understand what they are going through. About 1 in 10 children are affected by a communication disorder, but finding someone that they could connect to you on the same level gives one the boost of confidence they need to go out and make some real friends. These children feel isolated from society, they think that nothing they do will get them closer to being a normal child. I know that most kids when their young have a hard time fitting in and that’s pretty normal, but when you can’t ever find a place you fit in is very hard on a child’s self-esteem. We all wished that we could have a wand like you that could cast a spell and give us friends, but even if we don’t, your presence in our life was close enough.
You, Neville Longbottom, was the friend that they always wanted. You were the role model that they needed to overcome this disorder. You, Neville, were their savior.