The Marauder’s Map (PoA 10)

There is nothing I love more than a good summer escape. A couple of summers ago I got the opportunity to escape my hometown 3 times in one summer. In June, I went to NYC for a week long vacation with my friend Kalle and her family. In July, I went to my now home, Colorado to hangout with Kalle and her sister. In August, Kalle and I drove to LA for a little Taylor Swift and Disneyland weekend.  It was one of the best summers I ever had. Full of fun, full of laughter, and full of exactly what I needed: a chance to escape.

In this chapter of HP Harry is  released from the Infirmary. He goes and talks to spin about the dementors’ effects on Harry compared to other people. Late in the chapter the holidays are approaching as well as another Hogsmeade trip. Fred and George approach harry before the students leave for Hogsmeade and give him the Marauder’s Map (a magical map of the Hogwarts castle where you can see where people are at all times). Harry uses the map to sneak into Hogsmeade from Hogwarts undetected. He meets up with Ron and Hermione. As the three head to get some butter beers at the Three Broomsticks they overhear a conversation from some Professors and the Minister of Magic. During this conversation it is revealed that Sirius Black is not only Harry’s Godfather, but also the reason his parents are dead.

What I love about this chapter is that we find need for escape shown in three ways:

  • Sirius’ escape from Azkaban: when you need to escape from something bad
  • Ron’s depiction of the Holidays as an escape: When you just need to let loose
  • Harry’s escape from Hogwarts: when you escape and face some hard truths.

As we find out later in  the book, Sirius escapes from Azkaban for good reason: it’s a bad place he doesn’t belong in. Ron asks Hermione to stop being a rule follower and let Harry have some fun for once because of the holidays. Harry sneaks out of Hogwarts to go and find his friends but then finds out that the reason Sirius is a wanted man has to deal with he deaths of his parents.

It’s interesting to see how similar yet different each of this depictions of escape are illustrated. They all come from a place of needing to get away for various reasons, but they all end in a place of sorrow or deep realization.

You don’t need a vacation, when there’s nothing to escape from- Jason Mraz

For me, anytime I feel a need to escape it also ends in a place of deep realization. That summer I went from place to place, trip to trip, I used it as a way to escape from the heat, but also to escape from my realities. Each trip helped me realize that I was unhappy in my current life. I felt unfulfilled, unwanted, betrayed, bored, sad, frustrated and above all else needing to get out of my current situations. In day to day life we don’t always have time to sit and ponder life. We don’t always have the ability to reflect on how things are going we just see a planned vacation, a map for the getaway, a chance to drink and laugh with friends as a light of hope to getting out of our misery.

Then when you finally get away you have the chance to sit and reflect. The chance to really have to face life and reality. When Harry has to sit under a table and listen to people talk about his parents being betrayed by their best friend and then murdered because of it, his seemingly innocent escape form Hogwarts to be with friends becomes a hard dose of truths he didn’t know he wanted answered. All of a sudden it all made sense to him, he realized why people told him to not go after Sirius no matter what. He realized why there was panic when Sirius showed up to Hogwarts. He realized a lot about the world around him.

Kristina Ellis-2
Looking official at my summer internship

The summer I described above gave me a much needed push to start looking for a new job, to start looking for new friends and things that made me happy. It pushed me towards law school. This summer, I haven’t gone away looking for an escape, but in escaping the throws of law school classes and being around other students constantly I have found that I might want to change my law school focuses to a different area. It’s a scary thought, but an interesting one to face. Now all I need is a weekend away to process it.So whatever it is you need an escape from this summer, do it. Go and wander. Go and get lost. Go and face some much needed truth about your life. You won’t regret it, even if its frustrating and a bit sad. Let loose, be you and find comfort in knowing that life is always changing and sometimes you just need a change of scenery to change with it.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

Grim Defeat (PoA 9)

Law school and friendships have one thing in common: an overwhelming feeling of defeat always looming with every interaction… or maybe that’s just my anxiety talking.

There is a difference between an actual defeat and a perceived defeat. A lot of the time we run into these little things we see as huge defeats. Whether its losing a friend over something silly, not getting to eat somewhere you’ve always wanted, missing out on big events in life, not doing cool things for holidays or something as simple not getting your way. These defeats are frustrating, but they are small battles lost, and usually they are lost because they are meant to be lost. Real defeats occur when there are no options left on the table, when you’ve done all you can and you are stuck with the results. Perceived defeats always have more options left on the table.

This chapter of Harry Potter, aptly titled Grim Defeat, shows a lot defeats both perceived and real. it begins the same night that the Fat Lady’s portrait has been destroyed. Everyone is sleeping in the Great Hall as the Professors check every part of the castle for Sirius Black. As classes resume that week, Professor Lupin is out ill, Snape teaching the class in his place, giving the students homework on Werewolves, a subject they have yet to cover. Quidditch takes place a few days later and during the game dementors attack as Harry goes for the Snitch. The result is Harry falling from his broom hundreds of yards above the ground. He wakes up in the infirmary only to find out that the Hufflepuffs won the match and Harry’s broom was destroyed by the Whomping Willow.

One of the best showcases of a perceived defeat in the chapter is in the description of Oliver Wood’s reaction to Gryffindor’s loss of the match. When asked where he is, Fred replies: “Still in the showers…. We think he’s trying to drown himself.” Disappointment is a real branch of defeat. It always seems to occur when you feel like you’ve been defeated. Here Wood is true disappointed over losing the match, something that happened due to circumstances out of his hands. He stands in the shower unable to see ahead, to figure out his options, to know if there is a way for the Gryffindor team to make a triumphant comeback during the season. The defeat is not concrete yet, but doused in some disappointment and heightened expectations, this perceived defeat can feel very real.

My life tends to be composed of perceived defeats.  This past week I had it in my head that I wanted to have a cool Fourth of July Adventure. I wanted the food, the fireworks, the friends, the parties, everything. At the end of the day, I had the friends, but not the other cool things that I kept seeing pop up on Instagram. It was not that huge of a deal, but in my mind I felt defeated. I felt sad, disheartened.  The thing is, I could have done some many things. There were so many options left. I could have done so many things to get out my disappointment, but instead like Oliver Wood, I stood in my sorrows and let them take over.

For me, a lot of my perceived defeats come from my need to be a people pleaser. Instead of going for the things I want, I tend to sacrifice those wants for others wants. I like to make things easier and go along with everyone else. My entire life has been built on this desire to be the person that goes with the flow. And in my mind that meant to do whatever everyone else wants to do. But it’s not healthy because it ends up in the exact same way it always does: my feeling defeated. My trip to Italy showed me that I needed to stop this behavior, and my Fourth of July sadness for like the 3rd or 4th year in a row showed me the same thing.

So here’s my advice (well my boyfriend’s advice) to myself and to everyone else… don’t get bogged down int he need to people please, don’t get bogged down in the expectations of the world, social media or the people around you. Go for what you want, realize that you are the one who controls your life and that there are no real defeats in everyday life. There are always more options… there are always more opportunities. Even when there doesn’t feel like there are, realize that things happen for a reason, you just have to find that silver lining, fixate on that and keep pushing forward. Defeat never hangs around long…

Lose a Quidditch match? Who’s to say that you’ve lost the entire championship yet?

Have your broom destroyed? Why can’t you get an even better one later?

Have a holiday that doesn’t turn out the way you hoped? Go find the fun in whatever else you wanna do!

At the end of the day, don’t fall victim to your defeats… Control those defeats!

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.    – Dumbledore

So go turn on the light.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

Flight of the Fat Lady (PoA 8)

“No man is an island”- John Donne.

At the start of this summer I went a social media detox. The reason for the detox was this constant feeling of FOMO. I would let people’s fun pictures or events or status updates ruin a day if I felt like I should have been there. My anxiety would soar when I would turn down an event but then see everyone loving it. I would let myself get bogged down in the comparison game and feel shitty because I didn’t have a summer job yet. I was starting to be a little out of control with my feelings. So, my solution? No social media for a while. At first I was going to do the whole summer, but then I realized after being in Italy for a month and then being back that I was seriously missing some of my best friends life events (since we don’t live in the same state anymore) and jumped back on, 7 weeks into summer. Getting back on social media felt strange. I wanted to see what people were up to, but i didn’t feel like I needed to check every time I had a slow moment in conversation or downtime in general. What did I learn from my detox? Sometimes Isolation can be a good thing for the soul.

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Finding the Beauty in the quiet moments– Venice 

This chapter of Harry Potter begins with just a normal school day. Professor Lupin looks a little rough in class, Oliver Wood pushes the Gryffindor Qudditch team hard in practice, and Ron fights with Hermione over her cat trying to eat his rat. The first Hogsmeade trip of the year approaches and Harry, who still doesn’t have a permission slip to go, approaches Professor McGonagall about the trip. She shuts him down, refusing to give him permission to go and send him on his way. Feeling alone as all of his friends head off to Hogsmeade Harry hangs out Professor Lupin who explains that the reason he didn’t let harry go after the Boggart in class because Lupin feared it would be Voldemort that appeared in front of the class. Ron and Hermione bring back tons of candy for Harry from their trip. After the Halloween feast, the Gryffindors head back up to their common room to find the Fat Lady’s portrait slashed and the Fat Lady missing.

f8bf735828f935ca6fb7347b7245c597038fb44f_hqOne of my favorite parts of the movie of this book is when Harry and Lupin have a conversation out on a bridge. Everyone has just left Harry behind to go to Hogsmeade and he wanders around finding Lupin.  They have a touching moment talking about Harry’s mother and father. It’s a beautiful scene in the movie. What I like the most about it though is seeing these two isolated souls existing next to each other. Lupin always seems a little off kilter, someone that people chastise and make fun of for his appearance, and Harry is constantly feeling left behind or alone.

It’s only in this moment of isolation that the two of them find a mutual understanding about life. They can relate in this moment because there is no one else around them. There is quiet. There is a moment for them to come together without the hustle of school and friends. In the movie they are alone on this bridge looking out over the Hogwarts campus. In the book they are alone in Lupin’s office.

IMG_0810When I was in Italy and on a social media break I found myself feeling a little isolated from the world at times. Everyone around me (every time we had internet) would whip their phones out and start texting, facebooking, Instagramming the day’s photos or snapchatting. There was little room for conversation in these moments, but when we didn’t have the internet (and no one really had any data) we were able to sit and connect. There’s beauty in those moments when you feel isolated from the world. When we are most isolated, cut off from out normal lives and we see other souls in the same condition, we gravitate towards them and share our isolation with them. Some of the best friendships I have ever made are with those who feel isolated on the outside of the inside social groups.

Isolation gives you room to think, to breathe, to approach life apart from the status quo. Taking a social media detox helped my brain rest and reflect on the world around me. It gave me an opportunity to talk to people i would normally not talk to and appreciate the beauty of the world around me. For Harry and Lupin, this moment of isolation brought them together and gave Lupin a chance to answer Harry’s questions.

 

So, as the summer jobs reach their peaks and summer fun takes over social media, try and find times, small moments in the day to isolate yourself and check in. How are things going? How do you feel about the world? Your job? Your friends? Your life? Are there any unanswered questions you have lingering in your mind? let your mind wander and see where it goes. You may find out things about yourself that you didn’t know.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed