Gryffindor v. Ravenclaw (PoA 13)

Also Known As: Bravery v. Knowledge; Red v. Blue; Lion vs. Eagle…a short chapter….. and SUDDEN Death.

Okay, ignore that last one, that’s not a thing. But before we get into anything, the most important thing is to wish 2 people (one real and one character) VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAYS! Happy birthday J.K. Rowling, the woman who made this world a little more magical and tolerant through her books. Happy Birthday Harry Potter, the boy who lived!

In this chapter you can imagine what happens… there’s a quidditch match between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor! WOOHOOO… so pretty much here’s what happens. Every one is buzzing about the match. The Gryffindors add more practice sessions to every night of the week leading to the game. Percy has made a bet with his Ravenclaw girlfriend about the match and everyone is fawning over Harry’s new broom (including Madam Hooch). We finally get our first look at Cho Chang, Ravenclaw Seeker and Harry’s future crush. The match begins, Harry is flying quickly throughout the quidditch pitch, hoping to grab the snitch and shake off Cho Chang who is following him intensely. Some dementors show up and Harry whips out his wand doing a patronus charm. Harry catches the snitch, Gryffindor wins the match. The dementors turns out to be Draco and his goons. Gryffindors celebrate in their common room, McGonagall sends them all to bed, Harry is awoken by a yelling Ron who swears he’s been attacked by Sirius, no one believes him, McGonagall returns, turns out Sirius had a list of passwords and the temporary portrait hole keeper let him in!

What I like about this chapter is the buzz around the quidditch match. Ravenclaws and Gryffindors alike are excited and nervous about the great match in front of them. Nothing else seems to matter to the students when it comes to the big match… well almost nothing. I failed to mention in the small recap that Ron is still holding onto a grudge towards Hermione. The chapter literally starts out:

It looked like the end of Ron and Hermione’s friendship. Each was so angry with the other that Harry couldn’t see how they’d ever make up.

It’s funny how we tend to get tunnel vision at times. Having anxiety that happens a lot to me. This weekend alone I had a moment of panic, a moment where I couldn’t pull my mind out of the spiraling hole it was falling down, and it was all over finding a parking spot somewhere new. Ron can’t seem to pull his mind out of anger towards Hermione over Scabbers. Wood can’t seem to pull his mind out of a fixation on winning the Quidditch cup. Ravenclaws and Gryffindors can’t think about anything other than the quidditch match ahead of them.

 

The catch is, when we fixate on something new (whether good or bad) to us we tend to forget old truths about ourselves and the world around us. Ron is stuck in his angry bubble over the loss of his pet rat. All he can see and feel is his anger towards Hermione and her cat. His brothers try to pull him out of it, reminding him of how much he complained about his rat, how Ron hated how lazy his rat was becoming. Ron agrees with his brothers, but is still upset about his rat. The only thing that somewhat pull Ron out of his angry funk is the chance to ride Harry’s new broom after Harry’s quidditch practice.

The mind is a funny thing, some of us fixate on our feelings, our comparisons to others, our judgements of others, our strengths, our weaknesses, our hurts and our hang-ups. When we do this its all we can see. We lose sight of being empathetic. We lose sight of how we relate to others. We lose balance within ourselves. We lose small pieces of ourselves to whatever feelings we are enduring in the moment. It’s not easy to pull ourselves out of that spiraling hole either.

During my first year of law school, my first year with a roommate, and my first summer internship, I’ve witnessed this happen to me and by me a lot. It’s easy to fall into the comparison spiral, especially when you enter in a new realm of life. Going into law school I felt so much less than everyone around me and I let that consume my life. I had and still have some amazing friends, but as the year went through its ups and downs, my grades came back way worse than I had thought they would and my anxiety started to take over my life, I think I broke some of those friendships.

When I started to fixate on how I wasn’t as smart as people, how I wasn’t as well-versed in the law or political news as people, how I didn’t have long-time friends and family as close as they did and how I just lacked in so many things, I started to only be able to see myself as this frail, stupid, lesser person. But that’s not who I am at all. I’ve actually done a lot in my twenties, from writing a book and starting my own not-for-profit, to running a multi-million dollar business, to volunteering at church and other non-profits, to making amazing friends and visiting amazing places. But when you are in something new, a new place, a new program, a new life, you tend to forget those truths, the truths of who you are or what you know.

So how do you remedy this? It’s not easy, oh it’s not easy at all, but you can take baby steps towards fixing the issue. I’m by no means cured but here’s a list of some things I’ve done this summer to help me be me again and get out of the spiral:

  1. Take a Step Back:  make some space between you and others, take time to think about where you are and how you are feeling.
  2. Journal: I know I push this one a lot, and I don’t do it as regularly as I would hope to do, but when I do take time to journal, doodle or simply stare at a blank page (sometimes this happens) I start to really digest my thoughts and feelings. After I get how I am feeling out on the page, I suddenly don’t feel as weighed down.
  3. Live Your Truths: Now this one is very difficult, but its worth it. You know who you are. You know what you like. Live that out. If you like tacky quirky home decor, decorate your space that way, don’t decorate the way you think a law student or lawyer should. Be You! You will not be happy if you try to be something you aren’t. You will not be happy if you try to be what you think a proper law student or lawyer should be. So don’t do that.
  4. Cut Negative Forces From Your Life: We are constantly told to be nice to your enemies all the time, to be nice to everyone because you don’t know what battle they are fighting… but you don’t deserve to be treated lesser than you are. Cut those things or people who are holding you back. Keep the people who are walking beside you or propelling you forward in your life and cut loose all the others. You’ve got to build a great support group in law school and continue to utilize the one you came to school with, those who aren’t helping you keep your sanity, you need to let them go.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

No matter how you approach it, you have to make sure your mental health stays strong through law school. There are so many tragic stories of students and practicing lawyers who pass away due to mental health related issues. The fixation spiral, the comparison game, the striving to be something you aren’t, all of it can start to weigh too heavy on you, and life Ron and Hermione, you may bring friendships or opportunities to the brink of destruction over something small, something you honestly could talk out and move past.  Law school is stressful enough without this type of destructive behavior, and it’s only made worse with it.

So go fly a broom, go find your truths, cut out some negativity and stand up for yourself. Your future self will thank you for that.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

PS I included some pictures that I think help me remember to live my truths… these are moments that I cherish and hold onto when I need a serious pick-me-up.

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