Owl Post Again (PoA 21)

Well here it is… the final post of this book. It’s amazing to think that around this time a year ago I started both law school and re-reading the HP series, and now I’ve finished the first three books. As we head into book four and my 2L year of law school I think it’s appropriate to take a moment to reflect on all the good things from this past year and my hopes for this upcoming year. This sort of follows how the book ends too: everyone looks forward to the next year coming as this one once again ends.

SO let’s start…

This past year:

  1. Made it through orientation
  2. Made new friends!
  3. Became an Ambassador.
  4. Found a the Student Organization (DUFLS) that fit my reasons for going to Law School
  5. Mentored by some amazing people
  6. Made it through finals (both semesters)
  7. Went to NYC for christmas
  8. Spent a month in Italy for school
  9. Made it on the Water Law Review
  10. Made it onto the National Executive Board for the Food Law Student Network
  11. Became President of DU’s Food Law Society
  12. Brought my GPA up
  13. Accepted into CED clinic

 

It was quite the year, and looking back on it there were a lot of times I didn’t think I would make it, but here we are and damn we accomplished a lot!

And here’s what I hope to do this next year:

  1. Raise more awareness around food deserts and food insecurities
  2. Finish HP 4
  3. Make an impact in the Community Economic Development Clinic
  4. Make more connections in the legal field
  5. Work on following my passions in empowering people to make a difference in their communities
  6. Get published
  7. Have fun and spend less time doubting myself
  8. Face some more fears
  9. Build a snowman
  10. Find a kickass summer job
  11. Visit friends in Reno and Las Vegas/ Visit family (anywhere)
  12. Get more plants
  13. Find somewhere to volunteer

They don’t seem like much, but I think they are fantastic small goals that are easily accomplished! For those of you who don’t know, this next school year I will be working as a student lawyer in our school’s legal Community Economic Development Clinic. This work helps small businesses and entrepreneurs set up their businesses and empowers them to work in their communities and make the impacts they want to see. I’m truly honored to have been accepted into this clinic and cannot wait to work alongside my peers with the clients we will receive. It is going to be an amazing year!

They say 2L year is the year they work you to death which can see daunting, but I know its going to be the best year yet and I cannot wait to see what’s in store… plus it’s one more year down which means one more year closer to getting out of the law school bubble and into the real world where stuff really matters.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

 

Advertisements

The Dementor’s Kiss and Hermione’s Secret (PoA 20 & 21)

On a different note from my last post, as I finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the same time summer comes to an end I want to take these last 3 chapters (2 blog posts) to sort of reflect on my summer. Now I had a pretty epic summer. I went to Italy, I earned 10 credits, I started to pull my GPA out of the hole I put it in first semester, I made some new friends and may have lost some old ones, but most importantly of all I found this incredible strength to keep moving forward and found that second chances are abundant.

14064126_10208785150163795_5521604082959474730_n
The tribe that started it…

I went into this summer a little stressed. Last fall when finals came around the stress monster started to take over. The result was a poor grade in a class I thought would be my highest grade and a truly low GPA. It’s hard to keep your head up when you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are truly brilliant and don’t seem to be struggling at all. So everything was now riding on the spring semester. During this time stress was constantly running high. I went to class and stress levels would skyrocket. I would go home to study and be stressed. Every choice, every decision, every interaction was nothing but stressful. So as finals wrapped up and I packed my stuff up to head out to Italy, I couldn’t shake the stress.

Now I enjoyed Italy, it was a great experience, full of life and laughter and plenty of pasta. Yet, I was stressed the entire time. Between my own anxiety and dealing with other people’s anxiety over grades, being in a foreign country, reading assignments, law review write-ons and more I couldn’t help but feel anxious every day. I wanted to be chill. I wanted to just lay on the beach every day without a care in the world, but I couldn’t.

When I got back from Italy, the stress of finals, an externship, a part-time job and dealing with friend issues all got to be too much. I felt like I was on the brink of losing it. I wanted to cry everyday. Things that were perfectly fine to be upset about on a micro level, exploded all over the place. Hiking mountains resulted in tears, dealing with an actual crisis resulted in bigger problems to deal with later. Everything felt like it was spiraling. Nothing felt safe. Nothing felt okay. Everything felt like another boulder being added to my bag to carry. IMG_1575

And then something changed.

IN these two chapters the gang heads back towards the castle with Peter in tow. But as the night unfolds, Lupin turns into a werewolf, Peter gets away, Sirius is injured and almost has his soul sucked out by dementors (alongside Harry), Sirius is taken into captivity again, Hermione and Dumbledore let harry in on a secret, Hermione and Harry go back in time to save Buckbeak and Sirius and rush back so no one knows they have messed with the way things unfold.

One of the key moments in this chapter, something that gives Harry strength is when Sirius asks Harry to live with him instead of the Durselys. Of course all hope of this is lost when Peter gets away, but in the moment, when Harry needs to save himself, Hermione and Sirius from the Dementor’s Kiss, that moment gives him the power to conjure one of the strongest Patronus charms anyone has ever seen out of Harry’s age group.

For me, this summer that strength has come in a few spread out moments. One of them was when I decided to take back my life from my anxiety, to become independent again and head back to living on my own. Another moment came from raising my GPA back up to a 3.0. Another moment was getting word that I wouldn’t be losing my scholarship and last but not least it has been in getting grades back form my summer classes. At the end of the day I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.

mary-grandpre-rescue-of-sirusWhen you have a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, it threatens to constantly consume your entire life. People define you by it, they tell you things like “oh, it’s just your anxiety”, “Oh you must be on the track towards a depressed state.” And you do it towards yourself. You start to make excuses for the way you act when you are actually upset about how you’ve been treated or the circumstances at hand. You start to apologize for ever getting upset about something that you should actually be upset about. You change the way you act, you change the way you speak, you change so much about yourself to fit into this anxious role you now only see yourself starring in.

Choosing to no longer live this way: the best damn decision one can make. It’s a second chance, a way to change your own life. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing this second year of law school. Don’t get me wrong, law school is a great place for people, it’s just not my actual favorite place. It’s competitive, it’s a horse and pony show for those who need ego boosts, it’s unforgiving at times, it’s difficult to navigate. But in the end it’s rewarding in reflecting to you who you are and then showing you who you truly want to be.

Sirius Black was made out to be a murderer, then actually almost became one, then almost died and then was brought back into custody to be killed and then was given a second chance at life with Hermione and Harry’s rescue. Sure, he now goes on the run, but he’s been given a chance to no longer live int he role of a murderer seeking revenge. Getting to start a new school year feels similar. We are no longer stuck in the sections we were assigned, we get a chance to pick our classes, meet new people and step out of our comfort zones. We get the chance to start anew, to start fresh, to explore more of who we are as compared to who we thought we were. IMG_1101

Looking back on this summer I was able to truly connect with a side of me I no longer really knew. I was able to step back and see what I wanted, explore who I wanted to be and appreciate who I already am. And we will now wait and see who I become this next year, this fresh start of a school year… the 2L year.

We’ve got one more post to wrap this book today… so stay tuned.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs/ The Servant of Lord Voldemort (PoA 18/ 19)

I waited to write this blog because so much in my life had taken over in getting ready to move and getting ready for school to start. I’m happy I did too. The themes I pulled out of these two chapters include Patience and Understanding, and Forgiveness v. Revenge. Looking at the state of the world today, with the whole Charlottesville hate march this weekend its hard to have any feelings except either anger or despair. For me, I just don’t understand how there can be people who truly believe that the white race is and should be the only ones to hold power.  What kind of world do we live in that people still actually believe one race, one type of people is better than a diverse mixture of backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. I truly wanted to believe that our world was different, or at least our country was different, but this past year, this past year has shown us, we haven’t come as far aw we hoped.

These two chapters of Harry Potter have a lot of dialogue. We and out Lupin, Sirius, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter were the creators of the Marauders Map and best friends at Hogwarts. We find out Peter is indeed alive and has been Ron’s rat this whole time. We find out that Sirius wasn’t the exact reason for Lily and James’ death, but that it was Peter. We see Snape’s grudge fully turn into a desire for revenge and we see everyone arguing over the events of the past 11-12 years. There is fighting, there is reconciliation and forgiveness, there is trust and hope, there is  tinge of justice and understanding.20729753_1634243996588873_1585066995659752833_n

They say there are always two sides to a story. Sometimes either side of the story is the actual truth to the person telling it. Whether it’s exactly what happened doesn’t always matter because to that person it’s the internalized truth of them, it’s their story. Sometimes either side of the story is a complete fabrication, a lie to make the person look or seem better than they are. It’s a story that distorts the truth to change the perception of those listening.

Peter Pettigrew, his friends most dire secret keeper, wanted power, craved attention and gave away his friends hiding spot resulting in their murder and the orphaning of Harry Potter. It also took all of his master’s power away and in turn made him the enemy of many Voldemort followers. Instead of meeting the wrath of Sirius Black who wanted revenge for his friends’ deaths, Peter took the lives of innocent muggles and framed Sirius to be the culprit. Peter faked his death and went into hiding to cover his tracks only to be found many years later by the man he framed.

Revenge consumed Sirius Black in Azkaban. The thought of finding Pettigrew, of actually killing him this time took over Sirius Black’s mind. Sirius didn’t care about justice, about taking back his freedom for a death he was wrongfully accused of, he on;y cared about actually killing Peter this time. His narrative would always be controlled by the desire to avenge the death of his friends no matter the consequences.

For both of these characters saving their own skin, having some sort of power, doing what they thought was right, ending the story the way they saw fit, those were the only things that mattered. Then steps in Harry, the boy who lived to never know his actual parents, the people betrayed, the people to be avenged. Harry steps in and reasons with the two sides. He doesn’t care for Peter, but he also doesn’t want Peter dead, he thinks Peter should have to face the consequences of his actions and deal with the Wizarding Justice system. Harry also doesn’t want Sirius to become a murderer, he wants Sirius to be free like Sirius deserves. Harry wants to right wrongs, he sees that violence, murder and revenge don’t add up to a happy ending for all, but just keeps the cycle going. Harry wants to change the narrative, he wants the story to no longer be a dark one, but one with a light at the end of it.

Our world is a dark one, or at least it seems to be heading back towards being that way and has been for the last year. Our country has always had a racial issue, it’s always been an underlying issue that no one wants to deal with or discuss, but nows the time to talk about it. Now is the time to try and change it, to work on making it a different ending. We don’t need more hate thrown on the fire, we need justice, we need to hear the stories of both sides and work, truly work together to bring both stories together and make them better. But we can’t do that with revenge, with power struggles, with anger and hate. We can only do that with patience. We can only do it with understanding, forgiveness and a desire to move forward together. We’ve got to stop the violence against each other. Plowing people down on the streets is not okay, it is not what we are about.

10628354_10212420784173566_4979643868370710538_nMy fear is this won’t happen. Things will only continue to get worse. Trump will only continue to be silent and not condemn either side. A leader who does nothing only stirs the pot and allows violent, hate-filled acts to continue.

WE need to stand together. We need to stop pointing fingers and seeking revenge. We need to stop looking at the color of our skin as a way to power. We need to move towards justice for all… not power for few.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

Cat, Rat, and Dog (PoA 17)

Law school, being in a new place and being somewhat alone out here has made me really dig deep and learn about myself. At the beginning of the first semester I was working super hard to make friends and to keep up with people who seemed to have it all together, to be super outgoing, and 100% friendly all the time. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, you need to step up your game to survive here. These people are brilliant, friendly, put together and don’t seem to have anything they are struggling with in their lives.” And so I set off to purchase things that looked like people from Colorado’s wardrobe and I started trying to do outdoorsy things on the weekends and farmers’ markets here and there. I worked so hard to keep up with a new lifestyle, a new me, a new school regiment, a new routine, and my old life… until one day, I realized something: things are rarely what they seem.

In this chapter Ron is attacked and dragged under the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack by the Grim dog that Harry keeps seeing everywhere throughout this book. Hermione and Harry follow Crookshanks (Hermione’s Cat) to Ron and come face to face, not with a dog, but with Sirius Black. Harry and Black yell and argue and steal wands and threaten to kill one another. Harry goes to kill Black and Crookshanks steps in. Lupin arrives, says he hasn’t been helping Black but is happy to see him. Black and Lupin ask for Ron’s rat and tell him it’s not an actual rat, but Peter Pettigrew. Turns out Pettigrew’s not dead after all, Lupin saw him on the marauder’s map… how does he know the map isn’t lying? He made it! or at least he helped since he’s Mooney! Ahhh so good.

The Cat: Friend of the Dog

The Rat: Peter Pettigrew

The Dog: Sirius Black

Professor Lupin: Werewolf and Sirius Black friend

Me: “The heck?”

source

How in world did all this happen?  I mean I’ve rad these books a million times and seen the movies, so this go around I knew what was going to happen, but I imagine this being my reaction the first time I read this book. However, no matter how many times I read this scene it always brings to mind that we cannot ever really know the whole truth about someone or something, but if we trust our instincts we can know more than we think.

Hermione plays this out beautifully. She really believes that Lupin is there to help them and then realizes Lupin knows Sirius. She yells out to him a series of “how dare you, I trusted you” statements and reveals Lupin’s werewolf secret. Lupin replies that Hermione is off her game, that the only thing true about what she is saying is the werewolf part. Lupin didn’t help Sirius into the castle or wants Harry dead, he’s seeing Sirius for the first time in a very long time. Things aren’t as they seem to Hermione at first glance, what she knows in her heart to be true, what she trusts in her gut, those are the true things about Lupin.

IMG_9465Walking into law school, beginning something so new is intimidating. People talk HUGE game coming into this world because they want to be seen as people who have their lives put together and are super smart. Law school orientation and the first semester up until finals feels like a first date with your peers. You try to make everything rosy and cheery ALL THE TIME. You go to their every friday, you hangout on the weekends, you host dinners and work hard to make friends… but then, something changes. The dogs turn into people, the rats turn into people, and the cats befriend dogs.

People start to become human again. We stop seeing everyone as these cheery, well-manicured, overly intelligent, out-of-reach aspirations and start seeing their messy sides. We start seeing how people react under stress and how they deal with uncertainty. We start seeing people have breakdowns. We stop seeing the always in a blazer looking nice individuals and start seeing them all in sweat pants and messy buns. We start to feel like people have lied to us, have betrayed our trust by not being genuine or authentic with us, but who is it that really betrayed us?

The answer is ourselves. Everyone around us in law school is having the same thoughts: Will people like me? Will people think I’m smart? Will I be able to keep up? Should I even be here? Am I going to get kicked out? … The list goes on and on. Some people are really good at hiding it, but everyone has a tell. Everyone has a small tear in their facade. We can either choose to ignore it and pretend we never saw it placing everyone up higher on a pedestal than we place ourselves, OR we can choose to see it, not say anything but realize that we are all in this together and know that we are not alone.

IMG_0204Each and every day, no matter where you are, you get to make this decision. Even just scrolling through social media, you get to make the decision to either believe this person’s life is just as perfect as these snapshots lay them out to be, or you can choose to appreciate the moment they shared with the world, knowing that it is only that: a moment in what is probably a very crazy life full of bright and dark moments. Trust yourself on this one. Make sure you are being self-aware and really taking time to judge where you are, what you are doing and how that aligns with what you want out of life and not what others appear to have in their lives. You won’t be sorry you did this. Make it a habit. Make it part of your everyday.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

PS. This is also a great reason to do a social media detox. I plan on doing one this October for two weeks…more to come on this topic, but start thinking about joining me, I promise it’s a great way to get your mind offline and back into real life.

The Qudditch Final and Prof. Trelawney’s Prediction (PoA 15 & 16)

This Morning:

5:20AM- Wake up and notice the laptop that was on my bed is MISSING! Peer over edge expecting to see it has fallen, but alas just the power cord was down there. Looks under bed… no laptop there. Feels under pillow it was next to when going to sleep… no laptop there. Panic sets in.

5:25AM- “Did someone break into my room while I was sleeping and steal my laptop?”, “Did my roommate think my netflix was too loud and take my computer to the living room so she could sleep?”, “Did her parents do it?”, “Why would someone take my laptop? I need it for my life to function.”

5:27AM- Quietly sneak into living room where roomie is sleeping to test out theory. No luck. “Why would I even think this? She’d never actually take it. BUT THEN WHO STOLE MY LAPTOP?!”

5:29AM- PANIC… toss covers back, move pillows… “HOW THE HECK DID IT GET UNDER THE PILLOW I’VE BEEN SLEEPING ON?!?”

5:30AM- plugs computer back in and goes back to sleep.

7:00AM- snoozes alarm

7:10AM- gets up, uses phone, texting boyfriend, sets phone down to make breakfast and pack lunch.

7:38AM- Replies to a text, leaves phone to go eat

7:43AM- Returns to phone to find it won’t turn on! “UGH, WHY IS TECHNOLOGY HATING ON ME SO BAD TODAY”

7:46AM- gives up on trying to revive phone, leaves house, gets gas… yells at every slow driver on the road to work.

8:18AM- sits down at desk, Google phone issue, gets phone to turn back on.

What a morning. The reason I tell this story is not only because I find this morning to have been ridiculous and a bit unnecessary, but also because I think it illustrates an important lesson in dealing with peaks and valleys. I went to bed pretty excited about getting my hair done later today and only having a few more days of work this week. I woke up to a series of events that would cause me to panic and feel super anxious, and then yell at other innocent drivers on the road. My anxiety wasn’t helped by having dreams of being left behind at the airport and almost missing my flights to Europe with friends from my Italy trip. IMG_1717

So to be in line with the theme I’ve discovered in reading these to chapters I created a sub-title to this post: “How to Deal with Peaks and Valleys without Losing Your Sanity and Alienating Your Friends.

We see a lot happen in these two chapters. In “The Quidditch Final” Hermione and Ron reconcile their differences over helping Hagrid who must now appeal the decision to execute Buckbeak. Draco taunts Hermione to the point were she slaps him across the face. The three prepare to take finals, help Hagrid, and either play in or attend the final match between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Match day comes and the Slytherins play dirty, ultimately though Gryffindor claims victory, winning the Quidditch Cup for the first time in 8 years! Everyone is flying high with happiness in the Gryffindor House.

In “Professor Trelawney’s Prediction,” final exams have taken over the school and everyone is grumpy, tired and overworked, especially Hermione who walks out of Divination after being told she wasn’t any good at the subject by the professor. Hermione also misses Charms class, sleeping through it while doing homework for other classes. Exams come and go one by one. During his last exam Harry is stopped by Professor Trelawney who is in a trance, predicting the master and servant will be reunited that night. Freaked out, Harry goes to tell Hermione and Ron, but before he can they present Harry with the news that Hagrid has lost the appeal and Buckbeak will be executed that night. The three sneak down to Hagrid’s hut (Hermione’s idea, as she went and retrieved the Invisibility Cloak Harry left in a secret passage way), find Scabbers there and try to convince Hagrid to let them reason with the execution team. When Hagrid tells them to go, they sneak out the back and attempt to get back to the school before Buckbeak is executed, only they don’t make it in time and hear the axe swish through the air before crashing down with a thud. giphy

There are so many moments throughout these two chapters where we see people riding on highs (peaks) and people settling into lows (valleys). Going through finals of course will do that to you at Hogwarts or in Law School. Life is full of these ups and downs, this constant change in circumstance and the constant mishaps that seem to threaten to derail every good thing around you. For me, the hardest part is not being at the top or being at the bottom, it’s the climb up or down the mountain that’s the hardest. I can easily settle into a valley and wait out the storm or stand on top of the mountain and let the wind consume me. But the having to go up and the coming down part are the parts where I complain, get mad and lash out the most.

IMG_1180In Italy there was a moment where I just could not deal with the issues anymore. Like Hermione slapping Draco or storming out of a class, I also felt the need to lash out at people when I felt overwhelmed by what I perceived to be the pinnacle moment of a whole bunch of selfish moments. The next day, after I lashed out and then didn’t apologize, I sat down with two friends who gave some pretty great advice, and it seems this advice somewhat matches up with things I pulled out of these two chapters. So here it is, the true ways of dealing with peaks and valleys without losing your sanity and alienating your friends:

  1. Ask for Help, but Don’t Overestimate the Help You Will Get- This one is extremely hard to do. First you have to be able to calmly and concisely explain what help you need. In crisis moments we tend to not be able to fully think about what we need and how to explain it. At least for me, I tend to get overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment and lose my ability to even process what is happening. But we have to find a way to ask for help in these moments, and once you’ve asked for help you have to be okay with not getting exactly what you need since everyone else is just as human as you. Not everyone can stand by you and be your sounding board, your therapist, your foot doctor (like when you shred the bottom of your toe on some rocks), your best friend, your shoulder to cry on. Most times people can be a few of these things, none of these things, or only one of these things for you. So find that sweet spot of knowing who to go for what things and what you can realistically expect from those you ask for help. You’d be surprised, you may find that someone can’t help you make a huge life decision, but they are there to pick you up in a moment of car troubles. Everyone wants to help, but they can only help as far as their abilities will allow.
  2. Know Your Limits (Know when Enough is Enough) It’s funny that Hermione hits Draco or storms out of class after pretty much being told she sucks at something (which we see with her boggart part of the Defense Against the Dark Arts exam is a huge fear for her). It’s funny because it’s a bit out of character for Hermione. Ron making stuff up for his Divination exam is normal, very in character for him. Contrast that with Hermione and we find her out of character experiences to be comic relief. But when you start to peel back the layers and look at what Hermione is going through it becomes less funny and a bit more troublesome. Hermione has bit off far more than she can chew, taking on extra classes this year at school. She’s overwhelmed herself, classic conundrum of what I like to call the “Overachiever Syndrome.” I’ve had this syndrome, and well actually, I still have this syndrome (just take a peek at my resume and you may agree). But instead of Hermione taking a step back and calming herself down, she allows things to boil over into these out of touch moments for her. She lets the world push her far out of her limits and refuses to set boundaries. Then she goes off and hits another student, lashes out at a teacher, misses a class due to exhaustion and starts to be less risk-averse in her decisions. My friends on the couch that night in Italy pointed out that at times this is the type of behavior I follow. I let things push me far past my limits and then instead of taking a step back I go in guns blazing and start taking verbal shots at people. And I know it’s 100% true, I’ve done it time and time again. So in order to not lose friends over these moments, you have to set boundaries, you have to learn when to walk away, reconfigure your plans, get back within a safe zone of your limits and take a breather. If not, you’ll end up hurting people who matter to you and ultimately alienating yourself from tons of people.
  3. Try Reconcile with Those You’ve Hurt, Even if They won’t Accept your apology I. HATE. APOLOGIZING. There I said it. If there is one things I dislike having to do more than anything else in this world it’s apologize to someone, especially when that person is equally to blame for what has happened. Apologizing, trying to reconcile your differences, is a balance of admitting you were wrong, humbling yourself enough to tell the other person you wish things would have been different, and not expecting an apology in return for their actions. There was a situation this summer where I had to apologize to someone for an argument that we both took part in. I let it stew for a day or so after the argument after being told if I didn’t apologize this person would continue to have a problem with me and I would have to endure being treated like crap by them. I then went to them like a dog approaching its owner with its tail between their legs and apologized, only to receive a ‘Thank You’ afterwards. Who says Thank You for your apology without following it up with another “I’m sorry for the way I acted too”?! But that’s the thing, you have to go into these moments not expecting an apology in return. Ron never actually apologizes to Hermione for the way he’s been treating her, he simply accepts her apology about Scabbers and says he will help her find a way to win Hagrid’s appeal. For me, I didn’t receive an apology from the person I had argued with, but they did stop treating me as badly as they were before I apologized. For Hermione, she didn’t receive an apology, but got help that she wasn’t getting before. Sometimes we just have to let our egos go and take what we can get, because at the end of the day an apology isn’t about what we can get from the other person, it’s about reconciling our own thoughts and feelings towards that person. IMG_0561
  4. Don’t Fear change “Hermione, I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately!” said Ron, astounded…. Hermione looked rather flattered. What I love about these two sentences is that even though Hermione’s out of character behavior is coming from what seems to be a very sad and unhealthy place, she really isn’t afraid for herself. She doesn’t see this behavior as a total problem. When she misses Charms Class she does go and apologize to Professor Flitwick and is really distraught over it, but she doesn’t dwell on the other changes in her behavior, which tells me she isn’t afraid of growing a bit. I think as the books go on she’s someone we see really change and grow as a character and part of that seems to start here in this book. Personally, I’ve always hated change. Growing up change was a regular thing, you never knew what was going to happen next, there were not a lot of stable moments, so i grew to need stability, a constant in my life. But life isn’t like that. Change is around us all the time. Our relationships change, our circumstances change, one minute your phone isn’t working and then 30 minutes later is magically turns back on. Change is a constant, it is a stable factor in our lives. It makes us who we are. Not fearing change means you won’t hold on too tightly to meaningless things and you won’t suffocate those around you. Being able to note that change is good allows you to really just see as much of the world as you can.
  5. Celebrate Victories Together, but Don’t Let Them Consume you Lastly, and this is a big one, one to truly follow… share the good times, but realize that in no time you could easily be headed back down the mountain and straight into a valley. I don’t know about everyone else, but when things are good I let that be the benchmark for everything else in my life for a long period of time. So that means when things start to go down hill I spin out of control into a panicked mess because I want to stay on the top of the peak for as long as possible. It would be easy for Harry and the Gryffindors to sit atop their monumental win and refuse to slip back into the depths of final exams. Walking around dressed in the ego of being champions could give them a false sense of self when it comes to taking exams and very much could lead them to failing each one of those exams. Balance is key though. Instead of flying high on their championship, they celebrate for a bit and then hit the books hard.  Celebrate those big wins, but also, realize that a valley could be right around the corner, so have realistic expectations about life. Never take a win for granted, losing sight of the big picture of peaks and valleys. Because when the valleys hit after those giant peaks and everyone starts to struggle and complain its easy to leave people behind in search of riding that high again. Don’t let yourself become alienated because you come addicted to the top of the mountain, realize there’s a bigger journey out there and it’s made easier when traveling with friends. IMG_1722

At the end of the day, these things are easier said or written about than done. Yet, they are good reminders that peaks and valleys happen all the time and we have to learn to deal with them in healthy ways. Me yelling at bad drivers on the roads this morning was a result of a small set of hills and valleys, of panics and excitements, of worries and happy plans. While I’m not proud of being a jerk driver (even though no one could hear me, I didn’t flip anyone off or speed up next to them with erratic behavior), it’s better than actually losing friends or my own sanity.

Sorry this is such a long post, I just really enjoyed these two chapters and wanted to share more of my summer and those thoughts with each of you!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Snape’s Grudge (PoA 14)

Sometimes I think this blog should really be called The Wizarding World of Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder and Preaching Mental Health in Law School.

tumblr_static_6jad1rleycws0sgckck88808w_640_v2.gifSnape’s grudge is one that will truly unfold itself as the series progresses, but in this chapter we see it really start to be revealed to readers. The chapter begins with Harry and Ron visiting Hagrid. Hagrid tells them they should be nicer to Hermione and talks about his upcoming trial with the hippogriff Buckbeak. The next day is a trip to Hogsmeade, Harry sneaks out after almost being caught by Professor Snape, slips up and has Malfoy see him out from under Harry’s invisibility cloak. Harry rushes back but is caught by Professor Snape and questioned. Snape reveals his hatred for Harry’s father from back in school and Harry yells at Snape to shut up and that James Potter was a hero not a bully.  Snape has Harry empty his pockets and Snape confiscates the Marauder’s Map, calling Lupin in to take a look at it. Lupin takes the map, warning Harry of its dangers and Harry goes on his way back to the dormitory, where Harry and Ron find out that Hagrid has lost his case and Buckbeak will be executed.

IMG_0185
Being present allows you to build friendships that will last. 

One of the worst things I tend to do is not be in the present moment. My friend Lyn used to have this saying at all social gatherings (dinners, parties, wine nights, etc.): “Be Present.” This was a social cue that we or at least one of us was on our phone, not paying attention to the group. It makes you think though: how many times am I not being present, not paying attention to what is happening in the moment but instead living in the future or the past.

Hagrid tells Harry and Ron that they need to care for Hermione a little more. Both of them have been living in the past a bit hurt from either Harry’s broom being confiscated for anti-jinx spells (and then returned) because of Hermione or Ron’s rat disappearing which is blamed on Hermione’s cat. By living in these hang-ups they fail to see that Hermione is overwhelmed with school work and could use a friend right about now. Also in the fury of all of this and quidditch, both Harry and Ron have forgotten about promises they made to Hagrid to help him prepare for his upcoming trial. And then you have Snape who instead of playing the role of a teacher who should be caring for his students and lecturing them on how they shouldn’t be trying to leave the castle, he personally attacks Harry based on a grudge against Harry’s father from Snape’s childhood.

Living in the past or living in a fantasy future tends to make us unaware of our surroundings and the people around us.  Just this weekend my boyfriend and I were walking around the Garden of the Gods and I started talking about plans for the next weekend instead of taking in the beautiful rock formations and landscape around us. When we talked about it later, he said he wasn’t trying to be disinterested in what I was saying, but instead present in the moment.

IMG_1843
Being present helps you see the beauty in front of you 

It’s hard to always be present in the moment, to cast aside any past feelings, hang-ups or hurts or to cast aside any anxious planning and fantasies for the future. To be present means to actually have to mindfully stay engaged with where you are at all times. (Now don’t get me wrong, planning ahead and daydreaming are useful, and should happen whenever you truly need it to happen.) When we aren’t mindful of our surroundings, of the present moment, we mistake people’s actions, we miss out on beautiful moments, we don’t get a chance to see the world as it is.

 

In our spring semester I had a friend who started planning out the rest of her time at law school. She created a spread sheet to plan out what classes to take in order to graduate early and get out of school as soon as possible. I started thinking to myself, man that’s a great idea, I should do something similar and began to create my own plan to get out early, a race against the traditional law school clock. I took 10 credits this summer… 5 less than my spring semester and in a truncated semester. My goal was to take as many as possible so I could keep up, out pace the traditional law school path and graduate early, take the bar exam early, and start practicing as soon as possible.

Let’s just say… presently I AM EXHAUSTED. My goal of living this fast-paced future has been a tiring one, one that I didn’t plan out with any breaks or breathers. My goal to get to the future already didn’t take into account my spring semester fatigue either or my present (at the time of the decision and currently) desire to just relax and see more of Colorado. I tried to live in a fantasy world, an anxious world built on this need to keep up with the girl sitting next to me planning her future so she didn’t have to pay attention in her current class. And now, i’m tired and not enjoying myself as much as I would like.

Living in the future or living in the past doesn’t let your gut instinct have a voice. It gives your brain a voice. It gives your heart a voice, but not your gut. For Snape, living in the past gave his heart that voice that said he was still hurting from the way he was bullied in school while his brain told him to take it out on the next best person, his bully’s son. For me, my head was the lone ranger in this race telling me to keep up, get it done and be as cool as those around you. You need all three parts of your personality to have a voice. The head needs to be able to reason with your decisions and thoughtfully assess situations. The Heart needs to be able to whisper your desires, your pains, and your loves to the head in the decisions it makes. The Gut needs to be able to feel what’s right and wrong and scream that to the other two parts in order to make solid decisions. Without all three of them working together you make bad choices for yourself.

In law school its easy to see what others are doing and try to imitate it, following only the head’s voice or the heart’s desire to be loved and accepted. The gut feels like it’s usually snuffed out, that no one seems to always listen to it, but the gut tells us a lot about the world around us in the moment. With Anxiety my gut never gets listened to, I plan out and logically look at every scenario and choose which one to go with instead of feeling which one is right. It’s a mental decision, but not always the right one.

IMG_0349
Being present helps you bond with people.

Being present helps take that away. It helps ease the depressed mind or the anxious one and allows a person to feel, think and listen their way through each moment. When my friend Lyn would tell us to be present, to put down our phones and really connect in the moment, we always had more fun, or had deeper conversations. One of my goals this up coming semester is to be more present, to mindfully see every moment in the moment, listening to my head, my heart and my gut equally, letting go of all other distractions. I encourage more people to do this too. So try it this week or sometime this year, be present, let go of grudges, let go of plans for the future and just live in the moment. Make new friends, reconnect with old friends, explore with no plans and let yourself be uncomfortable, you never know what the present can gift us.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

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.