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.

IMG_1359
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

The Boggart in the Wardrobe (PoA 7)

Failing.

Being Selfish.

Not Being a Good Person.

These are my top three fears in life. Sure I have other fears like bugs and such, but these three are the fears that leave me paralyzed. These are the fears that trigger my anxiety in stressful situations. These BIG THREE are the fears that haunt my dreams at night.

Today’s chapter of Harry Potter is perfect when reading through the lens of fear. The chapter begins with the return of an injured (if we must) Draco who milks his injury throughout all of Potions in order to get Ron and Harry to have to cut up and ready his ingredients. While Professor Snape ensures Potter and Weasley are cutting up Draco’s potion parts correctly, he also makes time to harass Neville. When Neville’s potion is orange instead of green, Snape uses fear tactics to try and motivate Neville (threatening Neville’s frog who will have to drink the potion at the end of class). Hermione helps Neville and the frog survives but Gryffindor loses points because of it.  When they get to Defense of the Dark Arts, Lupin takes them on a field trip to the staffroom to face a boggart, a shape-shifting creature that turns into your biggest fear. Neville is up first, disclosing that his biggest fear is professor snare. Lupin encourages Neville to imagine his grandmother’s clothing and once the boggarts turns into Snape to cast the spell and watch Snape be dressed in that clothing. Everyone gets chance to face their fear except Harry. When Harry is up to bat, Lupin intervenes and then let’s Neville finish the boggart off, ending class.

30c3d360-c2fb-0133-bf4e-0e694d25c22dWhat’s interesting about this chapter is that Neville faces his fears at least twice and each time he has a little help. The first is in Potions class when Snape is threatening to poison his frog. Hermione intervenes whispering how to fix Neville’s potion. The second time in with the boggart and Lupin walks Neville through how to go about facing that fear. He never truly has to face a fear alone.  On the flip side Harry is never given the chance to face his own fear. Better yet he sits alone with it letting one fear grow from another. We later find out why Professor Lupin lets this happen, but in the moment for Harry leaves class feeling weak.

There have been a lot of moments in my life where I have let my BIG THREE take over and consume my thoughts. I put off law school for five years because of those fears. I would reach out to friends or to family for help, but they couldn’t help and instead I would just sit there letting the fear of  being selfish evolve into not being a good person and that evolve into being a failure. A lot of times I didn’t know how to get out of the cycle of anxious thoughts wrapping themselves around these fears and letting my mind spiral into a frenzy of what-ifs. Then one day a friend did help and gave me the phone number of a therapist that was trained to help people work through those fears and anxiety.

Facing fears is not an easy thing. Sometimes you need help and sometimes you have to pick yourself up and take control back over those fears. Neville got help in facing his fears and then when he finished off the boggart (his second turn) he didn’t need anyone to walk him through it, he just got up and did it. Its not always easy to do, but once you start to face your fears and find ways to manage your fears and really just decide to take back the responsibility of your life from those fears you do become a lot stronger. Going to Italy, Finishing 1L year, facing my grades from first semester, moving to a new city full of strangers… those were all moments where I had to face fears. Better yet, I’m still facing fears by starting new jobs, wading through my insecurities about being too selfish when I do things for myself or tell people no, and by going into my 2L year. snape-as-a-boggart

The key to facing your fears is getting help when you can and then pushing forward on your own. It may not always seem like it, but you can find help everywhere, you just have to be open to it. Keep facing those fears and don’t let them dictate your life.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

 

The Knight Bus (PoA 3)

Two finals down, one to go.

Warner-Bros.-Pictures-Harry-Potter-and-the-Prisoner-of-Azkaban-13IN this chapter we find Harry mid-flee from the Dursleys’ home.  He’s afraid. He’s nervous and anxious. He’s grasping at straws trying to figure out what his next move should be. Harry stops to make a plan when he sees a pair of huge eyes on what appears to be a dog across the street from him. He points his wand towards it and suddenly is knocked off his feet when the Knight Bus arrives. He gets on the bus and lies about who he is saying his name is Neville Longbottom. On the Bus he finds out about Sirius Black, escaped prisoner of Azkaban. The bus soon takes him the Leaky Cauldron, where harry has planned to hide out until Gringotts opens and he can get all of his money and go live like an outcast (much like Sirius Black — at least he likens himself to Sirius at this point). Harry is met by the Minister of Magic at the Leaky Cauldron. Cornelius Fudge welcomes Harry, assures Harry he is not in trouble, not expelled from Hogwarts and that Aunt Marge is alright. Harry is confused by this but even more confused as to why Fudge wants Harry to stay at the Leaky Cauldron and travel no further than Diagon Alley “under the circumstances.”

When I came to law school I had no idea what to expect. Being 27 and living my entire life in a tourist attraction, made me gravitate towards moving somewhere a little more “real.” That meant Colorado. I came to law school because it had been a life long dream that I always thought was unattainable. I spent a lot of my life helping others, helping my mother raise my siblings, helping people, being as “selfless” as someone could be. I always felt like an outcast. I always felt like someone in the background. It was easier to pretend I was a nobody (similar to Harry using Neville’s name — even though Neville is a somebody not a nobody). When I finally got the guts to leave the sparkling neon city lights I was fearful of having to be a somebody. I was so use to my life as a self-proclaimed outcast (full of ideas, full of secret plans to help reshape the world) that having to be my own person felt selfish.

There was so much to learn, so much I didn’t know about the world around me, so much to try to understand. Everyone else seemed to have a basic knowledge of the law. Everyone seemed to mesh well together. Everyone seemed so sure and confident. I started to beat myself up. I didn’t have much grace or gentleness with myself. My anxiety and depression sky rocketed, which means I became meaner and meaner to myself. I pushed myself (and still do at times) to be like everyone else. I push myself to study like everyone else, to workout more, to eat differently, to join everything, to push further and faster… and I’m exhausted. It’s hard not having a huge support system like a lot of others around me have. It’s even harder doing law school with an anxiety disorder coming in (since a lot of people develop the disorder during law school). It’s hard fighting depression when you have anxiety, but it’s not impossible.

ABA-Alcohol-Abuse-InfographMay is mental health month. Taking a look at my own life and looking at Harry’s inner thoughts in this chapter, I don’t think there is a better topic than this to cover right here and right now (during good old finals as well). Mental health is an important part of who we are. When it comes to lawyers poor mental health, alcohol abuse and substance abuse happen at alarming rates. Even in law school we constantly find ourselves drinking at events, drinking at their after those events or after every exam. We stress ourselves out studying 12 hours a day, telling ourselves that if we don’t get one of the highest grades in the class on this final that we are failures, that we are going to be kicked out of law school.

We treat ourselves like Harry does in this chapter. He is picked up by the Knight Bus, hides who he is and then lets his mind panic. He plans on being an outcast, a young wizard on the run for the rest of his life because he made a mistake. He hears about Sirius Black, whom as Harry is told killed 13-14 people including muggle because he was crazy, and Harry immediately likens himself to this crazy criminal. Harry has no one to remind him of the good inside of him. Harry is anxious, full of panic and extremely hard on himself… and why wouldn’t he be? His whole life he has been kept in a cupboard, lied to, treated as if he was the household servant. He hasn’t been loved the way Ron or Hermione has been loved. He’s been treated like an outcast, so of course his first thought is to be an outcast.

We look at our failures in law school, our grades that aren’t as high as they should be (which are arbitrary at best since there is a curve and we aren’t even trying to show we know the material, instead we are playing to the professor’s likes and dislikes in our writing), our rankings, our participation as compared to others, our involvement in activities, our defeats and more… we look at all of this and decide who we are: either the best or the worst. We are hard on ourselves, I am hard on myself. Picking yourself up when you are down your whole life will have the effect on you. Taking care of everyone else and quieting your needs so that others’ needs are fulfilled over your own leaves little room for you to know how to take care of your own.

WB_F3_TheKnightBus_SqueezingBetweenTwoBuses_HP3-FX-08Harry always took care of everyone else and in a panic he didn’t know how to take care of his own needs or how to ask for someone to help him. This is something I relate to… the thing is, you can’t live your life that way. I learned this week about something called ‘self-full’. It’s that sweet spot in between being selfless and selfish. Its that spot where your needs are recognized and acknowledged alongside the needs of others. My hope is not that I get any sort of pity from this blog… but that anyone who is struggling with anxiety, anyone who is struggling with being gentle to themselves, anyone who feels like their mental health is depreciating, anyone who is feeling selfish or selfless… anyone who needs support… my hope is that you realize you are not alone.

We need to address mental health better in law school. We need to address mental health bettering K-12 schools. We need to stop the cycle of alcohol dependency and substance abuse. We need to create Self-full people who are mindful of their feelings and their lives. We need to show people who feel like outcasts that they are not outcasts or at least don’t have to be. We need to do better at showing people grace for their mistakes. We need to create a stronger society, a mentally healthy society. Take some time today and figure out where your weaknesses are. Pinpoint were your mental health is and be gentle with yourself. That’s what I’m trying today.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

Aragon and The Chamber of Secrets (CoS 15 & 16)

If there ever were two chapters of Harry Potter to describe law school, these would be those chapters.

aragog-chamber-of-secrets-illustrated-editionIn these two chapters, Harry and Ron follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest. There they meet a GIANT spider named Aragon. Aragon tells the story of how Hagrid brought him to the school and cared for him until Tom Riddle turned Hagrid in (the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened) and Aragon went to live in the Forbidden Forest. After Ron and Harry learn that Hagrid is innocent, they attempt to leave the spiders’ nest only to attacked by all of Aragon’s sons and Daughters. They only manage to escape because the Weasley family car, now wild, emerges from dark and races Harry and Ron out of the forest.
In the next chapter, McGongall announces that the mandrakes have matured enough to turn them into a potion and wake up everyone who has been petrified. The teachers are ecstatic thinking that the nightmare will be over and one of those petrified will tell them who is causing all of their troubles. Harry and Ron visit hermione in the hospital wing, where they find a crumbled up paper dealing basilisks in her hand. After talking to Moaning Myrtle (the first student killed by the basilisk) they start to piece the puzzle together. images-5Things turn for the worse though and the school is in a panic going into finals, and it’s not because finals, but because a student has been taken into the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and Ron spy to overhear that Ginny is the student now in the Chamber, and that Lockhart has been chosen (mainly through his bragging) to go and rescue her. They run up to Lockhart’s office to warn him about what he faces in the Chamber, only to find Lockhart packing his bags to flee. Lockhart discloses that he is a fraud. Harry and Ron force him to go into the Chamber of Secrets only to find themselves soon separated, Harry continuing alone and Ron staying with a memory hoped Lockhart.

This week’s theme: help. Harry and Ron find many people and things that help them in their worst moments, and in law school it’s important to also find things to help you!

The first year of law school is winding down with less than 7 weeks to go, and the closer we get to finals, appellate briefs being due and oral arguments, the more it feels like walking into a giant spider’s nest. Tensions are high around every corner and relief feels no where in sight. We also have that extra stress of figuring out classes for next semester and interviewing for summer jobs.

enhanced-17831-1405608304-5It definitely feels a little overwhelming. Finals looming over us, and everything still left to do feels a little like jumping down the secret passage to the Chamber of Secrets. But amongst all of this there are so many trusty sidekicks alongside us as we go through this journey. I started this semester by starting therapy at the Health and Counseling center on campus. It’s always a vulnerable moment to admit you have some issues you want to talk out, or that you need some help. I’ve posted on here before that I have General Anxiety Disorder. It’s not an easy disorder to detect since its all internal but it does manifest itself in different ways. For me, I plan because then I have a semblance of control over the situation. I also rehearse every conversation or answer numerous times before raising my hand or approaching someone. There are so many calculated moves because of my anxiety. Asking for help isn’t an easy thing to do either because of the implications behind it.

Most days in law school I feel like a fraud. Not to the extent of Gildeory Lockhart, but pretty close. it’s just part of law school, or at least that’s what they tell us. When you go to school with engineers, mock trial award winners, debate champs, military veterans and so many other people who have very different backgrounds, it’s hard to keep your head up and feel like you should be there. At the end of the first semester I felt a little lost, a little deflated, a little tired and very stressed. The adrenaline was wearing off and I wasn’t sure if I could continue… but then I asked for help. over the past few months it’s been amazing to talk to someone who really reminds me of why I’m in law school. She’s like having a Hermione to help guide you through the obvious things in front of you! I may not be some amazing award winning, always been on the tract to be a lawyer, beautiful minded law student, but I am a very accomplished person. I’ve started and ran my own business, I’ve managed a multi-million dollar store, I’m a published author and so much more.

It’s easy to get lost when you are faced up against some seriously stressful situations, but when you let others help you, when you allow the car to drive on it’s own and you start to trust yourself, law school becomes a bit easier to manage.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Cornelius Fudge (CoS 14)

Oh it seems I have lost track of time and blog posts over the past few weeks. Here we are again though ready to tackle both the law school and the magical school worlds again. This week’s theme is indecisiveness.

To catch everyone up a bit, Gryffindor is gearing up for their big Qudditch match and second years are preparing to pick classes alone for the first time at Hogwarts. In this chapter someone has trashed Harry’s dorm stealing Tom Riddle’s diary (which Harry found and magically saw Tom’s past thoughts which convicted Hagrid of being the one to open the Chamber of Secrets years ago). Fast forward and the Qudditich match is cancelled with the news that Hermione is currently in the infirmary after being petrified and is now awaiting a mandrake potion to be woken up. Harry and Ron go off to Hagrid’s Hut (against school rules of course) and are welcomed in only to have to hide as the Minster of Magic and Dumbledore come knocking on Hagrid’s door. Hagrid is taken to Azkaban, Luicis Malfoy arrives declaring the school board has decided its time for Dumbledore to step down for now with all of these attacks at Hogwarts, and Ron and Harry listen intently as Hagrid tells them covertly to “follow the spiders.”

Now how does indecisiveness work into this chapter? Easily, Hermione is out and with her being the brains of the operation Harry and Ron are now left to make their own decisions on what to do next in solving this magical crime mystery. Cornelius Fudge shows indecisiveness in trying to decide if Hagrid is indeed the perpetrator and if Dumbledore should be forced to step down. Never mind that the entire 2-6 year students are trying to figure out their class schedules for next year, do homework and decide whether leaving their dorms to go to classes is a good idea or not seeing as they could be petrified or killed at any minute.

The chaos in this chapter feels a lot like law school right now. While I would love to sit here and complain about all the work we have to get done and the decisions we have to make I want to give five easy tips on how to make hard decisions in the context of law school:

1) Deciding between going out or studying

Let’s make this one easy. Answer these questions:

  • Do you have a ton of homework that must be done by tomorrow? (No- take a breather and go out for an hour maybe; Yes- GET IN THE LIBRARY AND DO YOUR DAMN WORK ALREADY)
  • Is it Wednesday and you’ve gone out the past two nights? (No- You may go out for a short amount of time, as long as the previous question was a no too; Yes- YOU REALLY NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER HERE)
  • Is it Friday and you have a brief due Monday (that you’ve barely started or it looks like a blank page in Word)? (No- take a break, you’ve got all weekend to do homework; Yes- ARE YOU KIDDING ME? STAY IN, SIT AT THE COMPUTER WITH NO PEE BREAKS OR SNACKS, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MOVE UNTIL IT IS HALF DONE)
  • Do you have money? (No- THEN WHY ARE QUESTIONING GOING OUT WHEN YOU ARE LITERALLY MAKING NEGATIVE MONIES; yes- alright, go ahead)
  • Are you on the verge of a nervous breakdown? (Yes- GET OUTOF THE HOUSE NOW AND GO HAVE FUN; No- then see all other questions)

2) Deciding classes for next year

Go to all advising events you can get your hands on and if all else fails just take the other required courses next year. Just don’t stress about this. It’s scary and it seems like everyone else has their business together and hows what to take, but it will be okay!

3) Deciding what to do for summer

GO WITH YOUR GUT. Don’t listen to everyone else and read all their social media posts about how awesome it is that they got a PD/DA job for the summer or they are working at a firm or for a judge. Do what you want to do. Follow your passion and screw everyone else.

4) Deciding which Organizations to be part of

Alright, listen here, they say don’t join more then one student org your first year… just listen to them. You are already going to be tired and overworked… DON’T ADD MORE STRESS THAN NEEDED… but if you are like me and don’t listen to that advice, find about 2-3 organizations you like and then don’t complain to anyone when you have a lot of extra work to do because of them since nobody cares and they warned you.

5) Deciding what assignments/ readings are priority

I didn’t think this would ever be a problem, because hey you want to read for every class… BUT YOU SOMETIMES CANNOT DO THAT. I am by no means saying you should just show up to a class completely unprepared, you should at least try to skim the cases or look them up. But sometimes you have to not finish all the reading, or not go into detail because other classes are taking priority. Try your best to be prepared but don’t stress yourself out to the point of not sleeping or eating or seeing your friends. If it’s not going to be graded, and you haven’t skipped it consistently and you aren’t on-call, take a breather and relax. Skim the reading and head to class.

With that all said, law school doesn’t have to be full of hard decisions or indecisiveness (which occurs if you are like me and in a stressful situation). You can do this!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

The Whomping Willow (CoS 5)

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Being hipsters with Paige!

Well I’m no longer in NYC, but after almost a full 8 hours (on Wednesday) of travel I am in my hometown of Las Vegas. I was nervous about returning to Las Vegas after leaving in June. Before heading off to law school I had a lot of responsibility from work to church and a good amount of friends, but I also had a lot of stress and bitterness towards all of the above. I had a great life: lived on my own in a great apartment, went to concerts and on trips regularly, had a lot of friend gatherings, a good paying job, made a home for myself at a great church which I loved serving at… I had a lot of great things going for me, but yet I still felt like I wasn’t enough, like everything around me wasn’t enough. Now, coming back after having time and distance from all my struggles and problems I noticed the major thread that connected everything together… high expectations.

In this chapter of Harry Potter a lot happens around the theme of expectations. Here’s the recap before we get into how expectations can help and hinder us.

Recap:

Summer break is coming to an end. Harry and the Weasleys head off to the train station running late after having to turn around many times to pick up forgotten items at the Burrow. They get to the station and everyone but Harry and Ron make it to Platform 9 3/4. Harry and Ron can’t get to the platform, so they take the flying car that the Weasley clan arrived to the station in. Ron denies to fly the car to Hogwarts after hearing his father talk about the invisibility booster. Desperate to get to Hogwarts Harry gets in the car and the two take off. Not too long after they head out on their journey the booster falters and they are spotted by muggles. The car starts to get tired on the long journey and as they make it to the school they hit the whomping willow. They are soon found by Snape and escorted into the school where they think for sure they will be expelled. Snape gets McGonagall and Dumbledore. McGonagall gives the two boys detention and then sandwiches, not expelling them from the school. Ron and Harry head up to their common room, being found and scolded by Hermione outside the Fat Lady’s portrait. Once inside the Gryffindor Common Room they are cheered by the rest of their house and then they head off to bed.

In this chapter Harry and Ron had three big expectations that did not come to fruition: (1) being able to easily access the platform to get to school, (2) the invisibility booster working on the car, and (3) being expelled from school. Each time something didn’t necessarily work out as expected they always had a small reactionary moment following the occurrence. Stress was always present in leading up to each moment as well. And that’s the thing about expectations. When we constantly have these mapped out expectations in our lives we are far more disappointed when things don’t necessarily work out or we stress ourselves out leading up to the expected moment. For me in my job I had expectations around every corner. I expected great things from my staff, from myself, from my customers, from my peers and from my leadership. Every single time things failed to meet my expectations or it felt like I was swimming against the current trying to meet my expectations I found myself extremely stressed out and upset. When my friends failed to stick to plans or act the way I wanted them to then I felt betrayed and hurt by their actions. My life was this one giant bubble of expectations that always popped and then resurfaced just to pop again later.

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Enjoying great coffee with my good friend Nicole… who had me pose for this photo…

When I went off to law school I brought that same mindset with me, except I didn’t know what to really expect from school, from people or really even from myself. I talked with a good friend one day about how she really was able to be so carefree about things. She responded with a simple thought: “I’ve come to only expect what I know people can give me and nothing more.” I’ve pondered on this idea for quite sometime and now being back in Vegas, back around all the things that used to stress me out, I’ve been putting that advice  to good use and amazingly things have been surpassing those expectations each day.

You see when you start to drop your expectations it allows you to relax, it allows room in your life for good things to happen, and it allows people to just be them and not feel forced to be something they are not.

I spent so much time trying to reach these high expectations and to hold people to high expectations that I missed out on just being able to sit back and live life with people. I let myself be stressed out all the time trying to keep people in these pretty boxes I wrapped up and put them in, that I missed out on seeing people for who they truly were, and I missed out on seeing who I truly was through it all. I crucified myself when things went wrong, taking the blame for not being able to be more than i truly was because people weren’t being who I wanted them to be. Looking on it now, I would have been perfectly happy with my life had I stopped trying to be the best, better than everyone already thought I was…

So my challenge for everyone this winter break and holiday season going into the time of making New Year Resolutions… drop the expectations and take time to just truly see the world and people around you. Don’t expect the holidays to be perfect, and laugh when things go not as planned. See the people around you for who they are and enjoy that person to the fullest. And most importantly… cut yourself a break. You are amazing. Take care of you, how you are now and drop the high unrealistic expectations you  place on yourself each and every day and just bask in your awesomeness. That’s what makes the world brighter, and that’s what has made my trip to Las Vegas such an amazing experience thus far. So you, yes you, go and relax into 2017 and see what happens, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy this holiday weekend, and look for another blog come our regular posting day this Sunday!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed