Bagman and Crouch (GoF 7)

One of the biggest events of the year at the law school is Law Stars. Its a night where lawyers, alumni, and students mix and mingle, award four people prestigious awards and eat a delicious dinner. Last year I got to attend for free, usually these tickets cost about $250 a person. Being part of Student Ambassadors means you attend without paying. Instead, as an Ambassador you either check people in or usher people to their seats. It’s one of those events where networking is abundant…unless you have a panic attack before dinner.

Screenshot_-_10_3_2013_,_7_36_24_PM.pngIn this chapter, the gang has all arrived at the Quidditch World Cup Finals campgrounds. Harry is in awe of the mix of people he runs into as Ron, Hermione and Harry walk around. They see people from school and their families while also seeing key individuals who work at the Ministry of Magic. Getting water takes forever as they stop to make small talk with people throughout the area. On their way to the actual game, they run into two key people Ludo Bagman (who is the director of this event and commentator for the game) and Barty Crouch, Percy’s boss at the Ministry. Percy reacts to seeing his boss in the most Percy way. Percy “idolizes him.” As for everyone meeting Bagman who is wearing a jersey a few sixes too small, the Twins jump in on a bet with Bagman regarding the game.

This scene reminded me of networking. Percy is so starstruck with a desire to make a good impression that to the others who know him he looks like a nut. The Twins, on the other hand, have bigger plans in mind and make bets with Bagman to further those plans, not intimidated by Bagman’s position at all.

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My Networking face 

Everyone has a different reaction to networking. In law school networking is one of the best ways to get a job whether you are in the top 10% of the class or not. During my 1L year we were given ample opportunities to network. It all began during orientation. Scheduled into our packed week was a networking night. Even though I work in the service industry, the thought of making small talk with strangers is something that makes me nervous.

Growing up in a lower income family during high school and growing up as a military brat until middle school, I was taught to not speak until spoken to and even when spoken to I’m afraid to say the wrong thing. We didn’t learn the art of small talk at my high school. Social skills of lower income schools cannot compete with those skills acquired from better educational institutes. My family never held great dinner parties with business partners. Fancy words, great conversation topics, and the art of being politically correct were not part of my childhood. My mom tried to teach us manners and how to be polite. Somewhere along the line, maybe as a survival tactic, I became sarcastic and very blunt.

Even after years in the service industry, I was called the cynical barista aka the soulless barista. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I just don’t want to make small talk. Small talk feels forced and fake 99% of the time. It’s a means to an end. It’s used to fill a void, to kill dead air. Nobody really cares what you think about the weather and if your barista asks you that at the drive thru window, it’s because your drink isn’t ready, there’s probably someone new on bar, and the barista need to distract you so you don’t get mad. the other part of small talk that kills me is having to ask so many questions while listening in what is probably a very loud room for the answers. It’s so hard to hear what someone is saying when there are 100+ people making small talk in a medium sized room. I sometimes just have a hard time hearing people standing next to me in a quieter room. Trying to hear someone and then following up with questions when you only hear half of what they were saying is draining.

IMG_0002Networking at large events for me is painful. It can cause panic attacks. I can come off impolite and insincere. Now, sit down over coffee, one-on-one with me, invest actual time and I’m there, fully engaged, only slightly nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, at most large events I can make myself network, I just hate the way it feels.

For a lot of people networking at any level comes naturally to them. Some people have been groomed to talk to people their whole lives. Some people just ooze charisma. Those are the people I am jealous of at events. They have interesting stories to tell, they care so much more about PC topics (and less about Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Pop Music, and Foodie topics — all which I care about immensely).

Last year at Law Stars I had a panic attack. There were so many people in such a small place, I felt as if I wasn’t going to make a good impression, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. Since that night, I have worked hard to overcome my networking fears. I no longer feel starstruck by the important people that come through the law school. Instead I respect them and see them more as aspirations. It takes some of the pressure off. No longer am I trying to impress them, instead I want to learn from them. Networking isn’t always just about making connections that will help you rise in the ranks, it’s also about making mentor/mentee relationships. It’s about learning from people who have been in your position for years. It’s about realizing that one day soon, these people around you will be your peers.

If there’s one big difference I’ve seen in myself from 1L year to 2L year it’s that I have grown more confident in my position. I’ve come a long way from graduating 3rd in my high school class, a class at one of the worst high schools in one of the worst school districts in the nation. I have a long way to go, but that’s part of the learning process here at law school. And boy is there still a lot I hope to learn by the end of my journey here.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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