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?”

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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.

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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

 

The Polyjuice Potion (CoS 12)

In the last blog post I wrote a little about how I am learning that I am not just a creative, but that the logic side of life (math and science) are also things that I enjoy. I’ve actually learned a lot about myself since coming to law school. Being away from the home I had for 25 years, not working to the extent I use to and being immersed in the new academic world can revel a lot about who you are and/or were. Growth is inevitable in life, but what’s more important is being able to see who you are now so you can one day see clearly who you were…

Chapter 12 beings with a trip to Dumbledore’s office. Harry is escorted to the Headmaster’s office at the end of chapter 11 after being found at the scene of the crime where another petrified student has been found. In Dumbledore’s office Harry asks the Sorting Hat if he was placed correctly, hearing only that Harry still would’ve been good in Slytherin. He then turns his attention to a bird int he corner that looks like a “half plucked turkey.” The bird soon catches on fire and turns to ashes. Harry freaks out a little as Dumbledore comes into the office. Dumbledore explains how Fawkes is a phoenix, a bird that burns and rebirths from its ashes. he talks about how these birds can carry heavy objects, have healing tears and make wonderful loyal pets (all foreshadowing for later). Hagrid barges in and tries to prove Harry innocent for the petrified student. Dumbledore says he already knows Harry is innocent but asks Harry if he would like to tell Dumbledore anything in regards to the school happenings. Ashamed of the voices in his head, Harry says no. Later in the chapter, the Golden Trio uses the Polyjuice potion and head out to get info from Draco, who proves to not have too much new information about the Heir of Slytherin, other than the fact that he is not the heir.

tumblr_o5e5a1lhr71vp2995o1_500To me the most interesting part of this chapter is the small paragraph about Fawkes the Phoenix. Phoenixes are mythical creatures that show resilience. They are constantly shedding their bodies and emerging from their ashes to be new creatures (on days referred to as Burning Days). Yet their abilities to heal, carry heavy loads and remain loyal all stay intact. Coming to law school felt like a Burning Day of sorts. It was a time of rebirth. I left almost everything behind in Nevada to move to Colorado. Left my career to go back to school and felt like I was becoming a new person. The only thing is, I didn’t really leave everything behind.

Going through the first semester of school showed me that maybe I didn’t really understand myself back home in Nevada. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but in all actuality I was more acquainted with who I thought I should be, rather than myself. I thought I was strictly a creative. I played instruments, wrote a novel, painted for fun at times, put together elaborate bulletin boards at school and took pictures on a fancy camera for fun. I did anything I could to prove to myself that I was a creative person… and only a creative person. I told myself that the reason science and math were hard was because I wasn’t meant to be a science and math person but a creative person.

I loved to tell myself these little lies instead of facing that maybe I was trying to be something I wasn’t. When I got to Colorado I tried doing the same thing here too, except this time was with hiking. I’m not a huge outdoors person, I’m a let’s make a good meal, read a book, take a nap, watch tv stay indoors person. Yet, there’s this idea that when you live in CO you are an outdoors person, so that’s what I told myself I was because I moved here. What a tiring lie to try to tell yourself. Then it came to law school… here I told myself that I was meant to be the best, meant to be a leader and nothing less… haha… when the stress of trying to show that I was super smart and the best became too heavy to carry I started to feel burnt out and as if I was a fraud. I found myself asking the question: “was I right to be here?” (much like Harry asking the Sorting hat if he had been placed correctly).

This past week though was like having another Burning Day, another chance to start over and stop lying to myself. The most important thing I have learned at law school is that you don’t have to have a plan. You don’t have to tell yourself who you are going to be or how things are going to work out. You also don’t have to follow a certain path or be a certain person. You can be you, and unapologetically you. If you don’t know who that is, law school will start to show you who you are piece by piece. To be in law school you definitely have to be resilient though. You have to be able to make it through a “Burning Day” and rise from the ashes, maintaining certain abilities and traits that make you magnificent.

tumblr_mbp0t0g9fz1qmymtwo1_500The moral of the story: find out who you are and let yourself change organically. Don’t force yourself to change, don’t force yourself to be something you aren’t meant to be. Allow yourself to change when the time is right. Watch the slow progress happen and enjoy the ride. Law school will try to force you to change your being quickly, but hold onto what you believe in your soul… you’ll thank yourself for it later.

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