Professor Umbridge and Detention with Dolores (OotP 12&13)

My first semester of law school ended with a fantastic BIG FAT C- on my transcript. I remember the day we got grades as if it was yesterday. It was the first time I ever had to drive to work in the snow. Luckily it was during the day and not snowing all that bad, but I felt a pit in my stomach knowing that I would have to drive about 12 miles in the snow for the first time. I did it though, I got to work and got my free drink and sat down to wait for my shift to begin… then I got the text “Grades are up.”

I hurriedly pulled out my phone logging into the website to look at my grades. B, B, B-, C-… my heart stopped. I reloaded the page, there was no way I got a C- in my favorite class, the one class I thought I knew so well. The page reloaded and there it was…C-. I was devastated. I felt sick to my stomach. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes… but i had to go clock in.

Image result for checking grades memeAs I clocked in for work, my mind started spinning… of course you got a C- you aren’t smart like everyone else… maybe you should quit, you don’t belong here anyways… God you are so stupid, if you only studied the way everyone else did… Why can’t you just be like everyone else and spend late nights in the library? Why do you think you are special and don’t have to study as hard? God you are so stupid.

The thoughts just kept coming. I couldn’t stop them. Luckily within 20 minutes I got sent home early due to snow. The next few weeks were a blur. I kept beating myself up, fighting the urge to cry… I reloaded the page over and over thinking a different grade would be produced. It wasn’t until I calmed myself and started thinking about that day that I realized… it wasn’t because I was stupid that I got a C-… it was because I had a panic attack right before the exam and the rest was like a prolonged black out ending when I left the law school building.

Chapter Recap:

So classes begin and everyone is a little on edge already. Classes are boring, OWLS are coming, the Weasley twins are being suspicious… everything builds to Umbridge’s class. As soon as the class begins everything becomes a mess. Umbridge tells everyone to put away their wands and read quietly, which surprisingly Hermione refuses to do and starts a heated class discussion of why they shouldn’t just read quietly. Things get so heated Harry gets sent out of the classroom for yelling at Umbridge. Harry goes to McGonagall who gives him a cookie for firing back at Umbridge. Later Harry serves detention with Umbridge… and we all know what happens there.

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We all have an Umbridge inside of us. It’s that little voice that cries for control when fear and denial take the front seat in our lives. It’s that part of us that lashes out at loved ones trying to gain control of a situation  that we just don’t want to face the facts about. It’s the part of us that lies to others and tells ourselves the same exact lie in order to stay loyal to the way we want to feel, to stay loyal to the toxic parts of our lives that we just cannot let go of. We may all hate Dolores Umbridge, but we all have an Umbridge inside of our hearts and our heads.

Don’t believe me? Think of a time where you talked down to yourself. Maybe it was a time where you really felt like you failed… what did you say to yourself? Did you critique every moment? Did you tell yourself that you sucked, that you would amount to very little, that you shouldn’t be part of whatever successes you were having?

Or think of a time where you belittled someone else to gain control of a situation? Maybe you were frustrated with the person because you thought they lied to you, or at least were rude in some manner… did you confront them or did you critique their every move and told them just how bad of a person they were … all to make yourself feel better?

Now I’m not writing this to make anyone feel bad about themselves. No, I want people to realize that this is something most people go through in law school and in life without realizing it. When fear and a lack of control set in and toxic relationships, behaviors and the like start to come into play, your Umbridge starts to show. It may show to the outside world damaging relationships with others or it may be something that starts to break you down psychologically.

Image result for umbridge There have been so many times in law school since that first semester that I sit in class and think, “God Kristina you are so stupid. How did you not get that answer right? How could you sound so ridiculous in class? You should really drop out and go back to high school to get on these people’s level.” Even after years of therapy, journalling, and more I still can’t seem to always tame my Umbridge. When I feel uncomfortable with a situation or feel deep shame good old Dolores rears her toad like head and tells me just how much of an idiot I am… and she’s not very nice, she’s never very nice.

What’s worse is that each time we do this to ourselves we leave a little scar too. Much like the scars on the back of Harry’s hand, I know every time I tell myself that I’m not good enough or that I’m stupid I leave a little scar on my brain that just gets reopened over and over. Words cut deeper than anything else!

The thing is we have to learn to quiet Umbridge when she’s getting out of control. A little Umbridge every now and then might keep us safe…. but Umbridge on a full out assault on those you love or yourself does not need to happen!  I wish I had the perfect roadmap for people who struggle with their inner Dolores, but it’s not a one size fits all solution. But I can tell you this, talk about your issues. Harry keeps all of this abuse to himself, allowing Umbridge to get into his head (amongst other things like feeling like a failure in not being able to save Cedric). Reach out to people, don’t bottle it all up. Find a community of people who will support you in times of need. You are not alone.

Image may contain: 4 people, including Kalle Day and Kristina Ellis, people smiling

Speaking of community’s I want to give a HUGE shout-out to one of the best communities I’ve found in law school. I started this blog after I heard a very special podcast: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.  And last night I got to be at a live show of this podcast! If you haven’t listened to it and love Harry Potter DO IT NOW. STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING AND LISTEN TO IT NOW. Vanessa and Casper are amazing! You’ll be happy you did!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

A quick picture with my best friend Kalle, and Vanessa and Casper from HP and the Sacred Texts after the Denver Live Show!

 

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2017 Recap

So tonight is the night, the end of the 2017.  And because of that we are going to do something a little different on this blog. Throughout the year I tend to write down things I hear or read (sometimes underlining them in books). This year I decided to sit down and read through some of them. There’s usually a theme, as you will see. Now this isn’t all of them from the entire year but it is a good portion of the ones I kept track of after my trip to Italy.

Here’s the list of some of my favorite quotes from 2017:

  • When you get rejected the first thing you should be doing is revive your self-esteem and not join fight club and beat it into a pulp
  • Self-confident people interpret feedback the way they choose to
  • We can’t protect what we don’t love and we can’t love what we don’t understand
  • If you are telling a story never make yourself the hero…no one works alone
  • Tragedy is never just, satisfying, but not just
  • Systems can’t give mercy, only individuals can
  • Decent people are the easiest to manipulate
  • Lean into the discomfort of work
  • Courage- tell who you are with your whole heart
  • What made them vulnerable made them beautiful
  • To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen; to love with our whole hearts even though there’s no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy even in the face of terror; to believe we are enough
  • We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you wont’ be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth- NOBODY WAS EVER THINKING ABOUT YOU, ANYHOW.
  • I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity. Those last three might seem like they are covered by “nice,” but make no mistake, they are not. A person who smiles a lot and remembers everyone’s birthday can turn out to be undercover crazy, a compulsive thief, and boring to boot. I don’t put a lot of stock in nice. I’d prefer to be around people who have any of the above qualities over “niceness,” and I’d prefer it if that applied to me, too. I’m also okay if the most accurate description of me is nervous, and a little salty. But at least I know what I want to strive for.
  • I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.
  • I love rules and I love following them, unless that rule is stupid.
  • Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities.Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery their lives would remain small– far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.
  • Experience has taught me to be careful of meeting your heroes in person: it can be terribly disappointing.
  • There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.
  • Your Gut knows what’s up. Trust that Bitch.

 

Well here’s to a great 2018. I hope it brings you everything you want and more. Stay positive. Stay Bright. Stay Light. Stay Weird. Stay You. And keep reading the Wizarding World of Law School!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed!

The Mirror of Erised (SS12)

Hey everyone! So this week’s blog post has been one of my favorites to write thus far. It’s not necessarily just about law school, but about a topic that we discuss regularly in law school. It’s not an easy topic to tackle, and truly not just a law school related or Harry Potter topic, but one that is plaguing the nation we live in. All I ask of you while reading this post is to keep an open mind. I am not asking anyone to agree or disagree with the topic, but to simply hear me out.

(And, if you haven’t checked out the podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Texts” please do. Usually I don’t listen to the podcast of the chapter I am writing about until after that chapter is blogged, but this week I was too intrigued to not listen first.)
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Here’s the recap of this week’s chapter:

It’s Christmas time at Hogwarts, and boy is everyone excited. On Christmas Day Harry wakes up and finds gifts for the first time in his life. These gifts include a Weasley sweater and a invisibility cloak. They enjoy a nice Christmas and Christmas Feast. As Christmas passes Harry goes on a mission to find out who Nicholas Flamel is by using his new clock to sneak into the restricted section of the library. Harry finds himself running away from Flitch who figures out a student is out of bed sneaking around the library. Harry seeks refuge in a random room of the castle finding the Mirror of Erised. Curious, he walks over to the mirror and sees his family (which he doesn’t recognize at first) looking back at him. Confused he looks around the room thinking they are behind him, but finds himself alone. He then leaves, and brings Ron back the next night. Harry thinks Ron will see all of the Weasleys but is disappointed to hear that Ron sees himself a Head boy, and Quidditch Cup winner. Harry returns the next night to stare into the mirror and see his family, when he is interrupted by Dumbledore who explains that the mirror reflects the heart’s deepest desire and that men waste away sitting in front of the mirror. Dumbledore tells Harry the mirror will be moved and that he should not go looking for it again.

This week’s theme: Privilege.

‘Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you,’ said Dumbledore.

One of the common topics of law school is that of the Reasonable Prudent Person standard. For all those non-law scholars out there this standard is meant to be a baseline in which we judge the actions (civil or criminal) of others; it’s our societal idea of the perfect person who acts appropriately in all situation. A common discussion we have on this standard is whether it needs to be changed. The law was created in a time when white protestant landowning males made the rules and morals of the world. Which means  the Reasonable Prudent Person was created by these same law makers and held to the standards they felt necessary in the world.  So this pretty much if you were of any race or gender you were and still held to standards not in align with the norms of your gender and race. a971e5c332b304a59cdb4aa4b47867447ca078a2bb31f2605efe95d81dd92af7

The reason we talk about changing it is to take into account different social backgrounds. Women and men for example don’t commit crimes in the same way or for the same reasons. People with varying educational opportunities or backgrounds act differently in situations or understand crime differently. People with mental health issues are charged in crimes or torts under the same mental capacity of a person without the same mental health issue. While changing it could revolutionize the way we understand people and how they interact with the law, the arguments on the other side say that changing this objective standard will give people more excuses to not be charged with crimes and won’t help us reach our social utopia that the legal works to create. It’s a slippery slope and a fine line to toe… and better yet every discussion ends with people on both sides upset.
And here lies the problem, we are blinded by privilege on either side. When looking into the law school’s equivalent of the Mirror of Erised (class discussions) we see the desires of each student. People for an objective standard (and this is subjective to my experiences in class) are typically people for whom the justice system has been in favor of for most of history… white men. Having some of your privilege questioned (not even necessarily taken away) causes an immediate reaction of anger because your very being is threatened. Not all white males asked for the system to be tipped in their favor and certainly not all white males are privileged, but history tells us otherwise. When you feel your rights and privileges are being stripped from you or that you are being made a villain it can cloud your judgment. You suddenly feel a need to defend yourself and nearsighted in achieving that goal (and keeping your privileges). It becomes a strong desire to keep the scales where they are, blinding them from seeing how minority groups are being suppressed by the world they desperately want to keep.

For people on the other side they are nearsighted in a different way. When the scales of justice and privilege have been tipped out of your favor you feel a strong desire to right these wrongs. It’s the side I find myself on more often than not. While I am white, I am still considered a minority in gender and it wasn’t until getting to law school that I found out just how sexist the world can be and is actually. Now, I am expected to have some privilege in my background because I am white (though if you put my upbringing on paper with a friend of mine who is from a minority race and you left out the color of our skin you would find out just how little privilege I grew up with), but the scales are still tipped out of my favor in many cases. Minorities want a voice, they want the scales tipped a little more in their favor and want the same privileges as people on the other side of the justice system have. However, in their pursuit they too become nearsighted in their desire for privilege and forget to see the effect of their placing blame on white males as a whole.

7d348bad38f49a697d1c448c6a4fe732All of this to say is that sometimes we forget to look out across the lines we draw by our desires and see how they affect the people we’ve segregated. Females blames males, males blame females, whites blame blacks, blacks blame whites… all we do is keep on making the line we’ve drawn between us thicker and thicker, not wanting to move away from an objective standpoint and really understand how other people work, relate and contribute to the world. Putting our desire to keep or grab ahold of privilege away and just starting to understand each’s worlds can change the world we live in. Creating a legal system that helps give voices to all communities and groups of people is far better than continuing to create these huge divides between them.

Sure, we don’t know what problems will be created by changing the Reasonable Prudent Person standard to be more subjective, but I think our approach to conversations around this topic need to change to be more understand and less nearsighted on both sides. We can no longer let minorities be invisible and we cannot allow white men to be pushed out of the conversation (which would make them invisible). We have to start making baby steps to creating a better society that gives everyone an equal voice in the conversation (which means the louder voices will be quieted a bit while the quiet voices will be turned up a bit more). Unfair privileges will be lost and not all sought privileges will be given, but everyone will one day have an equal say and equal privilege. It just takes us looking into the Mirror of Erised and facing our deepest desires and making the decision to help or hinder the changes needed in the world.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Wizarding World of Law School

If you follow me on Facebook at all, here’s that new writing project I promised yesterday!

This past week I started Law School, and boy has it been one heck of a ride already. For some reason though, maybe from going to HP World at Universal Studios right before heading out here to Denver, my love for Harry Potter seems to have heightened as school has started. I mean, I have a running list of people’s Hogwarts Houses from my section or friend groups at school. (Damn Gryffindors keep growing in numbers, but at least we are well-rounded with 2 Hufflepuffs so far.)IMG_9116

Long story short, I was told about this amazing podcast series (“Harry Potter and the Sacred Texts”) this past week. I highly suggested this podcast if you want to nerd out like me. After listening to the first episode of the podcast I felt inspired to start a blog that lets people know how law school is unfolding, while at the same time explores my new world, with one of my favorite worlds: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So this blog will do just that, each week I will read 1-2 chapters of the series, juxtapose it with my week in school, and explore the themes of the chapter/life that line up. There is approx. 144 weeks until my Law School journey comes to an end, and 199 chapters of all the Harry Potter books, so buckle up and get in this flying car as we embark on this three-year journey together!

Look for the first chapter post today!

Until then….Mischief Managed!