Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and The Portkey (GoF 5&6)

We are a month into the new school year, and boy has it been a wild ride already. Being in a clinic, taking two classes, being on a law review, running a student org, applying for summer jobs, and helping out on a national food law board. The work can be tiresome, but all in all its been very rewarding thus far. However, there are times where I wish I would have taken a little more time off this past summer than I did. Since finals in May I have gone non-stop. After finals it was preparing for Italy and my externship for when I returned, then it was Italy, then Externship and working as a part-time barista AND all of my Italy finals, and then it was school and moving. There haven’t been many chances for a nice long breather, which we all know (or at least should know) is important for one’s mental health.

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In these chapters of HP we return to the Burrow (the house of the Weasley family). The twins are scolded for their actions at the Dursleys and their new venture the Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. The family is chaotic and loving as usual and Harry welcomes the nice break from his depressing summer with the Dursley family. Everyone is home at the Weasley house including Charlie and Bill, the eldest sons. The next day Hermione, Ron, Harry and the rest of the Weasley clan head out to a portkey to the Quidditch World Cup Finals, one of the biggest events in the Wizarding World, a welcome break before school starts.

Everyone in these two chapters all welcome a much needed and exciting break from their regular jobs and lives, everyone except Percy, who is working away on writing briefs supporting a change of laws regarding cauldron bottoms. To me, Percy represents our average law student. While everyone else is out having a good time, enjoying each other’s company, Percy is worrying about his work. Well, more than just worrying, Percy is obsessing over getting his work done.

This summer I found myself torn between being a Percy or the rest of the family. With so many things on my plate with an externship and the abundance of school work, I would pass up on chances to unwind and hangout with friends, obsessing over my work. Obsessing in law school is almost a normal occurrence. It’s a learned trait of 1L students who tremble with fear and stress. It’s a trait that we carry with us into 2L year at a somewhat lesser degree but enough to keep people on edge. It’s a dangerous behavior at any degree though.

Portkey_PM_B4C6M1_BootPortkeyToQuidditchWorldCup_MomentObsessing over the work you have to do, having nothing else but work to fuel you can lead to some major issues in your career and life. This past summer there was a New York Times Article illustrating the addictions that can come with the legal profession. The amount of stress law school can have on a person can follow them into their careers. Constant stress can lead to drug use, alcoholism, or other destructive activities. Obsession over work leads to a need for perfectionism which leads to stress, stress leads to a need to escape which leads to destructive behaviors.

As the Harry Potter books progress, one of the things we see if Percy’s loyalty to his job and obsession over his work cause issues for him. It’s something I hope to keep an eye on as we go forward.

The key however is to make sure you are taking breaks. Make sure you are carving out time each week to truly sit down and relax. Make time for friends, events, and relaxation. Make time to laugh, to cry, to watch a movie and destress. Find a way to unwind and get out of your work obsession. You’ll thank yourself later. IMG_0116

As for me, since school has started I have been to numerous BBQs, a baby shower, two concerts and enjoyed time with my friends from out of town. I have made time to unwind each week and enjoy life a little more. I may not feel 100% stress free or rested, but I do know I have the start of a healthy balance between work, school, and life these days. So take a look at your life… where are you lacking balance? Figure it out and make the necessary changes, your life will thank you for it later!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

Cat, Rat, and Dog (PoA 17)

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

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

The Cat: Friend of the Dog

The Rat: Peter Pettigrew

The Dog: Sirius Black

Professor Lupin: Werewolf and Sirius Black friend

Me: “The heck?”

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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.

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

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.

Talons and Tea Leaves (PoA 6)

Being in a foreign country is amazing. From the sights to the food to the immense challenges of having to learn a whole new place, being away from home opens you up to brand new experiences left and right. While there are many similarities in each culture, there are vast differences that sometimes make you uncomfortable (both in good ways and in bad ways). The key to dealing with being uncomfortable is watching how you react.

A_real_life_Hippogriff_from_Harry_Potter_exists_in_UgandaIn this chapter it’s the first day of school. Harry’s third year classes begin with Divination, a strange class in a strange part of the castle. The students embark on a journey of tea leaves and fortune telling. For some this is very intriguing and real, for others its very “fake news” like. By the end of class Hermione is angry (not believing in any of this nonsense) and Harry is told he will die. The students head to Transfiguration, where Professor McGonagall weighs in on the subject of Harry’s predicted demise and divination as a whole, having very similar thoughts to Hermione’s. The class ends and Ron calls Hermione out on not liking Divination just because she isn’t good at it. After lunch they head down to the forest to meet Hagrid. It’s Hagrid’s first day teaching and he brings out Hippogriffs. Hagrid explains to the class that Hippogriffs are very proud creatures and not to insult them. Harry volunteers to try and gain the Hippogriffs trust and manages to ride the creature for a little while. Soon after every students is given the chance to subdue these creatures and everything goes well until Draco manages to insult one and is attacked. Draco ends up in the hospital wing with some cuts and Hagrid ends up drowning his sorrows and anxiety of being fired with some alcohol.

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The Italian Supreme Court 

Two of my favorite new experiences on my study abroad trip were learning about Italian Criminal Law and taking a tour of the Juvenile Dentition center in Naples. Much like the Hogwarts students, these experiences were different and a bit uncomfortable. Learning from teachers who spoke Italian as their first language and english as their second language made class difficult to understand at times. Many students in my class were completely appalled at the idea of lecturing from power points (which with jet lag and little sleep could be hard to follow along with). Everything was new and different.

We learned the key difference between American Criminal law and Italian criminal law was the end goal. In America punishment is the key. You did something wrong and now you must pay. Whereas in Italy rehabilitation is the key. You did something wrong, we can work together to fix it and give you a new hope in society. Then when we took time to go and tour the juvenile detention center we saw this concept in action.

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View from the top of the Constitutional Court in Rome 

I’ve been to a similar center here in Colorado as part of my American Criminal Law class.  The detention center here was like any other prison. The kids wore uniforms and didn’t have many freedoms. There were opportunities to learn trade skills, but the real goal was for the kids to do their time and learn that what they did was wrong. In the Italian deletion center, the kids wore regular clothes, smoked cigarettes, played basketball and gardened. They had to chose a trade to learn (ceramics, pizza making, baking, nativity scene making, etc.). The goal was to get these kids a second chance when they left.

While the two systems are somewhat alike, the way the kids seem to be treated are very different (from what I’ve experienced). The kids in Italy didn’t seem to be treated like prisoners, but like kids who needed guidance. The directors of the detention center spoke of the children as if they were misled by the greater society and no one else. There was a caring aspect to the directors, a sense that these kids needed their help because maybe their parents weren’t around and their only role models were those already doing criminal acts. In America it feels as if troubled youths are treated as and told that they are just bad people who need to figure out right from wrong and quickly.

As we left either class or the detention center, it was interesting to watch the discussion grow from our experiences. Some were uncomfortable with what they saw, mainly how the directors interacted with the youths and how no one (directors included) wore uniforms. Others seemed to be hit with compassion, and even further, others seemed to not care at all. Those who were uncomfortable with their experiences in Italian Criminal Law were usually much like Hermione or Professor McGonagall or even Draco: they made sure people knew where they stood on the matter. They felt uncomfortable and needed other to know about it. It’s something we all do. When we feel out of sorts we either cope by trying to find like-minded individuals or we ignore how we feel entirely and move on. Rarely do we sit down and try to pinpoint what makes us uncomfortable, where those feelings come from and how to process them next.

This is a key part of being a lawyer though. We have to find a way to look at every side of an issue. We have to be able to rationally look at something, push away our feelings and see every side. Now that’s not to say we can’t have feelings about things. Our gut-feelings are the most important part of intuition and doing what we deem is right, but being able to step out of yourself and see the other side, engage with another part of society or set of ideals… that’s what’s really important. While the Italian goal of rehabilitation seems outlandish against the ideas of American Punishment, I think there are some good facets of believing in the good of others and trying to help them see that good and make it blossom.

Seeing through the eyes of another, being immersed in the culture of another is hard. We are all hardwired to be prideful and ask for others to bow down to our ideals first before we will even consider their ideals (much like a hippogriff) and the second someone insults our ideals, we attack and leave a trail of hurt behind us. It’s not easy to set down that pride and let yourself see another way of doing things, but it’s important in law school and in law. Compassion for others is hard, but it is quintessential and all it takes is seeing the world the way they see it.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

PS: I don’t have any pictures of the dentition center in Naples because they took our phones before going in.

The Dementor (PoA 5)

It’s been quiet around here for the last month. It was hard to find time in Italy to sit and write, and can you blame me?? I’ll share some pictures throughout the next few posts! What an amazing trip, with amazing people, in an amazing place.

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The beach near school at sunset

For those of you who don’t know why I was in Italy, I went on a study abroad trip (yes, those exist in law school). We were in Sorrento, Italy, a beautiful coastal town in southern Italy. During the day (M-Th) we attended classes, which included Comparative Corporate Governance, Intro to Italian Law, Comparative Competition Law, and Comparative Drug Policy. Each class had a different interesting aspect, many times in ways I never thought I would find interesting. Two of the classes were taught by Italian professors while the other two were DU professors. Outside of class we were free to explore, travel, and eat A LOT of pasta and pizza.

Now you can see why I didn’t have much time to blog while I was away. Now, I’m back and ready to make up for lost weeks and posts (we still have to make it through another 4.5 books!).

This chapter is aptly named Dementors. We find the Golden Trio on their journey back to Hogwarts. Harry, who overheard a conversation about Sirius Black coming for him, can’t wait to tell Hermione and Ron what is happening. They pick a room on the train to talk (Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher sleeping in the corner of this train compartment) and Harry tells his friends everything he’s heard. A bit into their journey the train stops, which they find odd since they are not near Hogwarts yet. Ron senses movement outside the train. The lights go out and the train gets cold. Suddenly there’s a ghost like hooded figure in the doorway of their compartment. Harry hears screaming and faints, convulsing on the ground. Professor Lupin jumps up getting rid of the creature with a spell. When Harry comes to, everyone looks worried. No one else had a fainting spell or heard screaming. Ron says the creature (demeanor) made him feel as if he would never be happy again. They arrive to school only to be whisked away by Professor McGonagall who has Harry looked over by the school nurse. Dumbledore explains at the feast that Hogwarts will be playing host to the dementors this year and for students to take caution.

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Sorrento 

What I love about this chapter is that it starts with a journey home with friends. I’ve written a lot about having a tribe, a good support system, or making friends in law school. Being away for a month has made me even more certain that these staple people in your life are necessary. As Harry, Hermione, and Ron set out back to school, Harry feels this need to unpack some troubling thoughts on his friends, who welcome it. They joke, they laugh, and they worry for one another. When the dementor is gone and Harry comes to there’s this beautiful imagery of Hermione hugging Ginny who wandered into their room before the dementor appeared in the door way. Ginny is crying out of fear and Hermione is there to comfort her. Professor Lupin, a complete stranger to these students offers harry a chocolate bar (which is a ready to the effects of dementors) and Ron looks worriedly towards his friend, making sure he’s alright.

Being abroad for a month, where there’s a slight language barrier and none of your super close friends came with, makes you realize just how much you rely on others to be there for you. Looking back on my 1L year (which thankfully is done) there are a few key individuals that I met in law school that helped me succeed. There are also a lot of people who I wanted to be great friends and part of their support systems that just didn’t work out, which is okay in the end. Thinking on it now, my advice to incoming 1Ls this fall is this: don’t force it. I started out orientation with the idea that I need to befriend everyone, make a great first impression, be likable and loved by many. I tied my whole identity to being fun, agreeable, and cool. I mixed and mingled with a lot of people. I went to the bar, I went out, I joined study groups, I helped teach people the material before finals… I never said no.

When the Dementors came I wasn’t surrounded by everyone that I worked so hard to please all semester/year, instead I had a few people in my corner there to make sure I was okay or to hold me while I cried.

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Just your average people pleaser at Pompeii 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being a people pleaser. We are constantly told over and over at orientation that your reputation starts now and will stay with you forever. While for some that means being cool and always having a good time, that doesn’t mean you have to always conform to other people’s standards, it doesn’t mean you have to make everyone like you, it doesn’t mean you have to be a people pleaser.

Stay true to who YOU are. Follow YOUR convictions. Do what feels right to YOU. Fill your corner with a few true friends and just be nice to everyone else. I’d rather have a Golden Trio of friends then a room full of Death Eaters when the dementors come.

 

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed