The Dementor’s Kiss and Hermione’s Secret (PoA 20 & 21)

On a different note from my last post, as I finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the same time summer comes to an end I want to take these last 3 chapters (2 blog posts) to sort of reflect on my summer. Now I had a pretty epic summer. I went to Italy, I earned 10 credits, I started to pull my GPA out of the hole I put it in first semester, I made some new friends and may have lost some old ones, but most importantly of all I found this incredible strength to keep moving forward and found that second chances are abundant.

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The tribe that started it…

I went into this summer a little stressed. Last fall when finals came around the stress monster started to take over. The result was a poor grade in a class I thought would be my highest grade and a truly low GPA. It’s hard to keep your head up when you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are truly brilliant and don’t seem to be struggling at all. So everything was now riding on the spring semester. During this time stress was constantly running high. I went to class and stress levels would skyrocket. I would go home to study and be stressed. Every choice, every decision, every interaction was nothing but stressful. So as finals wrapped up and I packed my stuff up to head out to Italy, I couldn’t shake the stress.

Now I enjoyed Italy, it was a great experience, full of life and laughter and plenty of pasta. Yet, I was stressed the entire time. Between my own anxiety and dealing with other people’s anxiety over grades, being in a foreign country, reading assignments, law review write-ons and more I couldn’t help but feel anxious every day. I wanted to be chill. I wanted to just lay on the beach every day without a care in the world, but I couldn’t.

When I got back from Italy, the stress of finals, an externship, a part-time job and dealing with friend issues all got to be too much. I felt like I was on the brink of losing it. I wanted to cry everyday. Things that were perfectly fine to be upset about on a micro level, exploded all over the place. Hiking mountains resulted in tears, dealing with an actual crisis resulted in bigger problems to deal with later. Everything felt like it was spiraling. Nothing felt safe. Nothing felt okay. Everything felt like another boulder being added to my bag to carry. IMG_1575

And then something changed.

IN these two chapters the gang heads back towards the castle with Peter in tow. But as the night unfolds, Lupin turns into a werewolf, Peter gets away, Sirius is injured and almost has his soul sucked out by dementors (alongside Harry), Sirius is taken into captivity again, Hermione and Dumbledore let harry in on a secret, Hermione and Harry go back in time to save Buckbeak and Sirius and rush back so no one knows they have messed with the way things unfold.

One of the key moments in this chapter, something that gives Harry strength is when Sirius asks Harry to live with him instead of the Durselys. Of course all hope of this is lost when Peter gets away, but in the moment, when Harry needs to save himself, Hermione and Sirius from the Dementor’s Kiss, that moment gives him the power to conjure one of the strongest Patronus charms anyone has ever seen out of Harry’s age group.

For me, this summer that strength has come in a few spread out moments. One of them was when I decided to take back my life from my anxiety, to become independent again and head back to living on my own. Another moment came from raising my GPA back up to a 3.0. Another moment was getting word that I wouldn’t be losing my scholarship and last but not least it has been in getting grades back form my summer classes. At the end of the day I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.

mary-grandpre-rescue-of-sirusWhen you have a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, it threatens to constantly consume your entire life. People define you by it, they tell you things like “oh, it’s just your anxiety”, “Oh you must be on the track towards a depressed state.” And you do it towards yourself. You start to make excuses for the way you act when you are actually upset about how you’ve been treated or the circumstances at hand. You start to apologize for ever getting upset about something that you should actually be upset about. You change the way you act, you change the way you speak, you change so much about yourself to fit into this anxious role you now only see yourself starring in.

Choosing to no longer live this way: the best damn decision one can make. It’s a second chance, a way to change your own life. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing this second year of law school. Don’t get me wrong, law school is a great place for people, it’s just not my actual favorite place. It’s competitive, it’s a horse and pony show for those who need ego boosts, it’s unforgiving at times, it’s difficult to navigate. But in the end it’s rewarding in reflecting to you who you are and then showing you who you truly want to be.

Sirius Black was made out to be a murderer, then actually almost became one, then almost died and then was brought back into custody to be killed and then was given a second chance at life with Hermione and Harry’s rescue. Sure, he now goes on the run, but he’s been given a chance to no longer live int he role of a murderer seeking revenge. Getting to start a new school year feels similar. We are no longer stuck in the sections we were assigned, we get a chance to pick our classes, meet new people and step out of our comfort zones. We get the chance to start anew, to start fresh, to explore more of who we are as compared to who we thought we were. IMG_1101

Looking back on this summer I was able to truly connect with a side of me I no longer really knew. I was able to step back and see what I wanted, explore who I wanted to be and appreciate who I already am. And we will now wait and see who I become this next year, this fresh start of a school year… the 2L year.

We’ve got one more post to wrap this book today… so stay tuned.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

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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.