A Millennial and The Boy Who Lived

A day late and a dollar short, that should be my motto in life. Always thinking of a great idea nearly two weeks too late. Or my favorite, thinking up questions to ask for a job interview after the interview is over, that one is always helpful. I’m thinking that’s something I should work on but I’m not sure what that would fall under…inventiveness maybe? Or it could just be to get over that frog in my throat and spit it out. But c’est la vie, I’m hear now and that’s what matters right?

If you’re a book nerd like me I’m sure you know that last week, the famous Harry Potter series celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. 20 years, seven books, eight movies, a youtube puppet show, a cult parody play, and millions of lives changed. I am proud to say that I am one of those million of lives. In fact it’s hard to believe where I would be now with out that daring, bespectacled boy. It’s certainly a world I don’t want to live in.

I was first introduced to Harry Potter when I was in second grade. It was a challenging time for me then, I was just placed into my school’s special education program to address my learning disability. Of course I didn’t know what that meant then, all I knew was that I had to go to a different classroom with all new people for a little bit every day. But that first day, it’s burned into my mind.

When I walked into the classroom, or rather the trailer the class was held in, everyone was sitting on the floor around the teacher. She was reading them a book. I didn’t know what it was called but I did remember her reading about a prison, one in which you can never escape, and I thought to myself how horrible that must have been. I learned later that day that she was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and she was talking about Sirius Black.

I also vividly remember the part when Harry was at Diagon Alley eating ice cream. Don’t ask me why this particular part is so ingrained in my memories, I don’t have the answer for you. Maybe it’s the way J. K. Rowling described everything, the world she created with a few strokes of her pen, how it turned my own imagination into overdrive. What I do know is after that fateful day, I fell in love. I started writing more, something that was always a challenge for me, and to this day, I haven’t stopped. I even got a college degree for it. I let my imagination wander, putting myself into the shoes of Harry and taking daring adventures right along with him.

I carried Harry with me all the way through middle school, a very tumultuous time in anyone’s life. My elementary school friends were no longer my friends and I didn’t always fit in with my middle school friends. But I always had Harry. Harry was there for me when no one else was. He was my safety net, the one person I could turn to when I was scared or angry or sad, Hogwarts was always there to welcome me home.

To me, the Harry Potter series is more than just a book series. It’s my childhood, my best friend, my home away from home. These books, these characters, they changed my life. They shaped who I am today. I learned how to be brave like Neville, persistent in my chase for knowledge like Herminone, loyal and kind like Ron, unique and self-assured like Luna, fun and carefree like the Weasley twins, and daring like Harry.

I owe so much of who I am today to these books. They helped pave the way for my own creativeness and a plethora of other characters and stories that have influenced my life. It’s safe to say that I would have never started writing if it wasn’t for these books. I would have never introduced myself to things like Star Wars or Marvel comic books if Harry Potter didn’t instill in me this love for fantasy.

So thank you Harry. Thank you for changing my life for the better. Thank you for teaching me how to be brave, for teaching me that it’s okay to make mistakes, for teaching me to love, for teaching me that happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light, and most importantly for teaching me that in the end, all will be well.

Happy 20th Harry!

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A Millennial and Political Parties

Democrat. Republican. Liberal. Conservative. Left. Right. The many names for America’s two major political parties. Call them what you will, it is impossible to watch the news these days without hearing about them. It seems like that’s all we’re talking about now, the American political parties and how they are trying to best each other. But here is my little thought for the day, do we need them?

When I was a freshman at college, my English 101 professor asked this very question. Do we need political parties? My first answer was, well yes. Without defined parties we would descend into chaos. We need to have these institutions to keep our differing opinions in check. But do we really? I certainly don’t have an answer to this question but I’m sure as heck going to try and explain this little thought of mine just to get you thinking too.

On one hand, when I think about political parties, I think of the constant fighting that is currently happening. Democrats vs. Republicans – the ultimate throw down. Two enter the ring, only one will leave. I think about the division it causes not only among our political leaders but us as American citizens.

I grew up in a Republican household. I remember my dad making snide comments about certain politicians or celebrities just because they did not belong to his party. It’s insane to think about. Not liking someone just because they have a different view point than you. But that’s what our current political parties do isn’t it? We can’t work with you because you’re a Democrat or you’re a Republican. We can’t find a compromise because I refuse to work with you based on your political party.

This way of thinking is childish and dangerously naive. Refusing to find common ground because you have differing beliefs is how you run democracy to the ground. With such strong division it is nearly impossible to grow. Demolishing political parties would end this rift between us that inhibits progress.

But would it really?

If we take away the labels would the dived still exist? It is human nature to form our own opinions. And for every opinion we have there will be someone somewhere that will oppose that opinion. If one group of people think one way and another group thinks something else, they end up splitting into factions. So, even if we demolish the political parties, would they eventually reform?

Furthermore, is it too late for America to rid ourselves of the party system? Our history is so entrenched in this tradition that even if it were to one day go away, we will always have the memory looming over us. The line has been drawn in the sand. Is there anyway to erase it?

I have no answers for this, I just have questions. Can we start over and work together or are we doomed to live in a never ending cycle of Left vs. Right? Like I said, I have no answers to give but in today’s politically charged world, it certainly gives you something to think about.

A Millennial and November 9th, 2016

It’s easy to say from a position of privilege that today is just another day, that life will go on but it most certainly is not just another day. My heart is broken, my faith is shattered, my mind is numb, and my soul is bleeding.

Not for myself, no, but for my marginalized brothers and sisters. For the oppressed, for the homeless, for the poor, for my friends and neighbors in the lgbtq+ community, for Black lives, Latinx lives, Asian – American lives, Muslim lives, for my sisters and my sisters of color, for the youth, and for all who have faced injustice in a land that is suppose to protect them.

I am so, deeply, horrendously, sorry. This country has failed you. We have ignored your suffering and elected to office someone who has built his campaign on hate and prejudice. It is unacceptable. It is deplorable. It is disgusting.

It’s not much, a mere flicker of a flame to gale force winds, but I will continue to fight for you. I will forever stand by your side to see you win. I will always give you my unconditional love. We will fight through these next four years, and the four years after that. We will persevere. We are the future.

My apology is simple but my love for you is strong. I see you, I know your fear, and I will stand with you until the end of time. I am so sorry.

I love you.

A Millennial and Her Family Reunion

The past few days I’ve been out of town for a family reunion, my first time attending since it was affectionately called the Pig Roast. At first, I’ll admit, I wasn’t super thrilled. It was to be held at my Grandmother’s childhood home (now owned by my two aunts), in the middle of nowhere New York. Well water, bugs galore, and facing large crowds of people I haven’t seen since I was a child, not my idea of a party.

But I have to say, I had a wonderful weekend and a truly awesome experience. And what, you might ask, made it such a great time? Taking a break for this computer I’m currently sitting in front of. The farm (that’s what my family calls the house) is nestled in the sleepy mountains of Olean, New York, a small town on the west end of the state. Cell reception at the farm is laughable at best and while there is wifi, I seemed to have left my phone in the car pretty much everyday.

IMG_3769Without those distractions, the things we hardly seem to live without these days, the world opened up in front of me. I could hear the silence of the world, deep and peaceful. I could see the beauty all around, from giant rocks that have been carved by the weather into ancient shapes, to the misty grey fog rolling off the mountain tops, and to the calm bubbling of the creek I use to play in when I was younger. The world became a different place.

But the one thing that will stick with me for the rest of my life was the night sky. Wrapped up in blankets and a warm fire crackling at my feet, the sky above me came to life as the sun set, a whole new universe coming to life as the other went to rest. Thousands upon thousands of stars glittering in the vast sky. Every now and then I would see a shooting star dart across my vision, burning bright and dying out in a flame of glory. I even had the chance to see the Milky Way, cloudy grey sections of the sky filled with so many stars, it was breathtaking.

Another thing that I will remember forever is, seeing my family. There were four generations of my family all gathered in the same place. Sure I wasn’t really sure who everyone was but they are still family. And if you take the time to look you could see the IMG_3755resemblance etched in all of our faces. Four generations all packed together in a house that was built in 1919 and saw my Grandmother and her sisters grow to adulthood, now that is incredible.

To be surrounded by so much history, to be swallowed up by so many stars, it reminds you how beautiful life is, how small we are, and how connected we are to each other and nature.

Not to mention, being able to pull away from the screens of technology and experience nature in it’s raw form has been the most relaxing, peaceful, and recharging thing I have ever done in my life.

So the point of all this is to encourage you to step away from your phones, tablets, and computers and just look at the world around you. See the beauty that surrounds us every day. Get in touch with your roots and find peace in the greatest gift we have, the love of family and the every place we call home, Earth.