Harry Potter

Resistance of a Different Kind

We live in crazy times. Each time I open CNN (which I KNOW I should not type that into my browser.. but I can’t help it) my stomach drops.

Oh, you too?

Yeah, I know I’m not alone.

Maybe you’re reading important Op-Ed pieces.

Maybe you are cleaning out your closets and burning your shoes.

Maybe you are showing up for protests and teaching your kids how to make homemade signs.

Maybe you are sharing viral videos with the hopes of likes and comments and conversation.

Maybe you are angry, hurt, scared and turning hateful instead of hopeful.

My spinning head can not keep up with headlines, hurting hearts, and heavy reminders of the work we have yet to do.

A friend of a friend wrote this article drawing upon the lessons from Harry Potter in this era of Trump. I, too, was eleven when Harry meekly came onto the scene, gaining power in his own abilities, his skills, and his uniqueness.

His voice taught my generation to resist opression, darkness and death eaters, much like Malia says, with our own ordinary abilities.

I’m not shouting on streets and I’m not making signs. I am clicking on articles and watching disheartening videos, and I’m swirling with how do I, a perfectly ordinary person, resist this?

With whispers of beautiful things.

I’ve decided for the month of September to invite you, my readers, to join me in making lists of things going well in your life right now. Yes, it may feel a total shit show out there, but in my house, my world is calm. Imperfect, but calm.

 I believe we can create peace if we start in our hearts, refusing to believe the doom and gloom and crazy chaos of an aching world is all there is. 

No, I’m not discounting the craziness, nor am I naively saying that making lists of good and beautiful things makes things better. It can, however, make things bearable.

Interested in joining the resistance?

 

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Send me a list of five to ten things going right in your world and I’ll share it on the blog. You can scratch it down on paper, shoot me an email at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com or leave a comment here.

Think a gratitude list mixed with a light saber to fight off the darkness.

I’ll go through the month of September. I’m hoping for 1000 total beautiful things. That means 100 people have to send me a list of 10 items.

For tonight?

  • There’s food in my fridge
  • Grocery stores and corner stands and open-air markets all over the world sell bouquets of fresh flowers
  • Candy corn
  • Text messages with loved ones
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Writers
  • Creatives
  • Believers in beautiful things

Send me an email, let’s get resisting.

 

 

 

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“Always,” said Snape.

I just got done watching the last Harry Potter movie. We spread out part one and two over the weekend and I sit here, on my big blue couch, letting big waves of sad wash all over me.

Pulse. Wave. Sad. Pulse. Wave. Breath. Sad.

My dad loved those books.

When Harry Potter was eleven, I was eleven. Those stories a staple in my childhood and my adolescence.

Rewind six hours today and I’m standing, for the first time, in the oddest bookstore in town. In a small closet my ankle boots anchor me in front of a tall set of shelves. Big, wooden ones tucked away from the other rows of scattered books. On one shelf, at eye level, sit stacks and stacks of the series. Copies of all seven stories are accounted for. Five or six of each part of the grand story.

Piles of red books with gold lettering on worn spines. They’re all there. The first one – purple spine. The Chamber of Secrets. And on the shelf below piles of blue spines with the same gold lettering. The Half Blood Prince. And the green spine. And the orange. All the stories there. On shelves.

Reminding me of pages once loved and frantic flipping of paper to figure out what would happen next to our epic heroes.

Whoosh.

I’m eighteen years old.

Dad driving me to the midnight showing of the newest film after my senior appreciation dinner. I was wearing a blue hoodie and my Varsity tennis sweatpants. I sat with friends against the wall in the theater, feeling on top of the world. Invincible. I had accomplished so much.

Woosh.

It’s summer vacation and the two of us are sitting in a small cabin, each holding a copy of The Deathly Hallows across from each other, racing to read faster. Both in flannel pajamas. Staying up too late, drinking cocoa out of blue speckled metal mugs.

We always bought two copies when the new books were released because we couldn’t wait for our own turn. We had to read together. Who could get through the cliffhanger faster? He usually won. And the next morning we’d sit on the tiny wooden porch in the sun, debriefing the story, gasping at who the last casualty was to fall to he-who-shall-not-be-named.

Memories in story as we flipped page together. That gangly Harry Potter and his heroic crew weaving his fictional life with mine. With Dad’s.

That’s what good books do – they become an inseparable part of your story.

Woosh.

And tonight, I miss him. And I miss Harry. And the beautiful gold lettering. And those worn, well-loved spines.

Now the books just sit beautifully, in stacks, on shelves in used-book stores and studies that he no longer enters.

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But both of their stories linger in my heart and my fingers and my memories. Touch the spines, finger the gold letters, breath.

Pulse. Wave. Breath. Sad.

In other news, I had fun writing this guest post for More Native Than the Natives. I like living in Colorado and am proud to be from this beautiful state. It ain’t all bad folks. Feel the wave. Breathe. Move again in the morning.

Belly Laughs

There is a beautiful store in my town. You walk in off of a busy downtown street and are immediately embraced by cool colored walls, stones that soothe, wood floors that ground you in their space. The fabrics are soft, and delicate, and swish when you touch them on the hangers. I walk slowly, touching items, holding, grasping, smelling. Pillows and candles and furnishings delight the senses. I can not afford much of anything in that store, but I can walk in the doorway and be instantly calmed into the state of blissful desire for nice things. Someday, maybe, I will be able to stomach the cost of fine, fine, furnishings, but for now, Rain Boutique, you give me such joy in just browsing.

I found this little bag there this weekend, and took a picture, because I want the words to be my mission in life. My targeted goal of re-grounding and purpose. I can’t buy the bag, but I can adopt the mantra. Like I’ve said before, there’s a lot of bad out there, but if you look, there’s sure a lot of beauty, too.

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What a responsibility though, isn’t it? To look for the beautiful things? I find myself getting caught up in the nags and annoyances and pulls in direction of every day life. I vent about my co-workers, my car, my missing socks. The list could go on and on if we let it, and frankly, I think many people default to nag mode. Myself included. So Elise, I see your words and accept them as a challenge. Bring on the beautiful, bring on the life.

This past week, as you all know, included Halloween. Historically, not my favorite holiday. It feels like a lot of effort to commit to something that pushes me out of my comfort zone and into a world of monsters and masks. Seriously, I hate masks. Nice ones, friendly ones, gorillas, or the angel of death, they all FREAK ME OUT. So, no thanks to going to bars or parades, or out in public with those unidentified people. This year, though, my friend had a Harry Potter party. Nerds unite! I’m in my mid twenties, but that wizard still speaks to my heart. I committed to the costume, Dylan did too, and we set out to Denver to be with some of my dearest friends. Dress up we did.

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Maybe it was one of things where you had to be in on an inside joke, but when I saw my friend’s efforts and magical characters my heart was warmed. My friend wore stilts and size 52×32 pants to pull off the best Hagrid I have ever seen. We drank poly juice potion and butter beer, and we laughed. We ate nasty flavored jelly beans and laughed. I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time. Out in public people thought we were odd, and in the local Dicks Sporting Goods, the staff were not amused at our request for Quaffles or Quidditch supplies. It didn’t matter, we were amused. And when we loaded Hagrid into a bed of a truck to go out, I thought I was going to pee my pants.

You are probably reading this and not getting it, and that’s ok. I got it and it made me laugh. Laughter brings joy and that is beautiful. Being myself amongst friends is beautiful. Belly laughs are beautiful. I need to laugh more, to focus on the good, to remember that it is a mission and a choice to laugh or to nag, to dress up or opt out, to engage or be fearful.

In an effort to make you laugh here is a WAY off topic YouTube Video that makes me laugh. Well actually, here are a few. One is a parody of something I think I self consciously struggle with. The other is just hilarious. See if you can figure out which is which, and maybe that will make you laugh too.

Do you allow yourself to laugh? What happens when you default into nag mode?