Magic Like Whoa

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WordsMy day job has been completely insane the past two months, and I am SO RELIEVED that it has died down and I can finally take a breath and recalibrate. Starting to do just that made me realize that there has been some major magic at work in my life lately, but I’ve only just had time to realize it.

And it’s awesome.

Last year I did this amazing 6-month group coaching program, The Society, with Samantha Skelly. She founded Hungry for Happiness, a movement of women dedicated to ending the fight with food and their bodies by addressing the underlying causes of emotional eating. The mission behind HFH and Sam is one that I love:

We envision a world in which women no longer feel compelled to diet. In which they have a strong connection to their body and its intuitive powers, and give themselves permission to feel pain, secure in the knowledge that our bodies don’t throw anything at us that we can’t handle. We’ve set a lofty goal of helping one million women end dieting by 2020. Will you join us?

Now my close peeps know that I’ve struggled with these issues for a long time, but it’s not something I really publicize, especially on social media. However, I learned that these types of issues reside in the dark corners of fear and shame, and when you yank them out into the light, they lose their power over you. If my time in The Society taught me anything, it’s to speak my truth and that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with others, instead of ridicule and judgement, you’re often met with love and compassion.

Through Sam’s coaching, I was able to reconnect with my body, discover the underlying emotional issues behind my eating disorder, and connect with an amazing group of women who showed me more love and support than I ever experienced before in my life. It truly was a life changing and transformational experience.

When the program came to an end in late May, I was at a point where I realized how much I wanted to use my writing to help others, just like Sam helped me. Of course I want to be an awesomely successful screenwriter (and novelist!) too, but I also love connecting with others through writing and in a way that is beneficial and inspiring (and fulfilling to me personally). I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to or could execute that desire.

Fast forward to today, and I’m a writer and Community Manager for Hungry for Happiness. It all fell into place quickly, unexpectedly, and like, well, magic. My role as HFH Community Manager provides exactly what I wanted. Every day, I get to connect with women all over the world through my writing. I’m able to offer support, guidance, and encouragement to beautiful souls who are experiencing the same struggles I’ve encountered.

There’s also a layer of continued personal growth and development that I get to experience through my HFH work. Overcoming an eating disorder and body image issues is an ever-evolving journey. There is no finish line. You have wins, and you have losses. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometime’s it’s really, really difficult. But with coaching from Sam, I’ve cultivated a ridiculous amount of self-love that’s allowed me to connect with my body and my soul on a higher level and surrender to life’s lessons, miracles, and magic. I never thought that I would be genuinely grateful for issues that have caused me so much pain and suffering, but I am. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I wouldn’t be in a position to help others.

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That Time I Was Anti Harry Potter

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HP Books

I know, my bookshelves are hot af.

Lately my social feeds and favorite news sources have been flooded with headlines reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, and just reminiscing on my own personal history with the fandom has me all sorts of nostalgic. Anyone who knows me and my fangirl ways would probably just assume that I’m a HP fangirl, and although I am, that wasn’t always the case.

::cue dramatic music::

I was a teenager when Harry Potter became the it thing. I was also (and still am) a bit of a rebel, so although I loved to read, I refused to read the books simply because everyone else was reading them. I was sick of hearing my friends talk about them and decided to stubbornly stay as far away from the HP bandwagon as I could.

Until weeks before the release of the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

My childhood best friend was an avid Harry Potter fan. Just before the release of the fifth book, she begged me–one final time–to just give the books a try: “Please just try the first book, and if you don’t like it, I’ll never talk about Harry Potter to you again.” Irritated, but wanting to make her happy, I did give the first book a try. And within four days, I had borrowed and read all four books. By release day of book 5, I was attending the midnight release party at my local Borders, and I owned the other four books.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Poster

Said German Draco Malfoy poster.

For years thereafter, Harry Potter topped my fangirl favs list. I’m talking midnight release parties, reading the books aloud to my siblings (my character voices are awesome, if I do say so myself), buying all sorts of memorabilia (my prized possession being a German Draco Malfoy poster), and applying and being accepted (via sorting) to a infamous Harry Potter livejournal community (I was sorted into Gryffindor, although Slytherin was a close call).

Since I’m a huge (and unrepentant) nerdbomber, it’s fun to look back on my Harry Potter days. So, without further ado:

Harry Potter Highlights From the Life O’ Pam

  • Fanfiction: I dipped my toes in the pool of fanfiction thanks to Harry Potter. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at fanfiction, but as a fledgling writer, there is no better way to improve and gain confidence. Fanfiction was the first time I shared my writing with anyone, and it helped me grow more confident in my talent and learn to adhere to deadlines (because you can’t leave readers hanging too long for a new chapter!).
  • HP OTP: Speaking of fanfiction, my HP one true pairing was Draco Malfoy/Ginny Weasely. I know, I know, impossible in canon, but in fandom…well, talk about a following! She was the fire to his ice! They were the modern day Romeo and Juliet! Oh, the possibilities!
  • Goblet of Fire Movie Premiere: So, I may have attended the GoF movie premiere in NYC. It may or may not have been INSANE. I will never do something like that again, but it was a pretty cool once-in-a-lifetime experience. People were crazy, there were hundreds of fans lining up on the street hours and hours in advance. My friends and I took the train in at about 4AM for an early evening premiere. Although we weren’t as close the the red carpet as I had hoped (we were across the street), I did get a photo and signed movie poster of Katie Leung  (aka Cho Chang).
  • Sirius Denial: Sirius Black was and will always be one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. I know he was a hot head. I know he was terrible to teenage!Snape. But, well, I have a thing for bad boys, especially bad boys with motorcycles. #sorrynotsorry Also, in book 5, it sure as hell didn’t seem like he was hit with the killing curse, just saying. It was a RED flash, okay!? Needless to say, when they changed it to green in the movie, I was not happy.
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: I’m convinced that the second time my family went to Disney was solely for the purpose of me visiting the HP theme park. And um, it was awesome. I can’t even tell you what it felt like to walk down streets that resembled Diagon Alley and stand in front of a Hogwarts replica. Oh em gee. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of shopping I did in that park haha. A couple of wands here, a leather bound journal there. Sigh. I’d like to go back ASAP.
  • Writing Inspiration: I fell in love with the world and writing of Harry Potter, and I fell hard. I was immersed in this fandom as a late teen into my early twenties, and silly as it may seem, my love for these books helped to further validate my desire to be a writer. Rowling has such a great rags to riches story, and even back then, I found it truly inspirational. One of my favorite things about the Harry Potter series is that you can see how Rowling progressed as a writer. More so than the actual writing was the imagination that went into the HP books. Rowling created such a nuanced world filled with hundreds of different characters. She had threads, so many threads, of plot and subplot woven throughout the series. The aspiring writer in me was in awe of the intricacy of her writing and the way she brought so many things–things that seemed extremely minor at first mention–full circle. I remember thinking, how did she do that? How did a quick mention of something in book one or two turn into THIS in book five or six? And now, as a writer, I see that it actually comes naturally. It happens when you dive deep into your story and characters. But back then, before I understood this, well, it was magic 🙂

Holy novel length blog post, Batman! I suppose you can see how dear the Harry Potter world is to me. J.K. Rowling has created something amazing and inspiring – a story and characters that have touched and mesmerized millions of people around the world. And now, I need to bust out my calendar and start planning a Harry Potter marathon, both reading and watching, because it’s been far too long since I last got lost in the halls of Hogwarts.