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.
It’s been about five years or so since I started to dabble in the realm of personal growth, and within the past year I’ve really leveled up my commitment to my own journey of self-discovery. The concept of connection has been on my radar more and more, and I’m beginning to realize not only the importance of connection and our relationship with others, but also how it can spawn revelations when it comes to personal growth and authenticity.
Last week, the topic of my group coaching work was self-expression and communication. I’ve always considered myself a pretty expressive and creative person, but when I actually stopped to take inventory of how I’ve honored these traits recently, I realized that I haven’t. It was a sad development for me, because in addition to being expressive and creative, I’ve always considered myself fun. Further reflection on all of this–as well as experimentation over the following days–solidified the fact that I (and everyone, in my opinion) need to remember to play, and play often.
Big Little Lies is so good that I finished watching it a few weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I tend to enjoy HBO programming in general (Game of Thrones is my jam!), and when I saw the top billed cast for this (::heart eyes at Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon::), I knew I needed to give it a try. Holy hell, am I glad that I did!
The show is based on the book by Liane Moriarty. I didn’t know about the book before the show, but you better believe that I’ve since added it to my reading list. As an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, I enjoy comparing adaptations of the same story, so I’m really looking forward to reading the book.
Confession time: I’ve been super depressed lately. As in considering medication because I’ve been vibing so low, feeling terrible, and couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I put a lot of the blame on my job, because it’s been a really tough year at my workplace, and although I’m great at what I do, I don’t love it. It doesn’t light me up. It’s unfulfilling. And that’s a hard pill to swallow every day. I’ve even blamed some of my depression on the amazing group coaching program that I’ve been in since November (which sadly ends in a few weeks). Although I love it, have made amazing friends, and had some transformational breakthroughs, much of the work has been really deep, painful, and hard to face (Sidenote: Still, this program and work has still been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Period.). Naturally, with all of this going on in my life, I blamed my depression and never-ending misery on those things. But–and here’s the kicker of a realization that I just had a few minutes ago–it’s not work or personal growth that have fueled my depression.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 12-years-old, and at this point, it’s a bit of an understatement to say that I have many, many story ideas. Some are novels and some are screenplays. The genres are varied – general fiction, young adult supernatural, comedy, drama, romance, young adult fantasy. Over the years, I’ve started to write at least half a dozen of these stories, but I’ve only ever completed a thriller novel and two screenplays (one drama, one comedy), all three of which were co-written with my writing partner. I always thought that accountability was the biggest block to actually finishing (and pitching!) my own books, but I’ve come to realize that the real problem–and my true archenemy–is perfectionism.
This past week marked the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the tv series). Although I enjoyed a variety of pop culture as a wee one, anything from Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to X-Men and the Superman movies, I didn’t get a true taste of fangirl obsession until Buffy the Vampire Slayer walked into my life (well, not literally, because then I would be dead from awesome overload). My BtVS obsession goes waaay back to the original movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. I was in love with Luke Perry, thanks to Beverly Hills, 90210, which I watched with my mom. (Sidenote: although mom appreciated Luke Perry, her heart belonged to Jason Priestley.) I was only eight when the BtVS movie came out in 1992, but I was instantly hooked. Although I think, even back then, part of me knew this wasn’t cinema at its best lol. Still, Luke Perry was hot, Kristy Swanson was a girl who kicked major ass, and there were vampires! Lots and lots of vampires!
Speak to anyone close to me, and they will probably tell you that one of my more charming traits (I hope) is that I am a complete and utter failure in the kitchen. Actually, “failure” is putting it lightly. When it comes to my horrible culinary skills (or lack thereof) and frequently disgusting–sometimes dangerous–end results, the word “catastrophe” is much more fitting.
My very first kitchen catastrophe happened when I was a teenager. I’m the oldest of five and frequently babysat my siblings while my parents were out. On one such occasion, I decided I was going to surprise my parents by baking brownies, but not just plain, old, boring brownies, no, I was going to make heart-shaped brownies. I’d been eyeing this hot pink heart-shaped silicon (or so I thought) pan that my mom had purchased a few weeks earlier, and this was my chance to finally get my grubby hands on it. Sadly, the silicon pan was not silicon at all. It was plastic. Extremely, regrettably, meltable plastic. Needless to say, we had neither brownies nor a heart-shaped pan by the time I was done in the kitchen that day.
You may have caught on to this by now: I am a personal growth junkie. I love learning and exploring new things, particularly resources that are informative, inspirational, and fun. And if said resources just so happen to improve happiness and well-being, all the better!
So, in the spirit of promoting such resources, I’d like to recommend one of my favorite daily e-newsletters (stemming from a great website): Mindbodygreen. I look forward to this gem in my inbox every single day. Here’s a blurb from the Mindbodygreen website about the mission behind the brand:
I’ve been meditating for about five years, and although I’ve gone through periods where it was a devout daily practice of mine, I’ve not been very good at making it stick lately. The annoying thing is that I know how much it improves my life – it gives me clarity, a way to relieve stress, and it lends to a marked and overall improvement to my mental health. I thought that perhaps by blogging about meditation, it would inspire me to make it a daily habit once more.