Mt. Gwanaksan

I’m only 8 days away from leaving.

When I think about how Korea will be I imagine climbing a mountain, intentionally going off the path to find a secluded place away from tourists, and then curling up in a ball for an indeterminate length of time time.

Such a beautiful place to be with friends.


Dementors and Mirrors

Winfrey: Would it also be fair to say that your life – everything in your life, because I know you went through a period of depression and I had read that the Dementors came from that depression

Rowling: Completely, yeah.

Winfrey: In Harry Potter’s world, the Dementors are dark creatures who feed-off human happiness causing depression and despair to those in their path. Dementors are capable of consuming a person’s soul.

Winfrey: Would it be fair to say that you’ve used, in the seventeen year process, writing the Potter series, that you’ve used the good, the bad and the ugly of your life?

Rowling: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely.

Winfrey: And expressed it through your writing through the Potter stories?

Rowling: Yeah. For sure. Depression is – Clinical depression is a – is a – is a terrible place to be. Terrible place to be.

Winfrey: So you became depressed after your mother died?

Rowling: Yes, but I think it was a kind of delayed – I think I had tendencies toward depression from quite young. It became really acute when I was sort of twenty-five to twenty-eight was a dark time. It’s that absence of feeling – and it’s even the absence of hope that you can feel better. And it’s so difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. Sadness is – I know sadness – sadness is not a bad thing. You know? To cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what the Dementors are. And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help.


Winfrey: What is your dream of happiness?

Rowling: Well, in the – in the first Harry Potter book, Dumbledore says to Harry that the happiest man alive would look in the mirror and see himself exactly as he is.


The Mirror of Erised is a mirror, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, shows the “deepest and most desperate desire of one’s heart.” The happiest person in the world would look in the mirror and see a reflection of exactly the way he or she is. Inscribed across the top of the frame is the following text: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. Reversing the inscription and rearranging the spaces produces: I show not your face but your heart’s desire. (excerpt from the Harry Potter wiki)

When I stumbled upon this interview today, I thought that’s it! That’s what happiness would look like.

If the Mirror of Erised were real, my reflection would be very similar to Harry’s.

The Resurrection Stone

Out of all of the holidays, Easter is my favorite. (Yes, favorite, which means it trumps Christmas.)

Although I’m not a Christian, Easter has always been a special holiday that I enjoy. It serves as both a metaphorical and literal reminder of rebirth and brighter days. It’s a holiday that not everyone celebrates, and those that do celebrate often celebrate it for a variety of reasons.

It’s a holiday that I can secretly and silently be really happy and excited for, without expectations.

This Easter, I spent the day riding my bike, walking, and watching a good five hours worth of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2.

In Part 2, there is a scene that has always resonated strongly within me. It’s after Harry has seen snippets of Snape’s life, where it’s revealed that all this time, Snape has been protecting Harry out of love for his mom. Snape has one last message to deliver to Harry, one that Dumbledore was waiting to reveal until the time was right: Harry must die…it’s humanity’s only chance.

Realizing this, Harry walks to the Forbidden Forest, alone and ready to die. As he whispers “I’m ready to die” and gently presses his lips against the snitch, the snitch opens up and the Resurrection Stone floats out. Once the stone is in his hand, his loves ones appear and the following scene unfolds:

Harry’s closest loved ones appear and his eyes focus on his mom, who is holding her hand out for him to take.

He walks to her, attempts to take her hand, but then realizes that his mother lives within him…he can’t physically touch her.

Instead, he can only feel and see her through his memories; whatever he can recount from pictures and descriptions from others.

The scene ends with Harry saying “stay close to me,” and his mom responding with “always.”

Watching Harry and his mother interact, and observing Harry’s longing to be with his mother, I suddenly internalized everything and got an intense longing for my mother.

“To be held for the first time by a parent. To be safe. To be home. To be able to break, to melt, to be human.”Journey of the Adopted Self

All I could (and can) think is I want my mommy!, in the same way a four-year old would cry after falling down. It starts as a quiet plea, but suddenly grows to desperation, loud enough to fill a room with its intensity.

This desperate plea, occurring concurrently with the reminder that my mom doesn’t want anything to do with me, is a lot to bear.