Sunday, February 14, 2016

My life, explained in two Harry Potter quotes

As long as I can remember, people have gotten angry with me because I refuse to "go along", "just be quiet", "let it drop", "be like other people".

I was sent to the principal's office, suspended, expelled, sent to juvenile hall, put in foster care.

I also graduated college at 19, won a world championships, started a business to help people learn that is reaching more people every week.

One reason I will never write a biography is that many bad things happened and I don't want to revisit the past. I want to go forth in the future with the life I have made for myself.

The first quote from J. K. Rowlings :

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” 

If you didn't read the book, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Cedric Diggory was murdered just for being there when Lord Voldemort went after Harry.

Let me tell you a story ... many years ago, there was a judo official who molested athletes .... I was a teenager at the time and one of those athletes was a dear friend and one of the bravest people I know.  I know how this impacted her and she deserved a whole world better.

Many, many people in the judo organizations knew all about it. They did nothing for years. They lost the paperwork. They held hearings but didn't tell any of the female athletes that they were having those hearings, even though we were on the medal stands at the events where the hearings were held. They said things like,

"It will make judo look bad if this comes out, so we're not going to say anything because more good will be done because of all of the positive benefits of judo."
"There is no proof. Just your words and the written affidavits of all of those women."

There were also people who stood up. When the molester threatened to sue any women that spoke out against him, there were two attorneys who stepped up and offered to represent anyone who was sued, free of charge. Since truth is a defense in a slander suit, there were, of course, no lawsuits.

There was the woman who drove thousands of miles to appear in front of an ethics committee to look him in the face and say,
"You did this to me."
He did not show up.

There was a third attorney, who went with me as my witness, when I personally handed multiple copies to the ethics committee, including the new affidavit, written that year, so they couldn't claim to have lost them or not received them.

For every one of those people who stood up, there were dozens who did not. They took the easy way. He was "important" in judo and we were not. He could help select them for trips, funding, promotions. Initially, we were just a bunch of teenage girls doing judo and later people not that involved in judo. It was much, much easier to pretend it didn't happen, it wasn't that bad, we were exaggerating it. I was making it all up.

 I don't think those people got up in the morning and decided to be bad people or take the coward's way out. They tried to tell themselves those things so they wouldn't feel bad. They were just trying to "get along", "see the other person's point of view", "consider that it possibly wasn't true".

But it was.

The second quote is from the Sorcerer's Stone and I think it is not exactly correct. Dumbledore says

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” 

I think, in fact, it takes a great deal MORE to stand up to our friends. Our enemies already hate us and want to do wrong by us, we don't care about their opinions. Our friends are people who love us, whose good opinion we value. I would say, we have much more to lose by standing up to our friends.

So, why do it, then?

I don't have a quote from Harry Potter for this but from two far older sources. Matthew 16:26 asks

What good for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his immortal soul.

and the Delphi Oracle said,

Know thyself.

If you know the right thing to do and don't do it, one of two things happens. One, is that you live with the guilt. Most often, I see people convince themselves that the wrong thing is not so bad - and that is the real danger of it all as you begin to lose your soul bit by bit.

Sometimes, too, they convince themselves that the real problem is me and that if I would just shut up about it all that everything would be fine.

It's amusing to me that now that my daughter, Ronda, has gotten famous, people assume that everything I write and do relates to her.

Nope. I've been this way my whole life.


Unknown said...

wise words Dr AnnMaria, but would love to read your book if you ever change your mind, I loved Ronda's!

Unknown said...

Amazing read!

Matthew Lee said...

James 4:17 comes to mind.

April said...

soo true. The very best of friends tell you what you don't want to but need to hear.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Very true, Buck.

plam said...

Why do people do things that are wrong? Sure, there is always an element of personal choice. But there's also the surrounding context. Humans are social animals and it is often hard to do the right thing. This Atlantic article discusses contexts in which it's hard to do the right thing, in particular in the context of VW.

"People will favor decisions that preempt short-term social discomfort even at the cost of heightened long-term risk."

The article continues with "This reaction isn’t excusable. But it is predictable," which is exactly what I'd think about it. I just have to hope that when it's hard, I can do the right thing.

Katie said...

I love this (and not just because I'm a giant Harry Potter nerd). Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Great Harry Potter references. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Your posts always give me something to think about

Unknown said...

Goog evening AnnMaria !
For a long time I wanted to hear from an insider. In 2004 in the country just north of you, we heard that a national team judo coach had been suspended days before the start of the Athens olympics. Sure enough ,was about sexual crimes involving minors. Now , among other stories , we heard he told a 15 year old judokate " Hey you ! You sleep with me tonight because you don't move ! " . Isn't there a code of conduct ? Adults let that guy take charge of minors without supervision ? Chaperons ?
He is now a convicted fellon for events that happened over a long period. How did the judo world react when this became public in '04 ?

Dr. AnnMaria said...

In my experience, the judo world as a whole doesn't give a damn about athletes being molested if the molester is someone who has something to offer - be it money, appointment to some committee or office, or winning athletes. That isn't to say there aren't some good people who care very much, but in my opinion, they are the minority. The majority stand to the side and say, "Oh my, isn't that awful." Then they don't do anything nor say anything publicly.

Anonymous said...

Thorton sounds like a creep.