First: What Is A Ravenclaw?
Image: W. Alexander’s Instagram
What is a Ravenclaw?
Ravenclaw House is one of four student houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. When a child turns eleven years old, if they aren’t a muggle, they are given an invitation to attend Hogwarts. Like millions, I longed and hoped and prayed for an owl to drop my letter. However, the world of witches and wizards wouldn’t have me. So, like hundreds of millions across the globe, we found the houses we most identified with, and we carry them like the tattoos they are with us forever.
Learn which house you might belong here: https://www.wizardingworld.com/
Ravenclaws are best known for their intelligence. Many graduate Hogwarts, and take positions in academia and leadership. They may be predisposed with abilities in leadership, but they are first-and-foremost readers. Libraries are like an arcade for Ravenclaws. So anyone who identifies with the house is more than likely an analytical personality devoted to reason and knowledge.
We are unashamedly proud of our intellect. It is hard earned and treasured beyond anything and everything else—outside of family, of course. We are loyal!
Ravenclaws are not so easily fooled, but they often are made to look like the fool. In fact, Ravenclaws are wrongly accused of being know-it-alls, and a Gryffindor might suggest we are arrogant. Because Ravenclaws devote their lives to knowledge, they often know, especially the writers like me, too much crap. They bathe their intellect in diverse of pools of thought (pun intended). This makes it tough to be false around them, intentional or not, for Ravenclaws will correct you. Thus, we often are called arrogant and conceited. Oh, and don’t forget the horrible term know-it-alls. Blasphemy!
Why am I Writing This? Why are We Talking Harry Potter?
Why am I writing about my childhood decision, and kept ever since, to be a Ravenclaw? I’ll have you know I did take the Sorting Hat Quiz. The truth is I have something heavy on my heart. I fear people think about me what they negatively think about Ravenclaws. There I confessed it. Done!
Okay, I’m not quite done, so keep reading. You’ve made it this far. Welcome to the juicy stuff.
I Try Too Hard To Please Others, and it has the opposite effect intended. Trust me. When it comes to my family relationships, not at home, but with my in-laws and my mother, being a Ravenclaw is a life sentence of punishment. They don’t know I know it, but behind my back they refer to me as a know-it-all. For years I have been baffled by this. I work diligently at treating others with respect and love, and I rarely, and I’m being honest here, ever boast that I am right about anything. I typically beat myself up, and to this day, I have moments where I feel stupid and will call myself such no matter who is my company. But, when I do know a thing, and that thing comes into question, and I establish that I do know this thing, I get defensive when I’m rebuffed with conspiracy not fact. The first step in biblical wisdom is admitting readily you don’t know something. Shouldn’t people be grateful for the facts? Whatever you think the answer is to that question, the reality is people don’t like being corrected or taught. Especially, when it comes to millennials teaching baby boomers reality.
Let Me Explain with A Personal Story What I’m Trying To Say:
My hero growing up was my uncle—mom’s side. The family always considered him, rightly so, the smartest one in the family. He had an advanced degree, a pretty wife, a clear-head, and one hell of a work ethic. Whenever we visited him or crossed paths, he would always ask me something well out of my knowledge. I never understood why he did this, but I loved it. I love him for it all these years later. I remember one evening going to my grandparents. I must have been around twelve, because I clearly remember carrying my school civics book in with me. Blah! The good ole days of homework. He asked me, who is the Secretary of State, and I didn’t know. It was Condoleezza Rice at the time. But, in my defense, what twelve-year-old pays attention to that stuff? The truth is, I did.
I hated feeling dumb. This came from me suffering constant bullying growing up. I felt like I was bag of garbage until I was thirty-years-old. Today, I just smell like one. I’m joking—but some days…
I wanted to impress him, and by doing so, I wouldn’t feel like an idiot like they made me feel and believe at school. That’s when I first became a connoisseur of news, newspapers, and every book I could get my hands around. You could make a case that I’m so well-informed, because my uncle always tested my knowledge of current affairs and my application of critical thinking. I can only image how amazing my nieces must have it living under his roof. I kid you not. He asked me political and historical questions all the time as I grew into manhood. One Christmas, he asked me to explain Alexander Hamilton to him, and, thus, I knew about Mr. Hamilton a decade before Broadway brought his legacy back to life. Though at the time, I only knew he was a founding father.
But I should stay on topic.
What happened over the years was what always happens to those who learn and learn and learn: I earned a black belt as a trivia warrior. Okay, no, but I am hard to beat. I’ll dominate a Jeopardy board. What happened was I built myself a server farm for a brain. I knew a lot of stuff. I still do! I read over sixty-books a year, and over half of those are non-fiction, and I religiously stay current on national and international affairs. I experience a state of zen in a library or bookstore. I own hundreds of books right now in my own personal library. Now you are starting to see it right? When I boast of my intellectual pursuits, I come off as an arrogant elitist. That’s the price we pay for loving knowledge. But I promise, I’m just proud of what I have earned.
See, when I was a boy turning into a man, I never wanted to be Hercules or Tom Brady. I wanted to be Gandalf or Hermione Granger. I still want that.
When I became a Christian, I wanted to be just like Solomon. I even read, every day, well-most days, a chapter out of the book of proverbs. It’s the book in your Bibles that teaches wisdom. I’ve been doing that for ten-years. I can recite most of the book, as I’ve read it well over a hundred times. Honestly, I can do that. But, again, that’s not really useful to announce to anyone is it? I’m learning.
Now for The Real Post:
So what’s your point, man? How does this connect with the plights of Ravenclaw house?
I’m glad you asked. The answer is I realize some family think I identify with the plights of Ravenclaw. Today, I still want to impress those I consider my betters. Those I think that are smarter than me. The problem is I’m bad at it. In fact, I’m terrible. See, I’ll go over to my in-laws house, like clock-work, I’ll be driving and trying to think about something interesting to share with them. I want to bring something of substance to talk about. The problem is, until very recently, it never dawned on me that they find it annoying, and thus, I am branded as a know-it-all that doesn’t know anything. Let that sink in!
I know, I know, being thought of as a know-it-all is the plight of being a writer. Every single writer I know attests to this same sentiment: people are put off by us. We read everything. Stuff we agree with and the things we don’t. We go down rabbit holes of thought, searching the nooks and cranny’s hidden in a subject that we will most likely never use. My problem: I do like to put the things I learn to use. So, I will visit, and share something I recently read. It’s always something fairly fresh, and, since I know I know it, if they counter it, I get defensive. My head begins spinning. Why won’t these people trust me to know what I know? I can always provide my source. Like I said, I go to great lengths to know what I know, and instead of taking it as a sign, that people can’t be convinced no matter what data or facts I provide, or what good-natured learning I wanted to share— which is the vast majority of my topics brought forward—, I can’t shut up.
Perhaps, they think I talk too much. Well, that is definitely so. When I get nervous, and I do, because I respect them, I can wag my tongue like a drunk Shakespeare at the Globe. Btw, if you get that reference, you are probably a Ravenclaw too, or a Slytherin. So, from their point-of-view here’s this millennial trying to lecture us on something we don’t care to hear about. I get that now, but it gets worse.
Because they, my own mother included, don’t have an interest in art, literary fiction, poetry, ancient history, medieval history, middle eastern history, basically any history other than American [I know it too]— and why should they?—, philosophy, etcetera, I try to bridge the gap by talking their politics. BAD FREAKING IDEA! I’m not talking about engaging with their misinformation, but I have learned how a person sees the world is through their lenses of their chosen politics, and it is how a person colors their world. American politics, both left and right, are religious cults, codifying sets of beliefs, minimum standards are to be kept if one wants to call themselves one or the other label. I can harp on this, because I was once a member of a cult called the modern Republican party. That’s not the same party of twenty-years ago when they believed in free markets and open borders. Regardless, my nature to get defensive on the things I don’t know, and their natures, and not just theirs, I’m not picking on them here, I do love them, to just bury their heads when their arguments turn out to be hysteria, creates tension. It’s a mess.
I wonder if they consider all the times I’m silent when everyone talks about things I don’t know? I mean, I do have a knack for self-deprecating and shaming myself in front of everyone for the things I don’t know. So, I just stay silent.
But that’s not the point. And I’m ranting at this point. It’s no secret I have experienced a 180 turn politically, and that has created tension to the point I can’t sleep at night anymore.
Get To The Damn Point W. Alexander!
Okay, talk over. My point is this: I never meant to annoy, and give people the idea that I knew everything. I have always felt I was the first to admit the things I don’t know. Just try having a conversation on how to build something, and the first words out of my mouth will be I don’t know. But, somehow, when it comes to the things I know I know, I don’t always extend grace toward others who are baffled by my command of a subject. Do you know how miserable it is to speak two languages, make straight A’s, bust your ass off reading and learning and always growing intellectually to be treated like an idiot? It is awful. But, what I didn’t realize was, I helped create that environment. Or am I just letting these voices gaslight me in my own head?
So, am I going to start showing up with a reference page to everything I bring up? I have done it before but never had to pull it out—figuratively speaking, lol. No I’m not going to do that, but I’m also ceasing to bring up anything at all. If I come across as a know-it-all, I am already not accomplishing what my heart is truly set out to do, which is have a conversation that stimulates all parties involved. There is a place for my fun facts, and that place is elsewhere.
Just remember, if you see my head growing in photos, it’s because I haven’t been able to let out the air, and my books are filling me up like a cartoon sucking helium.
“…I hated him and his kind. I hated his affluence, his expensive clothes, his chiseled looks, and the arrogance he was born too. But most of all, I hated the power he held over me, his assumption of authority, and the truth of his superiority.”
“If I was to write a Christian novel, I would have to write, like all writers do, a human canvas navigating and experiencing life as it is lived; I would have to write the truth”
Wheatley achieved the miraculous, the impossible, the unthought of: she a black-African-born-woman did not peel at the edges of prejudice, she slashed it, and all were forced to recognize her gift and confront their misplaced assumptions on the place of women and slavery.