When it comes to bitcoin and cryptocurrency, there are two leading schools of thought. Some believe it is the future of currency, while others believe it is a risky investment. Today, Jessica Levesque talks about how bitcoin and crypto can be used in the real world. Jessica Levesque is the Executive Director at CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4), the industry leader in professional blockchain certifications. As C4’s Executive Director, Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations of the industry’s most well-known non-profit certifying organization. She has worked in the bitcoin, open blockchains, and web3 space since 2017 and previously held positions as the CEO for Andreas M. Antonopoulos, VP of Education for Empowered Law, and an Associate Dean with the City Colleges of Chicago.
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Using Bitcoin & Crypto In The Real World With Jessica Levesque
Full transcription of the show is below.
I am so pleased to have with me, Jessica Levesque. She is the Executive Director of C4, which is a Canadian nonprofit that does education and certification for cryptocurrency.
Jessica, I’m so happy to get to talk to you.
I’m glad to be here. I love talking anything about blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and being a woman in this field.
I suppose that’s because you have such a strong technical background and a degree in technology.
No false opposite. It’s an ongoing joke with the people I work with. For someone who understands how cryptocurrencies work so well, I’m terrible with technology. Minor little things that you’d think wouldn’t be a problem, I’m like, “I don’t get it.” If I can learn how cryptocurrencies work on a high level and I’ve gotten even a little bit deeper than that, anybody can. My background is in English. I’m an English major.
If there are ever any grammar problems in the code, you’re the girl to go to. What is your background in English? How did you go from that to this? Tell us about that journey.
I love language and literature. That’s always been something that I found fascinating. I went to college for it and then I also had a Communications Studies degree. Afterwards, I got my Master’s in English because I’m one of those people that wants to open a big smelly old book, fall into the story and not notice anything else around me. That’s been my dream. Are you a big reader?
I love fiction. I love joining somebody else’s world. It’s so fun. After grad school, I decided to teach. It’s what I always wanted to do. I was a college professor. I worked in general education so I taught Communication Studies and English. I moved up into administration. My last position in higher ed was as an Associate Dean at the City Colleges of Chicago. It was nothing to do with technology. I was the Associate Dean of the Adult Education Program and we did work with GED and ELL students. It was a total curve ball. If you had told me years ago that this is what I’d be doing, I’d be like, “I don’t know what you’re saying. What does that mean?” It wasn’t a straight trajectory, which is what makes it so fun.
What was the shift? What happened after that?
I was working and going into the office every day. I love students. I miss teaching but I loved being in that college environment. I was still interested in education. I wanted to make a shift and my friend, Pamela Morgan, who has been working in the Bitcoin and open blockchain space since 2013, I’d always heard her talking about it. In 2017, I finally started reading, listening and absorbing. I fell in love and haven’t left since. I always say, “If I can do it, you can do it.” Anybody that’s reading, if you’re interested in this, start small, look at some of the basic information and let it pile up bigger and bigger because if you dive in all at once, it can feel overwhelming. At least it did for me but just little bits and pieces.
Some people fall in love with it and some people don’t. If it’s not something that catches your attention, I stick with it. Sometimes those are big books that at first are struggled to get into but then once you become absorbed, it’s so worth it but to each their own. Either way, having financial literacy is super important.
My experience is that a lot of women don’t have financial literacy because we didn’t get it in school. When I was in school, it was home ec and woodshop. They were explaining to you how to make a recipe and not how to balance a checkbook. Now, we don’t even have checkbooks. It’s changed significantly. With crypto or being in the environment of this new version of the web that is called Web 3.0, how do you think they’re connected to financial literacy and those new fields?
It’s basic financial literacy, which is at the basic level, understanding how to exchange currency for goods or services. At the basic level, there are a lot of similarities. We don’t know the intricacies necessarily of traditional banking systems and we don’t have to in order to go into Gap, pick out a sweatshirt, go through the checkout and buy it. We only need to understand that we have money, it exists, what it does and how much the exchange rate is.
You need to know that if you have $5, you probably won’t be able to buy a new parka or something like that. We have this idea. We go into these stores, do the transaction and leave. The reason that cryptocurrency seems scary to some people or this big leap into this other financial world is that we haven’t seen those transactions growing up and throughout our lives, the way that we are going to a store with a parent, buying that sweatshirt and seeing what that looks like. If we grew up watching somebody use a cryptocurrency wallet, it wouldn’t seem as scary.
I was in the audience at the Bitcoin Conference when Jack Mallers of Strike made the announcement that they had done all of these different deals, which would enable point-to-point transactions. You could put up your wallet and Apple Pay. It is the closest thing that we’ve seen to this. It would instantly transfer whatever currency you have into Bitcoin and transfer it over the Lightning Network, which is the network that does this work.
At the moment of it hitting the merchant, it would change over into the merchant’s currency. You could put in your dollars and the merchant could get euros and that would still happen almost instantaneously. It would cost a few a sat or a satoshi, which is the smallest unit of a Bitcoin which is onemillionth of a Bitcoin, after the pseudonymous Founder Satoshi Nakamoto of Bitcoin.
It was beautiful to watch but what he talked about was the idea that none of this stuff changed since the 1940s. Starting in the 1940s, we got to see these transactions happening and we were like, “Your parents did it. Their parents did it.” All of a sudden, there’s a new paradigm coming up. We take for granted that process. We’re not saying, “I don’t understand how the merchant takes 3.5% and why it takes 3 days.”
We don’t ask those questions but the truth is it doesn’t have to work like that because it’s going to cost less than a penny to do this kind of transaction. Instead of the merchant waiting up to a week for their funds, they are going to get it in five seconds. To me, that’s worth getting a little bit educated on so that you don’t have to be scared of something that’s going to save you time, save you money and maybe make your cost of goods lower.
One of the things you said that I want to touch on a little bit is the idea of having a satoshi and it being part of a Bitcoin. We hear the phrase “pennies on the dollar.” When we say pennies or dollars, we know what that means. There’s a misconception among people who haven’t dived into cryptocurrencies or learned about Bitcoin yet, which makes sense why but there’s a belief that you need to own an entire Bitcoin to be in Bitcoin. There’s that conversation about the price and 20,000 people will say, “I don’t have $20,000. I can’t own Bitcoin.” It’s important to recognize that you can own a fraction of a Bitcoin.
I have a t-shirt that says, “You can own a fraction of a Bitcoin,” and you can. You can start with small amounts like satoshis and have a few of them. It doesn’t need to be this huge colossal amount of money that you put into it. You can start small, which we all should, learn something new and also how to make transactions, which is the same thing as traditional currency. You buy something, give your money and get the goods back. It’s the same thing. You buy something, pass over a portion of Bitcoin and then your wallet receives the change there. I’m not going to go into the details of that but it’s the same system. It’s just different terminology.
There are different interfaces, which are better now like if you go on a Bitcoin wallet and look at a Bitcoin wallet interface. If you pull up your phone and look at what it looks like on there, you will most likely be somewhat familiar with how it’s designed because the UX has improved. It looks similar to when you open up your banking app or Venmo. That is even the playing field a lot when you see it. “It says exactly what the dollar amount is. I know how to send this here and there.” Also, practice. Nothing is easy. The first time you went in with your parent and bought that sweatshirt, you were probably nervous.
I remember going in with my dad’s credit card. That’s how long ago I got to do this. I had a little letter that was like, “My daughter is allowed to charge.” It was a Gap like Levi’s store. They predated the Gap and were like, “Okay, little girl.” I was able to pick up my first pair of jeans. I was so proud.
That’s so funny. I forgot all about being able to use your parents’ credit card and have a note. I’ve done that too, which now if somebody brought a note, they are like, “Good try.”
If you're interested in bitcoin, start small. Look at some of the basic information and let it pile up bigger and bigger because if you dive in all at once, it can feel overwhelming. Click To Tweet
We’ve talked about the idea of a transaction and making Bitcoin divisible. For me, a couple of things come up from what you said. First of all, I do dollar-cost averaging. I buy Bitcoin every Friday. That means that I’m not concerned about the immediate price. I am buying over the long-term and I will end up with an average price. I was buying Bitcoin for $68,000 or $20,000. If Bitcoin is going to have a hard summer, I’ll be buying Bitcoin at $14,000 or whatever it ends up going down to. I saw a post from 2013. “Mt. Gox is crashing. Bitcoin is below a dollar.” Somebody else wrote back, “Buy, buy, buy.”
People are like, “Bitcoin is going to zero.” I’m like, “You don’t understand how it works.” It can go down and we are seeing extreme volatility. It’s a question of, “As you go forward, getting educated on the concept of Bitcoin.” One of the things that I’m seeing is people deal with this all the time. The idea that Bitcoin isn’t physical is very hard for people. I have in my bag physical Bitcoin souvenirs that I bought for $1 a piece off of Amazon. When I meet somebody, I do what’s called orange peeling them. I tell them about Bitcoin and they seem receptive to it.
I give them a Bitcoin souvenir and it’s weird because the same thing happened to me when somebody did this to me. You get it in your hand and all of a sudden, it seems more real, even though there’s no actual currency involved. I want to talk about your education program and the platform that you have that you do certification for. Does it address stuff at that level or is it for programmers? How does that work?
It’s at that level. We do talk about the history of money and the functions of currency and explain how we got to where we are because Bitcoin didn’t just appear. There’s a long history that brought us to this point. Both in previous digital assets but also we’re already doing this with traditional currency, whether we want to believe it or not. It’s a wonderful life. Everyone goes into the bank to get their funds out.
They all go in and want their funds but they can’t get them because as George explained, “Your money is in that person’s house and that person’s house.” That’s the same thing that we’re doing. I like to compare that too because I’m a huge Harry Potter geek. The opposite of what we think or see in Harry Potter is true. In Harry Potter, Harry goes to Gringotts, opens the vault and everything is in there. That’s not true. You can’t go to the bank and say, “I want to open my vault and get everything out there.” It isn’t some small little box that has everything in it for us.
What multiple of your money do the banks have to keep in the bank to loan against it? In the United States, it’s gone to zero.
We’re a Canadian nonprofit but I am in the US so I’m not sure.
We know for a fact though, that in the US, if you wanted to loan out $1, you had to have $1 in the bank. Then it was $0.50, $0.25 and in 2020, it has gone to 0. It’s embarrassing. It’s not only that it’s gone to zero but you can loan out multiples of the money that you have on paper without keeping any in the bank. Imagine that if I want to give Jessica $5, I have to have the $5 to loan to Jessica.
If I’m in banking, Jessica gives me her $5, I could give it to somebody else. Let’s say they’re very non-forthcoming about the multiple but I could maybe loan out another $25 on top of Jessica’s original $5. When Jessica comes to me to ask for her $5 back, I can be like, “Okay.” I got somebody else’s $5 so I can turn around and give it to Jessica. That’s gross but that’s the way the banking system works.
Also, to make a profit on top of it, as well for loaning it out. There isn’t that money sitting in traditional banks anyways and it is all digital. Very few people use cash or only accept cash anymore so this is already happening. The difference that is most important to be aware of is that the government controls the traditional currency. They get to decide what is valuable, how we’re going to be able to use it and what it can be spent on and will it be tracked. There are so many different rules, regulations and laws that force us to abide by them and follow all the rules.
With Bitcoin, no higher power or authority figure’s determining where and how the currency should exist. It’s decentralized. If people who are a part of Bitcoin want to make a change and I’m simplifying this, they can go in and vote and say that they want things to be different one way or another. Things can change if the majority wants to make that change.
There’s not this patriarchal figurehead up there that’s saying, “Yes, no.” There are a lot of different people involved that get to make these decisions. Decentralization and consensus are cool and different than what we use. As a woman, you might relate to this. In some ways, it’s being the underdog in many situations and feeling that you need to get scrappy to make your way in the world. It’s nice to have this alternative that doesn’t function as another traditional aspect of patriarchal systems.
I hear from people all the time, “Who controls Bitcoin?” I’d say, “Nobody.” “How is that safe?” I’m like, “How is it safe to have somebody else control your money?” I’m in the middle of reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, which is a story about this Japanese art called netsuke that came from a very wealthy Jewish family during the time of the impressionists. It came down and was inherited generation after generation. These little objects were the only things in the family’s collection that were saved from the Nazis.
The guy that goes back in the last years begins to research their history of them and uncovers through these objects, his entire family’s history. He also uncovers the specific path that the Nazis took to destroy families of wealth. In particular, the Jews but it was only because the Jews had that money. They wanted everybody’s money and they would take it away from anybody that they could get. It was just that a lot of the people were Jewish.
When somebody has that kind of control where one day you have a fortune in seven countries and the next day you are penniless, that’s bad. I call Bitcoin as a Pandora’s box. People say to me, “Bitcoin is going to go to zero. It is not worth it. There’s something wrong with it or it’s not okay because it isn’t Fiat. Bitcoin isn’t backed by anything.
I’m like, “Do you understand that the US dollar is not backed by anything?” We have these beliefs. We were talking about the bank. A bank is supposed to be safe because I put my money in it but if my money isn’t in the bank anymore, my mindset is an illusion. That’s true about gatekeepers, the money that’s there and the fiat currency at all. We’ve printed 80%. I’ve gotten hard statistics on that. Eighty percent of all the currency in circulation in the US was printed in the last few years. The mind boggles.
It’s no different from women being told, “Marry a rich man. Your husband will take care of you.” He could but it’s crap that that’s how you get your money or that scrap that you can’t make money on your own. We have been told these stories that are designed to keep us safe and they’re just a house of cards.
One of the things you said made me think of what we often say at C4, which is education, not speculation. No one has a crystal ball. We don’t know what’s going to happen with any currency. We’ve seen many different fiat currencies devalued overnight. It’s happened many times. We can’t necessarily trust in that but if you educate yourself rather than speculate about the markets and volatility, you can use that education to have a firmer footing on your finances and feel less frightened that you don’t have these resources to protect yourself.
There’s something to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s not kept in a traditional bank account. People that are able to get it can securely use it in a way that they can take it with them and somebody else wouldn’t have control over it. In some relationships and certain places, people don’t have control over their money because somebody else takes it or does whatever they want with it. They’ve got the controlling partner.
Have something that you have control over that no one else can access. They can’t just go and put their name on it or they can’t rifle through your drawers and find out your checkbook. If you have the tools, those skills and can do it safely, it can change lives and the world. If we educate enough people, it becomes adopted. If it is something that is not this challenging, scary thing but a more helpful, powerful tool, then we’re going to be able to change the world.
We’ve seen how fast money got to Ukraine and was able to be distributed in Ukraine. Other countries like Cuba are in a dire situation. Things have gone from bad to worse. In the ‘80s, they called it The Special Period. That was the period when people had to fry shoe leather because they had nothing else. They say that this is worse than The Special Period.
When you hear stuff like that, it’s very abstract. For us to send money to Cuba is very difficult. The Trump administration severely curtailed the amount of fiat currency that was allowed to be sent. You’re limited to stuff like, “You can send it through Western Union.” That’s it because it’s very hard to get money in and out. With crypto, if somebody has a wallet in Cuba, in the US or anywhere in the world, they can transfer the money instantly and it goes into that person’s wallet immediately. That alone is a game-changer. Also, it costs practically nothing. It is instantaneous. That’s such a big deal.
One of the challenges to getting to this point where so many people are able to use it is it’s not this foreign weird word. My mom’s like, “What are you doing? What do you do for work?” To get to the point where it’s like, “I work with cryptocurrencies.” People are thinking, “You’re a criminal then.” It’s this weird thing. It’s like, “Was I a criminal before? Have you met me? Could I be a spy?”
I talked a little bit about how in our Certified Bitcoin Professional we’ve got an exam but we also have a prep course that explains it. It starts from the history of money and goes through how we got to digital assets. It breaks it all down but one of the things that we have realized is that there is a gap and this is something that we want to fix. We started a new committee that we’re going to be talking about practical crypto. How do you use it? What do you need to know to get a wallet? How do you know who to trust to do this?
Cryptocurrency seems scary to some people because we haven't seen those transactions growing up. It wouldn't seem as scary if we grew up watching somebody use a cryptocurrency wallet. Click To Tweet
Don’t trust anyone. Always do lots of research. Just because I’m talking and I’m from a nonprofit, don’t consider that you can necessarily trust me. I said this about everyone. Always look into what people are saying. Make comparisons if you’re recommended one wallet. Check it online in different places and make sure. Be as informed as you can. What we’re doing is we’ve created this committee so that we can create educational materials that are much more practical for using it because there is confusion still on how to make a transaction on the Bitcoin network.
One of the important things with this is making sure that people understand the difference between blockchains because there’s more than one blockchain. You can’t send money on the Bitcoin that is ether. There are a bunch of different workarounds for that but it’s not something that makes sense right away. There are a lot of different factors. We’re working on creating these educational materials to make using crypto a little bit easier. There are some good resources out there already but I don’t think they are enough. Our committee, the people that are volunteering are going to be able to help move some of the people who are unsure how to transact with crypto into the space where they feel much more comfortable.
This is the one bugaboo that I have so maybe you can help solve this for me. I have a hard time going into a restaurant to buy a burger and fries with what I know is an appreciating asset. It may depreciate before it appreciates but over time, Bitcoin is going to be worth a lot more. As Jessica said, don’t be taking my word for it. Get out there, do your research and make your decisions but for me, that is my reality. It’s like taking money that is earning compound interest out of my savings account and spending it. I don’t want to do that either. What’s your opinion on all of that?
It’s a challenge as it’s become something that has been statistically shown that it is increasing and that’s not something that’s up for debate. In terms of the numbers, it has proven to be a good investment if you hold it over time. The same could be true for the American dollar. It keeps going down. What you could buy for $5 in 2021, you can’t now. Do you want to spend all of that? I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that I have good investment advice at all but I would say that if we continue to only use it as an investment, then it will never be a medium of exchange the way many of us want it to be.
The first step is education, getting people to the point where they understand how to use it and you don’t have to have that much of it to be able to use it. That is important. You also don’t have to start with something like Bitcoin. There are other cryptocurrencies that you can use to learn how some of this works. That’s the first step. Once more people are educated, it doesn’t seem as scary.
You were talking about payment processors and how you can see something that’s priced in US dollars and then your wallet can tell you how much Bitcoin it is. You can then send it. Even though there might be a slight shift in it, your wallet does the work for you. The place that you’re buying something at can price it in your fiat currency in US dollars and you know what you’re getting.
The issue is I don’t think enough people know or are comfortable using crypto or payment processors to accept crypto at their businesses. That’s the biggest problem. There’s a sushi restaurant that accepted Bitcoin. We didn’t have any wallets with us when we went the first time. We were like, “We’re going to go back. This is going to be awesome.” They then didn’t accept it anymore. I was like, “Could we have prevented them from stopping?” If we’d paid before, would they have continued to keep that as an option?
I do think that we need to get the tools into the mom-and-pop shops so that they can start to accept it and into some of the bigger retailers. Once that happens, it will be more usable as long as people have the tools to safely transact, which I don’t think a lot of people do. There are a lot of people but in the grand scheme of things, if we talk about the whole world, the number of people who are familiar and comfortable using this is quite minimal.
I always use statistics and look at the graphs of internet adoption. We’re in 1995 and 14 million people had started using the internet. I was one of them with my non-techie background. We were super early and years later, it became more mass adopted. I don’t know the statistic but I know that women are doing the majority of shopping so I feel that it’s up to us women to get more educated about what these transactions and processes are like. It will enable you to understand how easy that transaction is.
I get asked this question on TV a bunch and I compare it to Apple Pay all the time. When you take your phone, stick it over your computer and it dings based on your face ID, stick a fork in us. We’re done. That’s helpful to people because they are able to have a very simple and transparent transaction. Going back to what you said, you don’t know how Apple Pay works and yet you use it. We just trust the Apple network. It isn’t going to screw us over or your Google Pay network. That’s the same thing with Bitcoin or any crypto transaction.
You could use a different currency. I know that Shiba Inu which is worth a tiny fraction of a penny per token is accepted by AMC, for example. You can go into the theater and buy your movie ticket using your SHIB. It may be worth less coming out of the movie theater than it was going into the movie theater but that’s okay too. We want to have that kind of transactional experience and not just keep the money all saved up. If you do keep your Bitcoin saved, then there are other things that you can use to transact because most of the time, if they take Bitcoin, they’re also taking ether and maybe a couple of other ones. Speaking of which, do you know the story behind Cardano and why the coin for Cardano is called ADA?
I don’t think so.
Henry Lord Byron’s daughter was Ada Lovelace. She is the first woman to create a code designed to be read by a machine. They say she’s the precursor to the first programmer. It was very exciting that it was a woman. I bought Cardano when I heard the story. I was like, “I’m putting some money into these people.” I was so excited about ADA being given tribute.
I got educated on the Cardano blockchain and sat in on a couple of Cardano AMAs, the Ask Me Anythings. I was blown away by all the projects that are being built on Cardano. This is not financial advice. Do your research on what Jessica and Halle say always. One last thing, what do you want women to know about getting into this field for work or investment?
If you were interested, reach out to other women and ask for help. There are so many of us who care, are passionate about this, on Twitter at 10:00 PM and would love to chat. There are so many women out there who have this education. Most of us are acknowledging we don’t understand something and are okay with somebody else saying they don’t understand something. If someone comes to me and is like, “I heard about this Bitcan. What is that?” I’d be like, “It’s Bitcoin.” Maybe we’ll laugh at whatever Bitcan is but I’m not going to be like, “Idiot.”
The point is there are people around that want to help and there are so many women who are willing to do that introduction and help explain things. Also, there are a lot of female books. Anita Posch has a great book about learning Bitcoin that explains so many of its basics. Pamela Morgan has a Cryptoasset Inheritance Planning book. There are a lot of women that are already knowledgeable about this and I’m one of them that would love to talk more about it and expand people’s understanding of how it works. We’re not criminals.
You are a mental health advocate. Talk a little bit about that. It’s off-topic but I would love everyone who’s reading to know about it.
One of my passions is de-stigmatizing mental illness and also making mental health a priority in any friendship, relationship or work environment. It’s something that at C4, we practice. It’s important that we’re all open if we’re having a rough day. I suffer from anxiety and it’s important to be able to say to my team, “I’m anxious. I didn’t sleep well last night because of whatever.” We’re mostly a team of women, although we have a lot of volunteers that aren’t as well. Have those conversations and be open and honest about it. Being vulnerable creates these connections. It allows us the space to breathe as ourselves in a way that’s so important.
To be able to say, “I can’t make this meeting because of X, Y or Z,” doesn’t mean you’re a bad worker. Our team gets stuffed done. We are amazing but we’re also humans. It’s important to acknowledge that. I have a Twitter site called @OtterlyHopeful. It’s all about loving and taking care of yourself. Putting yourself first. Self-care isn’t selfish and all of that kind of a thing. I do think that there is a crossover with crypto in terms of having that freedom once you understand the different financial systems and you have that financial sovereignty.
There’s also the connection of people with the up and downs with volatility and the need to make sure you’re doing those mental health checks and you’re not obsessing over the price. You’re on your phone nonstop and putting it away. My opinion on this comes from a place of privilege in that if Bitcoin goes up or down, I’m still going to be able to pay my rent.
I get that it’s different for some people but there are a lot of people that are in it for investing and they’re obsessing. They’re on their phone, checking the price and got it in front of them on this big screen all day. I would say to cut it out. Do what you were saying with dollar-cost averaging. Do something like that rather than become absorbed in it because anything can become an addiction. Take care of yourself.
When Luna crashed, there were a bunch of people that committed suicide and it was heartbreaking. People were jumping out of buildings in 1929 when Wall Street crashed and after 9/11 when the market crashed so badly. We see that a lot. I’m going to show you my Harry Potter wand. Meanwhile, I want to discuss houses. I’m guessing you’re Ravenclaw. Am I wrong about that?
I always wanted to be Gryffindor because of Harry Potter but I don’t know where I would be put.
Have you ever done the sorting?
No one has a crystal ball. We don't know what's going to happen with any currency. We've seen many different Fiat currencies devalued overnight. It happened many times. Click To Tweet
I did it a long time ago, the Sorting Hat Wizarding World app but I don’t remember what I got.
I’m thinking Ravenclaw but I could be wrong. I am a Hufflepuff, which is the Golden Retriever of the Harry Potter world, where you’re super loyal and a good friend. When I first got into the houses, everybody I know wanted to be in Gryffindor because of Harry Potter. I was like, “There must be some mistake.” My girlfriend is a Gryffindor. I’ve taken the test multiple times and I’m always a Hufflepuff. Now, I am a proud puff because I’ve learned that from a mindset perspective, I could teach an entire course based on sorting people into houses and on the values of each house. It’s so spot on.
If I find out that somebody is Ravenclaw or Slytherin, I’m like, “I know you.” It’s interesting because it’s pretty accurate. Ultimately, it’s accurate about me, even though I got a badger for a mascot. I have a Deathly Hallows wand stand and my wand. I do not have anyone’s wand. I went to all the vendors and was sorted. I got my wand from a man who took his job very seriously and was an extremely good actor.
There was something that happened to me in the middle of that where I had a moment. It was so bizarre but I was like, “I am a grown woman. I am almost in tears over this piece of plastic and I do not care.” It was so beautiful. There’s this glass tip to it and when you walk around the Wizarding World, you see this brass thing on the ground that tells you so you go like, “Aguamenti.” You then have to move your wand in a particular way and it starts to rain in front of you. There are twelve spells like that around Wizarding World that are tapped into the fact that this glass tip has and I don’t know what’s in it.
I have one too and I did the same thing when I went. I have Severus Snape and my sister has Luna Lovegood. We were running around the park with our wands. It was so much fun. My family is into Lego and we have the Harry Potter Diagon Alley and the castle. All of us grown adults pool together instead of buying Christmas gifts. We’ll buy a Lego set and then we’ll all do it together.
We’ve decided my sister has to keep them at her house because she has a child. When we started this, she was just pregnant. We were like, “No, she’s going to want it.” We have all of these different Lego sets that are Harry Potter that we have to keep at her house because we’re sure that her daughter who is a baby is going to love them.
Harry Potter has affected a lot of people. For me, it’s about staying connected with your childhood, joy and the idea of being magical, which is so much more interesting. You were talking about mental health advocacy. Many of us feel a little bit special or extra which makes us feel not normal. Almost everybody feels not normal.
The idea that there is another path that you could take where you would be welcomed and appreciated for your not being normal is powerful. At a time that we’re being asked by our Supreme Court to walk a particularly narrow path, especially as women, it’s nice to have outlets where we can be fully ourselves and not be told what to do by the patriarchy.
I love the term normal. Whenever my mom’s like, “You’re being so weird,” I’ll say, “You had kids with dad. Why would you expect that you would have a normal?” I’m not a normal. Dad wasn’t a normal. I love non-normals. The world would be pretty boring if we were all traditional and straight-laced. I don’t think anyone’s like that. Everyone’s quirky in their way. They might just not feel comfortable sharing that with others but I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone that isn’t at least a little bit weird or has some magical wonderment about them in some way.
You’re a normie or a crypto person. Crypto people will say, “I had dinner with the normies.” You can’t talk crypto to those people because they don’t understand it. There’s a whole idea of people speaking the language or not speaking your language. Whatever works for you, as long as you’re happy, is the right way.
It’s all about finding your truth and being happy with yourself and your life.
I love that you have found your happiness in a tech space for the non-tech person. I feel very similar to that. I appreciate your valuable insight, your time and everything that you shared with everyone. If you have enjoyed this episode, please look Jessica Levesque up. Please like, share, comment and tell all the women that you know about the show so that they can get educated, start to feel comfortable and learn to surf the new energy of money before the tsunami knocks them over. We’ll see you next time for another episode.
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About Jessica Levesque
My passion is education. As a lifelong learner, I know that knowledge can be found anywhere. As an educator, I know how important it is to make the classroom a place that inspires self-analysis and allows students to discover a love of learning. I actively search for opportunities with organizations that share this philosophy.