So my AS Level exams have finished as of yesterday morning (yay!) and relief does not even begin to describe how I feel! As with last year and GCSEs, part of me feels quite shocked that I managed to make it through without any huge 'incident'. I did have a few less than perfect blood sugar scenarios. The first Spanish exam was after a morning of relentless highs, and then I was low during my English exam, and Economics yesterday - it was 2.5 (45) by the end of that, although shockingly I didn't really feel anything; probably adrenaline! It did mean though that when I went into town straight after my exam, I could have a coffee FRAPPUCCINO as opposed to a latte! (I think only those of us in the D-bubble could truly appreciate the excitement of that - It made me feel quite rebellious too!)
Once I returned home that afternoon, and thought of a way to 'celebrate freedom', the first thing I wanted to do was pick-up a certain well-known book, go out in the blissful sunshine and read. However, my parents haven't so much as put a ban on me reading it, but do become a bit frustrated when they see one of the books in my hands, for what must be the 10th time now!
Nevertheless, as one of my subjects this year was Spanish, and I was struggling a bit with it around Christmas, inspiration did hit me: my parents may be against me reading "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".... they can't object to "Harry Potter y la Piedra Filósofal"! So a few Amazon clicks later, it was ordered and I started reading. By the time my exams came, I'd only had time to reach the Leaky Cauldron, so when I came home yesterday I decided to pick up where I left off, and have spent all day today in the sunshine reading. To be honest, as I'm hoping to apply to do English at University (outside chance Oxbridge, depending on AS levels), I probably shouldn't be reading a book I've read about a thousand times! But the Harry Potter series holds a very special place in my heart, which goes beyond the amazing story and it being the book of my childhood. More that, it was my childhood.
|Me with my Nimbus 2000 on my 8th Birthday! |
I also got a robot Norbert the Dragon!
But then, I talk about fixing. I think that the books already achieved that. When my entire world seemed to be falling around me 10 years ago, it would not be an exaggeration to say that those books, those words, helped to stitch me back together. And oh my goodness I can't believe I'm sitting here crying as I type this... but I don't think they're sad tears. More, they're grateful ones. Because for those hours I spent reading, laughing and crying, that world was all that was real, and it made me forget mine. And I think one of the reasons I have always loved fantasy stories, and writing my own (I wrote a 30 page one in year 7 as a 'short story'...!) is because it let me escape. And don't get me wrong, for so many reasons I love my life and have so much to be thankful for. But diabetes did steal my childhood in many ways - it forced me to grow up when I still should have been allowed to be a kid, carefree with no real responsibilities.
So Harry Potter for me was my childhood. When everything just got too much, when the numbers became all consuming and my real world too 'clinical', those books gave me a sense of hope; a youthful and innocent belief that things would get better. And there was also that sense of justice throughout the books and all fantasy novels and to a further extent all great literature. That good ultimately triumphs.
I have spent a lot of time over the last 10 years doubting myself. With type 1 diabetes, it isn't your fault, yet I sometimes wondered: why me? What did I do and how is it right that I have this when so many people can do such horrible things, and seem to get away with it? Maybe Karma will come back to haunt them in another life, but it isn't right for a seven year old to believe she is being punished for something - and I did feel like that. And at times when things aren't going well I can feel like that still. Like in those exams, I just didn't know why of all times diabetes was doing that to me. It made me feel quite powerless, and it is hugely demoralising. Coming home and picking up HP, it was like a huge black cloud had been lifted, and I felt calm again. It is like me security net in a way, where I feel safe. That's why I'll admit I cried too when watching the speeches at the premiere for Deathly Hallows part 2, and JK Rowling ended with: "No story lives unless someone wants to listen... Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home" I was literally in buckets, because for me I will always return to it - it is that book(s) for me, and I don't think there will ever be another story which reaches out to me quite as much. It is one in a million.
There are quite a few quotes in Harry Potter which have inspired me, in relation to diabetes, and I've put down just a few of the key ones here!
“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated."
This for me is probably one of the main ones. Yes, Diabetes will most likely always be here, but it is no use giving up just when it gets a bit hard. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't kept 'fighting' and telling diabetes: you will not beat me. And it hasn't, because I'm still here smiling, not having let it stop me. I suppose that then brings me onto the next quote, one of the most famous ones from Goblet of Fire:
"...when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy". This for me links in with the 'not giving up'. It would be easy to say 'okay diabetes you've won'. It would be easier to blame diabetes for everything and play the victim, but I have never wanted to do that; that's also another reason why I admire Harry as a hero.
"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." And funnily enough I think for me, Harry Potter was this light a lot of the time. When I had my darkest diabetes times, or darkest times in general, I turned to it: after both my Grandma and Auntie died, and when I had swine flu and became quite ill, to when my blood sugar has gone very, very high - it, like I said, helps me to escape.
I think Harry Potter for me though - there were so many characters I could connect with. I've already mentioned Harry and Hermione. The latter for me was really just a symbol that it was okay to like school, and stood against the 'dumbing down' that can happen in society today. It's something that both JK Rowling and Emma Watson have spoken about in relation to her character, and which I 100% agree with. I've always loved school, have always been a bookworm, and it's not something I will ever be ashamed of; Hermione really helped me with that. And then of course there's Luna. I just loved her character, probably because like me she's a little ditsy! But also because she didn't try to conform, a bit like Hermione. I have been a bit of an 'outsider' at times I think. Like I've said before on my blog, I don't really like going out, drinking and doing 'normal' teenage stuff. It's just not me, and I suppose some of that is to do with my diabetes. So reading the books really gave me confidence in myself, to follow my own path and not let anyone else influence me.
|Norbert and Nimbus may be gone, but Hedwig still perches on top of my wardrobe!|
Books for me have been so important, and I think in writing this I've justified why I want to study English at University! I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Durham also appeals to me a lot, as they have a Harry Potter/Fantasy Novel module!