In year 11, I decided that at college I wanted to take politics, history, psychology and philosophy. I know, I know, I was one English lit course away from being Miss Pretentious 2007. I dropped out of psychology after 3 lessons, when I realised they wanted me to piss about on graphs and that my teacher would be called Ana. I should have dropped philosophy really, I'm about as deep as a puddle, but stuck at it for a few reasons. The teacher fascinated me; he was Greek and it was so ridiculously easy to get him off on a tangent (those two facts aren't related, I don't think. But both fascinated me... this was before I went to uni and decided that Greek Cypriot girls are bitches), so I could make lessons about whatever I really wanted; sod the curriculum. I fancied one of my class mates, who later ended up my college boyfriend. And I met a teeny tiny girl with an opinion on everything (within the second week or so, when she asked, 'what the FUCK are you wearing, Condom?' I realised we'd be long time friends) and this incredible, I don't know, attitude and spark, that I wanted in on. It's three years since we left college and as predicted, we're still close. She lives in Sheffield and I live in Colchester and Scunthorpe, so geographically, it's not like we're constantly in each other's pockets, but that's just a test of true friendship.
Why that little story? This isn't just me waxing lyrical about a good friend of mine. I'll explain, let me just tell you summat else. When I met Ce, despite the blatancy of that attitude and spark, she was oblivious, which is insane because she's definitely among the sharper crayons. Ce was miserable. I was miserable. When we weren't on MSN fucking our lives, we were doing it by phone or in person. We felt cheated by health problems (which are in no way the same, but that's another thing I'll explain in a minute). We hated our lives, we hated our pasts and we weren't the biggest fans of ourselves, either.
Ce changed when she went to uni in 2009, the year before me 'cause of me taking that year out to get intensive treatment. And since the first time I saw her, after she'd started to get herself together, having been away for a few months and grown up and away from her past and her diagnosis, she's inspired me. So this is especially close to my heart now, when I'm struggling. Apart from what were basically issues created by her main diagnosis, her issues weren't mental. Ce was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is brittle bone disease, to you and I. Neither of us had conventional childhoods, nor do we have conventional worries and problems now. Her problems were mostly physical and mine mostly mental, but we each had cross-over points, along with the hurdles and challenges unique to being different from your peers. But we, she especially, deals. She graduated with a first class degree and is now working for Sheffield's Children's Hospital charity.
In short, my girl has made it.
And now my tiny, massive inspiration is going one step forward. No, not one step... she's going 51.7 miles further, IN A SWIMMING POOL, for Sheffield's Children's Hospital. This isn't just a girl in a pool, this is the girl who I think about now whenever I'm triggered ('I'd rather be Ceriann than a ...' repeated whenever I see someone who seems more ill than I am/were), and who spurs me on. This is a girl swimming the distance between her house and Sheffield's Childrens Hospital, for the kids who have to travel even further to see the country's specialists in OI. She met a family who had travelled from DUBAI, to go to the hospital. This is a girl who faces her problems, her past, her aches and pains, and goes and kicks arse.
Oh, and you can follow her journey on Twitter @ceriannswims :)