Following my diagnosis, I deferred my admission, but at 19, when I faced the Admissions Tutor again, she 'suggested' that with an illness like lupus, I would never cope with the stress of Cambridge academic life. She quoted the suicide rates to me. I was a shivering, quivering mass in that office, not knowing how to fight my case. I did not know enough about the animal raging through me to defend my ability to cope. What struck the final blow to my confidence, was learning that the English lecturer who had interviewed me, had lupus herself, and instead of supporting my case, had done exactly the opposite. "You'll never cope at Cambridge, with Lupus" resounded in my ears, on and on, through the years that followed. I re-applied again at 23, for my Masters, but the day before the deadline, I cancelled my application.
I have only recently forgiven myself for that action. Or maybe I haven't completely forgiven myself. All I know is, that yesterday, in sitting and walking meditation, something healed itself inside me. The warrior poet walked with the warrior nuns, and the ghosts of my past ran for it, far, far away from me.
images: assortment from my own, flickr and theblogpaper