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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

I'm Free

I have finally, finally, finally finished my GCSEs. I have finished the 6 week period of non-stop exams, and the countless months before-hand spent revising and neglecting the things I love most - reading, watching Netlfix, sleeping in, doing nothing. I have shoved aside the sleepy, zombie fog of exam-mode that had settled over my brain, the non-stop revision schedule, the fear of exams and the sleepless nights where anxiety woke me. The past papers are gone, the countless notes and flashcards recycled, the cramp in my right hand and the seemingly permanent ink splotch on my right index finger have vanished, and I am free.

The summer has begun, albeit a very rainy beginning, and there are lists and lists and lists of things I have wanted to do for months and now can. I can finally read without noting down quotes for themes, paint without an eye on my coursework deadline, sleep without setting an alarm for 7am, watch TV without making sure I'm not wasting revision time. I can be free, finally. The burden of exams has been lifted from my whole body and soul, and now all that's left is a lingering fear of results day. But that is months away, and for now, I can forget it.

Suddenly, I can go shopping with my best friend and not have to cancel because I'm stressing out about my history exam. I can read every book on my TBR list. I can blog every week, I can sit outside and feel the breeze on my face, I can cuddle my dog, I can lie on the floor for 20 minutes just staring at the clouds moving outside my window. I can stay up late watching Netflix, and glance outside at the stars just before I sleep. I can do whatever I want, and do so with the knowledge that I deserve it.

I have had no life for months, I have gone without for months, I have cried and stressed, I haven't slept, I have berated myself, I have forced myself to work more, to work harder, to work for longer.

And now, I can have my summer. My long, carefree summer.

(so that was basically a really long-winded way of saying I'm going to be posting more, more regularly now that my exams are done!)

Thursday, 9 June 2016


On May 22nd (ish) 2015, I sent a direct message on Instagram to @annasbookish, a book account I really liked. I knew Anna was around my age, I knew she loved Dylan O'Brien, and I knew she was an avid reader. She seemed cool, and nice, and funny, so I messaged her saying hi. She replied.

Fast forward a year (and a week) and Anna is running across the muddy entrance of the Hay Festival in a Jurassic Park t-shirt, running towards me, before I am squishing her against me in a bear hug fueled by a year of friendship and waiting.

She is no longer @annasbookish, the book account I like. She is Anna Caffyn, 17 years old, lover of Star Wars (my influence, obviously), intense Billy Elliot fan, and one of my best friends. She is kind and hilarious and amazing and too much like me for my first DM to have ever resulted in just an internet friendship.

She is not just an Instagram account. A year later, she is a real person, putting me on her Snapchat story, stealing my phone to take terrible photos, slapping my arm when I constantly bring up that I'm taller than her. I can hug her and randomly boop her nose and play with her hair.

We spent the day together. We shared a pastry and drank tea on a comfy leather sofa while exchanging presents. We immediately added a billion photos to our Snapchat story, despite the rubbish festival wifi (the use of Snapchat filters was endless). We wandered around the festival, we bought books, we sat underneath a tree and took selfies. We hummed songs and brought up inside jokes frequently, as well as making new ones (two flat whites, anyone?) We laughed and hugged and took photos and loved every second together. We had a day of just us, surrounded by books and sun and tea.

And then it was over. We were saying goodbye and hugging one last time. I was too happy to fully grasp that I wouldn't be seeing her again until July, but when I got home, I suddenly wished I'd hugged her more, booped her nose one more time, played with her hair endlessly. I wanted to sprint to England and bang on her door until she opened it so I could see her, actually see her just one more time. I wanted her to give me all of her friends' numbers so I could text them and tell them to never take knowing her for granted, to never get used to being able to hug her on a daily basis. I wanted to make sure they knew how incredibly lucky they are to have my best friend around them, all the time, someone they see at school and outside school and on the weekends.

I miss her every day, because now that we've met, it's not enough to just text and Snapchat and Skype. Now that I've experienced what it's like to hug her, I never want to let go.

I'll see her again, and soon. My exams finish on 21st June (my excuse for my absence - I am very sorry for being very on-and-off with my posting) and then I have a looonngggg summer, and a train that travels directly from my town centre to hers. We're seeing Billy Elliot together at the theatre near me on 9th July; I'm going to stay with her in the summer; she's hopefully coming down for a second time. We have 10 weeks and no reasons for not seeing each other as much as we want.

I also met Patrick Ness at Hay - one of my favourite authors - he wrote A Monster Calls, one of my favourite books.

He was lovely, and hilarious (and I am now so excited for the A Monster Calls film), and it was amazing to meet him but somehow, he was a minor part in my visit to Hay. Usually, I usually come to Hay to meet an author, and I'm excited about the festival because of who I'm meeting - Cassandra Clare or Sarah J Maas, or another of my favourite authors. But this year, Patrick Ness was not my source of happiness (though he did make my day even more spectacular). Probably because when I met him, I was already with the person I'd come to Hay to see.

In short - 28th May 2016 was one of the best days of my life.

(Please give Anna a follow on Instagram - @annasbookish - or follow her blog here)