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How Nagini From 'Fantastic Beasts' Spoke to Me as Someone With a Chronic Illness

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I had a fantastic day filled with food, fun, a much-needed nap, and family!

At end the day we went to the theater and saw “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which I absolutely loved. The animals were so cool, and it had a crazy intricate plot… but if you know me, you know I love crazy intricate plots!

There was this one character, Nagini, that really stuck out to me.

I’m actually not a Harry Potter fan, so I didn’t know her full story (well, the tragedy of what she ends up becoming).

But in the movie you learn she has a “blood curse,” which made her able to turn into a giant snake and ultimately this “curse” will make her completely and utterly lose her humanity and permanently become this beast.

And I couldn’t help comparing blood curses to chronic illness.

It’s a thing in our blood made up of our cells that, like a curse, can cause us to turn to stone (scleroderma). Stretch beyond human capabilities (EDS/hypermobiltity). Cause our GI systems to be frozen in time (gastroparesis). Remove the air from our lungs.  Cause our bodies to balloon. Bones to break like glass. Even cause premature death and do so many other crazy things that it seems like those diseases shouldn’t exist outside of a fairy tale!

But the thing about this character was that she was strong. I’d say the strongest one of all.

She fought daily to not be “overcome by the beast inside her.”

She fought to keep her humanity and keep her “symptoms” at bay.

She fought to make the right choice, even though everyone didn’t expect that of her.

And when talking to someone who also had a “blood curse,” she looked him in the eye and said, “They know what you have… not who you are.”

And man alive, that spoke to me.

In my body, and throughout my life, sometimes it feels like I can be both the hero and the villain in my story.

Because I am constantly fighting something that is made of me... Malfunctioning, swelling, destructive cells that create defective mixed connective tissue, all working together to destroy the very thing it’s created: me.

It’s easy to somedays look in the mirror and only see my disease, to only see “what I have” and not who I am.

But this “curse” has been hard… ridiculously hard. I’m not sure if the fight to “keep the beast at bay” will ever get easier.

But the strength it’s given me is unprecedented. And the ways Heavenly Father has been able to bless me through it are innumerable.

So in case you need to hear this tonight: You are so much more than “what you have.” You are so much more than your struggles, your weaknesses, your trials, your past, and your insecurities.

But I promise the things you hate about yourself have made you stronger and blessed you in more ways than you even know.

Originally published: December 31, 2018
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