29 Jun 2018

Carpe Diem - and all that jazz!

Today I turn 24. The big two-four.
In true millennial fashion it only seemed right to reflect on my past year and publish it for the whole world to see.
The past year of my life has been the hardest, darkest but yet most rewarding so far.
I spent my twenty-third birthday with a single ticket to Budapest to hide the massive anxieties I was feeling at home. I'd only been back in the UK for three months and let's face it, I've always been pretty good at running away. I began my 23rd year on this Earth as a complete shell of myself. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed. Other days I didn't want to wake up at all. All because of the pressure I felt trying to settle back into a place which didn't feel like home anymore. I was desperate. I wanted my friends to remember me again, what it was like to have me around and include me in their plans. I wanted my family to depend on me, and I wanted to be there for everyone. And so that's what I did. But the most vital thing of all, is to be there for yourself. You simply cannot live your life by being everyone's rock. You need your own rock sometimes, too.
So I made the decision to relocate my life, for what i'm certain will be the final time, and learned how to look after myself again. And I don't mean just doing the housework or cooking dinner. I mean really taking care of yourself. Eating better, exercising, socialising, practising that hobby you've always wanted to. And I did it. I really am content with how comfortable I am in my own skin again. 
Bloody hell, a year ago I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. And no one has gotten me to this stage other than me, myself and I. 
At 23 I learned that I can fall in love again and the idea doesn't completely repulse me anymore. I learned that things don't just happen by sitting around on your arse. You have to go out and do things. I became a believer in the idea that things always work out in the end. Honestly, it's true. I fell in love with the universe and solely trust that if you think positively and put the right amount of effort into something, you'll get exactly what you're owed. I realised which traits I need to suppress in certain environments and which I should encourage. I've also discovered that it's OK to make mistakes - f*ck it! That's how we learn these things. Not one person on this planet is perfect and the sooner we all come to terms with that, the happier life becomes.
So you might not be feeling it today, but tomorrow go out there and seize the day! Carpe diem and all that business.
Don't take life too seriously, you only get one shot at it!

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

12 May 2018

Sh*t, Am I Now An Adult?

So I'm nearing my twenty-fourth birthday and I've started noticing some unwanted changes to my life. Whether that's the DEATHLY hangovers I now have, my early nights or that my idea of fun is cleaning the house... Things are changing. Rapidly. If you've clicked onto this and you're older than 24 don't approach this as 'Pfft, you're still so young!' Think of it as a more, 'Ah yeah, I remember when that happened...' Because my Gosh, you guys weren't kidding when you said hangovers get worse with age.

Here's a list of things I now endure/am/do...
  • I have become an absolute lightweight and I just cannot  function for two days minimum after I've put in a session. This, for me, is not at all ideal. 70% of my social life revolves around getting white-gal-wasted so to be honest its a bit of an inconvenience. But i'm learning, i'm dealing with it.
  • And on the flip side of that, I unashamedly go to bed at 9PM because I'm genuinely so tired that I think that's an acceptable time to retire to my abode. I just can't hack it.
  • Making decisions not to go out on a ‘school night’ because work would be hell in the morning. No exaggeration, HELL. 
  • Choosing a bottle of wine over a bottle of vodka for pre-drinks. But only rosé or white with lemonade obviously, i'm not quite old enough for red yet. Don't completely write me off.
  • I now wake BEFORE my alarm so I actually sit waiting for it to go off so that I can get up rather than snoozing it for an hour... This I just cannot get my head around.
  • So I now wake up at 7AM every day, EVEN on the weekends. Who knew that was an actual thing? Kids, enjoy sleeping all day every day because they'll be a time when even if you want to, being an adult means it's no longer possible.
  • My main conversation topic revolves around work. Or the soaps. No shame here, and I enjoy it.
  • So I now have a real adult skincare routine. Wash, exfoliate, and all that boll*cks yeah, if I miss that I look like the bags under my eyes could carry your food shop for you so it's vital it happens daily.
  • I occasionally choose the hour walk to work because I'm a lazy little oik and I don’t get enough exercise. Who knew you could gain weight SO QUICKLY? All those "It'll catch up with ya!" comments were annoyingly true.
  • A large number of my friends now have children, a mortgage and a fiance/husband. We're 24 for Christ sake, is this what's expected of me now? Because I ain't sure on a fave flavour of crisps regardless of who I wanna spend the rest of my life with... Don't make me!
  • Weddings are the new in-thing apparently and my God what drama they cause. You'll find me at the bar with the other singles making you regret you ever invited me...
  • I’d rather spend money on things like candles and cushions than clothing. It's true! I'm a sucker for a good Yankee.
  • I don’t understand the new Snapchat update and have had to delete it. I'm over it. Bye.
  • I often willingly choose to spend my one day off a week by cleaning the house. And having that sense of relief once I've done it is admittedly, bloody blissful.
  • I had to show a teenage customer at work how to use a landline phone. This. This I have no words for to be quite frank.
  • I now have to make plans to see friends months in advance. Who knew we'd all grow up and have lives?
  • I don't have a clue with what on Earth I'm doing weekly without my diary at hand. I can't remember anything anymore! I actually can't go anywhere without it.
Is it time I got out the anti-wrinkle cream and admit my fate?
I might as well embrace it, right?

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

26 Mar 2018

What happened when I came off the pill, Part 2.

The response I received from my first post regarding coming off the contraceptive pill was overwhelming. Even you gents reached out to say that they'd shared similar emotions without ingesting hormones on a daily basis and it opened their eyes to the choices we have to make as women in order to keep ourselves responsible and safe.
It took me 4 months until my cycle became regular again, and my god I was relieved. As strange as it sounds, but I felt like a woman again. It felt unnatural. 
I'd been recommended both the depo injection and the patch. Both contain hormones and I came to the conclusion that most, if not all options, other than natural cycle tracking, do. So I had the depo injection. After a month I was really doubting all of the horror stories I'd been told told about the injection. My body had reacted no differently to it and I didn't notice any side-affects. However my nurse explained that I would only be able to have it for a maximum of 6 months as I have osteo-arthritis and the injection is associated with bone-thinning issues. 
After 6 weeks I realised that I had gained weight, my skin was worsening and I was having intense migraines & back ache daily. All factors which can then affect your moods. And we don't even want to go into how irregular my cycles became. Turns out the horror stories rang true for me and the injection just isn't for me.
Fast forward 3 months, I'm now on the new Evra Patch. You get 3 months worth of patches per prescription. It looks like a large plaster which you can stick to various areas as described on the enclosed leaflet. You remove and add a fresh patch weekly and have a break on your fourth week, as you would with the pill.
I'll be honest, it's not great to look at and the stickiness means that your clothing can rub off on it making it look dirty when it's not but if that's the price I have to pay to see no side affects then it's a small price indeed. It's early days yet however after two days I'd say you no longer notice that it's stuck to your skin. It becomes thinner the longer it's on for and it really isn't any bother to me at all. They even include reminder stickers for your diary to indicate each week which day you need to apply a fresh patch and when you need to take a break - at this point, i'm impressed with it.

The main issue I've found around it all is that there really is no help out there.  I feel as though I'm wasting precious NHS time to book an appointment to chat to someone about what our best options are, and it's completely beyond me that we were never educated at school on such a hugely important aspect of the female body and mind. Hence why I share my experience with it - and from your responses I'm assured it's a subject which needs addressing. Most people have never even heard of the Evra patch.
When I first began taking the pill at 15 years old it was solely to control my cycles, but I had no idea at all as to what the pill actually was. Even if I was informed it had X, Y and Z in it, I wouldn't have been aware of the affects it has on my body and mentality. All I knew was that most of the girls at school were on the pill, and it seemed the in-thing to do. 

Let's talk about these things gals, we all go through it so why not educate one another?

You can read Part 1 here.

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

25 Mar 2018

A sober stroll through Market St

Leaving work just scarce of midnight,
Deliveroo bikers are speeding past, causing a fright,
"Can you spare any change love, I’ll sing you a song?"
"Sorry mate not tonight" - it always feels so wrong.

Testosterone levels are hitting new highs,
I spot a group ahead of me, all good-looking guys,
Billy big bollocks over there is playing chicken with the trams - 
“what you beeping at me for?I’m invincible fam!”
I roll my eyes in disgust and my head goes down, 
I just want to get home and away from these clowns.

The homeless are sleeping rough once again,
But this Friday there's good Samaritans stopping for a chinwag - even if they are all drunken men.
Pitching tents outside of WHSmiths,
While Dave the lad plays football with an empty bottle - yeah, he’s that pissed.
"Yeah mate, go on! Aim for the bin! Waheyyy you missed”

Drunken gals making the entirety of the cobbles in their 6 inch heels,
Honestly, that itself is a medal-worthy ordeal,
I give them the nod of appreciation as they reach the other side,
"This way girls!" there's always that one who's the guide.

It's an eye-opener for sure,
a unique experience to say the least,
still, it all seems a little tame compared to my home in the East.

Piccadilly Gardens, 2015.

31 Dec 2017

2017; The Return of Raven.

I welcomed 2017 in by drinking vodka from a hip flask on Coffs Harbour, Australia jetty. I was one of a handful of us backpackers who'd hung around to finish off our 88 days of regional work. Two months later, after saving money by cleaning the hostel kitchen in return of free accommodation, I sold my 15 year old trusty Ford Falcon Forte and booked a flight to Denpasar, Bali. 
Little did I know that a week into our trip and a huge trek later, I'd be sat on a remote Indonesian island, cycling around the Ocean and receive a call from my sister to say that she and her husband were expecting their first child and I was going to be an auntie. It was in that instance that my life changed. I felt an urge I'd never felt before nor have I ever desired to feel, to come home.
With a return flight to Sydney already booked, I said my goodbyes to some amazing new friends and to the city which I had called home a year prior and booked a one way ticket home to Manchester, UK.
If only I knew then that my journey should've ended in Manchester. Instead, I continued onto my hometown in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire where I was about to experience the saddest and darkest days of my life so far. 7 months of trying to fit into a place I had already outgrown was enough for me.
I'd had counselling to aid my anxiety attacks and depressive episodes and was quickly realising that the sole problem was that Cleethorpes wasn't where I wanted to spend my time living in anymore.
I attended the We Are Manchester re-opening concert at Manchester Arena and it truly changed my life. I stood there in awe at the show in front of me thinking "I used to love Manchester, and working here. I used to be so happy". And that was it. 5 days after the show, I'd arranged to move in with a friend in Manchester, handed my notice in at work and had arranged to have my job back at the Arena. Raven had returned! In all meanings of the word. 

2017 saw me live in a 6 bed hostel dorm in Oz, a 5* hotel in Seminyak, my mother's home and finally our own girls pad in Manchester. 

I visited a friend in Budapest, hired a camper van in Benicassim, visited a friend in Dublin and travelled to London for a brief moment. 

I saw Kasabian twice whilst being drenched in beer, inside and out, I saw RHCP for the first time live, I was front centre for Biffy Clyro, and I danced like a sass queen to Dua Lipa.
I worked events from the Vengaboys to Metallica and everything in between.

I became obsessed with Doctor Foster like the rest of the U.K.

I was christened as a Godmother to my Godson, Ronnie. I became an auntie to Baby Oscar.

I met someone special, and I lost them too. I was reminded that it's ok to let my guard down and let someone else make me happy. And that actually, I am capable of making someone else happy too.

I was the heaviest I've ever been in my life and I'm now the lightest I've been in years.

2017 has seriously been a wild one. It's most certainly kept me on my toes. But bloody hell was it worth it? Yes! I've proved to myself that life is worth living, which I definitely could've done with knowing 6 months ago.

Something ALWAYS works out in the end. Here's to 2018 and all of the adventures I hope it'll bring.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to find myself again. You're all incredible.

Raven Twigg
Just Write About it.