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.

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