I am afraid of the future.

I think sometimes I forget how bad my heart condition has been. I am so desperate to not be a victim, to myself or others, that I downplay the seriousness and pretend as if it doesn’t exist. I’ve come to the realisation that that way of thinking is probably not very good.

I think that the reason I am so scared of dying, and so scared of doing anything in my life is because of the trouble I’ve had in my childhood. I have nearly died a few times, and while I may have been too young to remember or to fully understand what was going on most of the time, the feeling of fear that it gave me never went away. That, and the anxiety it caused my family and everyone else around me has created the perfect recipe for disaster. Everybody has made sure to wrap me in bubble wrap to keep me safe and while it has kept me alive, it has also made me very isolated and afraid.

I am not happy. It’s not an easy thing to say out loud and it is not an easy thing to type but I am not happy. All I have ever wanted was to be happy. I never saw happiness as someone being smiley and joyful all the time. If you’ve ever seen Inside Out, you know that is unrealistic. I always saw happiness as a general feeling of content. Emotions like sadness, fear, etc. are always going to happen, they can’t and shouldn’t be avoided, but I don’t want those emotions to be in control of my life the way they are right now. I am not happy.

It used to be that even though I didn’t know what would make me happy, I knew what in my life was making me not happy. Now everything is very blurry and I just feel lost all the time and I don’t really know what to do about it. The only thing I can think of is to make a huge change and keep going forward. The only thing stopping me is the fear of it all. The change, failure, being alone, something bad happening. Which is what brought me to thinking about my health.

I definitely downplay the seriousness of my condition, but I also underestimate how much I can actually do. It is getting better as I get older. Everything is under control and is monitored so there is no reason for something to go wrong, especially after things haven’t gone wrong for so many years. So I am safe to go off into the world on my own. Physically, I can do that now, I’ll be okay. So it really is just the fear of the future that is holding me back.

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would be fearless but anxiety doesn’t really work that way. It is a constant battle with myself. When life isn’t good, how can change be a bad thing, right?

I wish I could say I have it all figured out now but I really don’t. I feel myself improve slightly but even that scares me. I’m scared of being thrust into the open world before I’m ready to go. I could have all the preparation in the world but it is always going to be a giant, terrifying step that I won’t be ready for.

Perfectionism is slowing me down!

I am a perfectionist.

I’m not sure when it started and it doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon so I am just going to talk about it for a bit.

Let me throw a quote at you that I think is somewhat relevant to this topic:

“Art is never finished, only abandoned” –Leonardo Da Vinci

Whenever I set out to do anything (art, music, videos, this blog), I struggle with what I think is a desperate fear of failure. When I work up enough courage to actually start doing something, it feels great…for about 10 minutes. Then the perfectionist inside starts to criticise every single detail until the work before me becomes awful and I feel ashamed of how I can produce something so awful. Any attempts to fix the problems that I made up are useless because it only makes it worse. So I give up and throw it all away.

I started at least 3 blogs before I made this one, all deleted. I have tried about the same amount of YouTube channels, all deleted. None of the content I ever produced was ever good enough. I was boring, I looked silly, my username was never good enough. My attempts would last a couple of months before I scrapped it all. This need to be perfect has only stopped me from improving which is so frustrating. Not just that, but my fear of failing again is so strong that I don’t even try anymore. And that is just plain stupid.

When I made this blog, something changed. I still struggle every single day, and I really hate my blog, but I didn’t delete it. I want my content to be bad, I want to go off on tangents, and forget my point because that is me, because then I can learn and improve. I can’t express how anxious it makes me to have all these posts that I am not happy with, but if I don’t stick with it, then I really never will be good enough.

I want to use this blog to talk about my struggles. I think it helps to know someone else out there might know what you are going through.

If I have any advice for someone who is going through this, it would have to be stop fearing failure. Produce bad content! The only way to improve is to try, fail, and try again. Don’t do things to be good, do it because you love it. Something I’ve noticed – people like passion more than they like perfection.

I don’t want to be a prisoner to perfectionism anymore so, hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more bad content from me.

Personality Traits I Am Proud Of (and you should be too)

Honesty

I am an open book. I don’t lie, I don’t have secrets. If you ask me for my honest opinion, you can trust that I will give you a brutal truth before I’d give you a kind lie. That doesn’t mean that I just go around insulting everyone, I’ll always do my best to be as kind as possible. I just believe that, yes, the truth hurts but lies are worse (how can I live anymore?).

That also doesn’t mean that people are entitled to my entire life story just because I’m honest. I will only tell you if I choose to. I don’t have secrets, but I do have privacy.

Loyalty

Like a puppy. I love people very easily and very unconditionally. I defend them and try my hardest to protect them. Especially those closest to me. I also know, however, when somebody is toxic and will remove those people from my life if they are bringing me down. It isn’t easy to let people go and it brings me great pain to do that but sometimes there is no other way.

Passion

If something is important or interesting enough to me, I go all in and become enthralled with it – almost to the point of obsession. That can be good and bad. Good because it is a lot easier to focus and learn something interesting if you are extremely passionate about it. Bad because sometimes I can become too interested in a person- the way they act, their personality, and so on. I end up coming off very strong and some people really don’t like that, so I’ve been told.

I always have the kindest of intentions though. It is just a fascination that will pass in time.

Determination

The thing about failure is, you only fail when you decide to stop trying. I suck at so many things (including this blog) but I will keep fighting to improve until I achieve the greatness that I know I’m capable of.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try try again”

Hope

In my darkest moments, I have really wanted my life to end. A feeling that is with me on a daily basis, despite my severe death anxiety. I struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel but I have to keep going. I can’t let my enemies win. I can’t let my goals and hard work go to waste.

Hope is what gets me out of bed. Hope is what makes me see the good in the worst of people. Hope is the reason I am still alive.

Be your biggest cheerleader and never stop being proud of your good qualities.

Love yourself.

Good things about this year.

I always see the negative in life. It is just the louder part. If 99 people hug you and one person punches you, you don’t remember the 99 positives, you always remember the 1 negative. So I wanted to make a list of things that happened this year that are positive. That way, I always have this post to look back on.

  • The Unicorn cake. It was one of the biggest, most exhausting projects I’ve ever done (especially at a time where my energy levels are crazy low) and it really paid off. Experiences like that is what makes everything worth it. It may not seem like a lot to some people but it was a lot for me. It was my passion for baking, art, and hard work all being used. Hopefully, I can do stuff like this again next year. Big projects with planning and work that pays off into this masterpiece (which I don’t think is too grandiose a term).
  • Lip piercing. Much like the tattoo I got last year, this piercing is something I have wanted for many years. Actually 7 years. Ever since I started watching WWE again after a 2 year break back in 2011. I turned on the screen and immediately CM Punk became my favourite ever. I agreed with everything he stood for in and out the ring and absolutely idolised him (a childish trait I later grew out of). Ever since then, I wanted a piercing in the same place as he has his. And even though I haven’t thought much about him in the last few years since he left, I still really wanted the piercing for more than just CM Punk. It just became part of who I want to be, it means a lot to me, and it looks really cool.
  • I kept this blog going. In regular me fashion, I would have already given up hope on this blog, tried out a new name for me to go by, gotten bored of my usernames, and deleted most of my social media. For some reason, I didn’t this year. Maybe because I feel settled and comfortable with Raven so everything with that name feels right and falls into place, maybe because this time this blog is actually talking about things that are really important to me, maybe because I am so fed up with not doing anything with my life that I am now determined to complete my goals. I’m not sure but what I can say is:
  • Who I am feels right. I have been confused and I have hated myself for most of my life but as I have been reading into things and learning, I have learned so much about myself and who I am. I understand my mental state and why I feel the way I feel, for the most part. It’s all okay. I am okay with who I am.
  • Languages! I resumed my learning of French and German, and decided to learn some other languages. Not necessarily to become fluent in but just to learn some random stuff. My list right now, in order of priority to me, goes: Japanese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Icelandic, Samoan. All very beautiful languages that are very fun to learn, but also very tricky.
  • I have learned so much. Sure there has been a lot of pain this year, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learnt something every time. People come and go but I will always have myself. I can’t force myself to get better (be that physically, emotionally, or with the skills I’m learning). It takes time, patience, determination hard work, perseverance, and a lot of hope and optimism.

I hope that next year will bring much joy and lessons learned.

Farewell, until we meet again.

Unicorn cake

A more extensive look at the steps I took to make this cake. I completely made it up as I went along.

Check out the video I made of the process here!

To start, I drew out a quick sketch and added colour and annotations to say how I wanted it to look.

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I wanted a rainbow for the layers and silver icing in the middle to be like unicorn blood from Harry Potter. It was a good in theory but did not turn out so well in practice. The icing just turned a pale grey.

After I figured out all the details, I had to find a good vanilla cake recipe because all the cake recipes I have used in the past have ended up being crumbly and dry. I needed one that would hold up 7 layers. I found one from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery. This recipe is the best cake I have ever had! Highly recommended!

So I had the plan and the cake, all I needed was the right sized cake tins, colour for the layers and icing, and fondant icing for the ears. I used regular fondant icing from Tesco. I knew that the colour would have to be strong and not too thin a liquid otherwise it would mess up the mixture (been there before with a red velvet cake). I opted for some gel food colouring from amazon which judging by the pictures, was decent quality. I also ordered 8-inch sandwich tin, silver gel colouring, and gold powder colouring. By this point, I decided to do a chocolate-filled ice cream cone for the horn, instead of icing, as it was easier and had a really cool pattern on it.

I had everything prepared so I waited for my birthday to come.

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I made the cake layers one mixture at a time so I wouldn’t have cake mixture sitting around with nowhere to put it. It worked out better that way because I had time to prepare the next thing and do some cleaning up.

As the cake layers were cooling, I made the “silver” icing (100g butter, 200g icing sugar, too much silver colouring which didn’t really make a difference) and melted a bit of jam. I put jam and icing on each layer, just enough to make it stick together, any more then the cake would have been unnecessarily sweet. I assembled the cake on a cake board on a Lazy Susan so it could spin while I was decorating it. Whatever icing didn’t go in the middle, I used to kind of cement any holes or breakage and left it overnight to set because decorating was another day of work.

To decorate, I started with a layer of white buttercream icing all around. To do that, I used about 100g TREX and 100g stork with 400g icing sugar (I may have put more, I didn’t really measure it), and a tiny bit of soya milk (possibly about a teaspoon). I used a palette knife to smooth it out, something I hadn’t done prior to this cake and it didn’t go spectacularly well.

Next, I melted some chocolate to fill up an ice cream cone, that I would use as the horn. I put a bamboo skewer through it and put it in the fridge. Once it was set, I covered the cone in some gold powder (which didn’t really come out very gold, unfortunately) and placed it in the middle of the top of the cake.

I then used royal icing to mould the ears and eyes. This was actually pretty fun because I like to sculpt. I broke off two bits of icing about the right size and cut off bits to make it into the right shape. Then, I smoothed out the surface and coloured the front bit with gold powder. I put a cocktail stick through them both and placed them next to the horn.

Finally, the hair. It was so hard and it didn’t come out the way I wanted it to, to be completely honest. But it still looked good so whatever. I made some buttercream icing (1 part margarine, 2 parts icing sugar) and mixed some colours in with it. I think I did 50g margarine to 100g icing sugar per colour. I put them into a piping syringe, like this one, and just piped some spirals all over the place. My hands were very tired by the end of it.

The final result:       20181030_214544.jpg20181030_214616.jpg20181030_214915

If you want me to keep making fun cake projects, be sure to like this post. If you have any ideas of what cake I could make next, or any other recipes you want me to try out, leave a comment below.

Farewell, until we meet again 😄

 

20…The big 2-0 and why it’s already bad.

On Tuesday, I turned 20. How unprepared I was.

I wish I’d had some event planned, a party, a get together, an idea for a video or a blog? Nope. Let it fly by like everything else.

The things I hoped I would have achieved by now, I have barely started. Life really is what happens when you plan.

It’s weird. When I was younger, like 10 or something, I thought of all the things I would finally be able to do when I was a grown up but then I grew up and and somehow I can do less. Too depressed and anxious to work, too tired to take care of myself, and desperately clinging onto the hope of future success.

On a lighter note, what have I achieved?

I have a tattoo and colourful hair (something I’ve wanted since I was 6), I finally have a lip piercing (11 year old me would be proud), I’ve had a blog for almost a year now, I took a giant leap of faith and left school when I was 15, I call myself an artist and a creator even though I have yet to make any earning from either of those titles. It’s what I am and I will stand up, own it, and work hard until it gets me where I need to go.

What’s my next step? What do I want to have achieved and what should I do about it?

I wish I’d kept doing acting when I was little. Perhaps that is something I could incorporate into my YouTube videos, of course I would have to get better at it first. It used to give me confidence and it is always fun to play the role of someone that isn’t me. I was actually a pretty good actor, even if I was 7. Be confident.

I wish I’d been more social and less terrified of people. Granted, there isn’t much I can do about my crippling social anxiety but regularly talking to (and not avoiding) the one friend I do have would be one hell of a start. Also, to stop being so scared of rejection that I won’t text first or make any plans. How will someone know I want to talk to them if I don’t tell them. Be courageous.

I wish I hadn’t given up on art after my art teacher basically told me I was crap. I loved what I was doing up to that point, art has always been my life. I need to stay true to myself and keep producing the art that I love and share it with the world. Be dedicated.

Those are the main ones. If I think of more things, I will add it to my goals for next year and keep my progress on the blog. The things I just mentioned will definitely be going on next years goal list. I no longer want to let fear hold me back from achieving my dreams. And stop letting self-loathing spoil my confidence.

The will to live.

A trigger warning is probably due.

I am a strong believer that the greatest force in human life is the will to live, so being in a place so dark that you no longer feel that there is a reason to live can be so incredibly hard to break out of.

Despite my severe case of death anxiety, I have a tendency to be very suicidal; narrowly avoiding attempts by remembering that dying will bring me death? I have tried to kill myself many times: tied belts, socks, robe cords, etc. around my neck, held an entire packet of my heart medication in the palm of my hand, stood in the middle of the road waiting to be hit, the list goes on but none of these events have ever had me follow through because I know what will be next. Death.

I want to die. I want the constant pain and torture of my life to stop. I struggle so much on a daily basis and I am not coping. I can barely do basic tasks like brushing my teeth, making some food, and cleaning dishes. Now, I’m not saying that I have it worse than everybody else, because I don’t, but my pain is real and it is unbearable. I can’t go through life feeling like this anymore. In that sense, I want to die. But I don’t want to be dead. Every single day is a constant battle with myself because I am terrified of dying but I’m also terrified of life and what more it will take from me. I don’t know which is more important to me, which I am more afraid of.

I’m not sure what the point of this post was, or if there was a point at all other than letting out some thoughts. I’m not sure how to fix this thought process or if it will ever go. Will I ever stop being so afraid of both life and death, and start living my life the way I was supposed to? Who knows? The one thing I do know is that I have a lot of hope that one day, it will happen. I’ll get everything I ever wanted. I’ll be my true self and I won’t care what anybody thinks of me.

But you know what they say about hope…

Advice to me, from me…

I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the mistakes or misjudgements I have made throughout my life and what I would say to myself if I was my friend (or something like that). I’m still very young so I hope I can learn from these things because I don’t want the things of my past to take over my future. Hopefully, somebody else can relate to this. These are just some of the mistakes I have made:

  • Judging people for their mistakes – even if you are right about them doing the wrong thing, give them a break. Realistically, you don’t know what they are going through in their own head. Please understand their decision, and help them back onto the right path when things don’t go well.
  • Being too overprotective with the people you care about – It is good to care, don’t ever stop loving, caring, and helping, but the people you love don’t always want what is best for them. You can’t save everyone. Say your piece, then let them make their own choice, they will find their way when they are ready.
  • Being too overbearing with people who treat you kindly – just because somebody was nice to you that one time, it doesn’t mean they are your best friend. Accept that not everybody will like you as much as you like them.
  • Pushing away the people you should hold close – however, some people do like you as much as you like them, don’t push them away because you are too scared to get hurt again. Let yourself get hurt, the pain is worth it to find a true friend who will stand by you.
  • The countless times I have felt guilty for being overweight – as long as you are improving your diet, getting your exercise, and taking care of yourself, it is okay; the weight will go eventually. Don’t feel guilty.
  • Letting what people think of me control my life – stop hiding away because somebody said you are weird, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Be yourself. If people can’t see you for who you really are, you don’t need them.
  • Becoming obsessive about the past – you need to move on. You can’t spend days and nights coming up with things you could have said or done. People leave your life, you can’t get them back by wishful thinking. Talk to them, or move on, or both.

“Forget the past but never forget what it taught you”.


What advice would you give yourself?

Thantophobia

TRIGGER WARNING!

I really don’t want to talk about this.

Lately, I have not been in a good place. This is because I suffer from thantophobia, the fear of death. I have been going through this for the last 5 years, give or take. It is really hard to talk about and I’m not sure I will get through this post without having a panic attack, but I need to get this thought out of my head.

My fear is not the manner in which I die, that doesn’t concern me. I don’t think about that. The fear is what comes after. Generally, I am a very open-minded person. I am not religious or spiritual, I don’t follow any type of belief system, but I don’t not believe believe anything either. I won’t be the guy to say whether or not something is real or fake because I don’t know anything. I know nothing, at the end of the day. But when it comes to dying, nothing can sway the thought of eternal oblivion.

I can’t talk about “would you rather” questions like “would you rather die of cold or die of heat?”, I can’t even consider becoming an organ donor (even though I want to because it’s a great thing to do), I can’t even sleep sometimes because I’m afraid I won’t wake up. If death is like a dreamless sleep, how can I go to sleep knowing that?

Usually, I can somewhat keep the thoughts away with grounding techniques, games, reading, or just consuming myself in some random activity but today has been so bad. The thoughts will not go. I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t see a way out. Death is going to happen, there is nothing I can do about it. I keep having panic attacks; I can’t calm down. I don’t know what to do.

If anyone has advice, do leave a comment. I’ll pretty much listen to anything.

Thanks