does anyone else feel naughty?

pink light fixture
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Sneaking around in darkened corners,

Making plans so clandestine

As life goes on out in the light

Oblivious

And wishing that they knew.

So I just applied for a job. And for some reason I feel guilty; like I’m stabbing the school I’m training in, deep between the shoulder blades. They funny thing is that this is what we are supposed to do. There is no position that is definitely opening up at my current school, so why not throw my hat into the ring and apply for a role?

I’m finding that I must have a really low level of self confidence, as I don’t feel like I deserve the position. I’m breaking down my thought pattern and I can see that I’m already telling myself I won’t get it; the only way I’ll be employed as a teacher is if people (at my training school) get to know me.

I just know that on paper I’m a load of crap. And get me in an interview and it becomes even worse!

But this is the year of pushing my boundaries and just giving things a try, so I’ve handed in my crap application form and you never know….. They might take pity on this rather lost little 36 year old.

Still, I feel sneaky. But excited. Definitely excited.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’m a flamin’ mind reader, don’t you know?

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I can see inside that mind or yours,

The way it ticks and plots my death,

My slow and painful unbecoming now

Apparent to the world at large.

You haven’t told me that it’s what you plan,

I’m just a lucky one, a reader of your minds,

I see it all and know how much

You hate and wish to see me dead.

I’m sure that there are loads of mind readers out there. You may be one yourself. You may be the type of person that just knows what other people are thinking without them uttering a word. I suppose it’s body language or one of those heavy silences; whatever it is it’s powerful stuff, because I really start to believe the shit that I make up.

I’m writing today from a tiny little office that I’ve cooped myself up in because I’m scared. All I want is to be taken out of circulation because I am scared. And I don’t mind admitting that now, because understanding my issues and saying them out loud are what help me most.

Four years ago I had a breakdown and I thought that the people who I was working with wanted me dead. I was so self absorbed that I thought the end of every conversation that I caught was about me. Every time the room went quiet it was because people hated me. Every time there was a disaster it was because of me.

And I knew that people thought badly of me because I would read into their silences. I didn’t give a crap whether they had a bad day and were just quiet because they were stewing over what had happened a few minutes before I had walked in. In my mind, their silence was because they hated me. Obviously.

I’m better now, but the point is that I still have these overwhelming feelings when somebody is abnormally quiet around me, or gives me a strange look, or slams a book down too heavily for my liking.

It’s hard to be this sensitive and that’s why I’m hiding right now. But I’m also remembering all the things that could be going wrong in other peoples’ lives and I know that it’s not all about me. Fortunately.

Much Love

Rachel xx

little cracks everywhere

Little cracks can splinter through the whole,

They let in light and breeze that chills

And faith can filter through those streaks

That mar the edges of the vase I sculpt.

I want that faith, like air into the lungs,

Like rich nutritious food to build,

I need it even when its light is weak,

One day it will be filling up my life again.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m going through a bit of a tough time with my faith. I haven’t turned my back on it but the way my mother has behaved since she has become a Christian has made me feel suspicious of the church. I’ve been hurt and I think that it’s a natural reaction to shy away when that happens.

The funny thing is that every time I’m feeling a real hatred over everything that has happened, those are the times that the light finds its way into my life.

For instance, I’ll be feeling so sad and angry about my mum all day and then I’ll watch Strictly Come Dancing and a Lauren Daigle song will be played. This is a popular prime time show and they choose a worship song to dance the Viennese Waltz to.

I think that’s amazing, that Rescue should be played when I really feel I need rescuing.

And when I’m running and feeling angry at the world, it’s then that somebody runs past me the other way and smiles and tells me I’m doing an excellent job. They’re like little gifts that are sent my way when I need them the most.

I think that everyone needs to stumble in their faith at times. I am hoping that the struggles I have at the moment will only lead to a stronger faith. Because I need it. I need that love back in my life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to change someone’s day…

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We let off gentle little ripples

Into an apathetic world, or so we’re led to think.

But really there are points out there

That suck that kindness in.

Souls that need that love, that hot and juicy courage,

And without that gentle push from us,

The greater things in life

Would never come to light.

I am genuinely always fascinated by this idea of passing kindness on. I always wonder whether something I have done has, in some convoluted way, led onto something being achieved that never would have happened if it weren’t for something nice that I have done.

It may be quite a conceited way to look at the world and my place in it, but it actually works to drive me on to do nicer things. Sure, it makes me feel like I may be more important than I actually am in the scheme of things, but it also makes me think twice before I do something a little bit shitty.

What if saying something nice about someone’s shoes makes them feel good and so they pay a fiver towards somebody’s petrol because they forgot their debit card, and then that person sees a homeless person and pays for their lunch and then that person helps out at a soup kitchen and then out of that a charity is born and millions of people are helped.

I know none of what went on after I said something nice about the shoes, and yet I’d have done so much good in the world. And then, what happens if the same process happens in reverse? What if I’m rude to someone in a shop and it ends in a death?

Obviously, you can’t blame yourself for all the bad things that happen in the world (and I have been there and I know how miserable that life becomes), but you have to be mindful of where your actions can lead to.

I think about this even more now that I am training to be a teacher. I have this wonderful opportunity, every day, to shape a future. That sounds really cheesy, I know, but to a certain extent, it’s true.

Let’s all send out those positive ripples today. Pretend you have the power to change the world and it really will make you change the little things you do in life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

why do some people make it and others don’t?

man performing on stage
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Lady Luck and the God of Talent

Often war over who will be

The successful one in life this year.

Will it be the underdog?

Or will it be the prodigy?

There’s really never any telling who,

But surely that’s the fun in all

The effort that we make to win,

To try and reach that mountain top,

Regardless of the prize that waits?

I often wonder what it takes to become really rich and really successful (whatever that may mean). I mean, did JK Rowling really become the most successful author in the world because she is the most talented there has ever been? Is Roger Federer really that great at tennis, or is he where he is because he was privileged enough to be given tennis lessons when he was a kid?

There is no denying that these people have worked bloody hard, and there is a hell of a lot of talent involved, but is success more about luck than anything else?

I just can’t see what separates one actress from another, or makes a singer worthy of a record deal and everything that goes with it. I can see that if you want success then you need to put your work out there, but surely you are really just waiting for that lightning to strike right where you happen to be standing?

For that reason, I always try to see my writing as the thing that brings me joy, regardless of the fact that it may never bring me any riches. I wouldn’t mind a bit of luck though. It would be nice to have some validation.

But then again, am I strong enough to take it? Perhaps we are given what we can handle and the powers above know that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. We’ve all seen the pop stars that fall from grace when it all gets too much and perhaps I’m just being protected from that. I mean, I don’t think that I could handle the bashing that JK Rowling has taken over the past few months.

Whatever the stars may have written out for me, I just hope that I have a really fun and love filled life that provides me with the stories to tell in the writing that I enjoy so much.

Much Love

Rachel xx

that losing feeling

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I used to feel it when the gun went off,

We’d the water, heart already pounding,

But before I’d even reached the surface,

I knew, somewhere deep down inside

The race was lost already.

And so those girls would pull away,

More and more with each passing length,

And as my heart would sink its way

Further down into my bursting chest,

I’d realise what the rest had seen so long ago;

That this girl wasn’t who she thought she was,

She just wasn’t good enough.

I’ve failed again. I set out to run 100 miles and I didn’t make it. I could make excuses that are valid (it was really cold, and I was being sick, and it is hard to keep going when you’re out on your own), but the truth of the matter is that I’m just not good enough at the moment.

And that really hurts to say that.

But, I’m learning with age that I’m not always going to ace everything. And I have to pick my battles. I can’t train to be a teacher and put the training in. Something has got to give. And unfortunately, at the moment, it is the running that has to drop.

It does remind of the times when I was a kid and swimming competitively though. I would heap so much pressure onto myself and then when I came up short I would be devastated. I remember crying so hard in the changing rooms after a race and just feeling like such a failure.

And a lot of the time it was because I’d also been studying really hard to get the best grades possible. I’d be exhausted and yet I wouldn’t give myself the break that I deserved.

The fact of the matter is that I’m not an Olympic athlete and it doesn’t matter if I don’t do well. This should be fun and I should be proud of the fact that I have made I ran 60 miles further than I would have this weekend.

If you’re feeling a bit crappy about your failings this week, do yourself a favour and treat yourself as you would treat others. Be kind.

Much Love

Rachel xx

marking myself out of 10

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I’ll chip away one mark for this

And another two for doing that.

Aiming for the perfect ten

And soon I see I’m only worth

A measly two or three…..

I am doing my first set of marking this weekend. I’ve focused on lesson planning and delivery up to this point and now it is time to branch out a bit further and try something new.

So, this week I designed an assessment for my Year 8 students, I modelled an answer for them, got them to answer the real question and now I have the books sitting on my kitchen table ready to mark.

It is exciting to be trying something new, but I am also quite nervous because I feel like I’m going to be marking myself.

When I set them off on their own I just had this horrible feeling that I hadn’t taught them well enough to get good results from them. I suddenly realised that there were elements that I had missed, and how can I then blame them for not including something they had not been taught?

I’ve looked through some of the books and it’s not quite as bad as I feared but I can definitely see the places where I have fallen short, and all of them have made the same mistakes so it really is me, not them!

I’m being so critical of myself but I want to be better and I want to know that I’ve done my best for the students. I know that what I learn from this half term will help inform my teaching leading up to Christmas and that is part of the process. But that doesn’t stop it from hurting me, knowing that I’m not perfect.

I understand that perfection is never going to be attainable but I really want that perfect ten for both myself and the students. I’m assuming there must be others out there who judge themselves just as harshly?

Much Love

Rachel xx

more stress or more love?

an empty gas station
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To cross the threshold leaving care

Behind with clocking off in time,

It makes the world seem easier,

But at what cost does that come?

With no one to congratulate,

To whisper words that appreciate,

Then what’s the point of that?

Why bother leaving for a day

Of something close to misery?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my work in the school and how it compares to the work I did at the petrol station. There are obviously pros and cons to each but I sometimes wonder which would win out on balance.

Working at the petrol station was great because I knew that come clocking off time, I was able to leave the building and not think about work again until the next time I had to clock on.

Now, I can sometimes be still working at 10pm and I often feel really stressed and overwhelmed with the amount of work that is expected of us. I sometimes think that it would be easier to just jack it in and go back to that easy life.

But, I can tell you that working in a job where you really don’t care can be soul destroying. At the petrol station, I wanted to do my work but I wasn’t inspired to do anything over and above what was expected of me. Feeling that way about your job just makes you hate every moment that you are there and you end up resenting it. I went there to pay the bills and that was it.

On the other hand, when I’m working with the kids I’m regularly reminded why teaching is such a cool job. There are times when you overhear a kid say that they think you are nice or a fun teacher and you can feel your heart swell. Or you get a lovely email from a parent and you realise they are thankful for the hard work you put in.

So, what do I prefer? Low stress but boring and uninspiring? Or bloody hard work and lots of stress, but so many moments that are just magical? I’m guessing you all probably know the answer…..

Much Love

Rachel xx

if i were an austen lady….

If I were an Austen lady, written by hand

By Jane at her table in the light of the window,

I’d dance off the page and out into life.

I’d fall into love with dashing young men

With top hats and canes and ten thousand pounds.

I’d play cricket on lawns, hitching up skirts,

Reciting long poems at great family soirees.

I’d friend request Emma, Elizabeth too

And we’d picnic in pastures, unspoiled by man.

Oh, how I’d love to dance off that page

And live a life simply, away from the screen,

Away from the pressures and newfangled ways.

This is a picture of me and my great friend Sarah when we visited Jane Austen’s house in Alton. It’s just down the road from me and we have visited a couple of times. I always get so goosebumpy knowing that I’m walking in the same places that Jane did. We can never resist dressing up either!

Much Love

Rachel xx

what the bloody hell was i thinking?

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What is that thing that pushes me

Into places darker than

The hole of hell that draws me in?

What makes me want to feel that pain

That stabbing in the broken brain?

I always do this thing where I sign up for something and then I wonder why the bloody hell I did it. I kind of want to do it but I don’t think about the pain involved when I sign the form and pay my money. Once it’s all signed and paid, I realise how stupid I have been.

This weekend I’ve signed up for yet another 100 mile run. I failed on the last attempt, only making it to 80. And I know in my heart of hearts that I’m going to hate almost every second of it. My ankles will swell and I’ll vomit until there’s nothing left in my stomach. It sounds horrendous because it is.

So, I’ve been spending a bit of time thinking about what my motivation is. Why do I sign up for things that are going to make me miserable? I think that the main reason id attention. The thrill of having people tell me that I’ve achieved something awesome is so great that I’m willing to put myself through hell to get a hit of it.

It’s pretty sad that I need that validation from people to make myself feel worthwhile. To think that there are people out there who can just live there lives and feel like they are enough. They don’t need to be doing things that will harm them to make themselves feel like a whole person.

One day I will have enough self confidence to just stop with this madness, but for now I guess I’m going to spend my weekend throwing up in various bushes. I’m just interested to know if anyone else does things like this to feel good about themselves. If you are like me, make sure you look after yourself. I don’t want you getting into any trouble!

Much Love

Rachel xx