the man in the phone shop scares me

pexels-photo-699122.jpeg
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

He smiles wryly as I tell him

I don’t know what I pay per month, or how many gigs

I eat through a year, like I’m kinda dumb

For not knowing what phone I have,

Just that it’s a Samsung, a J something I think.

And so I get scared of visiting the phone shop,

Exposing my weaknesses, the choices

I don’t have the knowledge to make.

So just like a Subway or Starbucks,

Where the choices in bread or cream or salad

Or some poncy vanilla sweet shot overwhelm

And so I choose to avoid like the plague.

I upgraded my son’s phone today and it took a lot of psyching myself up to get into that shop. And that is because I always feel so nervous – so inadequate – every time I speak to anyone about a phone.

I genuinely don’t have a clue and I didn’t even understand what wifi was until about a year ago, so phone salesmen always look at me like I’ve landed from another planet whenever they speak to me.

I have similar issues when I go to Starbucks or Subway – just overwhelmed with all of the funny language and endless choices. The stress just doesn’t feel worth it. Just give me a ham and cheese sandwich and a white coffee and send me happily on my way!

Much Love

Rachel xx

the healing effect of an apology

close up view of band aids on blue surface
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

They stared at me, maliciously – or so I thought,

They were probably just uncomfortable,

Around my silence and my simple defiance.

I could feel the shame bubbling up inside

And so my energy seeped, and life turned dark.

They did blood tests and shone lights in my eyes,

But, of course, nothing showed up – nothing’s wrong

Despite the fact this aching lethargy

Peppered my bones for several months.

And then one day, I crawled back to that pool,

I cried and told him, I’d never leave again.

It was a load of crap really,

But I did mean one thing -that I was sorry,

I meant that with all my heart. I recovered soon,

With that weight lifted off. The apology

Was was a shadowy turning point.

I find apologising really hard, but every time I’ve done it, and really meant it, it’s been a really healing experience. There is a reason that an apology is one of the twelve steps in a recovery programme – it’s powerful.

I remember when I was a teenager I was a swimmer and I got it into my head that my coach hated me. I left his squad and the decision ate me up for months.

I started to get very tired and within a few months I went from being able to swim 10k to struggling to climb a flight of stairs. I went to my doctor and had tests and reviews and nothing showed up. Apparently, I was completely healthy.

Eventually, feeling so sad and low, I dragged myself to the pool and cried uncontrollably on this poor man. I said I was sorry and I really meant it, and knowing that I was forgiven was even more freeing.

Whether my remarkable recovery had anything to do with this is anyone’s guess, but I like to think that the universe knows when something good has taken place, and rewards it.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

seeing your teacher in the supermarket frozen aisle

people woman street shopping
Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com

She glides past the frozen pizzas

In her tracksuit pants and a messy bun,

No makeup to hide those darkened rings

Under her eyes, that I may have caused.

I never thought of her as human before,

That she may feel sad or have a boyfriend,

Or need to shop for food and brush her teeth,

All those things that we all do – she does too.

And as her Ugg boots swish-swished away,

I wished that I could say – ‘Miss!

You’re my favourite teacher, and now I realise

You’re a person too.

I did my first lunch time duty today. Having completed my first term, I now feel confident enough to add a few things to my week. I had been told that it’s important to take part in extra curricular activities so that you can build positive relationships with the students.

So today, I shut down my computer and joined the students outside on the playground. And it was a really nice experience because I got to see the students outside of an English class.

There was one boy who told me about a bereavement that he had been through recently and then at the other end of the spectrum there was one girl who wanted to show me her ukelele.

It reminded me of experiencing the sighting of a teacher in the supermarket when you were a kid. You would stare because this person was totally out of context. How could a teacher need to buy frozen chips and Pot Noodles? It was such a novel idea that it was almost ridiculous.

I hope that none of my students see me in sweats and Ugg boots, but it’s still nice to see them in their natural habitat.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the first and the last page

opened book on tree root
Photo by rikka ameboshi on Pexels.com

Opening the book and cracking the spine,

The excitement of diving in through the words,

Those black and white portals

Where new people live, never before

Met by another, and dancing through pages

They’re waiting for you. You bring them to life

For just a few days you exist together,

Loving and hating til death do you part,

And when the last page is turned and they leave

They take a small piece of your bright bursting heart.

I can’t be the only person who feels like a little part of me has died whenever I finish a book. Especially when you adore the characters – how difficult it is to move on and leave them behind? Or are they moving on and leaving you behind?

I sometimes feel like the best characters do carry on with their lives at the end of a book, in some parallel universe that I will never be a part of.

It’s heartbreaking when you close a book and find yourself having to say goodbye and I wish you luck with the rest of your life. I wonder if those book characters ever sit on the other side of the story and think about me?

Much Love

Rachel xx

stupid english language

alphabet close up communication conceptual
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Those words that twist and turn,

Tricking us delightfully,

With there tomatoes over their

And always wondering

Wear I’d possibly where that dress.

The English language is a fucking mess.

I had a few classic comments from the students today and they tickled me so much so that I felt I had to share. They were unusual errors too; a little outside the normal wear and where confusion.

The first was in a conversation about what the Labour Party stood for. I was hoping for some comments about socialism but instead I got ‘Oh Miss, isn’t that the people who look after pregnant ladies.’ I had to take a deep breath and count to three.

My other one was when we were talking about the feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet. We were looking at the connotations that come from the word ‘feud’ and we had spent five minutes talking about arguments and violence.

It was then that a student put up his hand and said ‘we could talk about eating.’ I asked him to elaborate as I wasn’t quite following and it soon became evident that he was talking about ‘food.’ I don’t know where he head must have been for all the time that we were talking about fighting?!

I thought that while I’m pulling my hair out and crying in the stationery cupboard, that might bring a smile to your face.

Much Love

Rachel xx

seeing my myself on screen

crop faceless multiethnic interviewer and job seeker going through interview
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

It’s like an awful mirror,

Reflecting back the dreaded truth,

Exactly what I looked like

On that day when earth cracked open

And flames of hell were lapping at

My feet, burning soles

And warning me to change.

I just watched a scene on TV that made my toes curl. It depicted a woman being spoken to in a room, and she is alone with a HR person. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she is an alcoholic and she is in the room because she has done something wrong.

While I was drinking I kept finding myself in that room and wondering why I was there again. I genuinely thought that the world was conspiring against me and it had nothing to do with my behaviour.

And the funny thing is, since I stopped drinking five years ago, I’ve not found myself in one of those situations. Sure, things have gone wrong at work, but they have not spiraled in the way that they used to.

The thing that pushed me to write this wasn’t to talk about how horrible that time was, but to bring up how uncomfortable it is to watch it played back on screen. It was horrible to see it in all its cringey detail.

I think that sometimes we need to be reminded of our errors and feel all that discomfort as a way to remind us not to go back. However, that was a scarily accurate representation of what happened in that final meeting that nearly killed me… and reliving your most shameful moment is never a pleasant experience.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Louise Woodward -guilty or not?

justice scales and gavel on wooden surface
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

The world was watching on All Hallows Eve

As jury members take their seats

The courthouse holds collective breath

And when that verdict rolls from lips

The screams from England could be heard.

Those cries as such a young girl lost

A life along with him within her care;

No one won, just pain dished out

To everyone involved.

We have a three part documentary playing on TV at the moment and it’s bringing back lots of memories of that time, twenty-five years ago, when the whole country held its breath and waited for a verdict; a verdict that didn’t deliver what we wanted.

I was twelve when the case went to court so I was only about six years younger than Louise. I remember watching the case unfold and really paying attention to something like that for the first time in my life.

I think that so many people in their teens at that time, saw a lot of themselves in Louise. And that is scary – to put yourself in such a scary scenario.

Watching the episode tonight, we saw the moment when she was declared guilty and that cry that she let out still haunts me. I have no idea whether she actually hurt that child but I can still feel the fear that washed over me when I watched it at such a young age.

Again, it just goes to show how life can change in an instant, and sometimes we have absolutely no control over that.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on not knowing when the end will come

yellow and black wooden cabinet
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We all need a finish line to aim for,

A chalky line across the grass, and tape

To break our way through with our arms held high.

Without that line we’ll keep on running,

Swimming to exhaustion in a pointless circle.

We need to know how long we have, and yet we don’t;

We drift through life without a clue,

It could be twenty years from now, it could be

Crossing over one wrong road at one wrong time,

Never to have time to say goodbye.

I’m reading a book about a woman who has cancer and she is trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to die young. She is dealing with something that many of us won’t have to worry ourselves with; although there are many of us who will have time to think about death as we get older.

My grandmothers died in two very different ways and I have spent a lot of that last decade thinking which I would rather. One died of cancer and although it’s horrid, we all got the chance to make peace with the fact that she was going to go.

On the other hand, my other grandmother just went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. It seemed like quite a lovely way to go, but it was a terrible shock for all of us. However, is that a terrible way to go when you are so much younger? To not know that the end is near? To not live your last day in a way that is fitting?

We all fight with the idea of death at some time and I guess that I’m worrying that I might be halfway now. Or perhaps I’m even further forward. I went to school with a girl who died in her sleep when she was seventeen so it doesn’t just happen to eighty year olds.

And then there are the goodbyes. Don’t we all need to say goodbye, no matter what the relationship? Even if it’s the man on the checkout at your local supermarket; it would feel wrong not to say goodbye and thank you for your company.

So, just in case it’s ever too late, thank you for your company.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

this post is sponsored

roll of american dollar banknotes tightened with band
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I chose to sell my soul

To the corporate devil for

Just some pennies in my pocket

To buy from other people in

A world that only wants to sell.

So sell I will,

Regardless of that little pain

Lodged deep somewhere in my heart,

A sign that I’ve become a clone like them.

Disclosure: this post isn’t actually sponsored by anyone; but it sometimes feels like I’m the only person in the world not doing that.

I watch a lot of Youtube and it sometimes feels like every video I watch is interrupted midway, not by a regular advert, but by the creator peddling something.

This isn’t a post to bash people who have sponsors because how else are creatives supposed to make a living? If I’m being honest, I’d quite like to have a company contact me and say that they’ll pay me to do what I love. Who wouldn’t?

However, as a teacher and a mother to a teenager it does make me worried about how companies sell to people these days. Teenagers are bombarded with marketing and I think that half the time they don’t even know that it’s happening.

I think that eventually there will be subliminal messages sent to us in our sleep and we will all feel a compulsion to go out and order Hello Fresh and set up a Square Space website while also learning how to draw a duck on Skill Share. I dread the day…

Much Love

Rachel xx

the gift of looking back

selective focus photo of magnifying glass
Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

It’s true that it can hurt

To see the days that marked our past,

That made us cry and broke our spirit,

But what a joy to see our strength

Our will to thrive and oh,

Those golden moments in the sun.

A gift, an art, a wish upon a star.

I have sporadically kept diaries over the years and I sometimes wish that I had been a bit more consistent because I love reading them back years and years later.

I do think that recording your life is really therapeutic and I have started using the one second a day app where you just film one second of your day and then it mashes them all together into a thirty second film. I’ve already looked back on the first week and it just makes me smile to see that little slice of life.

My attempts are obviously not very artistic, but I do find the art of memoir writing truly beautiful and I hope that one day I can start to write eloquently about my own life.

One of my favourite books of all time is Wild by Cheryl Strayed and I would love to be able to write something that beautiful. The difficult part of writing something that beautiful is that you have to look at your part in the disasters in your life.

All of my diaries are polished versions of my life and even the bad bits, I blame on other people. I read somewhere that the secret to writing a great memoir is to be OK with people not really liking you all that much by the end.

I definitely need to work on that. But for now I’ll just stick to showing people my best second of every day…

Much Love

Rachel xx