we’re all so numbers driven

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When we’re born we’re weighed and measured

Before we’re even wrapped and passed to mum.

She proudly tells the other mums how long

The labour was and how many hours you can sleep.

Those numbers will define you, before you even talk,

And then you’ll grow into a woman and you will

Worry over bathroom scales and calories.

You’ll get to school and fight for highest marks

And then at work you’ll need to hit those targets too.

You’ll have to buy a lovely house so money,

That’s another number that will eat you up.

Then there’s time, you’ll notice how it runs so fast,

You’ll lie about how quick you run and maybe you

Will fib about your age, your date of birth.

And one day when you’re old and grey, you’ll stop,

You’ll slow it down and wonder what the reasons were

For all those numbers ruling lives that could

Be so much more enjoyable if we just paused,

Breathed in the air and walked barefoot,

Just be, before that time runs out.

called up to the olympics

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I saw on Facebook, somebody had written that it would be far more entertaining if the Olympics were not for elite athletes but for ordinary people who randomly get called up for any sport. So you would get a letter through the post two weeks before telling you that you had been picked for the freestyle BMX event and you would just have to try your best.

Surely this would be great for stopping all of those armchair critics who seem to think that their nasty opinions are worth anything. The people slating Simone Biles might be less scathing in their attacks when they are called up for pole vault.

I also secretly would like to have a go at the dancing horse event; I reckon I’d do quite well at that. Any thoughts?

Much Love

Rachel xx

am i bad?

I had a conversation at church today because I’ve had a lot of battles in my mind and I felt like I just needed to speak to someone about it.

I don’t know about anyone else who is a Christian and came to faith as an adult, but I’ve always had this nagging feeling that I’m evil and that I’m going to be one of those people that is going to hell. I feel this even more because my mum doesn’t talk to me and I feel like you do have to be really evil for your mother to turn her back on you.

I have got to the point where I’m questioning myself and whether or not I’ve deserved the abandonment. However, speaking to someone at church they told me that she has pushed the whole family away, not me.

It’s just interesting that we hang onto the feelings that we have as a child that if our parent is angry at us we must have done something wrong. Perhaps that’s just me as I do know that it was something I explored when I went to counselling.

Since I was really small I was always worried that my mum was going to kill herself because of me and those feelings have lingered into my adult life. Whenever I upset her, as a child, she could sometimes disappear for days or wouldn’t speak to me for weeks. I thought that was quite normal but at therapy I was told that it’s bordering on neglect.

My point is, that we carry a lot from our childhoods and being a Christian has sometimes really not helped me at all because I feel like there is no such thing as a loving parent; their love must always come with conditions.

I’m working through this and I think that I need to read my Bible more and listen to talks and remind myself that there is love in this world, and anyone who is feeling the same as me needs to be reminded that too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

wilderness vlogs

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I need the green to soothe the fuzz

Of faceless offices that swirl in minds

And fill our day to day.

The hum of crickets, the songs of birds,

Even if I can’t be there myself,

I watch and wait for my own turn

To swim in waters wild and cold to touch

And hike the rocky outcrops that

Are always there to wash away this life.

I cannot stop watching Youtubers who create content about the wilderness, hiking, wild camping and wild swimming. Their wilderness vlogs are sometimes the most calming thing in my day and they fill me with some excitement for life – something that I think we can all struggle to find from time to time.

There is something so beautiful about watching a well put together video that shows the beauty of what we have right here in the UK. The Lake District and the Scottish Highlands are just two of the places I’ve been looking at.

I’m lucky enough to be visiting the Lake District in two weeks time and I can’t wait to go for some runs and hikes. I’m even going to take my swimsuit and goggles and I might put in a couple of miles in Coniston.

There is just something so human about being away from the cities and towns that are sometimes so jarring to our souls. The wilderness is both beautiful and dangerous and I think that resonates with all humans on some level.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the power of the bittersweet

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The sour taste that burns that tongue, screwing eyes

And making faces out of something beautiful,

But sugar like the fairy dust that sweetens all

The evil in the world; it softens us

And eases pain we thought would burn us to the core.

We wish that every day was filled with rose

And dusty light that turns the world so heavenly.

But smooth can’t come without the rough

And we need pain to build a human core.

I was having a flick through Twitter this afternoon and somebody asked for stories of the bittersweet variety. And the stories that followed were so lovely and heart wrenching that I spent a fair bit of time reading them and considering the power of the bittersweet in my own life.

I think that we all love those stories because we know that the fairytale can’t really exist. The idea of the princess getting her prince and riding off into the sunset is just too unrealistic for us as complex human beings.

There were a lot of stories about death which I found interesting because it seemed that a lot of people could find something really positive come out of something that is obviously devastating. One that really made my heart break was about a woman who’s dad died a week before Christmas. He used to send her kids gift boxes and obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Then she flew home for the holidays and found a big box of her favourite childhood gifts that he hadn’t managed to post before he died.

I also enjoyed reading about the people who had their dreams come true only to realise that it wasn’t the answer to their anxieties that had plagued them their whole life.

In my own life I have seen the power of the bittersweet with my mum. I miss her loads since she left us but she was very negative and I think that held us back. I’m now living independently and I’ve qualified as a teacher. I am proud, but left with a broken heart.

I think we love these stories because we need to see that things aren’t perfect. We actually thrive on a setback or a heart break. It puts the fire in our bellies.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the joy of undiscovered art

I love the indie movies and the galleries

That populate the edges of the city where

The unknowns show their photographs, their paintings

And sculptures that will one day cost the earth,

But now that artist lives in crappy lofts,

The maker of the films, borrows from her parents,

Eats Pot Noodles on the sagging couch,

Dreaming of an Oscar nod and rubbing shoulders with

Tom Cruise and Angelina. But for now she has

The beauty of the freedom, to write her scripts,

Have actors who are friends, choose the goddamn music

In her own soundtrack. So take that photo,

Write that poem, draw that portrait of your dog,

Providing it will lift your heart, then you will know

It’s right. The world, it needs it in its arms.

Simone

She flies through bright lit air, searching for the bar,

A blur of leotard and sequins flash across the sky,

And crowds will wait with bated breath, to see

What she can do with flesh and muscle human mass.

But what’s the cost? She’s not a freak show queen

That we all pay to watch and point and make assumptions

That she is so strong she’s indestructible, immense

And yet there are those fragile tears that roll

Like oceans in the darkest night, it hardly seems

Fair to call that ocean weak when droplets fall

Alone, in slowest motion, picked apart by mortal men,

Like we could do a better job? Don’t kid yourself,

Don’t play with waves that flip and turn with force of God,

That legend may just ebb away but it will never die.

the nice guy at the till

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I go there for my lunch each day, trudging in

With all the other tired and worn out office men,

Just looking for a sandwich and a coke to satiate

That hole that’s burnt right through our soul

With the drudgery of each and every day.

But then I cannot help but feel a flicker

Of unadulterated joy, when I reach the queue

And hear his laugh, his cheesy jokes

That brighten up our days. His job is far

From perfect, far worse paid than mine,

And yet he always seems to shine on us

With rays of warmth and yellow light,

Brightening our days, if only for a minute then

Fading to another boring afternoon.

But when my days are feeling like they’ll never end,

I bring to mind the happy guy who shows us how it’s done.

I’m always so impressed with the way that some people can remain incredibly happy (particularly when they are at work). There are some people who can’t even drive to work without becoming aggressive and honking and giving people the middle finger – so hats off to the checkout worker who has a genuine smile on their face all the way until the end of their shift.

I always tried my best to remain upbeat when I worked at the petrol station, but you do meet some nasty people when you work with the public and it makes it incredibly hard to remain friendly.

Yesterday, I got my second dose of vaccine and I have to say that the volunteers there are the happiest people in Britain. On my first visit the guy at the exit who was responsible for giving us our sticker as was left, totally made my day.

Yesterday it was the lady who booked me in. I was wearing my Orlando Florida T-shirt and she ended up having a whole conversation with me about how much she loves Disney and how she has been there five times.

And remember, these people are not being paid! And the people at your local supermarket are on minimum wage. So, if they can be nice, then you can be too. Stop getting all aggressive in the car and learn to smile a little more. You might just make someone’s day.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the 100m butterfly call room

Purgatory, is what I’d call it,

Somewhere beautiful yet desolate, a blue

That could require a pair of shades to take

Away the edge, the brutal feeling that

We’re on the edge, tilting dangerously

Towards the great unknown, and swimmer’s arms

Swinging manically, their quiet singing

As they listen through their Beats, wanting

To be sick, to run, to enter through the jaws of Hell,

But they will have no choice, but to walk the other way,

Out into the light, where spirits weight,

Lenses of their eyes zoom in and we must strip away

Our tracksuits like those butterflies emerging

From cocoons, fluttering our wings or flags.

But butterflies don’t race, they dance,

And we will swim until our lungs are burning with

That enduring need to win, to know we’re loved

And in that call room we are shaken to our core

With an awful uncertainty, stay or go

That’s the dilemma that the swimmer meets.

free love and magic mushrooms

To be born into a time that is other from now,

If we’d be given a chance, or fate had been different;

Two souls colliding just years either side.

When you think that this rock has been hurtling through space

For billions of years, then thirty years past

Is nothing at all, just the blink of an eye.

And then there would be no worries about Twitter

Or the fact that I still don’t know how to turn on

The torch on my phone. I wouldn’t be worried

About my digital footprint, just who I will dance with

And which flowers will adorn my long, flowing hair.

I’m a person born later than than my soul needed be,

An alien in a world, too busy for me.

I have just started listening to the audiobook ‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I read ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by the same author, a couple of years ago. I feel in love with Taylor’s writing, predominately because of when she set her novels.

Both of these books are set in the seventies and they are so rock and roll and glamorous. I loved them so much that I almost feel like I would rather be there than in the here and now. I know that not all of us could be in rock bands like Daisy Jones, but I feel like it’d still be better than living in 2021.

I quite fancy myself living as a free spirited wild child, eating magic mushrooms and dancing around a field with others dressed in linen, crochet and flowers.

I have always thought that I don’t belong in this time. I never carry my phone because I hate it and people look at me like I must be mad. I don’t understand why everyone wants to be contactable 100% of the time. If I’m out, I want to be free from any distractions and yet people seem to get really angry about that.

And what are the chances of being born in any one time period? Humans have been gracing the surface of the Earth for millions of years and it seems like the luck of the draw as to whether you are born in the 60’s or the 90’s.

I’m looking forward to the rest of Malibu Rising and dreaming of what life could have been like if I had been born a mere thirty years earlier.

Much Love

Rachel xx