the frustration of knowing it’s a lie

anonymous woman screaming underwater
Photo by Francesca Zama on


That is my poem today,

Because sometimes it builds

Inside your chest

And all that comes out is an


No words are enough,

Just screams in the void.

Have you ever had somebody tell a lie about you and you’ve not been able to defend yourself. It is possibly the most frustrating feeling I think that a human being can feel.

My mother is just terrible for spreading lies. She’s told people that I have stolen thousands of pounds from her. Then she said that actually she thought I’d taken a book and now she can’t even remember which book it is.

But today she really topped it off by claiming that she needs her sister at the house when dad collects his stuff because he has threatened her with violence. Dad wouldn’t hurt a fly and it’s crushing to hear her say these awful things.

I heard a while back the the royal family use the saying ‘never explain and never complain’ and I really think that is such a classy way of dealing with things. Even if somebody completely slags them off they won’t say a word.

Obviously I wouldn’t be very good at that because I’ve just spent ten minutes writing about my woes. But I have to say that it is so bloody frustrating when you know that there’s no truth in what has been said. I wish I didn’t have to scream. I wish I could be quiet like Kate Middleton and the Queen.

Maybe one day.

Much Love

Rachel xx

my shell has been cracked

broken eggshells on a yellow background
Photo by Anna Shvets on

It started as a hairline fracture

Spreading through the fragile shell

While all around would hold their breath

Unsure if the crack would hold

Or if the innards would spill out

In an ugly mess.

I sometimes feel a bit like an egg and once someone has chipped away at the shell for long enough, there’s no putting it back together. It sometimes feels like the dam has been broken and no matter how many bucket loads of water I try to send back, the damage is done.

This week I’ve had several bad things happen. Nothing really terrible, but it’s just a bit like I’ve been chipped away at and my shell finally broke for real today. I was left to teach on my own with no warning several times and now when the kids aren’t handing in work I’m getting an earful from the Head of Department.

I ended up crying for most of the afternoon and having to mute myself between sobs while I taught. Normally, I’d have been able to handle it but that chipping away got too much.

I think that tonight calls for a good book and an abundance of custard creams while I piece my shell back together and make myself strong again.

Much Love

Rachel xx

april 20th, 1999

gray wall with windows with silver frame
Photo by Scott Webb on

A single shot ringing down the halls,

To mark the moment when there was an end

To life before, and something new begins,

It’s something ugly, twisted out of shape,

But new can’t always mean it’s clean or ‘nice’

Or any other name that’s pleasant to the ear.

Sometimes new is violent, a warning shot

That whistles through the stagnant air

And pierces flesh too young to die,

It’s ugly just like you and I.

I’m reading a book about Columbine High School at the moment and it’s fascinating in that way that humans seem to find the grotesque and violent so very interesting.

I was about fourteen when the shooting happened so I would have been around the same age as the younger students that were in that school. I think that similarity makes the whole thing seem so much more real to me, and even though I’m in the UK, I still feel sick to the stomach thinking ‘what if?’ when I watch the footage and read the accounts.

One thing that really strikes me about the stories that come out of tragedies like this, is that uncertainty about life and when it will end. We are awfully fragile beings and it only takes a mistake or plain bad luck to have today being your last.

I was watching an account by one students who said that he was driving into school with his sister and they were having an argument. He slammed the door as he got out, not realising that it would be the last time he ever saw her alive.

The fact that he was recounting that twenty years later shows that it’s still something that eats him up and I can’t imagine the pain he must feel every single day of his life. He wasn’t to know, but then none of us know. Reading these accounts has made me very mindful that I shouldn’t go to bed angry and I should always tell Noah and my dad that I love them. Make sure you tell your people the same thing.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i need kisses on the end of emails

white and brown short coated dog
Photo by Anna Shvets on

I have realised that when I feel vulnerable and sensitive, I like people to be super kind to me. I can’t stand professional conversations or emails because I just get this feeling that you’re angry with me.

When I feel vulnerable, a ‘kind regards’ makes me feel rubbish, even if you are being perfectly nice. I know this because yesterday I felt so down in the dumps and no amount of professional commiserations made me feel any better.

And then my mentor wrote to me and put a kiss at the end of her email, and I burst into tears. That little bit of personal kindness was just what I needed. I think it’s funny that an ‘x’ at the end of the email can do that. I wish that we were allowed to do that on all business emails because the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i didn’t get the job and now i feel crushed

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach
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It feels like wading through sludge,

Watching the others rise to dizzy heights

And not really knowing, where I am going

Or will I be safe, or will I be loved?

I had my interview today and they phoned me back to say that they weren’t hiring me. It feels like a punch to the stomach even though I know I did really well to get to the interview stage.

The problem is that everyone else on the course has had a job open up at their first school placement and I haven’t had that luck. And I know that really it is just bad luck that this has been the situation for me.

I’m trying to spend this evening thinking of all the good things I’ve achieved and all the reasons that they may have chosen someone else (and I have to remember how early on I am in my career and the fact that I may have been up against experienced teachers!)

My number one thing is that I might be realising that working in the same town that I live in might not be the greatest idea and in that respect I might have dodged a bullet. I’m tempted to start casting my net a bit further and trying the next town along. It will be nice to know that I’m not going to be seeing kids I teach when I’m doing my weekly shop.

I just need to remember for the time being that I didn’t get turned down because they hate me or they think that I’m a crap teacher. I will find a home and everything will work out just the way it’s meant to.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on being a control freak, when you didn’t even realise you were one

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It grips my brain with craggy nails,

Dragging sharp and painful lines

And causing headaches, twisted organs

Wanting just a little light relief,

A clue, a prompt, anything to grasp

To help me find my way.

I have my interview in the morning and I am stressing. I would normally be flapping and making a fuss, but I’m even worse tonight because I have been told that I have a curriculum based activity to do, and I don’t know what it is.

I thought that I would be planning a lesson, but if that was the case, I would have been given the task ahead of time so that I could actually plan it. The Acting Head Teacher emailed me and told me to send him a message if I don’t have an email outlining the task before 9am in the morning. But the interview is at 9am!

I feel like I have no control and I it’s giving me chest pains, and I also need to calm down. I didn’t realise how much of a control freak I was, but I am now seeing that I need everything to be my way. I don’t get angry if they are not, but I panic.

People always say that control freaks are aggressive and angry, so that is why I never thought that I was like that. But I guess you can react in all sorts of ways and I’m showing that blind panic is one of those reactions.

Much Love

Rachel xx


Photo by murat esibatir on

My face reflected in the contours of her nose,

Her cheek, her chin, the gently sloping lip.

Our hair is like the snowy blonde

Of Sweden and of Norway too, No-one knows

The difference between the two, their languages

So similar, and land alike they’re practically a twin.

I’ll turn back to you when I feel unsure

Of who I am, of what I am, of what it is that I could be.

You’ll show me how to plant my feet so similar

To those that keep you rooted to your home.

I’m always blown away when somebody really looks like a celebrity and I wonder what it must be like to get confused with someone famous. It must be such a strange sensation to walk down the street and know that people are looking and know why they are looking.

When I was younger, there was a guy in my school who used to swear blindly that I was the double of Lindsay Davenport, the tennis player. And as I’ve got older, I think I’ve started to look more and more like Amy Farrah Fowler. But I would hardly imagine people could stop me in the street mistaking me for one of them.

I do think that I have one of those faces that is comparable to lots of people. I regularly having people ask me how my sister is or if my mum is better or other random questions because they think I’m someone else. I am convinced that I have a doppelganger in my town as it happens that often.

When I moved to my current flat, the guy who I hired to move my stuff literally stopped in his tracks when he saw me and asked what TV programme he knew me from. I had to disappoint him and confirm that I was not famous.

I do believe that everyone has their double wandering around somewhere on the planet. I haven’t met mine but I don’t think she lives far away so there is a chance that I could meet her really soon.

Much Love

Rachel xx

watching the boys surf while i sit on the beach

man holding white surfboard
Photo by Oliver Sjöström on

We’d been out drinking, the night before,

In bijou clubs where princes sometimes danced.

Suffering hard with cocktail flu, we trailed

Down to where the sand met sea.

I clutched my heels in sweating hands

And spread myself out on the sandy shore

While boys piled into water, tropical and warm.

I wondered if the sharks were there,

If they’d smell the boys and see their boards

Like seals from down below, a tasty meal.

I looked away, towards the sun, my stomach churning,

Just hoping that they’ll come out safe

And we can trail back to the bar

For baskets of the greasy fries, and pints

To soothes away the achy joints and woolly head.

everybody loves a scare story…

child in ghost costume sitting in park
Photo by Đàng Thiện Thanh Tài on

I’ll scare you half to death

Because I love that face you pull

With eyebrows raised and mouth an ‘O’.

I want to see your heart drop through

To your stomach, see your fear,

Smell it in the air.

I don’t know why I love it so

But scaring you’s my favourite game.

So, yesterday I garbled a worried post about the school I’m interviewing at. I had been told by various friends and teachers that the school was a bit rough and maybe not the best fit for me. And the more I thought about it the more my anxiety began to rise.

I got in touch with an old friend that I found out was working there and I just thought I’d ask the question. I didn’t think it could hurt to get some inside knowledge. And you know what? She said it’s great.

She sent me a long text, telling me all about the kids and how the reputation of the school seems to precede it. It was very bad in the past and it is in a less than perfect area, but it has a Good on its latest Oftsed inspection, a brand new building and no more behaviour problems than anywhere else in the town.

This brought me back to last August when I told people the name of the school that I was assigned to for training. Everyone looked at me with wide eyes and told me that I’d be eaten alive. And you know what? It was fine.

My point is that I feel like everyone wants to tell you a bit of a scare story. They seem to like it when they see you worry. I don’t always think they’re being cruel. I think that sometimes they really do worry for me and want to watch out for me. But I do really need to stop listening to those people that tell me something is awful and that I won’t be able to handle it.

So much of what we read and what we are told is sensationalized. I need to remember that I don’t need to listen to every piece of advice and take it at face value. Sometimes people are jealous and don’t want to see you succeed. And sometimes they love you and they don’t want you to get hurt. Just take it all with a pinch of salt…

Much Love

Rachel xx


I emailed the lady at my placement school to tell her that I have an interview on Tuesday and I got the feeling from her reply that she has reservations about the school and what the pupils and their behaviour is like.

I know that the school is in a bit of a dodgy area and I can imagine that a lot of the kids are quite ‘colourful’ characters. Furthermore, I’m quite meek and mild so I’m not sure that I’ll be up to the challenge of managing behaviour in a tough school. I get the impression that this teacher is worried for me rather than just trying to put a downer on my good news.

However, this has left me in a tricky situation. The interview is on Tuesday and they offer you the position by the end of the day, so there is a chance that I will need to make a decision straight away. We’re also in full lockdown and I will be doing a Zoom interview so I won’t get to have a look around beforehand.

I’m so unsure what to do! I haven’t even been offered an interview anywhere else so I don’t want to throw away the one that I have been given. Plus, you never know what opportunities might exist at this school. I might flourish and get the chance to rise up in a way I never could in a ‘nice’ school where people stay from thirty years.

I need to make some huge choices in a few days and I don’t have the information needed to make then properly. But then that is life, isn’t it? We sometimes just need to take the leap and hope for the best.

Much Love

Rachel xx