that horrible moment when you realise the party’s over

photo of woman holding disco ball

Grey sunlight streams through slatted blinds

And carpet fibres brush across my face.

I realise that I must’ve slipped inside

The alcoholic ride into a dirty ditch.

But looking round I see I’m not alone,

As bodies strewn across a lurid three piece suite

Satisfy that anxious knot that sits inside,

That feeling that I’ve misbehaved while under wine’s

Sweet curtain falling through the night.

But now the party’s over and the sun

Is creeping up and welcoming a wretched day.

I scrabble for my shoes, my purse, my phone,

All scattered carelessly throughout this stranger’s house.

I slip into the outside world, and breathe

That air so razor sharp it bursts the bubble

And let’s the dream of endless fantasy

Drift away on wispy clouds, hopefully

Never to be seen again.

swings in roundabouts

We’ll spin and spin until your world

Is streaked with greens and reds and blues.

Lines will blur and when they sharpen once again

The other kids will start to push

And life will take on tipsy hues.

I don’t believe in karma as such, but I do believe that life swings in roundabouts. Good things come into your life and at the same time, bad things seep in at the edges too.

I’ve had so much good news recently but just today I’ve had a shit load of difficult stuff to deal with. Nothing that could send me spiralling out of control, but enough to rattle me.

I don’t know about other people but two of my weaknesses are money and paperwork. I worry about money all of the time, even when there isn’t anything to worry about. And paperwork stresses me out in a way that is totally unnecessary. It’s not like I have any trouble understanding or filling out the questions, I just hate it!

And today I have been flooded with paperwork that HAS to be done ASAP. And then, my car failed its MOT and it will cost about £500 to get it fixed. My eyes are watering.

But, I’m working on myself and I’ve sat for a whole hour doing the paperwork. And it’s all done and it’s such a relief. And tomorrow I will leave my car at the garage, pay the bill and forget that the money even existed.

Things do swing in roundabouts and I need to enjoy the good bits and just ride through the bad bits. I believe in a Christian God who will be there no matter what, but even if you don’t I think that it’s important to believe in something bigger than you. Something that will have your back AND hold you accountable.

Let go and Let God.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the very flat and very boring rollercoaster

The peaks and troughs have evened out,

I barely even need to wear the belt,

But at what point does it all become a little boring?

A little safe?

Is it even possible to spice it up again

Without causing quite the awful accident?

I’ve had quite a few bits of good news recently and in the past I would be celebrating hard and living my best life. But right now, although I feel content, I don’t have that manic high that I used to experience.

And what is the thing that has caused this? Sobriety.

Some would say that I’ve taken all of the fun out of my life. And I do really miss those amazing highs when things went well. But what goes up must always come down, and I always came down with quite a traumatic bump. If anything, it was more of a splat.

Now that I have a couple of years of sobriety under my belt, things have smoothed out. And you know what? I wouldn’t swap it back. I’m quite happy to have lost those amazing highs, just so I know that I never need to go splat again.

Much Love

Rachel xx

where exactly is the middle?

arts and crafts carpentry wood wood shavings

I scratched an ugly mark

Onto the wood we were about to saw,

I hadn’t measured out the pieces I would use

To make a lovely bench, I planned to place

In the garden, underneath the willow tree

Where I’d like to sit and read, in the shady spot.

But with no way of measuring, my estimates proved wrong

And when I hammered all the parts together into one,

My bench was rather wonky, unsightly,

Not fit for purpose.

And yet,

I loved it still.

I’d sit upon the bench with books in hand

And wedge my feet in place to keep myself from sliding.

My bench was quite the eyesore, the butt of jokes

From well meaning friends over chardonnay.

But it was my bench, I made it,

It was only right I loved it so.

I read someone’s post on social media and she had turned 34 and she was wrote that her life had been amazing and she would be happy to have 34 more years. I know what she meant but I immediately thought she was selling herself short. If she only had 34 more, she wouldn’t even make it to seventy.

But then it got me thinking about the fact that none of us really know where the middle is. I sometimes look at the age my grandparents died at and use that as my end date. But the truth of the matter is that I might die tomorrow. Nobody knows.

And then I started to think about what effect this has on a person’s life. If you don’t know where the middle is, how do you know if you are on track to fulfil all of your dreams before the end comes?

I thought it was a little bit like having a go at some carpentry with no rulers and possibly blindfolded. The bench or the table you would make would be awfully wonky and not very aesthetically pleasing.

But isn’t that what life is all about? Creating a life that has ugly bits but is beautiful to you because you made it. I don’t know where my middle is, but I think it’s probably best to crack on with my own woodwork project so that I have something to show for it at the end.

Much Love

Rachel xx

for the love of plants

variety of green leaf plants on table infront of window

I felt sick, alone and sick,

And so I bought a plant.

He sat alone, in a grubby bucket by the door,

And soon I found myself freely chatting to him

Softly in a whisper first, and then in normal tone.

I knew he needed friends and so I trudged to garden stores

To find the loveliest of house plants in the world

And soon my house was jungle like, filled with greenery.

People worried I’d gone mad as parrots flew from bedroom windows

And steamy clouds would drift from open doors.

But I knew that I had made a world where sickness seeped away

And nature held me in its hand

While everybody round my home, slowly withered down.

itching for the old life

It starts a lot like gentle irritation

Gnawing at the skin that crawls

With the urge for something new

Or old, as the case may be.

This stagnant air that wraps around

Our lives in scarves of quiet sadness,

It needs to move, to blow in new directions.

It will, I know. Just give it time,

For now just rifle through the images

Of olden days and happy times,

They’re coming back on that Eastern wind, I’m sure.

I have quite liked lockdown because I’m an introvert. I don’t really like going to social gatherings so that has been no hardship. And then I work in a school and a shop so I was required to work in both. This meant I had something to keep me occupied and I didn’t have the money worries that so many others have had.

However, there are a few things that I’m starting to miss so I can understand why people are so keen to get back to their old lives. And for me, it’s swimming.

I hadn’t even been swimming that much in the last few years but as pools are slowly starting to reopen, the local news channels have been visiting pools that I have raced in all throughout my childhood. It’s bringing back so many fond memories and making me think I might get my cozzie back on.

I hope that everyone else is coping in lockdown and I hope that you are looking forward to things reopening. I wonder whether other people will restart hobbies and sports that they haven’t done for a while because of everything that has happened?

It would be nice to know that is the case. Something good has to come of this awful mess the world has gotten itself into.

Much Love

Rachel xx

PS I don’t normally put many photos of me on the blog but the one above is of me while I was training to swim the English Channel about eight years ago. Those were really happy times and I would love to have those back.

questioning my faith

I saw her in the supermarket queue

In front of me with just a basket

Held rigidly in cold, white fists,

A well dressed lady looking sad.

Just a box of cat food and a litre bottle

Of vodka nestled underneath.

She glanced at me, over her shoulder

And I smiled, probably the only smile

She’d seen all day.

I wondered how she’d got that sad,

Why was it allowed?

I worried what awaited her at home,

I knew that she would sit and drink and cry

And I wondered who was in command

And why they’d let her feel this way.

i was too scared to close my eyes

beautiful waving sea splashing on shore

I knew to slip away would be

The easiest thing I’d done for months.

After fighting tooth and nail to grasp at shreds

Of silken life that fluttered in a summer breeze,

Letting go seemed natural, the simplest thing to do.

But taking up that final step

Of closing eyes and letting Death take me by the hand;

That is where I stumble in the hope

That those around my bed may come

Along that final route with me,

Despite the fact I love them so.

I have a colleague who had to rush home last week because a family member was slipping away. Sadly, she passed and it’s got me thinking about death. I struggle with death, as I’m sure most people do, and when someone in my circle passes, I really find it difficult to comprehend.

The ‘funny’ thing is that it’s not always the people who are closest to me that affect me the most. I find that it’s things that are said and done in those final moments that stick with me, no matter who they come from.

One of the things that affected me the most was another colleague who lost her mother. They knew that the end was near and as the time passed the mother became scared to close her eyes to sleep because she was worried that it would be the last time that she saw her family.

This broke my heart and terrified me all at the same time.

I think I put myself in people’s shoes too easily and it made my skin crawl to think that I could close my eyes and never see my family again. It’s funny how death can make you say the most thought provoking things. Death comes to us all and yet none of us are ever ready.

Stay safe and love each other as much as you can,

Rachel xx

just. slow. down

cars on road in city during night time

I was always captivated by that music video,

Ray of Light, I think it was called,

Where Madonna cavorts while the world moves fast,

Far too fast for anyone to keep the pace.

She somehow slows it down at will

And I always wished that I could do that too,

Just take a breath and stop for a day.

But that video was nonsense and the people don’t stop

So I just keep going and pray

That I don’t burn out again.

I do sometimes wish that I could take a break without there being any consequences. It always seems that you are expected to keep going even though you are struggling. And for me it normally ends in burn out and I have to take time off work. It’s embarrassing and it’s normally quite traumatic to reach that point.

I started thinking about this, not because I’m reaching break down point, but because I went for a long run yesterday, and it gave me three hours to slow down.

Going for a run of that length always gives me time to get rid of all those panicky thoughts and it’s like a holiday from the world. I see all of the cars rushing by as people go to work, but I feel like I am not a part of that as I push my body as far as it will go.

I also notice more things when I’m running. Driving to places is quick and convenient, but going on foot you notice the plants and the trails and the bridges that you normally pass without a second thought.

Yesterday I ran around our local hospital on a trail that was called Squirrel Wood. Not only is that another amazing place name that I’ve come across recently, but I found this beautiful trail that I had no idea existed. And yet, I’ve driven past it so many times, oblivious to the fact it’s there.

I hope that you have something in your life that gives you time out. It’s super important, unless you are like Madonna and have the ability to slow the world down at will….

Much Love

Rachel xx

Underwater swimmer

grayscale photo of woman

Swimming underwater, like love,

Is cold and dark

But swim a little closer

To the rippled surface

And the sunlight filters in,

Warm and welcoming

It beckons us

And when we gasp

That bubbled air

We know we’re where we’re meant to be.