at the risk of sounding whiney

I don’t normally like to open up to people in positions of power. It puts you in a very vulnerable position and I don’t like knowing that somebody high up has something on me. Once I told a boss that I was scared of something and she went out of her way to put me in that very situation, day after day.

I also worry that I might come across as being whiney, going on and on about all my problems. I mean, these people aren’t my therapists so they don’t want to hear all of my insecurities.

However, yesterday the director of our course checked in with me because I’d mentioned that the week had been a bit of a slog. I don’t know what made me do it, but I told her that the job situation had been playing on my mind. I told her that everyone in the English team had secured a job and I was the only one left behind and that made me feel a bit crappy.

And the thing was, she was really nice. She gave me the heads up on a new job that is being advertised and gave me a bit of a pep talk.

Things were really bad when that boss had fun playing around with me and now I’m much more in control, but yesterday’s experience still showed me that people can be nice and supportive. Not everyone is out to make your life a misery.

I made that situation worse because I was drinking and clouding my judgments with all of my stinking thinking. But it was still cruel what she did. I felt like I took a bit of a risk yesterday and it was actually quite nice to just get it off my chest and have somebody higher up tell me that it’s all going to be OK.

I think that’s just what everyone needs in life. To be told that it’s all going to be fine….. even if we do feel a bit whiney in the process.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on the fly

black twin bell alarm desk clock on table
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The plummet as you realise that

You’re not planned, not organised

And yet you’re being pushed on stage,

The audience waiting ravenously.

You have no choice, you must go on,

But words will stick to frozen tongues

As minds will race to find the path.

So I got up a bit late today and I sleepily logged into my emails with ten minutes to go before our tutor time was about to start. And there in my inbox was an email asking if I wanted to open the class as I was due to take it.

I thought that I was just sitting in and watching so, of course, I had nothing prepared. I felt my stomach drop as I wondered what the hell I was going to do. I even started typing out an email to say, no way was I going to take it because I had no idea I was supposed to. I also considered feigning illness and just not pitching up.

But then I did something different to my normal line of action. I decided to just have a go.

I quickly went into the file where all of the tutor activities are kept and pulled something out at random, opened the meeting and then just winged it.

And I think I got away with it.

Normally, I’d be curled up in a ball crying and this time I actually performed. It was far from perfect but the kids got some interaction and I didn’t look like a complete idiot.

So there you have it. Once again, I have proved myself wrong. I’m not useless and I can perform when the pressure is on. I won’t be making a habit of not preparing, but I know I have that skill if I should ever need it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

take hold of it and bank it

money pink coins pig
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There is an old account, a dusty vault

Where truths and lies all sit in wait

For us to push in plastic cards and hit

Buttons in the hope the something good

Will come of our request.

But good stuff must be banked if we

Are to see returns on our investments

Made at times when tides are running high,

Because the tides will certainly run low

And then we’ll need to cast our eyes

On the words that seemed so little at the time.

When I was having therapy, I realised that a lot of the time, I cling onto bad comments that are made about me, and completely disregard the good ones. I know I’m not the only one that does this, but I did it in a really big way.

There was one particular session where the therapist complimented me and then, just two minutes later, asked me what she had said about me. I literally had no idea and it really upset me because it showed me just how terrible I am to myself.

Since then, I have always said that if something nice is said about me, I will ‘bank it.’ I will put it into an account that can be drawn on at tough times. I will undoubtedly had deposited bad comments too, but I must remember to put the good ones in.

Today, I was stressing a bit about how badly I thought that I was doing with the online lessons. And then I was having a chat to one of the teachers and she said ‘I’ve just realised that you haven’t even met these students that you’re teaching at the moment. That’s incredible, what you’re doing.’

It was such an off the cuff comment and it would normally be lost on me. But these days, I’ll bank it. Somebody said I’m incredible and I’m allowed to keep hold of it.

I think that we’re all wobbling all over the place at the moment, so if you haven’t heard it recently…. you are pretty incredible too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the mini break

brown painted infrastructure beside trees
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Suitcase wheels scrape along the floor

And hotel beds will creak as bodies hit,

Tired from a flight, run for after work.

And rest will not come easy as we’re out

At the crack of dawn, laughing in the streets,

Filled with foreign languages

That roll off tongues of sun kissed locals

Sipping coffee, in the cafe doorway shade.

And then we stop and stare; amazement

Gripping hearts and lungs and minds

As we see the sights we came here for;

The bricks and tiles and spires and doors

That mark the history that we drew

In our distant past. And now.

We spend the weekends racing round,

Snapping photographs for our Instagram,

Never really soaking in, the mastery,

The genius that elders left behind.

I’m dying to go on a weekend mini break to a European city. As soon as this is over, I am going to book a night or two in Barcelona and I will be the most touristy tourist of them all.

I’m looking forward to drinking perfect cappuccinos and taking photos of salads. I’ll walk into people because I’m too busy looking at my map or my tourist guide. I’ll try and communicate with the local in really bad Spanish. I’ll barely sleep because I want to pack everything in to two short days.

It will be glorious when we can travel again. I’ve never been much of a traveller and I normally feel homesick after a few days so I don’t fancy two weeks in Majorca. But short little breaks in the places that I always wish I’d been are going to happen.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Do you think that kids ever realise how scared we are?

I was sitting on the sofa, almost hyperventilating as I prepared for another online lesson. Deep breaths, in and out, trying to calm my racing heart. And I wondered whether the kids ever have even an inkling that we adults are sometimes scared.

I know that I’m probably a slightly more nervous person that the average but I sometimes feel that I’m about to pass out with the nerves when I’m just about to stand up and take the lesson. It’s even worse online, because we have all that technology that could go wrong.

I have listened back to some of my lessons and I seem really calm and in control which doesn’t match up with anything that I am feeling on the inside. So, can a kid really know that I’m quite literally dying?

Sometimes I think that we are unaware how much kids do pick up on, but on the other hand, I think that sometimes we worry about nothing. I’m there worrying that the kids won’t learn the inner workings of Romeo’s mind, when actually they’re chatting on another line and not even listening to me.

I’m not kid bashing here, but I am writing this to tell myself that I’m not the centre of their universe. A lot of them don’t care and those that do (yay for them!) are really busy jotting down notes. Literally anything I say is useful to them! I just need to remember that.

And if you are worried about what people are thinking about you, you are in my thoughts because it’s a horrible feeling. But the truth is that we’re not really all that important to them. And if we are important to them, then they should love us anyway.

Much Love

Rachel xx

still don’t like da shouting

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Sticks and stones my break my bones

And shouting hurts me just as much.

They say I need to toughen up

But every time the volume rises up a notch

I feel my spine is curling up, protecting me

From too much damage as the letters

Puncture through my skin so paper thin.

There was a situation today when all of us trainee teachers came together for our central training. Everyone is feeling a little bit tetchy and there was a bit of an argument between one of the students and the director.

It wasn’t a screaming match, but you could feel the tension, despite the fact that it was through a screen. And as it happened, I felt myself curl up a little bit, as if to protect myself from any harm.

Of course, these are civilised adults so even if we were in a normal setting, there wouldn’t have been any punches being thrown. And yet I still felt as though I needed to run away. There is something so embedded in my psyche that I fear harm from words.

To me, shouting, or even stern words, are painful and I really can’t explain why. I wish that I had thicker skin but I really do hate it when people tell me that I just need to toughen up. Like how, exactly?

On the other hand, this ‘disability’ of mine, makes me really empathetic. So perhaps it’s actually a super power. I could see that the director was trying not to bite back but I could also see that she looked really hurt, and that made me hurt a bit.

I guess we all have things that we think are weaknesses, but could in fact be a real strength and this is definitely one of mine. I just wish that I could toughen up my skin and still feel for people, but we can’t have everything.

Much Love

Rachel xx

summer concerts in pretty fields

There’s picnic blankets spread in patchwork squares

As people wait for music men in suits, with violins,

Their humming strings are buzzing with the bees

That flit between the sandwiches and champagne fizz,

Sipped from plastic beaker cups. And when that music

Strikes a chord, the wall of sound that rushes through

The audience that holds its breath, forgetting drinks

And canapes. They want to let that tide roll in

And let their bodies sing with joy, at the concert

In the field, as the sun sets golden on the stage.

on missing shopping

grayscale photography of mannequins
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Those rooms with fronts of shiny glass,

Lit with spotlights on the slender mannequins,

They call us in with cash and cards

To fill our bags and little holes in gaping souls.

But when the virus crept inside

The doors were locked and lights turned down.

No more balm to soothe the loss

And now I see the need to have

Is stronger than the tidal flow.

When we went into the first lockdown I was really quite happy. I didn’t care that most of the shops were closed. Everything I needed could be bought in the supermarket, so what was the problem?

But this time around, I’m surprising myself. I seem to be missing the ability to go shopping, to buy stuff when I’m feeling low. I’m not a big spender so it’s only things like a new pair of jeans, some books and some wool for my crochet project; but it’s actually making feel quite anxious that I can’t get hold of these things.

I find myself going through town and looking through all of the windows at the mannequins wearing beautiful clothes and the desire to go in and try them on is so strong.

I think it’s a case of wanting what I can’t have. It seems to be a flaw in our human wiring that we need whatever is just out of reach. I suppose in some ways it’s what drives us forward to greater things, but when we can’t control the ‘problem’ it’s not the most pleasant of feelings.

I know that in a month or two the shops will slowly open. I just need to find other ways to entertain myself. Perhaps I’ll find a new passion for something? The little struggles in life are the things that make it awesome in the end, and not being able to buy wool in the colour that I want is pretty easy to get through.

Perspective is the key to getting through these grotty times like this. And when I get angry that I can’t get what I want immediately I need to let it out in healthy ways.

God, I sound like a spoiled brat, but I hope that there are other people out there who are missing shops and access to ‘stuff’ whenever we want it. We’ve grown accustomed to it and perhaps this will change the way a lot of us behave in the way that we buy stuff. That would be good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’ve put in considerably more work than you

Toiling over extra work,

The stuff I wasn’t asked to do,

I do it anyway,

To gloat, to show the world

I’m the one that cares the most

Or needs the praise to make me whole.

When I was training to swim the channel, I got really upset one day because training had gone badly. I had set out to do a six hour sea swim and I ended up getting out of the water after three hours. I’d been sick and the weather was awful and I was feeling cold. Everything felt stacked up against me.

However, I wasn’t upset because I hadn’t reached the six hour mark. I was upset because I went on Facebook and saw that somebody else training for the channel had done a seven hour swim that weekend.

We both went on to complete the swim and I actually did it faster than her, so that disaster of a training session didn’t actually matter. The sad fact was the I was upset because I thought it looked like she was a harder worker than I was.

I’ve had similar experiences in the work place, where I’ve almost felt angry that somebody has looked like they work harder than me. But I can’t understand what for?

I’m learning that the amount of effort you put in is important but it’s not the be all and end all. Why on earth would you want to be the hardest worker in everything? Surely it’s more impressive to get the result and prove you’ve done it with the least amount of effort possible. Then people will be much more likely to think you could achieve more.

So nowadays it’s all about getting the job done with the least amount of work. Life’s for enjoying, not for proving that you worked for seventy hours last week. You get me?

Much Love

Rachel xx

the good bits outweigh the bad

close up measure measurement number
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My arms stretched wide like cast iron scales,

The bad bits of this precious life

Will weigh down heavy on the left

But on the right I’ll drop the good,

The shining moments warming hearts

And there we’ll see the gracious pull

Of kindness, praise and little wins;

They’ll always weigh one hundred times

The weight of hate, of sneering lips,

Of whispered words that loving skips.

I had a double with a Year 7 class that I have never met today. I worry about the fact that I have never met these kids and that I’ll do them a disservice because I don’t know them.

These thoughts do weigh heavily on me and it is a crappy part of the job at the moment. But then something wonderful happens and it just totally outweighs anything bad.

I delivered my lesson and afterwards a girl emailed me to say that she really enjoyed it and she can’t wait to meet me in person. Can you believe that? An eleven year old sent me a sweet message full of emojis and lovely words.

I’ve never had a job where there is enough good stuff to outweigh the bad. In my last job, I literally had to scrape crap off the toilet floors. I would sometimes clean the toilets and be gagging because of the smell. Nothing could make that better.

I’ll always try to look for something good in every situation, but it’s really nice to not have to scratch around for that one thing. Today had its down sides, but on the whole, it made my heart feel warm.

Much Love

Rachel xx