the eve of the big day

swimmer on block before diving into pool
Photo by Heart Rules on Pexels.com

The dress hangs on the rear of the door,

Catching light that streams before it sets.

The shoes are placed like man and wife,

By the door, ready to take me where I must go

And the bags are packed to bursting full

Of things I know I will not need.

But, still excitement burns through from the core

With a raging heat that can’t be quenched.

It’s just like Christmas Eve, when as a child

Those butterflies would hold me up at night,

Knowing Santa’s on his way with gift wrapped love

And sprinkling magic dust on furniture

That in the day was dull to touch.

That fiery joy will burn all night, and for a part

Of long days yet to come. If I could sleep

I’d dance through to the main event,

Forgetting that sweet pain that stings

On the eve of a big day.

I’m running a long race tomorrow and the nerves are starting to set in. Not in a bad way, but in a way that makes me feel a little on edge; it’s like some primal part of my brain knows that something big is on the horizon.

I don’t know if you are the nervous type, but as a child I used to vomit when I got nervous. It was excruciating to want to do something really well but to struggle to do it because I would get myself into such a state. It wouldn’t matter what I was doing: exams, swim meets, Christmas; I would always end up making myself ill.

I’ve gotten better at controlling my nerves as I’ve gotten older, but I still feel that familiar twist in my stomach on the night before a race. I know it’s going to hurt, but I also know that I have nothing to fear because I know that I’m enough no matter what happens, and I never knew that to be true when I was a kid.

If you’re feeling anxious about anything, just know that you are enough too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

standing in the rain, catching droplets with my tongue

body of water
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

There comes a time when the heat is too much

And all I can dream of is that brilliant sky

Opening up in a celestial grey, with a rumbling roar

That runs through my heart, stopping the beat

And making me feel like this is the end.

But really it’s just, the thing that I need

To cut through that heat, in a violent way.

And I creep out from shelter, into a garden

Where droplets will fall from conifer branches,

Cool and refreshing, reminding me of

The fact that I’m here, I’m living a life

That needs to be loved; to pull myself out

Of the darkness that set my bones into place

And now they are greased, and free,

Eased by those droplets that land on my tongue.

So, if you are living in the UK, you will know that it’s been a little bit hot over the past few days. And most Brits cannot handle heat or cold. So this means that I have felt pretty miserable for a little while.

However, today the rain clouds rolled in and the weather has quite suddenly cooled. Again, as a Brit, I would normally complain about the rain because British people like to complain about any form of weather. That said, these rain clouds were received gratefully.

I have really enjoyed doing my work this evening, while listening to the rain hitting the trees outside. There is something insanely calming about the sound of rain and it really makes me believe that mindfulness is a really important part of staying mentally well. Just to be grounded and in the moment is so desperately important.

It then just so happened that I read a post on Twitter by Matt Haig. He wrote that 21 years ago he was on the verge of killing himself because of depression. He said that he had stepped out into the garden as it started to rain and just revelled in the moment.

How wonderful is it that humans can strip away our worries and enjoy a moment like that, even if it is just for a moment? Go out and catch some raindrops with your tongue. I promise it will make you feel better.

Much Love

Rachel xx

work, work, work

It feels a bit like oxygen that’s robbed,

But really it’s just time that runs

Away from me, a ribbon skidding through my grasp

Until the hands are burnt red raw

Just trying hard to keep a hold

Of life’s most precious commodity.

The work will pile higher than the 12

On that clock that hangs upon the kitchen wall,

So work, work, work until you skid into the grave

And hope that there will be the whispers of

The seconds that we dreamed of in our fruitful lives.

I am off running at the weekend, which means that I have no time to do my lesson plans for the following week. It’s my problem because I’ve chosen to do something I love this weekend, but OMG, I feel like I’m drowning.

I’m sure everybody that has ever had any kind of job has a day or two where they feel like they are drowning, so I know that this is just a part of being human. I’m just not that good at handling the really intense human emotions that all the muggles seem to handle so well.

I just need to take a few deep breaths and prioritise and I will fly through this week. There is always going to be a bit of discomfort in life, because that is being human. My pain and stress is no worse than the next person. We are all the same and that thought should be a bit of a comfort to anyone who feels that they are drowning right now.

Much Love

Rachel xx

hello, hello, i don’t know why you say goodbye

red sauce in white ceramic bowl
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We drift into a life, a gentle circle

Rounding on a friend or distant love

We thought would always be around.

But winds can blow and take control

And soon these people form a line,

A snaking queue into a hazy past.

That queue is what you’re made of now;

Those awful byes that hurt so much

I thought I couldn’t take another breath,

But that has healed and now I’m left

With just the trickle of a stream

That makes me joyous as I wade a little further back.

I was flicking through Twitter today and I came across a line that somebody had written and it really resonated with me. This man said ‘life is just a series of hellos and goodbyes’.

I have wrecked several relationships and friendships, especially over the time that I was drinking a lot. I couldn’t regulate my feelings and I would say things that I didn’t mean. When I had calmed down, I felt so ashamed of what I had said, I would retreat and never want to see that person again. It wasn’t hate that broke down those relationships, it was that burning shame that totally consumed me.

I do often think about the people, especially the ones that really meant something to me, and I wonder if their absence is my punishment. But looking at life as a series of hellos and goodbyes really soothese those wounds.

It has helped me to realise that everyone has these people drifting in and out of their lives. This isn’t something that is unique to my life. I need to see it as part of the story that makes up the person called Rachel.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the end is near

It seemed like a finish line too far away,

A promise that was whispered into a hungry ear,

Wanting to know that there would be an end

But too ravenous to think about checking the facts.

And so you will find yourself slogging away,

Too far has been covered to turn back to home,

Yet the sun is now setting on a dream that was seen

In a feverish sleep so long ago.

But it will come to end in a glorious way

When that pipe dream spurts out

Into a bountiful estuary, and a sea

Where the possibilities flow out in endless new ways.

I have been seeing loads of people on Facebook saying that they have just handed in their final uni essays and now it’s my turn! This afternoon my last assessment got sent, my viva is in two weeks, graduation in three and I start my new job in four.

When I set out on this teaching journey, I was really worried that I could go down in flames. I had no real teaching experience, I just knew that I enjoyed seeing people learning. But was that going to be enough to see my through?

I have now made it to within touching distance and I’m having time to reflect on the year. There are several people who have dropped out and I wonder what it was that got me through and not them? Particularly when you look at my track record.

I am celebrating my success and making sure I enjoy that because that has been a hell of a year. The finish line is in sight and I have run a few 100 milers so I know the ecstasy that you can feel when you finally reach that point!

Much Love

Rachel xx

a summer afternoon on the council estate

close up photo of man cooking meat
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

The hoses snake from kitchen windows as the kids

Squeal with stunned delight as freezing water hits

Their naked bodies running through the fingers of

Sunlight, strong and scorching on their skin.

The pungent smell of marijuana mixes with

The barbecues that hiss and fizzle

As the children dart between the grown up men,

Holding prongs and drinking beer, pretending

It is them who pulled together meals for all

While tired wives, hide in kitchens chopping up

The salad and the rolls and opening the bags of chips.

A dog will howl somewhere, desperate for the men

To put down beers and take up leads,

A walk down by the river, away from this,

This constant noise that echoes round our bubble,

Our grubby grey estate, where no one ever leaves,

We all just drink and smoke and fuck

Away our lives in heated balmy days…

inside the charity shop

man in bus
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He told me to meet me inside the shop,

The charity shop, on the parade, right by the ASDA

Where the kids loiter in bunches, like bananas in blazers,

Waiting for men to buy them cigarettes,

Swinging on the railing as I slide through the door.

The bell tinkles solemnly as I search through the gloom,

Touching the racks of velveteen skirts

And ballgowns that once hung in wardrobes of rich

And powerful ladies who now lie in state,

With powdery white faces and purple rinse hair.

The thimbles and wine glasses sparkle in sunlight

As I breeze through the aisles searching for him,

And puzzles with pieces that crept from their boxes,

Line up on shelves too low to see.

The book shelves that line a wall at the back

Have called out to me as I brush past the shoes,

Their spines like rainbows that spell out the words

Of hushed secret messages he’s sending to me.

But I know he’s not here, I know he won’t be,

I hoped that our history could be sewn in between

The stories that scream out in the weightiest quiet

That bears down on all who slip in to see

What they can find in that old musty shop.

not a girl, not yet a woman

She was a baby just a breath ago,

Toddling, laughing as the vicar splashed

The holy water on her golden face.

And now she is a woman with a view

Upon the world and life the way

The writers told us it should be.

Fitzgerald and Jack Kerouac

Are men who make her pulse race fast

And wish to be another year

Into life so she can take to road trips

All across the dusty tracks that zig zag nations

Calling out with men, exotic in their lives

And wanting her to fall in arms

That soon will turn and make her weep,

But isn’t that what girls will need

To grow into a knowing woman

Ready to go out and roar?

I sat in a lesson today and I clocked a girl in the back row called Lily. I don’t know what made me double take apart from the fact that she looked the spitting image of her mother.

I was at the very same college I’m at a placement in now, and it was at the same time her mother was there. She was beautiful and cool and dating the coolest guy on campus. However, she was like me and was hating her time there. She left and got pregnant shortly afterwards. And she had a girl called Lily.

I dropped out and then got pregnant the year after she did and we became friends during that year. I was heavily pregnant when I was invited to Lily’s christening and I attended her second birthday.

I’m a crappy introvert who loses touch with everyone because I don’t like phones or coffee dates, so I lost touch with Lily’s mother. It was only when I saw this girl behind me, aged about sixteen, that I remembered that friendship.

Lily is a beautiful woman now and she was analysing The Great Gatsby like a boss. This didn’t make it any easier to match her up with the toddler that I remembered and it just reminded me how much our children grow and how quickly it happens. It’s made even more interesting by the fact that these kids are on the cusp of adulthood. They have fully formed opinions and soon they will spread their wings and fly. Soon they will experience all those highs and lows that make life so much like a novel.

Much Love

Rachel xx

in the library with the angels

city buildings and trees during golden hour
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

A gentle touch on a puckered shoulder,

Shivers as the cold seeps through the skin,

Of course, we cannot see, just a feeling

Like cloying fog swirling round my legs;

I could go limp, knowing it won’t catch

This lovely bag of bones, but still it infiltrates

And knows my deepest thoughts, my dreams

That stream of consciousness that haunts

A day, a night, a world that’s kept behind

A heavy curtain only to be released

When kissed by death in distant years to come.

I love that movie, City of Angels. It stars Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan and Cage plays an angel that falls in love with Ryan. It’s one of the saddest movies you’ll ever watch but there are so many moments and ideas that I really hope are true.

For starters, I really hope that there are angels out there and that they look after us while we are here on Earth. I particularly like the scenes that are set in the big library where all of the angels hang out. They like to stay there because it is quiet and they can hear the inner thoughts of the people who have come there to study or read. They put their hand on the human’s shoulder and they just listen to what is going on in their heads.

As I am back in a further education setting again I am around a nice library and it just made me think of that film. I just sat quietly and imagined that there was somebody placing a loving and protective hand on my shoulder. Sometimes, as humans, we just need to know that there is somebody there who cares.

And that is what I feel when I sit in a library.

Much Love

Rachel xx

poetry in motion

man in black shirt and pants doing yoga
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

The first tentative toe touches the brazen ice,

Audience holding their breath, as she pushes away,

She looked like Bambi as she made her way to the edge

Of a rink all ready for a fight, for competition

Fiercer than a lion’s brawl. Ferociously,

They pick up speed and soon they’re flying.

That little girl, so dainty in her leotard

Is fearless as she hits the triple toe loop and

We exhale, we cheer, we say we knew it all along,

She was destined for the gold, a champion

In the body of a child, a fighter,

A master of the art.

I sometimes watch the ice skating on TV and I wonder how someone who looks so dainty can do something that requires so much strength and bravery. Furthermore, they make it look like a breeze.

You see it in all areas of life and I don’t know if I have a ‘thing’ that I make look easy. I remember my coach watching me when I was a swimmer and saying that he could sit and watch me all day, so I suppose that may count.

The truth is that it takes years and years to get to that point where it looks effortless. Those little Russian skaters have been doing that since they were three; that’s why they can do those tricks and make it look easy.

I was lucky enough to watch a lady teach English Lit today and she was like this. She was an older lady and she didn’t seem to have much spring in her step. I was worried that observing her for two and a half hours was going to be unbearable. However, watching her was something to behold. I was entranced.

I got the impression she has taught for many years, but one day I hope that I can be a real life grown up teacher like her.

Much Love

Rachel xx