just sit still.

i know it hurts and words cannot

express the million different ways

that every muscle, every bone,

is creaking underneath the strain

of what you have been through.

but now it really is the time

to stop, to breathe, to just sit still.

I know it feels a little like a crash.

the impact plays on loop.

the splintering and fracturing

of all we loved and knew.

it all went up in flames that day,

but still we need to sit with it.

we need to let the body heal,

the heart, the soul, the mind.

no more medicating

with the pills or booze.

just sit there with that pain you feel,

it is the only way to heal.

i know how hard it is to fill

the silence when you’re sitting still.

but just sit still, i tell you that you must.

i know it hurts but this will help

and in my words i hope you trust.

Just sitting with pain has been one of the hardest things to do n recovery. I would always have vodka on hand to anaesthetise the feelings that gripped me and frightened me. Now, I have to sit here, feeling the pain and the darkness and it’s really hard. It seems counter intuitive to sit still when you’re scared; why not run?

However, I do it because I know I have to and each day I see that I’ve made it through and it’s a cause for celebration. I won’t say it gets easier because that’s a lie. It never does. It’s always hard. But as yet I haven’t died and you won’t either.

Much Love

Rachel xx

chocolate brownie

the doctor said to try

a little bit of mindfulness.

he said i need to live

in the moment.

right here.

not past, nor future, but the present.

i was struggling with that.

my mind would find itself

latching onto memories

and tumbling down into the past.

or pulling on some hiking boots

and climbing up ahead.

so much to think about

in each of these directions.

but hanging from the hillside

in this exact location

was proving rather difficult.

until i ate the chocolate brownie

left inside the fridge at work.

it was not mine to take,

but as i took a tiny bite

i felt my senses slip and slide.

the velvet cocoa was my nook

that kept me sheltered from the storm

that i’d sensed was blowing in.

it gave me strength to hold on tight

and for just a little while

i found myself taking time

to enjoy the view.

I have struggled with the practice of mindfulness even though I know how good it is for us as humans. We live in a fast paced world that could cause even the most stable of people to feel a little wobbly every now and then. So taking some time to live in the moment and forget what has been and what is to come really makes sense to me.

However, this is so much easier said than done. I am such a worrier and sometimes I really just need to remember that at this time I have my health and I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards. If it all falls to pieces tomorrow, I can worry about it then, but it’s not worth spoiling some really beautiful moments because there’s a possibility something bad might happen in the future. Likewise, I can’t change the past, so why waste energy worrying about what’s happened?

I have found that for me the best way to live in the moment is to really ground myself in experiences using the senses. Recently, I ate a chocolate brownie and it did just the trick. For the few minutes that I was eating it, I thought of nothing else because I just enjoyed the taste. I don’t recommend bingeing on brownies all day but if you can find something to give you a few moments then go for it. Perhaps it is putting some headphones on and listening to ASMR, or getting a massage or going for a run. Whatever it is make sure that you look after yourself and just bring it back to the moment when you are going into panic mode.

Much Love

Rachel xx

resolutions.

this coming year i promise that

i’ll eat less chocolate, get more sleep,

i’ll be a lot less moody and

these promises i’ll keep.

Just a short one as I think about the end of the year and what next year might bring. I don’t know about you but I’m a tiny bit shit at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. The amount of times I did Dry January with the intention of carrying on in the rest of the year is astounding. Of course, I did crack the drink problem eventually, but it took a lot more than a half arsed promise that I was making myself at midnight on 31 December.

Resolutions are so hard to keep and yet we beat ourselves up when we fail at them. I think that this year we need to promise to be a little kinder to ourselves. We over eat and over drink because we are stressed out and hating life. It is the immediate gratification that we are after and if we were a little nicer to ourselves we wouldn’t need it half as much.

This year, take a step back from the root cause. You may have an alcohol problem, in which case, go and get the appropriate help. But it may just be that you are pushing yourself a little too hard. Take your foot of the gas and you may find that you are only craving the drink at the end of the week rather than at the end of every day!

You can achieve so much in 2020 if you put your mind to it. But don’t stress yourself out by making some arbitrary goals at the end of this month. Follow your heart as the year progresses and see where it leads you. That marathon that you’ve always wanted to do might get done this coming year or it might not happen until 2025. Whatever the case, you will achieve SOMETHING this year and you should celebrate that as and when it comes.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

comedian.

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

Voltaire

i sometimes think he’s having a laugh.

i mean i’m a christian and all.

i respect the guy.

a lot.

but what if this world really is a stage?

and what if we are merely players,

being pushed around for fun,

for jokes or just for bants?

i think he has a sense of humour

and we just need to lighten up.

love the life you have been given,

and learn to smile, even when you’re sad.

it’s just a game that should be played

knowing there’s no final grade.

you won’t be punished if you smile

because the one who’s in control

is just a funny guy.

5 reasons that listening should be your new superpower

I’ve just started watching Wanderlust on Netflix and I’m ever so slightly in love with the main character played by Toni Collette. I couldn’t quite work out what it was but I think it’s just the way that she interacts with the people around her. And then I recognised that look she gives when somebody tries to divulge a secret that they’re too afraid to fully admit. It’s the therapist look.

It’s not such a funny thing, because she does play a couples’ therapist in the show, so one would expect her to have a ‘look’. But I see that look and I want to just open up. And the characters around her do open up. She gets to hear EVERYTHING in the lives of her friends whether she wants to or not.

Now I do think that I’m a relatively good listener but I want to try this ‘look’ out on some of my friends, just to see what reaction I’ll get. I may get a scowl or a slap in the face, but I’m going to give it a try and see if I get people to start opening up to me a little bit more.

Most people who read my blogs, I can imagine, are the introverted type who like books and poetry and good story lines that can help you to escape from the world that we live in. So with this in mind, here are five reasons why listening should be your new superpower. These can apply to extroverts too, but I feel the introvert feels more deeply (sorry):

  1. Story lines. Most of us are writers and artists and it’s hard to come up with idea after idea. Listening to a friend for half an hour can normally provide you with about five year’s worth of writing material.
  2. Deeper relationships. I’m an INFP and I’m sure that any other feeling personalities out there will get me when I say that that is pretty much all I want in life. I want to connect with people on a spiritual level even if I can’t quite articulate what that means.
  3. You’re always at the centre of everything but never the aggressor. It’s so nice for me to know why people are feeling the way that they do, but on the other hand I hate being dragged into the gossip. If people know you as the listener they will go to you for a shoulder to cry on and some advice at the very most. If you are the gossip, you still hear everything but they go to you for a bitch ‘n moan session which is incredibly draining.
  4. People actually remember you more. I sometimes worry that because I don’t shout and make a noise like some of the stronger characters in my world, that I must just fade into the background and be totally unmemorable. But being the listener is a valuable cog in the machine and people remember the one who put them first. They remember the person who didn’t ram all their troubles right back down their throats.
  5. You learn so much about life. I wish that I had spent my twenties listening more. I would be so much more wise right now. My friend is twenty three and has a masters in all things therapy so she is well versed in the values of listening. Because she has learnt all this as part of her studies she is more aware of how humans work than I am and I have about twelve years on her. Now I’m playing catch up, but then there are people in their fifties who are still mouthing off like they know everything so it could always be worse.

Just try and think of a time you needed somebody to sit and nod. They could be thinking about what they wanted for dinner but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were there and that they made all the right sounds. I’m definitely going to try this a little more and I will report back with my findings.

Much Love

Rachel xx

pills and stuff

does anyone else take pills and stuff

to get them through the day?

to help them through the bits so rough

they can hardly lift their head

from the pillow where they lie?

let’s face it, so that they don’t die.

but really all those pills will do

is be the very end of you.

i bought him glasses today

i bought him glasses today,

to you it may seem like

something inconsequential.

don’t all parents do that kind of thing?

no, not me.

as sad as it is to admit,

i chose the bottle over the most simple of things.

i loved nothing more than to slip under it’s spell,

and leave this world that made me unwell.

i’d ignore all those things i was meant to do,

head in the sand so I could avoid the view.

but now i’m stepping out from that haze.

i’m doing it all by myself.

and whether you snort at my efforts

rolling your eyes at the fact that i’m boasting

about such a small, insignificant thing.

it really doesn’t matter to me

because i’m living my dream, of that i am sure.

today it’s just parenting but tomorrow it’s more.

that i can promise with my hand on my heart

because now that i’m sober i won’t fall apart.

today it’s just glasses that i’m lovingly buying,

by tomorrow i know that i’ll truly be flying.

I bought my son his glasses this week and it’s the first time that I’ve ever done it. We’ve lived with my parents for his whole life and they have done everything for us. Mum has always taken him to the opticians and had his eyes tested. I’ve never even set foot inside that shop because I never had to. It was always easier to get drunk and let her shoulder the responsibility.

But now we are on our own and I had to step up to the plate. I was terrified of something that most parents would just take in their stride. I didn’t know how we got his eyes tested or what to do about trying on and selecting frames because I’ve just never had to do it.

We did it though, like a little team. And it may seem like such a tiny thing but to me I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’m growing and learning after a decade in the fog of alcoholism. I feel like I’m finally learning how to do all the things that I watched other grown ups do so easily. It was mystifying to watch them go about their business when I had no clue. But now I’m proving to myself that I do have a clue! I’m doing it and I’m damn proud of that!

I’m not proud of the mess I’ve gotten myself into though. I’m in my mid thirties and I have a teenager and I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing. I feel like I’m about twelve and I’ve just been thrown into the deep end. It’s all my own fault that I’m here and that is heart breaking. But rather than be miserable or ashamed and wallow in those feelings, I choose to celebrate my little victories.

So today, I hope that you can also really bask in the nice feelings you get when you do something that either frightened you, or just plain bamboozled you. You deserve to enjoy every victory, no matter how small. For some people it might mean running a marathon while for others it might mean just going to the shop or doing a shift at work without crying. We all have our battles and nobody can tell you that yours is insignificant. You are loved and special and I say a prayer for you today if you are struggling with any of these issues.

Much love,

Rachel xx

my son shouted at me today and this is what i felt

He shouted at me today.

Not loud and boisterous words,

But words delivered short and sharp,

Designed to hook their barbs inside my heart.

I don’t blame him though.

It’s hard to shift and change in life,

And being angry’s part and parcel of the slide.

It’s me who needs to handle this with grace and love,

And all the things I never got.

Later on that night

He came to me and held me tight

And in the kitchen, there we stood,

A decision made to heal our wounds,

Rewrite the past that’s caused this pain.

Between us we can start afresh,

Weather the storm that’s not abating,

Surviving the feelings that are inundating.

Words have power but love is stronger

And we’ll stay standing just a little longer.

Today I went to the bus stop to collect my son. He has a long journey because we have recently moved from my parents’ house which is much closer to his school. He has lived in this house since he was a baby and so this change has been hard on him. Add to this the fact that he hasn’t seen his nan in months and now she is starting divorce proceedings; it has led to a very stressful time for both of us.

So, anyway, I went to collect him and when I asked how his day was he snapped at me. It was out of character and it made me go quiet. I feel bad about everything that he has had to go through and see this year and it makes me feel like a terrible mother when I know that he is hurting.

He came to me afterwards and he said he was sorry and we hugged. I want him to feel that he can vent his anger when things are hard because I was never allowed to do this and it’s been really damaging in my adult life.

He’s on his computer now. I have no idea if he’s happy but I have a feeling that there’s a lot of hurt inside. All I can do is love and forgive. He does the same for me when I’m venting.

I hope that this poem can touch a few hearts. I’m sure there are mums out there that have been through a turbulent time and had to shelter their little humans from as much as it as possible. I sometimes just need a cry to get through it and that’s what I’m doing as I sit on the sofa and write this poem. Keep strong if you are struggling, and hug it out when things get super bad. A good hug can fix anything that’s hurting.

Much Love

Rachel xx

legacy: ugh, i feel like time's running out

ugh, i feel like time’s running out.

how can i make something built to last

in a world that is moving so furiously fast?

what can i do that is intensely new?

that’s remembered by those yet to be born,

that cannot be scrapped or crumpled or torn?

the answer, i think, lies in the heart.

i need to be kind and make an impression,

free from hate and all that aggression

that hurts our society,

sweeping us up in a wave of pain

that cripples our hearts and never will wane.

better to build something bold and new,

cherished until death by just a few.

fame and glory will fade when i’m gone

but love and charity and caring compassion

will never ever fall out of fashion.

the seeds i sow will take their root,

so i’ll make them flowers i’d like to see

in a world that’s still here long after me.

I’ve been thinking about legacy a lot recently. I know it’s morbid but every time I have an ache or pain, the first thing that runs through my mind is that it’s something serious and I mustn’t have long left on this planet.

Of course, none of us know exactly when the end is coming so we do really need to think about the legacy that we are leaving behind for our children and their children.

As I’ve watched the news recently, it has become more and more evident that nothing is set in stone anymore. The money that we make and accumulate and the property that we hope to pass on can be taken from us in an instant. It’s terrifying, but it’s in these moments of fear that we really get some clarity on what’s important.

I think that there are a couple of things that we can leave behind that are much better than property and money. The first is the things that we create, artistically. Paintings and pieces of writing and sculptures and films and crochet blankets. Everything that is an artistic expression is like a piece of our heart that we have poured out into the world. These are things that are personal and even if they are worth nothing to the world at large, they are irreplaceable for the ‘few’ that I mention in this poem. Think of a painting done by a three year old at nursery. His parents will put it on their fridge and love it forever when it has no value to anyone else. Sure, the paper may disintegrate into nothing but the love that it represented will never be wiped out.

The other thing you can leave is something that will grow and help others over time. Even helping once or twice at a shelter or food bank is helping that thing to grow and just think of all the people that it will help over time. Our good actions are like ripples and they just spread without our awareness. All we are responsible for is starting that process.

I hope that you are already working on your legacy. You don’t need to even know what it is, just pumping those good intentions out into the world could be building something that will be great long after you are gone.

Much love,

Rachel xx

Haiku: Hollywood Drama and the B word

I’m relatively new to the world of haiku so I’ve been playing around with the format quite a bit recently. The thing is, I can’t seem to use it for anything serious or meaningful. All I want to do is write something fun because it’s just too short to do anything else. I’m sure there must be other people out there who feel the same? Am I right?

Anyway, here are two of my early attempts. The first is called Hollywood Drama and the second is all about the B word. Everyone in Britain will be clicking away from this post immediately but imma gonna go there anyway….

Hollywood Drama

Brad met Jen and then

He made a film with Ange and

There were lots of kids

The B Word

Brexit is real fun

Politicians tend to lie

I am lying too