the little scientist in my head

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She stands in the dusty corners of my brain,

White coat clad and clutching at her clipboard

Hoping to unpick the reasons why I do

Those things that cause the earthquakes in my life,

The moments when the ground can slip beneath

My feet in clumps of mud that should be firm.

She scribbles as she watches the undoing,

Never really passing judgement or

Deciding what could fix foundations needed for

A life just slightly smoother than

The one that houses my existence now.

I have been for CBT sessions before now and I had a terrible experience. I’ve been reminded of that experience this week because some of those trigger-y buttons have been pushed. There is a big difference nowadays in that I understand why I feel the way I do and so I can use my newfound coping skills to help me use yet more CBT skills. Wow, I sound like I am very broken when I put it that way.

Now, I feel like I’m a bit more able to calm myself down and approach my reactions in a more scientific light. And I actually find it really helpful to look at it scientifically, these days.

I do enjoy pretending that there is a little scientist in a white coat and holding a clipboard in my brain. She scribbles something down every time my feelings cause me to loose control and it has started to make me laugh.

It’s really interesting to see what kicks me off and what it looks like to someone who is completely impartial. She is sometimes a little bit annoying though; she has a tendency to make me feel really embarrassed about twelve hours after the event has already happened.

Much love,

Rachel xx

kids just don’t understand

It would be nice if they could grasp

The enormity of words that roll

From tongues so barbed they hardly know

That deaths can flow from words like that.

One day they’ll turn and looking back

They’ll wish they’d held it back,

Regret the hurt they caused,

But now it’s just our fault, the adults

Who tell them what to do.

I made the biggest faux pas that a teacher can make today; I cried in front of a student.

They had pushed me all lesson and then rather than just letting me decompress at the end they came to my desk and continued to tell me what an awful person I was.

I don’t know what happened but the barrage of negativity reminded me of all the horrible things my mum would say to me once she had kicked out my dad. I did the exact same thing I did then and just covered my face and tried to block it out.

Unfortunately, this student was very much like my mother and didn’t realise that this was her cue to stop. I was eventually rescued by another teacher who thought that I was a student getting ganged up on.

This set in motion my horrible voice that tells me how evil I am and how I deserve to die and so I was in tears for about an hour, completely incapable of regaining control of my emotions.

I got there in the end and calmed down but I have been questioning myself all afternoon and evening. Am I really a horrible person? Do I go out of my way to pick on people? I hope the answer is ‘no’, but I could be wrong.

It has made me think about teenagers and their ability to empathise though. I tried so hard and these kids seem so unaware of the effects of their own behaviour. I do wonder if there will be a day when they look back and cringe. I just hope it’s not too cringey when we have a lesson next week!

Much Love

Rachel xx

those who run seem to have all the fun

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Tripping through the knee high grass,

Nettles grazing scraped up knees

But still those smiles run deep in us

As the runner’s high sets in

And all onlookers stop to wonder

What it is that makes us glitter

In this world of doom and gloom.

There is a lyric in Madonna’s song ‘Time Goes By’ that goes: those who run seem to have all the fun. That line has stuck with me over the last fifteen years over the many hundreds of miles I have covered.

The thing is, I think Madonna actually knows her stuff, and I think that us runners do seem to have a lot of fun.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit low, I put running videos on Youtube and just watch people having fun racing and training. I’m guessing it’s all down to the endorphins, but I’m definitely going to make the most of it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

what is love…really?

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What is love… really?

If we hold it up to the brightest light

And turn it upside down,

Give it a shake, and see if anything comes loose.

Is it even a good thing?

This feeling we want, so much we could bottle it?

We could package it up and sell it for cash,

Forgetting the fact that sometimes there’s damage

That rips through your heart,

Ruining lives if it passes a date

Stamped on the tin in invisible ink.

It’s a risk that we take

And one that will hurt.

I can’t help but spend time wondering exactly what love is. I know that poets and musicians and every other kind of artist have tried to unpick this, but it still fascinates me.

I fell in love with Noah’s father and the fall out when it crumbled almost killed me. It was so bad that I decided I couldn’t do it again. And I have stuck by my word and not gone near a relationship in all that time.

I just wonder why something that can hurt us so badly, is still so enticing. And we don’t even really know what it is. Is it just chemical? Is it something magical? Does it need to be sought out, or does it seek you out?

As humans we are so fragile, and can have our ego dented so easily, so why are we drawn to something that seems to dissolve our walls and make us all but one?

Much Love

Rachel xx

today i saw

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Today I saw so many things that made me pause,

The man in the bright yellow wellington boots

Walking along the tow path at the side of the canal.

I didn’t write that down because it seemed

So boring at the time, but really it was beautiful.

And so was the purple ribbon, tied to the railings

On the bridge over the rail tracks. I have no idea

Why it was there, so I chose not to write

About that or the dog with no owner, trotting

Quite happily by the side of the road at 5:45

When everyone else sat in a rush hour queue.

And I chose not to write of the girl in the sun dress,

Carrying a pot plant in her circling arms.

I wonder how many things go unnoticed like this,

Far too mundane to commit to plain paper,

Lost to the world in the breezes of time.

I follow a lady on Twitter called Kate Clanchy. She is an English teacher and gets her students to use templates to write the most beautiful poems. Today she had them write about all the things that they saw during the day that didn’t feel worthy of being put in a poem.

I love that idea of capturing the mundane so I really wanted to have a go at this myself. I do find that I focus on some of these weird details when I go on a long run; the things that you wouldn’t normally notice.

I do find that whenever I do the really long ultra runs, I start to see the really strange stuff. Once I saw someone walking a bunny, a dog wearing trainers and a woman praying in the woods while she held a daffodil in her hands. I may well have been hallucinating when I saw some of these things.

But there is most definitely beauty in the everyday detail. You just need to stop and look closely and you will see it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

pumpkin season is open

woman in black long sleeve shirt sitting on bench holding jack o lantern
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They arrive so quietly, sneaking their way in

To the supermarket doorways in 6 foot boxes,

Autumn fruits spelling the end of the heat

And evenings so filled with red woolen blankets

And hot chocolate mugs on the longest of evenings.

I should hate this time of lengthening shadows,

Of coats and scarves and warm bobble hats,

But I rather love the scarier books

And the rain on the windows as I curl up inside,

With pumpkins on doorsteps and cobwebs in windows

And kids dressed as ghouls with buckets of candy.

It is this week that I have noticed the leaves starting to change colour and it has reminded me how much I love this time of year. I know that all the sun worshippers hate this time of year, but I just adore it.

My dad lives for the summer and becomes so grumpy as the longer nights set in and the weather gets cooler. I really like curling up on the sofa with a scary book and really getting into the spirit of October.

I think that a lot of it comes down to the fact that I am an introvert and I love that all the summer garden parties are done and nobody wants to leave the house any more. I get to sit at home and not feel like I’m being rude or selfish or any other thing people think about introverts.

And then there’s the books! How much do I love it when all of the booktubers start reviewing thrillers and horrors. I love the plot lines almost as much as I love the book cover art.

I’m just made for this time of year and I wish it could last forever. All I need to worry about is the Christmas and New Year parties that are just around the corner.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a place to cry in the car

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There’s something so protective

In my steel cocoon, crying for a day

That couldn’t love you any less,

Parking somewhere quiet where

The tears can flow for nothing more

Than screaming kids and broken pens,

Coffee spilled and angry words.

Tucked away in car park corners

Or in a queue at level crossings,

These are places close to heart,

Needed for a second start.

When I was living at home with my mum and things were really tense, I sometimes used to drive to the local supermarket, park up in a corner of the car park and spend half an hour crying.

I haven’t done that in a loooong time, but the other day I shed a little tear. It wasn’t the loud and ugly sobbing like before, just some tears over the fact that I can’t make a difference for everyone at school.

I was stuck at the annoying level crossing that I have to get over on my way home. If you time it wrong and the gates come down, you can be sitting there for a good quarter of an hour. Something about being in my little cocoon and not being able to move must have just triggered those emotions.

I would feel a bit pathetic, but I think that it’s quite a common thing to happen to people. I remember watching an episode of Weeds and Nancy got stuck at a traffic light that is infamous for staying red for hours. She has a melt down and I felt just like her sitting as I waited for the Great Western Train from London Paddington to zoom past.

Much Love

Rachel xx

not feeling all that important

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My star has burnt so brightly now

It’s dulling by the day,

Eclipsed by burning suns

That light the midnight sky.

Perhaps I’ll reignite one day,

A swan song to delight,

But patience is the key to this

And gratitude for what I have.

During the Tokyo Olympics I was scrolling through Instagram when I fell upon a post by one of my all time favourite swimmers. Missy Franklin was seventeen when she won several golds at London 2012. Her achievements were phenomenal and I also love how gracious she was in defeat.

During Tokyo she was heavily pregnant with her first child and she had written that she had spent the night crying because she was watching all her team mates doing amazing things and getting adulation for that.

She said that her husband held her and said that carrying his child was the amazing thing that she was doing this summer, and I thought that was such a lovely thing to say.

However, I totally understand how she feels, when you know you have been on fire in the past and now you are just plodding through life. I felt that this weekend, watching everyone complete marathons here, there and everywhere.

I think that in times like this I need to practice gratitude for what I have. Yes, I may have run hundred milers and swum the channel, and now I really struggle to run a half marathon. But I do have a career, something I dreamt of for so many years, and something that was just too far out of my reach.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the london marathon

photo of people in a marathon
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Thousands on the line with different reasons

To be there, for charity or just for kicks,

Some are virgins to this kind of thing

While others have a hundred to their name.

And still they line up all as one,

Expensive shoes and plimsolls worn the once,

Nike shirts and people dressed as vegetables,

A horse straight from the pantomime

Beside Olympians vying for a world best time.

And that’s the magic of the London race,

That brings them all together with

A crowd that cheers for first and last.

It’s the London Marathon this weekend and I’m so jealous of all the lucky people who are in and running. It’s normally such a special race, but this year it’s even more special – given that we haven’t seen this race being run for two years.

There is just something so magical about seeing all of those people pouring over the start line to complete something pretty incredible. The fact that you can have an Olympic gold medalist running, and then also someone dressed as a carrot in the same race, is what sport is all about.

I have entered the ballot to get in a couple of times and not got in. One day I will be on that start line!

Much Love

Rachel xx

eating out at nandos

person holding white saucer plate with teacup
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The garlic scent assaults the nose

From halfway down the stream of restaurant fronts.

The bustling tables outside in the evening sun

Are advertisements for how mush you will enjoy

A meal in there, where the chicken comes

In mild and hot and herby lemon too.

The knives and forks will clink and clatter

In amongst the happy chatter of

The birthday guests and first time dates,

Mingling in together for one night,

The nerves, the love, the unadulterated joy,

Rolling out across a thousand soda fountain cokes

And woven with a beat from Portugal,

South America, or somewhere more exotic than

This world we live in every day

Where chips and nuggets feed our bellies,

Beige and boring, making Nandos

Just the thing we need for now.

It’s my birthday this week and so that means that we will be having a cheeky little trip to Nandos. Anyone in the UK will know that Nandos is the place to go for every life event, whether it be a first date, a birthday or to celebrate good exam results.

I can’t wait to slip into a world that feels a little less like the boring town I live in. Everything from the decor to the music just transports you. And yes, the spiciest I can go is lemon and herb!

Much Love,

Rachel xx