science.

today i dropped a piece of toast, buttered side down

and it made me think of gravity and that clever guy,

the one who had an apple fall upon his head.

i wondered if he really knew, if he had a fucking clue

what it was that made it fall from its place within the tree.

the toast would fall no matter what,

it didn’t matter whether science

could stake a claim in what it was that made it fall.

we’re all just trying really hard

to pull together all the pieces

and make some sense of what is going on.

so i picked it from the floor and dusted off the fluff.

today i learnt what science really is,

it’s just a way for clever people

to put the world in little boxes

and give them each a name.

I had a conversation with my son about science and religion today. I think that the two coexist and I think that this Tim Minchin quote sums it up quite well. As humans, we are naturally very curious and the world is a confusing place. So it makes sense that we would want to understand everything about it. But we never are going to understand it all. It’s too huge for us to even comprehend, but science helps us put labels on the bits that we’ve explored.

Helpful, but my piece of toast is still going to fall face down so……

Much Love,

Rachel xx

fruit.

When I was a kid, I was a swimmer,

I trained so hard and yet I had so little talent.

I’d watch on as the other girls did half as much as me

And yet they reached the dizzy heights,

Whereas me? I just didn’t seem to have it there.

But when I did well, it wasn’t taken for granted.

It was savoured, each and every morsel of it.

I still look back, all this time later

And marvel at those little gems of time

When I had my moment in the sun.

Patientandkindlove 2019

Come into the office and close the door behind you

Does anyone else fear those awful words?

It shakes me to my very core

When the boss comes out to me and says

“Come into the office,

And close the door behind you.”

What the fuck do you need to say to me

That can’t be heard by anybody else?

What are you going to do to me

Once we’re trapped inside that tomb

That you prefer to call a room,

Or an office, or some other

Much less terrifying name.

Does anyone else feel their blood run cold?

Does anyone else say a silent prayer

When those fatal words are uttered?

But in I go like a little lamb

To the slaughter or at least the place

Where I get a grilling

For a thing I really didn’t mean to do.

I really hope that my words resonate with some people out there because this is a fear that has crippled me over the years. I’m not sure if it is down to some repressed trauma; maybe I got locked in a cupboard when I was naughty back when I was three?

I can joke about it but the fear of being asked into the office has made my life a living nightmare. Every time it happens I can feel myself sweating and my heart palpitating. And then nine times out of ten, whatever my manager wanted to say to me is positive anyway!

I think that a lot of this fear comes from my own insecurities. I constantly worry that I’m going to get pulled up for doing something wrong and a lot of the time this prevents me from even starting something. I sometimes wonder where I may have gotten to in my career if I had been more fearless and cared less about the dreaded office. I wish that I had known in my twenties that it’s fine to get something wrong. We all make mistakes and that’s how we grow and develop into strong and wise people.

If you are struggling with the fear of the office, try to see it as a place of growth. I understand how it quite literally feels like a tomb, like a place that I’m never going to escape from once that door closes behind me. It’s about as scary as being buried alive for me, so I know that it’s worthy of a panic attack. There is nothing to be ashamed of in feeling this frightened but do draw strength from the knowledge that there are lots of us that feel the same. I pray that you find strength and that next time you are called into the office there is a positive outcome.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Learning the art of letting go

One of the things that you hear most when you are recovering from an addiction are the words ‘Let go and let God.’ It was only as I traversed the difficult path that is sobriety, that I realised just how difficult that is. At the beginning, I thought that it was just about letting go of the drink, then I thought it was just about embracing a God as I knew Him. But there was so much more to it than that.

Letting go is such an important part of being human whether you are an addict or not. We all tend to hold onto the things that are least good for us, even though we know that it’s only going to tear us apart from the inside. If we could let go we could solve so many of our problems. So why are we so reluctant to do it?

It’s because it’s scary.

It’s fucking terrifying to let go of all that pain because it’s used to shield us from future hurt. If I hold onto the pain of a broken relationship then I can protect myself from ever feeling that hurt again because I’m not going to get into another relationship any time soon.

But isn’t that kind of like living half a life? It closes off so many avenues even if it does protect you from some pain in the short term. And that is why letting go is so important. What’s the point in even getting sober if I’m just going to sit inside and worry about something that could go wrong? The fact is that it might not go wrong and then we could have missed out on something beautiful.

The ‘let God’ part of it is so important because it can help to ease some of the fear that we feel as mere mortals when we begin to let down these barriers. We have these barriers for good reason. They stop us from getting hurt or even dying. But by putting it all in the hands of God we are handing it all over to a power greater than ourselves. After all, I have no control over most of this stuff anyway, so why not hand it over to the all powerful? It makes sense to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this phrase recently because my anxiety has been running high and that naturally leads me to feel out of control. I get them familiar feeling that I’m clutching at straws and if I don’t grab on tight I’m going to fall to my death. Clutching at straws, by the way, is the very opposite of letting go, hence the reason I’ve been thinking about this so much recently.

Today, for instance, my son’s bus didn’t turn up and he had to catch a later one. My head went into a spin over the impact that would have on both of our days and how it would absolutely ruin everything. But then I just took a deep breath and I handed it over. My brain still felt scratchy and my thoughts were still racing but it offered me an easing of my discomfort to know that it’s all in God’s hands.

A couple of hours on and I’ve now almost forgotten why I was so upset about the bus this morning so there really was no need to get so worked up. If I just keep it in mind that God has it all worked out, then I can just do my best to push things in the right direction and leave the rest down to him. I see it a little like swimming in a river. If I try to go upstream I won’t get very far. It’s much better to let the current take me downstream. I may still have to put some effort in to stay above water and I may not know exactly where it’s taking me, but the journey is a lot easier. And I know that the God that I believe in is a loving one and that means that I trust that wherever He takes me will be just fine.

If you are struggling with anxiety, I hear you. It’s crippling and painful and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And I don’t think that it can always be wished away by positive thinking. Sometimes it’s best to go to a doctor and get counselling or medication. But letting go and letting God has worked for so many addicts and I know that if you have the faith to give it a try you can start to feel so much better.

Much love,

Rachel xx

Gossip Girl (a poem)

It sucks you in rather like

The moment that the plug is pulled

And the old and dirty water drains,

Swirling and whirling from the bath.

There’s no escape, it’ll all go down.

You cannot stem the flow, no matter what you do.

The words are just the same,

Addictive, moreish and impossible to stop.

Ears prick as thoughtless words begin

To cross the lips of foolish girls

Who know not what they say or do.

They don’t know the pain they cause,

The syllables they think are silly bubbles,

Popping harmlessly before they reach that other girl.

But actually, they’re like a tiny army

Of barbed and deadly spears going on the hunt.

They gather speed and gather mass

Before they find their target.

When they hit they hurt like hell,

Crushing hearts and scratching brains.

Metal on metal screeching loudly

As she crumples inwards like

The messy car wreck that was never wanted.

It was harmless fun, or so they thought

Until that day the gossip killed.

I’ve had so much trouble resisting gossip over the years. It’s such a problem at school and in the work place and it’s so easy to get sucked into it. I’ve described it as being the same as water flowing down a drain; once the plug has been pulled, there is no escaping that pull.

Since I have become a Christian I am so much more aware of my flaws and it helps me to turn to the Bible so that I do not get sucked into these things. I know that if I stay well away then I am safe. If I don’t take those first steps by getting involved and even listening to the gossip, then I am in a much safer position.

I also wanted to use this poem to show where gossip can end up. It can be as destructive as a car crash, killing anyone in its way. What would you do if you found out that your words had been the cause of somebody harming themselves? I know that I couldn’t live with myself and yet we all do it. We all whisper in corners about people that we don’t like or we think that we are better than.

If you have been subjected to bullying and gossip then you will know the pain that it causes, so keep that in mind next time you hear someone mindlessly spreading rumours. Try and be the point where it stops. And if you are being bullied at the moment make sure that you speak to someone. If you’re at school speak to a teacher and if it’s at work go to HR. Nobody needs to put up with it so stay safe and never get to the point where you are considering harming yourself because of it. You are loved and special and you can hold onto that forever and ever.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

Proverbs 16:28

Why ending therapy is f**king terrifying

I’m frightened. I’m terrified. And the reason? I’m ending my therapy sessions in just three weeks.

I started therapy when I was newly sober and still really mentally unwell. I was paranoid that my employer was trying to kill me and I even took an overdose and ended up in hospital just a few weeks after commencing my sessions. In short, my life was a bit of a shit show at the time.

Fast forward to almost three years on and I’m still not perfect. Far from it. But I have sat in that room, week after week, and I’ve talked and I’ve been open to learning. I’ve learnt so much about myself and where I was going wrong and where I can improve. And I say ‘improve’ rather than ‘fix’ because I don’t believe that we can ever truly be fixed. Perfection is unattainable and even when I’m ninety I will still be learning so much about myself and my fellow humans.

It has been an interesting journey, to say the least. And I’m nervous about where my life will take me after I leave the ‘care’ of my therapist. It’s the weirdest relationship that I’ve ever had with anyone, both close and distant all at once. I sometimes find myself wondering how I’m ever going to cope with nobody to hold me accountable in the same way.

I thought it might be helpful for myself and for others to just put into writing how therapy has helped me and just what it is that I’m frightened of in a life post therapy.

  • Therapy has taught me that we are all just winging it. In a way this is really terrifying because it means that I can never really find all of the answers. There is no instruction booklet for life and sometimes it’s all about a bit of guess work. Sometimes my decisions will be wrong and I just have to bear the consequences.
  • I’ve opened up to my therapist about some of my deepest and darkest secrets. I wouldn’t even tell my closest friends some of these things so I feel like I’ve let my barriers down in the extreme. Losing that relationship is like breaking up with a romantic partner. That makes me squirm to write, but it’s true, and it’s also a heartbreaking feeling.
  • I’ve discovered that some of my difficulties stem from past traumas and from my relationship with my mother. This has made for some uncomfortable realisations and I don’t know if things can ever go back to the way they were. I can cope with this, but it hurts.
  • I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable anymore. I knew that I had to check in with my therapist every week, and now I have nobody. I have to hold on so tightly to the fact that I have people around me who love me. I may not be able to burden them with all of my worries but they would be devastated if I was gone.
  • I’ve learned that when someone is mean to me, that’s their shit, not mine. People behave badly because they are uncomfortable and not because they hate me or want me arrested or dead. Holding onto this is so hard for me, but it’s essential if I am to stop myself from going down that rabbit hole I found myself in three years ago.
  • I’ve had to change my goals and my values. All I wanted was to be rich and successful because I thought that this would make people love me and respect me. Actually, it just made me bloody miserable. I need to do the things that make me happy, like writing and art and crochet. I don’t have expensive tastes so why the fuck do I need a job that pays me well but stresses me out to the point that I end up in hospital? I rest my case.
  • Just chill out. Life is to be enjoyed. If I die, then I die. But why not enjoy it while I have it?

I’d love to hear if you have had therapy and what you have learned from the experience. I think that it’s so helpful to learn what it is that causes you to behave the way that you do. I truly believe that we are all like little computers and the things that happen to us early on in life program us for the future. It’s fascinating and scary in equal measures!

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Ghost

Your ghost is always there,

It doesn’t matter how much time may pass,

Or where I am or who I’m with.

The swish of colours in the street,

It warps the faces of those figures.

Each and every one the same.

They all become the face I want to see.

It’s you.

How many crowds or queues

Do I search and find that ghost

The ghost of you who dances through

The other guests who fade away.

Because it’s only you that I can see

Since that day you left.

I want a partner in this dance,

But you are gone and no matter

How very hard I try to search,

How many times I think your face is there,

You’re not.

You’re gone.

It breaks my heart but I must dance

Alone.

I’ll see you all the time,

But they are ghosts who grace the parquet floor,

Waltzing and whirling.

One day I’ll learn, it can’t be you.

It’s just a ghost I want to see.

Ever lost someone that you loved so much it hurt? If you have then you probably know that feeling of seeing them every place you go. I got married when I was nineteen. I loved the guy so much and we had a child together. But then he left me and I was heartbroken. For years I thought that I saw him in crowds even though I knew that it couldn’t possibly be him. It was like there was a ghost haunting me every day of my life. If I’m being honest, I still sometimes think I catch a glimpse of that man and we are thirteen years on.

Sometimes people leave our lives and it’s a traumatic experience. This poem is about that feeling of seeing your loved one everywhere even when you know that it can’t possibly be them. For me it felt like I was in a ballroom and everyone around me was a dancer, swirling around, and I could just catch a glimpse of somebody with the same hair or the same eyes as my husband. It was haunting and ghostly and I hope that this poem captures this feeling.

I’m sure you have felt this at some point and I hope that reading about my experience can help you to feel better. We all miss somebody and hope that they are nearby, even if we know that they are far away or they have died. It’s part of the human experience to feel this pain and confusion. It sucks but feel comforted by the fact that you are not alone.

Much love,

Rachel xx

Work shy?

The fear of what can happen while I’m there,

It scrapes its talons through the juicy parts,

Of my brain that flickers with anxiety.

Its vast feathery wings beat against my body,

As I try to tell myself that this is all for money.

I need the money if I want to live,

Without it humans simply shrivel up and die.

It’s our lifeblood, it makes the world go round.

But me, I hate the stuff.

It’s crude papery body flutters through my fingers,

Never there quite long enough,

To make a difference in life.

It simply swoops into my line of sight,

Plucks all the happiness that’s curled inside my hand.

It tells me that I’m never good enough,

That my boss will want me out, or want me dead.

Eventually it pecks until there’s nothing left.

I’m just a shell of who I used to be.

Perhaps I’m shy of work, of effort and of toil.

Perhaps I am just trouble, a burden on the state.

Whatever the reason, I’m scared of what will happen.

I’m scared of what will rob me of the life I have,

I’m terrified of the lifelike claws that dig their way,

Inside my thoughts, into my life.

I’m holding on but I don’t know

How much longer this can last.

My grasp is failing.

I am falling.

It is done.

I work part time because I’ve had some horrible experiences at work that have really left me quite frightened. Some people might sneer and say that I’m being a bit of a snowflake, but I’m really trying and this is a poem about that battle.

Every day that I go to my job I have to battle internally with all of my demons and, quite frankly, it’s exhausting. I sometimes worry that I’m work shy, but I know from the amount of effort that I have to put in to just show up that that can’t be the case. I must be committed if I am going to this much trouble.

On a daily basis I have to tell myself that I am trying and the very fact I am getting in and standing on my own two feet is proof that I am winning the battle, little by little. It is terrifying and yet I still do it.

And then, I have the daily reminder that I need to work if I am going to have the money to eat and do the things that I want to. I sometimes worry that eventually it’s all going to dry up and then I will die. It feels like a wild animal is chasing me down and that is where this poem comes from.

If you are struggling with a fear of work and getting fired and everything that goes along with that, then I hear you. It’s horrible to fear something that is so important in life. I hate when I hear people say that they live for their jobs because I wonder what is wrong with me; why can’t I have that passion? Instead I am left with a crippling fear and a life that I feel is half lived. If you are like me then I would love for you to know that there are other people out there. You are not alone. Speak to someone, get counselling. Just don’t let it drive you to the point where you are done.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Sliding Doors

That moment when the doors slide closed,

And life, it changes irrevocably.

You’re cast along another rail,

One not within your plans.

It wasn’t even comprehendible

Just a few short hours in the past.

But now it slides into reality,

Slotting into place

And holding firm despite the fear

That settles in your heart.

Because now your life is split.

Two parallel stories running side by side,

Two trains racing through the darkened tunnels,

Veering off to the left and right,

Horns blaring as they part.

And who knows where each will terminate?

Who knows if it was right the one you picked?

All you can do is hold on tight,

Close your eyes and wait for what?

A voice to come from the loudspeaker?

Telling you that you were right?

No. Nobody will give you that.

You must wait until the end.

The end of the line that you chose.

Ever wonder if there was a pivotal moment in your life when you may well have chosen wrong? I have so many of these moments littered throughout my life and I refer to them as my Sliding Doors Moments. They make me think that if just one moment had been different then I could end up in a completely different life.

Normally it’s a fun game to imagine where I might be, but sometimes my head goes to places that I wasn’t expecting and I can end up in some quite dark places. This poem sticks with the train theme that the original movie used and uses the idea of an out of control train that can’t be stopped once you’ve made that choice. Once you’ve picked the line that you re taking there is no going back. You just need to hold on tight and hope that you get to the end destination safely.

Do you have any moments in life where things could be different if you had done something other than what you did? Could your life have been better or worse? Have a think about it today…..

15 Quotes On Emotional Pain

I don’t know about anyone else but I find a good quote really useful when I’m struggling in life. I find that when I’m feeling down, reading the wise words of others can really buoy me up.

I guess that it comes down to knowing that if someone else has said it then I know that someone else has felt it. Because pain has that ability to cut you off and isolate you from every other motherfucker on the planet. You can’t quite understand how anyone else can laugh or smile when you are in the depths of it, and that really does suck.

So I’m sure that reading quotes is the way that we open a window into another person’s suffering and realise that it’s not just is. And that’s all we really want as humans: to feel that we are not alone.

Here are 15 of the quotes that I like in my moments of pain and I’ve felt quite a few of them over the past week or so. I work in a food shop and the amount of time I’ve spent in the chilled aisle, wondering if I’ll ever heal and feel whole again is crazy. It takes my breath away and makes me want to drop to my knees. I hope that if you are suffering in this way that you will feel better soon and I hope that this post helps you feel a little less alone. We are all in the same boat, even if we sometimes feel like we are marooned in the middle of nowhere. Just breathe and know that things will work their way out if you just hang on tight.

  1. The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming – Romans 8:18
  2. The heart was made to be broken – Oscar Wilde
  3. What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful – Brene Brown
  4. Adversity is the first path to truth – Lord Byron
  5. People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved – Anne Sullivan
  6. A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for – John Shedd
  7. I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words – Ann Hood
  8. The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts – Bertrandt Russell
  9. I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more – C.S. Lewis
  10. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart – Helen Keller
  11. Everything you do is triggered by an emotion of either desire or fear – Brian Tracy
  12. A broken heart is just the growing pains necessary so that you can love more completely when the real thing comes along – J.S.B Morse
  13. The human capacity for burden is like bamboo, far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance – Jodi Picoult
  14. If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces – Shane Koyczan
  15. Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life – JK Rowling