i just slipped through the cracks

Do you remember as a child,

On slick, wet pavements,

Jumping over gaping cracks

That felt like crevices,

Giant rocky cliffs.

Misjudge and you are dead,

Burning for eternity

In a molten hell.

Now that I’m an adult in the world,

Those gaps have so much power to

Ruin life, change the course

And no one sees

As you’re falling through.

I had a bit of an emotional day today. I’m doing my sixth form placement and it happens to be at the college that I attended when I was seventeen. It was at the college where things started to go very wrong for me and so it brought back some really difficult memories that I have pushed down for many years.

Back then, I was struggling to get out of bed and I would cry all the way there and then all the way home. I felt like there was an actual weight pushing me down and making me heavy.

I didn’t realise it then but I think that I probably had really bad depression. It wasn’t spoken about back then and so I struggled through before dropping out and really spiralling.

I sat listening to the Transition Manager today and she was talking about mental health and how they help students who feel like they are drowning. I wondered if I would have been saved if these measures had been in place twenty years ago?

It has taken me fifteen years to get back on track and I wonder if my life would be totally different if I hadn’t slipped through the cracks. I lost all of my friends, I lost the chance at a career and I lost a lot of confidence. I think it’s great that we are now concentrating on this stuff so that more students don’t also disappear for fifteen years. That would be very sad.

Much Love

Rachel xx

isn’t it nice to have a safe space?

A little corner or a room

Where one can curl up legs beneath

And gently close the eyes, to cry

Or just to breathe, one two three.

Those black and glistening fronds,

The tentacles that reach for me,

Searching through the open windows,

They can’t get me there, sealed inside,

Here I’m safe, and I can breathe

One two three….

I really love the fact that blogging creates such a lovely safe space for all of us. The internet can be a bloody scary place (just hop on over to Twitter if you don’t believe me), but the blogging world is just so lovely and kind and I find that even negative comments are well thought out and intelligent, rather than a stream of vile hate.

I know that a lot of bloggers do use this space to just get our feelings out into the open. We are introverts who are happy to sit in our living rooms with our cats. To us, the outside world is just a little bit scary and writing is the thing that helps us process everything we see out there in the big bad world.

I realise after this very strange year that we all need a safe place. For some people, the isolation that we have endured has been dangerous for them and their safe space is out there with all the people. Crazy, I know. To think there are people out there who like socializing!

Writing does give me so much joy and helps me to feel lighter. The fact that I can write and connect with lovely people at the same time is such a wonderful thing. I just wanted to put that out there…

Much Love

Rachel xx

the me you can’t see – prince harry

We all have that side, that we keep buried deep

In the darkest of caverns, even digging would not

Uncover that me that hurts every day.

She hurts but she’s real and she takes on the shapes

Of a person with corners and edges and lines

That change when they’re sanded by words.

I keep her hidden as much as I can,

Out of shame or embarrassment, she stays tucked away

And we all have to hope that there isn’t a time

When it all gets too much and she bursts from behind

That carefully crafted mask that’s glued into place,

Because she’ll tear down the curtains

And splatter the walls with paint and those stains

That tell stories of anger

And a past that was buried with the deepest of love.

I just watched the first part of the documentary series that was produced by Oprah and the Sussexes. I know that in the UK the Sussexes have been slagged off for everything they have done since stepping down as royals, but having watched the interview, I get the impression that a lot of the people slagging them off haven’t even watched the interview.

The main argument against them seems to be that they are being horrible to his family and that they are constantly in the media even though they wanted a quiet life. However, they have only done three or four interviews and they do have to actually earn money! If they are to actually live they need to do something and if the newspapers won’t stop running stories on them then it’s pretty hard for them to just disappear.

Then we have to look at what material they are sending out into the world and I think that most of the time they are actually saying things that are really helpful to people. The documentary that I just watched was really positive and the parts where Harry ‘criticized’ the way that his family behave were much more about the trauma that we all carry rather than an all out attack on his father.

I think we all need to step back and actually listen to what people say rather than consume it through the lens that the newspapers offer us. Some of the comments I read online are sickening and I wonder how they must feel if they read any of it.

I think a lot more people actually need to watch The Me You Can’t See because it opens a window into the struggles of people who are successful and much loved.

And let’s stop being so horrible to people we don’t even know. Just because Harry is rich and privileged, it doesn’t mean that he can’t struggle like the rest of us.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a little bit happy and a little bit sad

cute dog wearing a party hat
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Emotions,

Strange little things

That march across your heart.

I imagine them to be

Yellow, like minions,

Capable of causing palpitations,

But also hard to know

Which is which

And why I cry

Or why I laugh

So ridiculously hard.

I know that emotions are really hard to put into words, and I know that it’s even harder to do this when you’re a teenager and you have all those hormones whizzing round your body.

However, I do find it worrying how bad some of my students are at understanding emotions and putting them into words. Some of them only seem to know happy and sad. The whole rainbow of other emotions seem to be totally lost to them and I find that heartbreaking.

There have been many occasions where I have asked them what a poem makes them feel and they just say ‘happy’. When I raise an eyebrow they then backtrack and go for ‘sad’. They don’t seem to have any sense of what these things mean?!

I hope that it’s not the internet and their reliance on their mobile phones that has done this as I don’t know if that kind of damage is repairable. They are so disconnected that I worry they have lost their human-ness. I hope I’m wrong.

Much Love

Rachel xx

dirty dancing

Just hearing the opening song and those words,

It was the summer of 63 and my dad was still

The greatest man in the world (But we all know

That Johnny Castle was going to change that).

Just hearing that song, it feels like a hug,

A little like remembering a boy from the past,

One that got away but still creeps into dreams

And then flutters away with the ringing alarm.

Something jumps up inside your body, calling us out,

Reminding us that we’re human, that we have needs

If you get what I mean. When he dances with Baby

And takes off her clothes, throwing that shirt

When we know it’s forbidden by the dad she once loved,

Adored like a child now grown to a woman.

And then we all get the treat at the end,

When nobody puts Baby in a dark, empty corner

And we all get to see her have the time of her life,

Breath held together as she runs for the lift.

We all love that film like a friend that we lost,

Then found in a cupboard on a dusty VHS.

It’s reminded me how much I need love and a touch,

To remember the feeling of falling for him,

Toppling so slowly on the edge of a cliff

To be caught in his arms and held oh so tight.

That’s what that movie means to my life

And I’m not even slightly ashamed of my need

To gaze at that man, pretending I’m her;

I need to feel love, even pretend.

drowning in competition

man running on black asphalt road
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Treading water as we gasp for air,

The need to win will choke our lungs

Killing all creative whims

With black and chilly waves of woe,

Wondering what will become of us

If we’re not the very best

We’ll drown

And they’ll be glad;

No one wants a losing streak,

Just winners making money for

The ones that pull the strings for us.

I get a little bit freaked out about competition because I want to be the best, but the need to win can sometimes cripple me and I end up performing awfully.

If we don’t cross the finish line first, get the best grade or show ourselves to be the most talented, we are sometimes made to feel absolutely worthless, and that can paralyze people into doing nothing.

The nerves that I used to feel before swim meets were so terrible that I would actually vomit and I wonder if I would have done better if perhaps I cared a little less?

I’m currently watching The Masked Dancer and it’s such a nice format because the whole point of the show is to guess the celebrity rather than to vote them off because they’re crap. I want us to bring out more shows and challenges where being the best isn’t the most important thing. It really is nice to just take part!

Much Love

Rachel xx

i wonder what it feels like to be cameron diaz

Does she roll out of bed with hair in disarray?

Has she ever just had a really bad day?

With those legs that men want wrapped around them,

Showing up us womenfolk with our rolls of skin,

There’s no bloody way she can ever feel low

When she’s dated the Timberlake and been kissing Jude Law.

We’ve seen her in shots taken on beaches, surfing in swimwear

That shows of a midriff that’s ironing board flat,

With that tousled blonde hair, can you tell that I’m jealous?

I just wish that I looked like Cameron Diaz,

With legs up to my armpits and the boys of my dreams,

Flocking to spend passionate nights in a Los Angeles pad.

What would I give for a day in that life,

Looking that gorgeous, and living out life

The way the mere mortals dream out wild fantasies

In the weirdest of ways….

the thinnest line between life and death

It falls like curtains,

Diaphanous,

So thin we feel a cold and hardened dread

When it flaps beneath the wind

Brushing skin,

Reminding us

How close it is.

I went to KFC with my dad and Noah today. We were sitting enjoying our meal when I noticed some girls coming up the steps. Something seemed off and I turned to see what was happening.

One of the girls just dropped on the stairs. I watched as her friends tried to get her up but she was just floppy. The literally dragged her to the seats next to ours and they were trying to prop her up as her head drooped to one side.

The poor girl was sweating and she was going grey and it was quite a scary moment but her friends didn’t seem to have a clue what to do. My dad told them that they needed to phone for an ambulance and eventually they did so, but it was almost as though they wanted to convince themselves that she was fine.

I even heard one of them saying to the person on the phone that she was fine but she was slipping in and out of consciousness. I would say that is being far from fine.

We left as they were still on the phone so I don’t know the outcome of the situation but the girl looked like she was on death’s door. I’m not sure if she had taken something, but it just goes to show that we never know when these awful things could happen. A fun afternoon out, for those girls, turned really bad and I’m sure it was far from what they expected when they woke up this morning.

It just made me remember that we need to remember how fragile life is; it can end in an instant. Look after those you love.

Much Love

Rachel xx

you’re asking too much of me

I’m bending and buckling under the weight

Of things you are asking, placing on shoulders

That slope so slowly as I try to withold

The quivering truth, that I can’t do a thing,

That my hands are tied tightly, and ultimately you

Will be failed by my lies.

I know this poem sounds a bit heavy and makes it sound like I think that I’m failing in every way. But that is not what this post is about. It’s actually about the realisation that kids often do ask way too much of us.

Today, to hit my teaching standards, I took little groups of students out in tutor time and we just stood in the corridor and had a chat about anything that was troubling them and to ask if there was anything that I could do.

I don’t really know what I was expecting but the requests I got were way outside my remit.

It started with some girls asking if they could be moved out of their Music class because they hated the teacher and he hates them. I assured them that is not the case and then informed them that they were just going to have to suck it up.

The next group said that they were getting bored at school and they would like me to provide some more interesting subjects for them to study. Again, I was very sad to inform them that their student teacher could not set aside time for them to study the art of YouTube.

By the time I got asked if I could provide a Starbucks I had pretty much given up. My lesson that was learnt is to never ask thirteen year olds what I can do to make their lives better.

Much Love

Rachel xx

true crime

coffee laptop office internet
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Cabinets full of cardboard files

Spilling out with crimes, unspeakable,

Things you couldn’t start to dream.

It feels a little like an alcoholic drink

Those thumbnails lined up on the Netflix screen,

Selling stories of the evil souls

That drift throughout this world we like

To view through glasses with that rosy tint.

But peel away those blushing lenses and you see

The darkness that would make us shudder.

That addiction that we feel, I couldn’t say just why,

Perhaps it is our safety net, to teach us what

We need to see, to dodge those tortured me that kill

Without a reason we can see.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love true crime. I love books and documentaries and I find myself devouring the films and series that are on Netflix. I don’t really know why I have such a fascination with them but I suppose I do have a few theories.

Perhaps I’m a bit sick in the head myself. I like to think of myself as kind and that I wouldn’t hurt somebody but I guess we all push bed things down. I’m reading Jekyll and Hyde with my Year 10 students at the moment and the novel tackles this very issue. We all have something dark, hidden deep inside; our success in life just depends on how well we can hide it.

The other theory I have is that it’s a bit of a safety thing. I catastrophise anything and everything so in my head I’m always at risk of being murdered. It makes sense that I should enjoy watching these programmes so that I can have a head start over these murderers that are sure to target me any day now.

And then there is the fascination with the psychology behind it. I love trying to work out what has gone wrong in the brain of someone who does something really bad. I truly believe that we are all born good and something bad has to happen to cause these outbursts.

If I was brave enough I would most definitely go and work in a prison, but I’d spend most of the time hiding. I take my hat off to those people who are brave enough to keep the dangerous people safe and to also keep us safe on the outside.

Much Love

Rachel xx