vitamin sea

This is me crossing the English Channel in 2015

Fear can eat you up as waves wash over bobbing heads,

Only light from high power torches light the way,

But the water is a dark and murky soup

That churns beneath the ferry boats.

The rays of light will soon come up

And dance across the water’s edge

In pinks and purple hues that make for pretty photo calls.

But still the panic builds within the swimmer’s head

As land dissolves and doesn’t reappear.

I’ve always been fascinated by the water and sea and I have quite a special relationship with it given that I’ve been lucky enough to swim across the English Channel three times.

More than anything in the world, I would love to either row across the Atlantic or sail around the world. Although I know that both can be extremely dangerous. There’s always that worry that I may never come back.

And I think that’s what holds my fascination with the sea. It has this gentle beauty at sunrise when the water is flat and the swimming is easy. But when the wind kicks up it can snatch life away in the blink of an eye.

I’m missing the sea at the moment. The power of the waves crashing on the shore and the wonder of looking out to the horizon and trying to imagine where it may end. It’s not surprising that people in the past thought the Earth was flat.

I think that most of all I miss that feeling of taking a risk. We’ve all been cooped up and I haven’t felt that buzz when you’re bobbing in the middle of the sea and you can’t see land in either direction. It’s quite thrilling…..and I want it back.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i expected it to be….ummm….a little bit longer

adult art batis bhfyp

He fell for her the moment that he saw

Her red dress that matched her lips

And the way she laughed at a joke

He knew wasn’t funny.

For her it took years

Of sleeping beside him and staring

At the ceiling at night, wondering

If he was the one.

I’ve been having a little think about love recently, particularly how we fall in love. I’m a long time singleton and although I’m happy in that I sometimes wonder how I’m supposed to make that leap.

Do you fall in love in an instant? Or is it a slow building of trust and love? The logical part of me understands that to a certain extent it is a blend of the two, but there must be a spark somewhere, mustn’t there?

I’m starting to worry that maybe I’m a person with no spark that anyone can see. I hope it’s not the case but I could be intolerably dull, or really offensive, or maybe I smell really bad.

I think a lot of the problem for me is that I’m scared and it makes me hesitant, and I think that men can detect that. I think if I’m to have a hope in hell of having ‘that spark’ I’m going to have to let go and take the leap.

I have also spent a long time feeling like my life will be something out of a romcom and I will eventually fall in love with my best boy mate who I’ve been friends with for years. The only problem there is that I don’t like to leave the house for anything other than work so I don’t really have any boy mates.

Oh well, I’m sure someone will come into the petrol station where I work, order a flat white, and realise that I’m the one. And then maybe we can be friends for a decade so that I don’t get scared away, of course.

How have you all fallen in love? I love both long and short engagement stories, either way, it takes guts to make the commitment.

Much Love

Rachel xx

life is made of moments such as these

Revel in the rich and varied tapestry

That stretches through one day.

There’ll always be colours you do not like

But every so often you’ll stumble upon

A thread of gold that has woven through,

And it is then that we sigh

And say, ‘aaaaahhh, it was worth it.’

We did go to the theme park today and it was ok. I posted this picture on social media, and once again, it got me thinking about the way that life is made up of the moments you choose to embrace.

We both look really happy in this photo on the river rapids, and we were. But what this photo doesn’t show is that Noah almost fainted with heat stroke before we’d even made it through the entrance. And then I suffered the same fate a couple of hours later.

I don’t want to make this a post about social media only being a show reel of all the best bits, because we all know that to be true. But we do need to hold onto the best bits in our own mind.

Really, this is nothing revelatory, but I just felt it necessary to say that when I look back on today, I’ll remember the fun (and possibly a little laugh that both of us are such losers that we almost died of heat stroke when it was less than thirty degrees outside).

I had fun even though it was far from a perfect day. I hope that you also had a slightly shitty day that you are able to see the brighter side of. They’re always the best kind of days.

Much Love

Rachel xx

what will people think about me going to…….a theme park?

brown and red lighted carousel

Furtively, I slip into the car, start the engine

And peer out into the street

Looking for the curtain twitchers and the gossips

Waiting for the chance to bitch and moan

About the way that I behave, the way I carry on.

I’d like to say that I don’t care,

But actually it hurts to know that what I do

May cause an upturned nose

And nasty words to cross the garden walls.

I’m taking a risk tomorrow and I’m going to a theme park. I am told that the park has put in lots of precautions to make the whole experience safe, but that doesn’t stop the worry. I mean, a theme park must be a hotbed for germs at the best of times, so I’m struggling to see how it can be any better with even half the number of people there.

But it’s not just my safety that I worry about. I also care very deeply about what other people think. My son is desperate to get out to a theme park and he has been left alone in a flat for months while I work two jobs. I think he deserves a treat.

However, I saw how all of those people that went to the beach a couple of weeks ago were judged, and I’m worried that the same kind of disdain will be heaped on me.

I’m looking forward to getting further than ten miles from home for the first time in months, but I have so many negative thoughts buzzing around my head and that is quite sad. I just wish we could go back to the way it was.

I hope that you are enjoying the sun and getting further afield than you have over the previous few months. I’m sure there are people reading this who do feel I’m being selfish and I do feel really guilty about that. But I am going to bite the bullet and go and I hope that I can really enjoy myself and have something to laugh and smile about joyously. We need it desperately.

Much Love

Rachel xx

blockbuster video

couple love sitting evening
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We slipped inside the door, and parted

In our silent ways, to sections favoured

Since our childhood days.

You to horror, me to comedies

Filled with men I’d had on posters on my wall

In teenage years, before we came to be.

I’d run my fingers down the spines

Of long lost classics hidden in the shelves

And gather in my arms, the coke and chips,

The popcorn for the night.

Now I pass the empty building,

Sale sign hanging ominously,

Wishing I could browse those aisles for one last time

Rather than the senseless tiles

Inside my Netflix app.

when i can’t take in even one more piece of information

depth of field photography of mallard duck on body of water

The winding corridors within the brain

Can fill with love, with people and ideas.

They flow for hours, freely through

Before they hit a blockage and

The highways grind to a frightening halt.

I went to my induction for my teacher training today. It was really good but we were given two large ring binders full of information and it induced a mild sense of panic somewhere deep inside.

I’ve had this feeling so many times throughout life and I’m starting to become more aware of it and I’m working at not letting it completely engulf me.

It feels like my brain is ready and willing to learn but as soon as it’s bombarded with a lot of information it becomes like a sponge that’s been dipped in a bucket of water; there ain’t no more getting in, no matter how hard I try.

It’s a horrible feeling but I’ve learnt to appreciate that everyone is feeling that fear. The skill required comes from just winging it while you’re in panic mode and then going home and digesting it in your own time. I used to just panic and go off the rails before I even made it home.

The best piece of advice that I ever got about this was to be more duck; calm and unruffled on top of the water and paddling like crazy underneath. I need to do the work in the quiet places and times and remember that everyone is feeling just as overwhelmed as me.

I hope that you are feeling calm and collected at the moment. And if you’re not, be more duck.

Much Love

Rachel xx

I had that dream again

You know, the one where I am pregnant

But yet I have six kids already.

Why my sleeping brain thinks one more

Is sensible, I doubt I’ll ever know.

But my sleeping brain is full of awful nonsense,

I often drink despite the fact

I’m proud of years and years sobriety,

I often leave the house with clothes not on,

And when they are they’re back to front.

I fear that terrifying moment when I wake

And for just one stagnant moment I believe

The shit my brain has told me to be true.

don’t get too overexcited

photo of person walking on desert

It’s hard when you see the finish line,

Not to feel the stomach tighten

And wish for time to turn so quick

That utter joy will fall upon you

In an instant, and not in days

Or months, or years; it’s now.

I have a real tendency to wish my life away. When something really exciting is about to happen, I just want it to happen right now. I cannot bear the thought of waiting. And while I am waiting, I spend all of my time fantasising about how wonderful my life will be when it does happen.

In recovery circles this is called projecting and I am a master of it. I find that I very rarely live in the present, which it is so important to try to do. I always find myself excited or nervous about the future, or mulling over something I have done wrong in the past.

Since getting sober I have really tried my best to get out of this pattern of thinking and I slowly feel it working. It’s still hard though, and I just wanted to put it out into the world that I’ve had almost four years practice and it’s still tough.

Tomorrow, I’m going to my first induction day ready to start my teacher training in September. It’s so exciting and I’m really looking forward to it. But past Rachel would have almost burnt out before she reached the day because she was just too bloody desperate for it to just happen so that her life could be perfect.

Now I have learnt that a teaching job is going to make my life perfect. It might bring in a bit more money and it might offer some more job satisfaction, but it won’t get rid of the bad days. Only a belief in myself can do that.

So, on the eve of my next adventure in life, I am telling myself not to get too carried away, to live in the moment and to enjoy the story that is about to unfold; bad bits and all.

Much Love

Rachel xx

super saturday

The noise hangs heavy in the air,

I can touch the joy, the frenzy,

The glittering gold before it fades

Into a loving, distant dream.

The BBC replayed Super Saturday from the London 2012 Olympics this afternoon. For anyone not in the UK, it was the middle Saturday during the games when we won more gold medals than we had in over 100 years and three of those golds came in 45 minutes in the athletics stadium.

It really was an electric moment, for the whole country and not just for the athletes, and watching it brought back so many of those intense feelings that we experienced.

I think that everyone remembers that time fondly and we probably all have stories of amazing things that happened that summer. I do recall that we had a bit of a baby boom nine months later, so I am pretty sure there were lots of celebrations taking place during those weeks.

My personal memories were intensified by my own drama that was unfolding during those two weeks. I actually got the call to swim my first English Channel crossing on the first day of the games. It got cancelled at the last moment as the weather changed.

I was then lucky enough to have tickets to go and watch Michael Phelps swim and I spent the whole morning crying because I was so overcome. I then cried for the next week every time I watched an athlete win and see their dreams come true.

All through that first week I was waiting for another call for my rearranged swim. It finally came on the following Wednesday 8th August. I set off from the beach in Dover at 4am and arrived in France 12 hours and 42 minutes later.

It was a truly magical summer. I watched all of those athletes achieve their dreams and I was lucky enough to achieve mine at the same time. Those Olympics will live on in my memory forever.

Much Love

Rachel xx

evidently i get way too attached way too quickly

We’ve known each other for a nanosecond

And yet I’m tethered

Bound to you until I’m lying

On a deathbed made for me

And I will call you to my mind

In photographic detail

I’m not obsessed

You just reached into my heart

And found a home I didn’t know

There’d ever be the space to grow.

So, I think I have a bit of a problem when it comes to falling in love with people. I don’t mean romantic, stalker-ish love; I mean the kind of love where I wish that a person could be in my life forever, as a BFF.

I knew this was a problem of mine a long time ago but it was really amplified today. I’ve been doing some support work in my local school during lock down and I have been in with the four and five year olds.

I was kind of dreading it before I started as I thought they were too young for me to get along with. But in the three weeks that I have been with my little bubble, I have absolutely fallen in love with them.

I didn’t realise quite how deeply I had fallen for them until this afternoon when I was faced with saying goodbye to them for the last time before I move on to a new school.

I found myself nearly crying as they left and I really had to hold it in because the teacher who had been with them for an entire year was fine! Three weeks, and I was an absolute mess!

I think that this has taught me that I need to look at how I connect with people in the future. It explains a lot in terms of my past relationships with friends and colleagues. I have put them on pedestals and then when they have let me down they have also come crashing down, and that is heartbreaking to deal with.

As I go into my new schools I’m going to work on not getting so attached to the students. I know it’s only because I care, but I can’t go through that kind of heartbreak every time a year group moves on. I’ll be having a nervous breakdown after a couple of years if I continue like that.

Is there anyone else out there that falls for people like I do? As I say, it’s never romantic as I haven’t fallen in love in that way in over a decade. I just get so deeply attached that I just can’t let go.

Much Love

Rachel xx