social anxiety prayers being answered

When the pressure has been pumped

And the body is crushed, and you just want to pray

For the lid to come off, and then somehow it happens,

The prayers are all answered

And we can gasp for sweet air.

I absolutely hate social events and I can sometimes feel sick for weeks in advance as I try to think out how I can possibly get out of the plans. This week I had one such event coming up.

We had a barbecue planned that would involve loads of drinking and lots of people and the expectation to stay until late. I was quite literally praying for a way out.

And then I got an email today to say that a couple of teachers are self isolating and they can’t risk having all the English teachers out if we should have an outbreak. So the barbecue is cancelled.

The relief that I am feeling is unbelievable. It is as though I have just wormed my way out of five hours of horrific torture. I feel lighter having read that email.

Social anxiety is painful for so many and I am sure there are so many people out there who feel exactly the same. It seems that sometimes prayers are answered in a very quiet and unexpected way.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a holiday from life

anonymous person in clear water
Photo by Atahan Demir on

I need to get away, melt into the fabric of

The life I’ve woven, thick and supple,

Something with substantial matter but

I’ve sewn myself into the weave and now

I need to free myself, to wade into the lake

With sinking sunlight dappled on a surface

Warm and friendly, letting one just sail away

From stresses clawing at my brain

And sinking nails into the spongy mulch

That houses all my consciousness, but soon that will

Bleed out into other lands, as skulls are softened

On the beach where holidays begin.

Marking books

The piles of grubby books, pristine

Back in September days when leaves were turning

And shoes were shining straight from Clark’s.

But now they’ve passed through many hands

As pens were chewed, checking answers nervously

Before they passed them back to teachers waiting

With red pens, ready to write ‘well done,

Good try’. But think of all those hours

Buried under marking schemes and reams

Of answers for so many hours,

Burning candles at the midnight hour,

Sleep filled eyes are drooping with

A sadness as she sees that pile

That isn’t going down. She’ll carry on

For many hours yet to come, waking on

The sagging sofa as the sun begins to rise.

Paperback reader

she sits in musty sunlit window seats,

Feet curled loosely underneath

Her paisley dress that gently grazes floors

As yellowed pages turn in spindly fingers

Decked with pretty opal rings she bought

With her books in goodwill stores,

Stacking volumes in her arms, until

She finds the one, a battered jacket,

Loved and cast aside in time, ready

For another person in the window to

Read that book in paperback, mass produced

But only one has fallen into hands

Decked with opal rings. She smiles

And slides between those tattered covers.

career advice for dummies

Apply, apply,

Type your life into databases,

Fill the spaces with your name, your date of birth,

Attend those interviews.

It won’t be you that sits and talks

For hours all about your strongest bits.

The real you sits so quietly,

Withering within your skin,

But you know promotion is

The way to make yourself a worthy one.

Without that money, without that status

What’s the fucking point?

We are entering our last week in our placement school, so we were given a talk this morning about career progression and what to expect as a teacher. The talk was given by our deputy head who is moving onto a headship in another school in September.

This guy is a legend in the school and respected by everyone. I would love to be like him, but as I sat and listened, I realised that I still have to be so careful.

I’m one of those people that can really ‘lose it’ if I get too stressed and yet it is still so easy for me to get carried away. It sounded so exciting, the idea of climbing the ladder and doubling my salary, but I always need to consider the cost.

This teacher did remind us that it was also important to just go with the flow, which I like. Letting go and just allowing life to take me is what I want to do. I sometimes feel like I’ll just float into the places and positions that I’m supposed to be in.

Much Love

Rachel xx

The beautiful game

They packed in pubs that sold them pints,

Pickled eggs and packs of crisps in tarty flavours,

Sea salt and vinegar, pink prawn cocktail

And pork scratchings dropped in an excited fluster

As men in football jerseys jostle at the sticky tables

Looking for the space to jump, when joy will wash

Over them in tidal waves, if the TV tells them so.

The screens are green, only broken by the tiny players,

Burgeoning with moneyed privilege, but who am I to judge?

We savour moments on the tongue, hoping that

The opposition will not claw back at that lead,

Staring at the corner clock, seconds ticking

As we hiss like angry snakes at a weary ref:

‘Blow the whistle, man! Blow the bloody whistle!’

And finally it does become a win, as pints and crisps

Are thrown up in the air, a perfect frieze of happiness,

If only we could hold that moment, Kodak ready,

But it fades, as all moments blemish-free will do.

I’ll still be smiling in the morning on the train to work,

I’ll still enjoy that tiny sliver of the silver joy

For as many days as I can eke from that ninety minute game.

i am officially a qualified teacher!!!

My little book of teaching notes has served me well!

It has taken a hell of a lot of blood, sweat and tears but I have done it and I am now a qualified teacher!

When I was in the midst of my drinking, I did have this little dream that one day I would be a teacher, but I couldn’t hold myself together for long enough to do it properly, to give myself a fair chance.

Alcohol, for me, was a medicine. But it was a medicine with terrible side effects. I needed it to ease my racing thoughts and nerves that made me sick. But it left my relationships in tatters. Employers couldn’t understand why this overly happy person would suddenly break down and need three weeks off. I just couldn’t be consistent.

I’m still a ball of nervous energy, but I know how to take a deep breath and ride the wave these days.

This next year is going to be the toughest yet and I know that I’m going to be tested even harder. But I’m looking forward to the challenge. Life isn’t amazing and perfect, but it is the life of my wildest dreams.

Much Love

Rachel xx

is there actually a point?

Blowing through the summer air with little more

Than a kernel of the knowledge that we need

To get from A to B.

We’ll sometimes find ourselves tangled in the trees

With little more than gentle gusts to work us free.

We’ll get there in the end,

I’m just not sure what we’re supposed to be doing

In the middle bit?

I’m feeling a tad bit lost. This weekend it feels like everything has hit me like a tonne of bricks. The realisation that my mum is gone to God knows where, my childhood home has gone and I have to go and sit in front of a panel tomorrow to tell them why I think they should award me my QTS.

All things have heaped up and now I feel a little bit like I’m not quite where I should be or if I’m even doing it right.

I do get this feeling every so often and it does really frighten me. No amount of pharmaceuticals can make me feel better and it feels a little bit like someone is rubbing a giant cheese grater up and down my brain.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who knows what they are doing or if they feel there is a point? I’d love to know the secret.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we’ll all just be a bath of photons, anyway

photo of solar system
Photo by Jacub Gomez on

I had a statue in the square

Where everyone would stand and stare.

I don’t know what it was

That ran through minds of those who saw,

I thought it was the love of fans

But now that I look back and see

That there was a rolling of the eyes

And in the end they knew it better

That we’d all just fade away

And all these stone like monuments

Will fizzle in the blinding sun.

I’ve written quite a few times about legacy because I think that it’s something that we worry about as humans, especially humans who have access to social media! Everyone wants to be remembered, but the truth is that many of us will be long forgotten within a few years of our passing.

However, every so often I am reminded of just how ridiculous it is to worry about these things. Today I got one such reminder in the form of Brian Cox.

I just caught the very end of one of his shows about the universe and how it will eventually return to nothing. His closing line, that he said with his trademark smile was: I don’t think that we should worry about being immortalized as a statue because eventually we will all just become a bath of photons.

It seemed so brutal that we will literally be swallowed whole that it almost became a bit funny. It just reminded me to keep everything in perspective.

Much Love

Rachel xx

she’s so lucky, she’s a star

pink and white stars in the sky
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

But she cry, cry, cry in the lonely night,

They all think fame will undo the pain

That they burnt her with when she burned too bright.

Those she knew, she thought she loved

Were the ones to turn when it began to rot,

Turning uglier than they foresaw.

But what does that matter when they all swept in?

Ready to scoop at the smoking corpse,

Picking off the richest pieces glinting in

The studio lights were money is made.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Britney. She became a star just as I was in my early teens so I always felt as though I was growing up with her. I also got married and split up at similar times to her and we had our sons within two months of each other.

I know that it’s a bit of a childish obsession, but I feel like she has become a friend over the years. I think a lot of people feel that way and so they share the pain I feel when I watch her go through hard times.

Obviously, she has crept back into the news this week as she went to court to fight for the end of her conservatorship. A lot of the details came out into the public domain and it was really upsetting to hear.

Britney was put through so much when she had her children taken away and split with her husband and it was shocking to watch her slowly melt down. Everyone remembers her shaving her head, but it was the photos of her sitting on the curb and crying as photographers continued to shout things at her that I found most distressing. My heart just broke.

I think that we all need to be a little more gentle with each other so that things like that don’t happen. There is a girl in my tutor who is suffering with disordered eating and it is hurting me to see her struggling. She was really upset and crying and her lovely friend sat quietly with her and physically wiped away her tears. It was possibly the sweetest thing I have seen.

Be a bit more like that friend and wipe away someone’s tears, don’t just shout at them and take pictures for your own entertainment.

Much Love

Rachel xx