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

Just be nice to everyone!!!

Can we all just be nice to each other,

Even when the twat at the till who shouts really loudly at you,

Just deserves a punch in the face.

Because you are better than that.

And the really important thing to remember,

Is that you have no fucking way,

Of knowing what he’s going through.

He may not be as awful as you think.

He might be going through something hard,

He might be in terrific pain.

And you could be the one to ease that just a little.

You could be the one to make the difference,

In a really shitty day.

It could be your smile and hi and friendly bye,

That takes the edge of something terrible.

It’s not all about you and your feelings,

It’s you who has to get that ball rolling.

So roll it and see where it goes.

You may not get to see the final destination,

But I can assure you that it will be somewhere

Pretty fucking nice.

What I REALLY need is someone to look up to

I’m watching BBC Question Time and these are the words that started to come into my head. We are living in a really divided and scary Britain and world at the moment. It’s scary enough to make me want to turn the TV off and pretend that none of it is happening. But poetry is designed to help us say what we feel about these bigger topics in the world, so here goes…

What I really need is someone to look up to.

I don’t need a person who speaks so posh,

That someone like me can’t understand what he thinks,

How he feels and the things that he wants.

I don’t want to follow men who are older than dad,

Who can’t possibly understand

What is nagging at my consciousness, as I toss and turn,

In my bed late at night.

I need somebody who speaks like me, looks like me,

Concerned by the same things as me.

I need to know that the world that I leave,

To my children and their children will be OK.

Better than OK.

I want it to flourish and some posh geezer,

Who waltzed through Eton and Oxford,

Or Cambridge or somewhere like that,

Just doesn’t seem to get what I mean.

When I say that I’m scared, I’m really so scared.

They’re out for themselves in this contest,

For popularity and fame.

Think of the speaking gigs and book deals they’ll get,

When this is all over,

And the country is in tatters.

When we are all left to pick up the pieces.

So I don’t really care if a candidate,

Is young or female or ‘wet behind the ears’.

I care if she cares and I can see it in her eyes.

I want a role model,

And if that makes me stupid or silly or dumb,

I’ll take it on the chin and vote with my foot.

Because all that I really want and need,

Is a person to relate to,

To look up to and a person I’d quite like to be.

I don’t think it’s hard to guess who I’ll be voting for next month and my reasoning behind it. I hope that everyone does get out there and vote and I hope that this next couple of weeks will start to wrap up such a difficult three and a half years in our history.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are in the comments, although do keep them loving and respectful. Politics have the ability to draw us together or rip us apart and I hope that whoever in power does everything they can to do the former. This is about what’s best for the country and not how much glory the person who wins can enjoy.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Being left behind is hard

I’m right where I need to be….

I sometimes watch the other girls,

Who used to share my year at school.

They glide through life and love

With elegance and gracefulness.

They seem to have this life all sewn up,

They get it in a way that I just don’t.

I’m messy and flawed and I struggle like mad,

To hold it together

In just the simplest of ways.

It’s difficult to hold down the easiest of jobs,

It’s easy to burst into tears when really I shouldn’t.

I can’t seem to act like a grown.

They tell me to pull it together

Like that’s what I wasn’t aiming for anyway.

It’s hard when you fall behind.

Everybody is taken already.

They’re loved up and married,

When you’re single and stony and cold.

They have the house and the car

And the two point four children to boot.

The anger it bubbles inside,

Every time that I scan through their photos,

Poring over the remnants of my life not lived.

I wish that I’d done something differently;

That I’d not had a baby or I’d taken that job.

But then I remember the love that I have.

The love from the people that peg me to the ground.

Not in a bad way, may I add.

They stop me from blowing away in the wind;

From losing my way in a world that is dark,

Where it’s easy to get lost

And where the bruises and knocks

Are violent and ever so frequent.

I remember that I’m not being left behind.

I’m on the path I was meant to be on.

I’m living the life that was designed for me.

It’s comforting and wondrously soft,

Knowing that someone is there in my corner,

A friend for life,

And a torch to guide me,

When I’m worried I’m too far behind.

Do you ever worry that you’re being left behind by the other people that are your age? I have friends who I was at school with and now they are doctors or lawyers. They are so successful it’s like they are not the same species as me.

But I am lucky that I have the foundation that is my faith. I know that the Lord won’t have put me on a path that wasn’t right for me because it was designed and mapped out before I was even born. That is comforting in times when I feel like I’m losing balance or that I have no momentum at all.

I’d love to hear whether others struggle with the same feelings? How do you get over the feelings of envy towards what others have achieved? How do you get over the feelings of self doubt when you think that the reason you are behind is because you are not good enough?

Remember that you are enough and you are always loved. If nobody has told you this today, then this is your daily reminder that you are incredible and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

5 reasons it’s important to speak your truth

I’m obsessed with pleasing people and as a result I tend to dance around a topic without ever getting to the point. It’s just so hard to be direct and speak my truth, knowing that it MIGHT upset someone. Anyone else have this problem? Anyone else a people pleaser to a fault?

Because it’s something that I’ve really struggled with, Proverbs 27:17 jumped out at me and almost knocked me out with its power. It was randomly picked out at a recent talk that I went to and it felt like I was just meant to take that verse and meditate on it for a little while this week.

How can people pleasing become a problem?

My biggest problem area when it comes to people pleasing is at work. I get so scared that my boss or my colleagues are going to hate me that I refrain from making comments or asking for things that I need. I worry that if my boss takes offence to a request I make then he may start to make my life hell.

I know that a lot of this stems from issues that date back to my childhood and actually have very little to do with my current boss. But the fact remains that I still get anxious about speaking my truth when it might not go down well. This means that I often get lumped with shifts that I really can’t do or doing tasks that I don’t feel equipped to carry out. I just muddle through it all to keep the peace.

What can Proverbs 27:17 teach us?

Proverbs 27:17 reads ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’. In some translations the line reads ‘so a friend sharpens a friend’ or something to that effect.

This could be understood to be quite a brutal verse as it conjures up the image of an axe being sharpened (not something I normally want to practice on a friend)! However most people actually tend to read it in a much more positive light, and being the author of a blog about patience and kindness, I choose to read it in this light too!

So how is this positive?

It is positive if we view ourselves as the axe that NEEDS sharpening to make us better people. Even if the sharpening process is quite brutal it is something that will make us more useful to others because we are no longer dull and blunt. It hints at the fact that friends have the ability to sharpen us in this way because they can practice tough love on us. Being tough on us is OK because we know that their intentions are good and the outcome will only make us better.

This, in turn, means that we must speak our truth if we are going to get the full benefit of this sharpening process. If we pussy foot around the issues that are on our hearts, not really getting to the point, then our friends can’t shape us. We will miss the opportunity to get their opinion and form a more balanced view of the world.

So, as promised, here are five reasons why we must make sure that we say what we really think:

  • It holds us accountable. If we tell people about all the things that we want to do then there will always be somebody there to support us and push us along when the going gets tough.
  • It encourages us to be vulnerable. I adore the teachings of Brene Brown and I truly believe that showing our vulnerabilities is the way to true forward motion in society. Speaking your truth is scary because it opens you up to all kinds of hurt and criticism, but it can also deepen relationships and help you to grow as a human being.
  • It will make you a stronger person in the face of criticism. Once you have spoken your truth and had people disagree with it a few times you’ll feel far less sensitive about it going forward. If we want success in life we need to be able to withstand the bullies out there that are going to laugh and poke fun at our hopes and dreams.
  • It sets out boundaries. This is what I need to improve in my work situation. The more I practice this sharpening of my blade and saying that I can’t do something despite the shame I feel about it, the less and less I will be taken advantage of. At the moment I’m seen as a soft touch and the manager knows that I’ll say yes to anything he gives me.
  • It makes us shinier, or less dull. This can only help us glorify God because the shinier we are, the more people will look and the more they will want to follow our example.

I hope that you, too, can use this verse to make yourself more confident in voicing your feelings, thoughts and needs. Remember that the striking of the axe might seem like a violent act but it makes it more useful. The axe doesn’t get hurt in the process, it just becomes better at it’s job.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

A Poem For Those Who Are Grieving

I sometimes feel that poetry needs to be performed rather than just put down on paper to be read. And for that reason I’ve put this one up on Youtube. I know of a few people who have lost family recently and it’s crushing to now that they are going to go through Christmas feeling sad and lonely. I wanted to write this poem to give their pain a voice. Nothing will make it easier but it’s sometimes nice to know that we all go through these painful experiences and we are all there to lean on one another in times of need.

If you are struggling with the grief of losing a loved one this Christmas please do speak to a friend or a doctor or call the Samaritans. There are so many people out there who can help you through the worst of it. You don’t need to suffer in silence.

Splitting: black and white thinking

Splitting or black and white thinking is something that we all struggle with to a certain degree. It’s a common ‘symptom’ of borderline personality disorder but it can be something that we all do from time to time as a coping mechanism. It’s when it starts to ruin our lives that it becomes a problem, and ruin lives it does.

My experience with splitting

I’ve never been diagnosed with borderline personality but my addictive behaviours have meant that I can identify with a lot of the traits that sufferers have to endure. And splitting is the one that has caused the most destruction in my life.

I have probably done this throughout my whole life but it really became obvious to me that it was a problem when I was in my late twenties and I was struggling to deal with bosses; particularly female bosses.

I would start a job and invariably the general manager of the site would be a woman. I would start to befriend her as much as I could and I would try to get myself in line for any kind of promotion I could lay my grubby hands on. I’m a straight woman but I would almost find myself falling in love with this person and my whole life would revolve around being noticed by her and being praised by her. In short, she was being idolised and put up on a really high pedestal.

And the story would always follow the same narrative. Once this woman was firmly in place on her pedestal she would do something to shake my faith in her. She would call me into the office because I’d done something wrong or she would overlook me for a promotion and then our love affair would be over. She was suddenly the worst person I could think of in the entire world and I wouldn’t have one good word to say about her. Eventually I’d hate her so much I’d have to leave my job and the whole charade would start again.

How big a problem can splitting become?

When my drinking was at its worst and I was in a place where I knew that I needed help, it was this problem that drove me to the doctor. I was convinced that the female boss that I had at the time was plotting to kill me or have me put in jail. Just a year earlier I had been pining for her attention; the process was swift and brutal.

Splitting caused me to end up missing work and hiding while I was at work because I was so terrified. I started self harming and at one point I took an overdose just so that I could stay in the hospital and be away from this woman. It was crazy behaviour but it still makes me feel anxious thinking back to that time so I know how real it was to me.

Some people will only fall out with a succession of people and then move onto the next. This is obviously not as frightening for the person but it’s equally as destructive as they are leaving a trail of broken relationships in their wake. These don’t have to me within the sphere of employment either, that just seemed to be prominent in my life. Many people have a string of friendships and romantic relationships that end in such a way.

So how do I stop splitting?

It might be worth seeing a doctor in the first instance because you may have something like borderline personality disorder and they will be able to help. Counselling is the best treatment if it’s a really serious problem for you because there are obviously some underlying issues that can be resolved by talking.

Here are a few other tips and tricks that I have learnt during my years in recovery and that have helped me stop this really damaging behaviour:

  • Don’t get over friendly with management at work. They are there to look after the business, not pander to your ego.
  • If you like somebody romantically, tell them. At least you can find out if they feel the same and move on if they don’t. I would make up stories in my mind about how we would get married and have babies and then they would get a girlfriend and I’d get angry at them. It would just trash a good friendship and leave everybody feeling angry and confused.
  • Remember that nobody is perfect. The person who you are putting up on that pedestal is going to make a mistake but that doesn’t make them nasty or evil, it makes them human.
  • Try to find your part in arguments. We sometimes forget that for something to go wrong in a relationship of any kind, we need to have played a part in it somewhere along the line. If we can accept our part it makes it easier to accept where the other person was coming from.

As I have said, this behaviour almost killed me so it’s important to seek help if you are getting worried for your own safety. But always keep in mind that people are complex and come to you with baggage of their own. Most of the time they don’t even realise they’ve done anything to hurt you so don’t let one slip up ruin something that could be beautiful with just a little bit of work and understanding.

Remember to show everyone the compassion that you would like to receive yourself. And have the most amazing day, you beautiful people.

Much Love

Rachel xx

What I should have known when I was 20 (a poem)

There are probably a shit tonne of essays and books and blog posts (and maybe a poem or two) about what people wish they had known when they were 20. Looking back, we all wish we could go back and impart our acquired knowledge upon our younger self.

But I was a little bit broken and it was the reason that I ended up not having the career that my friends enjoyed or the relationships or the posh holidays and fancy cars. While they all grew up, I remained a sixteen year old who downed shots, even on a Tuesday.

Now that I have put my drinking days to bed and decided to make a real effort at getting my brain sorted out I feel like I can piece together something similar to all of those other lists on the internet. But mine isn’t what I wish I’d known; mine is what I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. It’s the stuff I really should have picked up if I wasn’t drunk, or high, or wandering around somewhere dangerous in Africa.

So here’s a little poem with some of the obvious stuff and also some of the things that are only applicable to wonky people like me.

When I was young and left my home,

There was a big, exciting world to roam.

But I did not know how to look

After the girl whose world was shook

When she found that drink was nice,

It’s just she didn’t know the price.

I wish that she had understood,

That letting go was what she should

Be doing when those heavy woes

Pushed her deep into her lows.

Let go of all that she resents,

All it does is swiftly robs and then prevents,

The happiness that could be hers,

But anger seems to be what she prefers.

I wish she knew that money, houses and a car

Aren’t the answer, not by far.

They’ll scratch the itch that plagues her so

But they won’t help her fly or grow.

The joy that they will make her feel

Is transient; it isn’t even real.

I wish that I could tell her to

Try the thing that scares her through

To her core; the thing that sets her heart on fire,

A passion of which she’ll never tire.

Don’t do what they all think you should,

Don’t think you need it to be good,

You’re good enough just as you are

Just don’t let them eclipse your star.

How to deal with the ups and downs of life (a couple of helpful tips)

I sometimes feel like I’m living more downs than ups and that can be a really difficult thing to deal with. But we’re all feeling this way and that is why life is so bloody confusing. It’s the fact that we watch everyone else and wonder how the fuck they are making it look so easy when they are looking right back at us and thinking the same thing. It’s laughable really, but it’s a truth that needs to be learned and accepted if we are to do anything great while we are here on earth.

There was a time when I was genuinely convinced that there was some kind of class that I had missed where everybody had a life manual dished out to them. I seriously believed that they all had this book that gave them a comprehensive set of instructions on how to do it right.

Of course, drinking to the excess that I did, didn’t make my understanding of life any easier, but I knew that if I could just get hold of that book, then I’d know where I was going wrong. I would know how to navigate life’s ups and downs without making the complete mess of it that I always did.

Now I know that this manual doesn’t exist and I have had to develop a set of my own rules. I see the rules a little bit like a seat belt that I can use on this rollercoaster that used to throw me all over the place, sometimes nearly leaving me on my deathbed. The rules don’t stop the rollercoaster from moving but they do stop me from flying out of my seat. (Crap metaphor, I know, but it fits with the ferocity of the feelings that I used to have back in those days).

So here are a few little ways in which I try to keep myself safe when I’m on that up and down journey and my knuckles are white with the effort from hanging on for dear life.

  • Repeat the words LET GO AND LET GOD. Handing everything over to a power greater than myself is always a comfort. It’s the loss of control that is scary so hand it over to something bigger than yourself.
  • Remember that another person’s opinion of you cannot harm you. I often find I’m so emotionally hurt by what somebody says that I forget it can’t do any physical damage. It cannot kill me and it only has the power that I allow it to have over me.
  • Somebody else’s opinion is often a reflection of their own insecurities. If they are being horrible to me it’s because something in their own past has been dredged up in them. That has nothing to do with me.
  • Knowing that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. There are not many things in life that last forever. A bad feeling, or a crappy situation will normally pass. I often try to think if I will remember what is happening in five years. If the answer is no then it’s probably not worth wasting too much energy on.
  • See life as a story or novel. You can’t have a good novel without there being a chapter or two where the main character goes through some shit. Without this the novel is going to be a little bit boring! So if you find yourself going through some difficult days or weeks or months, then think of it as only a chapter or two of your life and look forward to the upward curve when you will get your happily ever after.

I hope that some of these are useful to you. I know that shitty times in life are hard to get through when everyone around you appears to be doing so well. But know that they will be dealing with their own problems in their own times and you just need to stay in your own lane, get your head down and look forward to the brighter times that are already on the horizon.

You are loved and you are special and you just need to relax and breathe and smile like you have it all under control, because that’s all that those other people around you are doing.

Much love

Rachel xx