when it feels right, in your heart

I guess it’s called a gut feeling. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know something is right or wrong for you. I get that feeling a lot, but I sometimes wonder where it comes from.

There are times when I’ve made horrendous mistakes in life and a lot of those times there has been that nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. And, likewise, I feel a real burning in my chest when something is right.

I could be relying on hindsight, which we all know is a wonderful thing, but, I find it alluring to think that there is something bigger at work when we get these gut feeling. These signs from above, as it were.

I’m applying for teaching jobs at the moment and I’ve had two rejections out of two, so far. But, I had that nagging feeling with one of them that it was a bad idea. I was only applying because I felt like it was expected of me. And when I didn’t get it, I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief.

Another girl on my course got the job and normally I feel really jealous and hurt when I know somebody who has beaten me. I felt the hurt of rejection but I didn’t feel the jealousy this time round. In fact, I felt like I’d dodged a bullet. It’ll be interesting to keep in touch with her and see how the job pans out and whether any of my reservations are real, or just in my head.

There is a job that I spotted today and I immediately got that flutter in my heart that it was right so I will be applying for that one, and not with trepidation.

I guess we can never know what the future holds and whether or not we can rely on gut instinct, but I like to think that it has some power in keeping us safe and keeping us on the path we were meant for. There are so many ways that my life could go from this year onwards. Who knows, I might even end up going abroad to teach?

We all just need to trust in the journey and have as much fun as we can. Even the worst experiences in life can turn into the funniest anecdotes that we can tell many years later.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

surviving death

ghosts in front of a brick wall
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They’re there, pressed against the glass,

The curtain drawn between ourselves

And the other side. We press our palms

In hope of touching those we loved,

A message or a gentle whisper in our ear.

We need that simple word to smooth

Away the thought we could have changed

The way the story came to end,

That somehow we are not to blame.

I’m watching the Netflix show, Surviving Death and I’m finding it fascinating. I think a lot of people have a fascination with death, a need to know that our loved ones who have died are OK, and that we have nothing to worry about when our time comes.

I’ve always been terrified of death and I’ve had some struggles in dealing with it. And I’ve not really lost anyone close to me so I don’t know where the worry comes from. The only thing I can think of that may have kicked it off was when I experienced a few deaths in quite violent circumstances when I was young.

When I was seven, a family friend committed suicide and I remember my mum trying to explain to me that he chose to die. It had never occurred to me that you had the power to choose and it made my blood run cold.

Not long after that a family member was murdered. He was gay and somebody who was very against the gay community followed him home from a club and stabbed him to death.

So I guess that I did learn to fear death that year. I found that life was quite fragile and could be snatched from us easily. And I guess that I worried that it was painful in these circumstances. That could be why I feel drawn to mediumship and the like. I want to know that it’s OK on the other side and that death wasn’t a painful experience. Was it quick? Was it euphoric? How aware were they of those final moments?

I’m so fascinated by it but I’ve never actually visited a medium. I do have my reservations that some of it is a scam, and that God may be angry at me for messing around with the spirit world.

There are so many questions and none of them will ever be definitively answered. But I do believe that if trying to communicate brings some comfort to people who are grieving, surely that can’t be a bad thing?

Much Love

Rachel xx

we watched on screens with bated breath

monochrome photo of resist signage
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We watched on screens with bated breath,

As crowds tore forwards, flocks of birds

With angry wings that beat at doors

Barricaded in the hope that it will stop

A flood of hate, of death, of undecided fight.

We’ve seen it many times before, stopped

Before a TV screen in shopping malls

And office buildings all across the land.

We hold our breath in hope that scenes

Are figments of imagination,

Spooling out like movie reels,

But deep down in our darkest souls

We know the world will crumble at our hands.

We’ve screwed it up, and all for what?

A broken system, cracked and pierced,

Letting evil seep through damaged skin.

Well, that was quite the week, wasn’t it? We’ve come through one whole week of 2021 and it’s been a bit of a shit show. Here in the UK we’ve gone into full lockdown and then I turn on the news this morning and see the events that unfolded in the US.

I remember when I was at college and the planes hit the Twin Towers. I walked past the canteen and about a hundred students were gathered around the TV trying to catch a glimpse of what was happening. I got home and watched for hours, quite literally holding my breath.

Now, it feels like those moments happen too many times for comfort. They may not be as world changing as 9/11 but they do still make us stop in our tracks and wonder if we are watching something that is fictional.

Unfortunately, these things are always real and this week has brought a few of those moments. I am becoming desensitized to it, as I am sure, most people are. Let’s just hope that all of this trouble and change will lead to something good. Let’s hope…..

Much Love

Rachel xx

if i’m not forgotten, i may get lazy

tiger lying on ground
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Fold in half, then fold in half again,

You’ll disappear into the void

Within the day and all that’s left

Is writings, pictures, vacant emails too

As what we were is scattered to the wind

Like long lost stardust left behind.

And, just like that, we’re into the next term. But this time, I’m in a new school AND we are in lockdown. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be and when and people are so busy that they don’t answer emails.

I’m sure that once everyone gets into the swing of what they’re doing, they’ll be a bit more communicative. However, for now, I’m a bit lost and I have that feeling that I’m floating off.

It’s the same feeling you get when you watch a space movie and the main character does a space walk outside of the space station when they lose their grip. That feeling of slipping away and not being able to get back.

Of course, I’ve made that really over dramatic, but I have the feeling that if I stayed really quiet, I could have a couple of days extra holiday and nobody would notice. Which leads me onto my next point: it’s going to be very easy to get lazy at this point.

Sometimes being given the opportunity to get away with murder leads to, well….murder.

Much Love

Rachel xx

who’s feeling the most lost today?

two person riding boat on body of water
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I took a little track, between the trees,

Away from where the road was rolled

And soon it petered out to nothing more

Than some trampled bramble brush.

Exciting first and then it faded soon

And that was when the darkness fell

And ennui became a normal quicker than

I ever thought that it could be.

I’ll find a way back to that road

And then I’ll feel so light I’d fly

Forever and a day…

I’m quite surprised how suddenly I feel a bit lost as we go into another national lockdown. Back in March I was working in retail so the lockdown made no difference to my life, but this time I’m working from home.

It’s actually quite pleasant so I’m not complaining, but I feel like I’ve been knocked off course and it feels a little bit frightening. I was in my row boat, heading towards shore and now an obstacle that I didn’t see coming has knocked me in a different direction. I’m safe, but I’m not going the way that I should be going.

Does anyone else feel like this? It’s so strong I get a physical dizziness. My mind knows that I should be at school and after one day, I’m not. It just goes to show how much I need routine in my life.

I hope that this lockdown isn’t too terrible for anyone else. I think we just need to reach out to people so that we can find some stability while things are a bit shaky. What I have found is that these strange circumstances do bring out some of the nicest parts of human nature. And that has got to be something to rejoice.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on always looking ugly on video calls (a poem)

semi opened laptop computer turned on on table
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The cold white light that burns

From frosty windows filled with clouds,

It pastes the skin in pallid white,

Defining bags that swim beneath the eyes,

And spots that came up overnight

Erupt like small volcano mounts

That cry for makeup scraped on thick.

I wish my hair would fall in curls

That bounce like other girls,

Not straight and straggled with the grease

From a shower missed last night.

The humble call with video too

Will be the death of you…..

and sometimes it’s nicest just to float

leaf floating on body of water
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Floating on a gust of wind that came

From nowhere and from somewhere we expected too

As we held a finger up to trace the way it came.

I tried in vain, to predict that surly wind,

To know what would be coming on

The future weather fronts to change

The course of where we blow tonight.

But sometimes we will need to stop

And let it push and pull as we

Let our bodies sag and sigh;

It can be fun, to let it go,

Control we thought we had to have

All our waking days.

I went back into school today because we were told that the schools will be open this term. We are now waiting for Boris to come on the news and tell us that things might be different as of tomorrow.

We all feel like we have lost control as I couldn’t even tell you what my work will look like in the morning, never mind what it might look like in a week or a month.

But as I sat in my classroom, unsure what to do, I just took a deep breath and decided to just see where we all land. I’m a student and I’m not responsible for what happens so there is no point in worrying. I have no control, so why even worry about hanging on for dear life?

I can still put my all into the work that I’m given and all of the tasks that I am given. But the headteacher is the person who is paid to deal with the big decisions.

And you know what? I actually felt quite happy. All that stress suddenly got turned on its head and that fear about the unknown became excitement about the adventure. There is danger and we are all worried, but I can have some fun and enjoy the variation of teaching online and uploading work.

If I can get through this then my NQT year is going to be a breeze.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we all need a little disney every now and then

Dreams of leaving life behind

And living in a fairy castle

Sometimes occupy this mind

As dreary news rolls in in waves

And all we want is to escape, to let it go

And have that happy ending too.

We went for a little walk through town today and Noah and I both stopped dead in front of the travel agents window. On display they had a poster of smiling people enjoying Universal Florida.

We went there two years ago and did the whole Disney and Universal thing for two weeks. It was the best holiday ever and I would give anything to go again. I think that COVID has taught me that we often need a little Disney in our lives, as cheesy as that sounds.

Right at this moment, I’ll say it loud and proud that I need the Florida sun on my skin, the constant happy music in my ears and colourful characters strolling past at any time. It’s the best anti-depressant that anyone can have.

I remember on our first day of the holiday we wanted to go to Universal and we had to book the shuttle bus at the hotel. We shuffled nervously up to the desk and this super enthusiastic American greeted us. He was huge and had mad curly hair. He was so happy that we both felt a little bit overwhelmed, but it became our normal over the two weeks. That’s what I want right now.

I did just watch Saving Mr Banks on TV and it really reminded me of how grumpy I can become and how much lighter I felt in a completely different world. I have to have everything just so at home, but there I lived out of a hotel room for two weeks and ate Pringles for breakfast. I was a different woman.

I hope that this year we can have that fun put back in our lives. One day I will be back in that park and not just staring at it through a shop window. I hope you will too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

first day back at school nerves

neon signage
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The Head of English was abrupt with me

Made me feel a weight like kettle bells

Clinging to his arm and now

I’m frightened to go in and contribute,

To be myself and do my job.

I’ll slide in on the quiet when the morning comes,

Avoid his icy stare and try to keep my head down low.

It seems an awful waste of time,

But small is what I need to be, folded in

Upon myself, so nobody can see.

I’ve learnt to be small to the point of almost being invisible, because I have been told that I can never be good enough. I’m not perfect so everyone must hate me, is the phrase that echoes round my mind on a daily basis.

And because the Head of English was a little bit short with me on my induction day, I have it in my mind that he hates me. Furthermore, they have already employed the girl who was training there last term, so they gain nothing from having me there. This adds fuel to my little fire as I tell myself that they can’t wait for me to be gone.

It’s now Sunday evening and all of those nerves are kicking in. I’m guessing that everyone gets these wobbles but the stories that I concoct are pretty convincing and well thought out.

The good thing is that I now have the tools to push through it. Before, I would have thought that they were quite literally out to kill me and I’d have gotten myself into a right state.

Even if that guy hates me, I can manage six or seven weeks in his presence. And the chances are that I just caught him on a bad day last time I saw him. I can now rewrite the story to sound a little bit more realistic. It’s a blessing to be able to do that, but I still do feel sick with nerves. I think it’s just one of those things about me that is never going to change.

Much Love

Rachel xx

hello, from the other side of the screen

man arm hands people
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We talk through glass and try

So hard to teach a lesson on

The vagaries of love and hate

And all the in betweens.

Impossible, I think,

But that’s the age we’re in.

Anyone who has been reading along will know that I’m in my training year as an English teacher. The year started in September and so I have only ever experienced teaching in a pandemic world. However, that term has been done in the classroom and it has all felt as normal as it possibly can feel, given the circumstances.

I finished before Christmas feeling really pumped. And then I’ve been watching the news over the break and my heart has been sinking day by day. I want everyone to be safe and well but I’ve felt so sad and nervous knowing that the likelihood is that I’ll be teaching online this term.

The news has been steadily getting worse and worse and it’s now Sunday and I’m not entirely sure what will happen tomorrow. This is terrible for teachers and students and I don’t know what to feel about what I’m walking into.

I have been learning to swim with the current and not try and fight it so that is what I plan to do. I can’t control anything that happens and I just need to show enthusiasm and resilience as we all push forward.

However, as much as I’m telling myself it’s going to be OK and we’ll get the kids through another really turbulent year, I am thinking about how on earth we are supposed to teach online. I teach English and although it’s perfectly OK speaking through a screen, I do think so much will be lost.

English is full of discussion and feeling and I don’t understand how we’re meant to get all of the richness through in our lessons. I like to walk around and write on the board and ask questions and see facial expressions and I feel like I’m going to miss all of that and that makes me sad.

I guess it’s a learning curve for everyone and if I can get through this in my training year then it’ll all feel very easy as I get further into my career. This still doesn’t make me feel any less upset about the things we’ll all be losing out on this term.

Much Love

Rachel xx