enough with the labels

no labels written on a piece of paper
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We’re always seeking a name, a label,

An identity to wrap around our shoulders

And swirl in front of pining crowds.

We think they care, we think that label

Made them love us for our flaws,

But really it just made them roll their eyes

And whisper quietly behind our backs.

I’ll never understand the need

To scrabble for that label that

Sets us out into the cold,

A bleak and lonely place to be.

I was talking with Noah in the car today and our conversation turned towards labels. It was a chat that really made me think about the way we all seem to want a label, as though we don’t have an identity if we can’t fit under some umbrella that was invented by God knows who.

Whether it be a mental illness that people really want to be diagnosed with or a sexual orientation or preference. I am all for people having these labels but it’s the fact that these people get so angry when they feel their “group” is being attacked.

I know that I’m using a very big brush to tarnish a lot of people here, but it’s the anger that bothers me. I think it’s so important that people who have a mental illness get the help that they need and that people who who fall into any other group that is in the minority get that protection, advice and care that they deserve. But why are we getting so mad at each other?

It’s as though these people want to be part of a minority group so that they can fight on the internet, and that makes me really sad.

Noah started the conversation by asking me if I had ever felt any romantic love towards another woman and I said that I had. I’m straight but I believe that we are all on a bit of a spectrum.

And then Noah said, surely we should stop referring to each other as gay or straight and just say that we are in love with a human. I liked that so much because it breaks down all of those walls we like to build up.

So, if I can ask you to do anything today, it would be to do as Noah said and fall in love with a human. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman. It doesn’t matter if you fall in love with a man or a woman. Let’s just get rid of the labels. Please.

Much Love

Rachel xx

#metoo

brown wooden cubes
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There’s nothing more powerful

Than knowing you’re in it together.

That you’ve both experienced the same,

Walking a path that others have feared,

To come out at the end of it all,

Quiet and shaken, but whole.

You think you’re alone when someone reaches out

And calls in your ear, “me too.”

I think that the whole #metoo movement was so powerful because it brought something that was never talked about into the open. Women that had suffered at the hands of powerful men, came out of the darkness and finally stood together.

And there is nothing more invigorating than finding that other people have been through something that you have; something that was difficult and that you have kept under wraps.

Sometimes it’s really isolating to go through something difficult. You can think that you are the only person to have gone through it, and shame keeps you from sharing your experience with anyone else.

For me, the alcoholic years of my life were the most difficult and I genuinely did think that I was alone. So when I stepped into meetings where there were other people like me, the feeling was amazing. I wasn’t alone, at last.

The other day I was at work and one of my colleagues opened up to me that she was a recovering alcoholic. I’m new to the school and I don’t want to go shouting about all of my problems so I would never have dreamed of saying anything under normal circumstances.

But, hearing her say that she had the same problem as me struck a chord and I ended up almost shouting “me too”. And it felt like something bound us together in that one moment.

I really think that those two words are more powerful than “I love you”. Coming out of the dark and realizing that somebody else is there with you is just the weirdest feeling…..and the nicest.

I hope that you have a fabulous week and that you get to say “me too” at some point.

Much Love

Rachel xx

are you f**king serious?!

dry rose flower next to broken heart shaped cookie
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Hate hurts, it burns,

And you take me for a chump.

It’s the way you must think of me

That stings the most.

You insult my intelligence

After a life (I thought) of love.

So much for that,

It was all for show

But I won’t take this lying down.

I am furious at the moment. My mother has crossed a line that I can’t really forgive her for. I know that things are raw, but sometimes, in the moment, it’s hard to see past the injustice and the bad behaviour and the utter idiocy.

I’ve written about it many times before, but my parents are going through a divorce and my mother has completely turned on me. Now she is making absolutely ludicrous demands in the divorce process and I’m so worried about my dad losing everything.

There is a whole back story and I don’t want to air my dirty laundry online, but I do want to write about the feelings that I’m having. The intensity of them. The confusion I feel at this happening.

I have always known that divorces are painful to go through and it’s horrible to see my parents go through this at this point in their lives. But I feel like I want to scream. And I’m surprised at the brazen cheek of some solicitors. Some of the suggestions they make, in favour of their clients, are so ridiculous I don’t know how they have the nerve to send out the letters.

This whole thing has made me question love. It’s made me question my faith. It’s made me question my entire existence because my mum has basically said she wants nothing to do with me. Am I so hateful? Really?

I’ve learnt to work through this kind of thing, but it still hurts and all of those difficult questions are rattling around my brain.

If you are going through a break up then I totally understand what you are feeling. I’m sending you my love and I hope that you can hang on to your strength and your dignity and the things that rightfully belong to you.

Much Love

Rachel xx

birthday reflections

vacation winter ball balloon
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Another year

Another checkpoint cleared

Another chance to peer into the past

And question where it all went right

And wrong

And all the parts of chapter 36

Can then be bound into the book

That makes my life a story worth

The time to read in peaceful lulls.

It was my birthday yesterday and I had a lovely day. I was at work for most of the day but I managed to get out to Nandos with my dad and Noah.

Bizarrely, neither of them had had a Nandos before. I’m not quite sure how they could have got through life without experiencing a lemon and herb chicken?

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I actually quite like birthdays. The idea of getting a year older is really pleasing to me. I have successfully navigated another 365 days and I think that is a beautiful thing.

I love to look back on all of the memories and all of the good and bad things that have shaped my year. We are often forced to only think of the bad things (watching the news does nothing to help this).

But despite the fact that we’ve all had to change our lives this year, I’ve actually done really well for myself. I’ve got onto my teacher training course and I’m working towards getting a job that I never thought possible a few years ago.

Life definitely has its crappy bits but I have so many good things going on and I can’t let go of that. And birthdays are the perfect time to really celebrate that.

I’m now beginning chapter 37 of my story and I think it’s shaping up to be quite the story. I’d definitely buy a copy if Waterstones decided to stock it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

when your brain is a little bit guffed

alphabet close up communication conceptual
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Tired, so bloody tired

That my words a nonsensical

So I just stay quiet.

Better to say nothing

Than have them think bad

And misunderstand

The wordy soup

That clogs up my throat.

I’m on a bit of a roller coaster this academic year and everyone warned me that it would happen. I’m happy but exhausted and a little bit stressed. And that is a toxic combination at times.

I’ve found that I’m getting much better at calming myself when I’m stressed but the tiredness then takes over and I find myself turning into a selective mute.

I don’t know if anyone else suffers with this but when I get this tired I can’t find the words for any situation. I feel really stupid and I can’t come up with any ideas that are interesting or clever.

I feel like all eyes are on me and everyone is waiting for me to say something but my tongue is tied and my throat is clogged. I just wish that I could get my brain firing like it should.

I’m OK though, and I need to keep telling myself that I’m doing so well. It’s OK to be quiet every now and then. I just need to go to sleep and start all over again tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk like a normal human by then (apparently it’s kind of important for a teacher to know how to use her words).

Much Love

Rachel xx

the reasons one might love GBBO

cupcake with sparkler
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  1. Paul Hollywood’s eyes, so blue I feel like I could swim in them (that’s cheesy, I know, but we’re all thinking it)
  2. Those flavours that I could never dream myself. The gingerbreads and elderflowers tease my tastebuds and haunt my nose with scents so rich
  3. Watching things go wrong. I can’t deny that cakes collapsing in, are always fun to watch
  4. The kooky contestants that wear the strangest clothes or have a dodgy past. The man who always wears a bow tie beside the woman who strips on Friday night. Priceless
  5. Noel. So perfectly weird
  6. The office sweepstakes that has to be played each year. Will I go out in the biscuit round? Or am I doomed to have to feed my colleagues some weird vegan creation, made with avocado and Earl Grey tea?
  7. Those ovens with the doors that swoosh away. I want one. Please
  8. All that bunting
  9. The crying and hugging when someone has to leave. It warms my heart and makes me want to take part. Just so I can be a part of their lovely cakey family
  10. How angry everyone gets on social media. Why did that contestant have to leave? Why was she crowned the winner? What on earth was that monstrosity that Noel was wearing? There’s just so much that one can get aggy about.

I hope you’re enjoying it responsibly…..

students need to read the bloody question

black and white books education facts
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The words can swim before your eyes

In a sea of letter soup.

But focus, please

And read those bloody words.

I hope you won’t look back

And wish you’d taken precious time

To write about the things they asked

And not the things you think you want to read.

The students in our school are sitting mini assessments this week so that teachers can see where they are doing well and where they need to brush up.

Today I sat in an English one and I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

The teacher got the students to read the extract and not write anything. She gave them a whole ten minutes to just sit and read and digest the piece and consider how they might answer the question at the bottom of the page.

She then gave them 20 minutes to write their answer.

At the end of the assessment, one student agreed to have their work put up on the screen so that the rest of the class could see what they had written.

Admittedly, it was really brave of the student to offer up their work and I applaud him for that.

But…..

After ten minutes of focusing on reading the question, he had evidently not read the question.

For me, it was infuriating to see that he would have lost half of his marks because he didn’t read it properly. I wanted to pull my hair out, given that they had been told to READ IT CAREFULLY.

Apparently, it happens regularly. The teacher told me that the vast majority of them will have written about the wrong thing.

It just got me thinking about how many times people lose out or fall out or get angry or sad for no reason at all. People always read want they want to read and they need to just slow down.

If I can give you one bit of advice today, it would be to slow down. Make sure you understand before you react. You might not be losing marks in an exam, but you might lose people or opportunities.

So just slow the fuck down!!!!

Much Love

Rachel xx

a touch of misophonia

thermometer on blanket
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Those noises!

They scratch inside my skull

Like claws of rats that never cease

To bring me pain and seething hate.

It’s never who I want to be,

But noises make a monster out of me.

I have the worst reaction to noises like chewing and sniffing and it’s plagued me since I was really young. I’m sure that many people have heard of misophonia and may struggle with it too, but I struggle to the point where it can be debilitating.

Today, I was stuck in a lecture with a girl who continued to suck her snot back up into her nose every 5-10 seconds and it almost killed me. And I hate it because it brings out so much hate in me and that’s not who I am.

I really wanted to give this girl a punch and it was getting so bad at the end that I thought I was going to have a panic attack. My vision was going a bit blurred and I could feel my heart rate going up. I couldn’t concentrate on the lesson and I felt like I wanted to scrape my fingernails through my skin.

I’ve always hated my reaction to noises like this and I often wonder what it was that caused it. I think it’s the unpredictability of the noises; I never know when the next sniff is coming and the anger I feel is a defense mechanism.

Who knows though?

Does anyone else have this reaction? For me, it is a big reason why I have chosen not to date anyone for so many years. I couldn’t stand to watch them eat or sit with them when they have a cold.

I’ve asked doctors for help and they’ve just told me to practice mindfulness. It’s going to plague me until my dying day and I just wish there was something I could do.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s the end of the world!!!!

The asteroid is coming

And praying will not help.

No God or president or band of doctors

With their PhD’s

Will stop that thing that’s on its way.

It’s best to make your peace

And stare into the light.

I have a serious love of ‘end of the world’ movies. Anything like Deep Impact, Armageddon or The Day After Tomorrow will almost certainly be right up my street.

And I thought that I’d seen it done to death and there would never be one with an interesting spin.

That was until I saw Searching For A Friend For The End Of The World, and I knew that I had stumbled upon a new favourite. It doesn’t seem to be that popular but I instantly fell in love.

I thought it would be a movie that was similar to Armageddon, but instead it focused on the build up to the asteroid coming and this unusual friendship that formed between the main characters.

It was so heartwarming and it made me think about all the things that I cherish in life. Rather than showing humans saving the world, the movie showed just how little we can do. God will decide when it’s time and we should just make sure we have done our best until then.

I know it’s kind of a defeatist attitude, but it’s sometimes better to be honest with ourselves. Nobody can drill into an asteroid and break it into a million pieces. But we can all fall in love.

Much Love

Rachel xx

freedom is bloody scary

brass wrought container
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I’ve dreamt of spreading wings out wide

And taking flight far from my cage

But once I’m in the crisp, light air

I’m not quite sure what holds me up

And fear can make me draw back in

And plummet long before the helpful hand

Of kindly friends can reach out to

Prevent my fragile bones from crushing

As once again I failed to ask

For life support, I didn’t even warn

That there were problems, ah the freedom

Seemed so nice for just a moment then.

I’m starting to get a bit of freedom with classes as I enter my fourth week of training. It’s not loads of freedom but I am being left to design my own starter activity and the deliver it.

This is so exciting and I’m really looking forward to giving this a good go. However, freedom can also be a really scary idea and historically I don’t do very well with that fear.

I have a tendency to try my best to run with it but inside I’m cracking up. I don’t let anyone know and I’m really good at pretending to be fine. So when the inevitable fall comes nobody around me is expecting it. They are always totally taken by surprise when I just drop out or get sign ed off sick.

But this time I’m going to do things differently. I’m with a really supportive team so I’ll have a cry in the office if things go bad. I’m not drinking. I’m not being told that I’m going to fail by my well meaning mother. There are so many things stacked in my favour.

Things will go wrong at points this year and I know that the temptation to just go and get signed off or quit will be really overwhelming at times. But I may just be in a good enough place to embrace the freedom and also take my time with it.

Take your time this weekend. Breathe in and out and remember that people are there to hold your hand when your own wings are failing you.

Much Love

Rachel xx