so, wait….. you want us to do what?

Lost in dark and airy rooms

With little sense of up or down.

Sickness grips our heaving guts

As those without a set of sea legs

Struggle to stand up,

To walk without support

And carry on for long enough.

The madness will set in

And soon you will forget

Who you even were.

Without any clear instructions we can feel a little bit like we are wandering around in circles, and eventually it can feel a bit disorientating. So it’s no wonder that many of us are feeling a bit out of sorts given the information we are getting from the people who are supposed to be leading the country.

I would love to know if anyone has actually sat and read the 50 page document that was released today. It was supposed to clarify the ten minutes of waffle that we heard from Boris last night, but I’m pretty sure that it did nothing of the sort.

I have the horrible feeling that we are going to experience a second wave of the virus because of all of this, but there is also the worry about what it is doing for the mental health of the nation. We really need some clarity before we start to go absolutely bonkers.

I hope that you are all staying safe and staying calm in amongst all of the confusion. I think that questions will be asked at the end of this and hopefully lessons will be learned.

I feel utterly let down by our government and I pray that they start to make better choices for the sake of everyone working on the frontline.

Much Love

Rachel xx

I guess it’s ok to look back, if it makes you happy….

Old episodes of Friends

That turn and turn

On repeat so endlessly,

Or nineties songs

That take me back to teenage years.

I slip into that time so quick

And with such ease,

Comfort like a bubble bath

Or shoes I’ve worn for months on end.

Familiar is the place we long to be

But sometimes dipping toes in fear

Can offer magic never known

While wrapped in duvets

Full of previewed down.

I’ve spent the afternoon, quite accidentally, watching movies from about twenty years ago and it has felt perfect. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, and then I stumbled across a tweet while I was scrolling during an ad break.

The tweet said something along the lines of: those of us with anxiety love to watch movies time and time again because there is something comforting in the fact that we know what will happen. There is no uncertainty so we can just enjoy the film for what it is.

I think that this is so true. But I also think that the time I felt the safest was during my late teens and so I like to be taken back to that time whenever I am feeling rattled or anxious. Hence the reason you will normally find me listening to old Britney or Backstreet Boys when I’m feeling sad.

Remember that it’s great to experience new things and we need to do that in order to move forward and grow. But it’s also fine to go back and revisit the good times. That’s precisely the reason we make good memories; so that we can look back on them fondly.

And on that note, I’ve already watched Practical Magic and now I’m going back to watch the end of Along Came Polly!

Much Love

Rachel xx

we will meet again

It’s sometimes hard to think about

The way it could have been,

The way it should have been

If things had gone to plan.

It hurts to think of all the love

That could have leapt between us all

Like lightning bolts dancing in the night.

It’s sometimes best to store away

The hopes of streets all lined

With people, side by side.

Better to just hide them in

A pretty box all tied in bows

And hope that one day very soon

We can take them out and then

One day we will meet again.

It’s VE Day today and we should be all having street parties and celebrating peace and the fact that we have never had to live through the horrors of a World War.

However, because of this virus, we are all still inside and just watching the TV. It was the strangest thing to watch the Red Arrows doing their fly by over London when there was nobody out to cheer them over. Normally, the red arrows are greeted by thousands of people that crowd The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace; and today it was eerily empty.

This situation has given the Vera Lynn song new meaning because we are all waiting for the day that we’ll meet again, even though this song was written about what people were going through during wartime.

I think that sometimes it’s best to not think about all the things we are missing out on on gloriously sunny days like today. I think that we need to put it all away, live in the moment that we have, and really appreciate the things like street parties when we get them back. What a gift they will be.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

keep going even though it hurts

I kept my hat on as I slid into the musty library,

All dust and mahogany, not decorated in years.

I knew the place to go because he’d left me clues

So intricate in their design, a treasure hunt, of sorts.

All across the city, and this, the final clue.

He’d left the notes zipped in boxes once belonging

To biscuits that we had bought for anniversaries.

When he died, I thought that life would never regain colour,

Always drenched in black and white.

And then his handsome smile emerged again.

I followed words he’d written me, before that illness stole

His perfect soul away from me.

The library on the Old Kent Road was where we met

And so it’s fitting that he led me there,

Through the dusty shelves, running fingers over spines,

Remembering my hand in his the day before he died.

Wiping tears away, I pulled the book and flipped to ninety two,

The year we married, a special day that never fades.

The letter floated to the ground, landing at my feet

And when I picked it up and read, the tears fell faster

Than they ever had. Why?

Why would God have taken him from me?

I crumpled to the ground and took the poison from my bag.

Between my painful sobs, I sipped.

With my back back pressed firm against the shelves

I took the poison, slipping from this world in time.

I saw him reaching out to me, his hand was urging,

“Come, come with me.”

I gladly went with him and now I know

That life alone was worse than death,

The crushing grief too much to bear.

I’m sure that others know these ghostly fingers

That claw at hearts and minds.

And I respect the savage strength

That you display, day after day.

Keep going, even though it hurts.

judgement day

Your slithering eyes go back and forth,

A sigh escaping from your tired chest.

It’s obvious that what you see displeases you.

The tap of your pen on the table top

And the sound of the clock that can pierce the silence

Of the room that I have come to loathe.

The Reading Room where work is judged

And never favourably, may I add.

I tentatively sent a few poems out to some literary magazines yesterday, something that I have never done before. And mostly because I’m scared.

I do write on here and I have a little Twitter and Instagram account but that’s not really judged. That’s just me pretending to be a writer. This is actually going to be looked at by people who do this as their business and that scares the crap out of me.

But come what may, I do need to start getting more confident in my work and in myself as a person. I worry so much about what people think and I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I was worried that somebody was going to laugh at my efforts.

And what makes it even more sad is the fact that I truly believe that art is subjective. What one person hates, another loves. So why should I care if one editor hates what I do? I sometimes need to listen to my own advice and just take a leap of faith.

If you have something that you’ve been frightened of doing because you’re worried about other people’s judgements, maybe now is the time to take some steps toward doing it anyway.

Much Love

Rachel xx

thrown under the bus

It’s dark under here,

And, of course,

There are wheels that are famous

For going round and around.

I imagine they will hurt

When they run through my body,

Splintering ribs

And pushing out air

With the life that I had,

That I thought that I loved.

Oh, how I long not to get political on my blog! But it’s so hard to keep your mouth shut when you’re fuming. Am I right? So, on that note, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge the phenomenon that is ‘throwing somebody under the bus’.

I’m seeing it happening so much on the news at the moment. And unfortunately it seems to be the scientists and other experts who are falling victim while the politicians strut around like they knew the answer all along.

Yesterday the UK became the worst affected European country in this pandemic and yet our headlines are all about a scientist who visited the woman he is having an affair with. Now, I don’t agree with breaking rules and I have real problems with affairs BUT it seemed like the government were just using this as a way to deflect from the shit show that is taking place on their watch.

But, in saying that, I do think that it’s a very human reaction to stress. The ministers are making life and death decisions and are probably working seven days a week; they are under an enormous amount of pressure. And pressure is what causes these knee jerk reactions.

I’m sure we’ve all had bosses that have appeared to be way out of their depth and then when the shit hits the fan they turn around and put all the blame on you to save their own skin.

So, although my blood is boiling at the moment, I can see why these things are happening. I think these ministers are scared about what is going to happen to them when the dust settles and some serious questions are asked of them. But what they need to remember is that these scientists love their job and value their reputation. Using them as a scapegoat will wreck everything they have worked for.

I think that we’re all learning so much about human nature and our own flaws during this turbulent time. Perhaps, when we come out at the other end we could start to take a bit more responsibility for our own mistakes. It’s a bloody hard thing to do, to swallow your pride, but I think we’ll all earn a little more respect if we do.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the hairdresser

She twisted hair around her brush

And held the dryer high.

Heat that burned my scalp

And my tortured face.

Colour rose up to my cheeks

As she stared back through the mirror,

Knowing truth I’d never told before.

Why do we tell the girl

In the salon, only eighteen years of age

So many secrets that we hold

Tightly in our palms?

The roughness of the brush through knots,

It matches just how tough he was

With me when he left for work today.

I gently touch the purple skin

That bloomed like viscous roses.

Maybe I should not have told

But hairdressers always seem to have that way.

earworms

They seep inside your heavy brain,

Filling spaces, tubular in shape.

Spreading through like silky eels

Until there is complete immersion

In the echo chamber formed.

I want to scoop it out in one

But nothing reaches quite that far.

Now, I do have a reason for writing about earworms today. I like to write about things that I love or that bother me or just anything that’s going on in the news on any given day.

And quite frankly, I’m fed up with the news at the moment. I feel a little bit flat and even writing is a bit of an effort. So I thought that I had to find something fun as the subject of today’s post.

An earworm is a tune or line from a song that you just can’t get out of your mind. It plays over and over on loop until it starts to drive you a little bit crazy. And I have been suffering with a very fitting earworm today.

Today, of course, is National Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you). When my son was younger he loved the Star Wars Lego computer games and the scene in the club always seemed to be on in the background. Whenever anyone now even mentions Star Wars, that tune that plays is all I can hear.

So, I have had to suffer that tune in my mind for a whole day. Hopefully I will be able to put up with it for another couple of hours and then I won’t need to think of it for another 365 days.

I hope that you have all had a wonderful National Star Wars Day and I leave you with a YouTube clip of the song in question so that you can endure this agony too….

Much Love

Rachel xx

portrait of a lady: get creative in lockdown

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love to make art. I don’t think that I’m particularly good at anything but I like my own work and I’m proud of it because I know that there is a certain amount of passion that has been poured into it.

I created this portrait on my tablet and for twenty minutes I was lost in my own little world. And really, that’s all that matters: enjoyment.

So if you’re feeling a bit down just put pen to paper and write or draw or sing or dig out your old flute and make some music. Nobody here is going to judge, so just have a bit of fun.

Much Love

Rachel xx

for when you have unfinished business

Looking happy when I DID finish that 100 mile run!!!

It stares its ugly glare

Back at me in hot

And angry tones.

I wish that I

Could turn away

But guilt,

It keeps me there

Until it’s all zipped up.

I hate leaving things unfinished. But life is not perfect and there are some things that I either cannot finish or choose not to finish. And so these projects eat me up with guilt.

Today I finished reading a book that I absolutely hated from start to finish. I found the writing horrible and the story line too cheesy. But the guilt over not finishing it was so strong that I ploughed on anyway.

It just got me thinking how much time I must waste doing things that I don’t even like because I’ve started them and then felt bad about the idea of leaving them incomplete.

If I could make a change to my personality, I would be more carefree and care less about what the world thinks of me. If I’m really hating something I should allow myself to throw in the towel. Life is really short and it seems a waste to spend it on things I don’t enjoy.

That said, this same quality/ flaw (however you want to see it) has meant that I have stuck things out that have made me incredibly proud. I’ve swum the English Channel and run 100 mile ultra marathons. I can safely say that I did not enjoy the second half of those but I persevered. And I’m so glad that I did because those achievements are now with me forever.

I’d be really interested to know how others feel about giving up on projects. Does it eat you up with guilt or are you quite happy to put a book down after five chapters? I say that you need to balance things up which is sometimes really hard. How much do you want to get to the end and is it really worth it? Sometimes it’s a yes and sometimes it’s a no.

Much Love

Rachel xx