young and in love

do you remember the days

when loving each other

was simply a case

of riding our bikes, side by side,

and timidly kissing

under the willow tree

down by the lake

where we fished

and at night we skinny dipped?

i'd like a large box of happiness, please

Can I have the largest size? I said,

Pointing to the boxes on the shelves.

I was often glad that I could buy my happiness

In the form of tablets,

Purchased from the chemist.

But the woman raised her eyebrows,

As though anyone asking for a large

Deserved her judgement heaped on thick.

Read the information leaflet carefully,

She said, handing over a box.

Only eight to be taken,

In any twenty four hour period.

An overdose on happiness is quite a dangerous thing.

And no more than three days,

She added rather sternly.

Otherwise you could become dependent.

I nodded as I paid, pocketing the pills.

The woman knew me well,

She knew I was addicted

And yet she still allowed the sale.

The shame I felt was great, reddening my face.

To struggle to get through a day

Without a bump of chemical

Was almost more than I could bear.

But still I bought and still I swallowed

In the hope that one day I

Would live a life where joy

Was something that I didn’t need to buy.

If you have ever suffered with any form of addiction I think you will be able to identify with the shame that is felt when you have to go into the shop and buy that thing that you are dependent on. I remember going to a different shop each time I had to buy, in the hope that the shop assistants wouldn’t recognise me. My worst fear was that they would eventually start to refuse selling to me.

The shame becomes so great that you are sure they are looking at you in disgust. You are sure that any health warnings they are giving you are a dig rather than just being something they have to say as part of their job. You become paranoid.

It is horrible, but as I was writing this, I realised that everybody has these addictions that make us feel better even though we wish they didn’t. For some it might be something as simple as a love of expensive makeup. It may feel harmless, but wouldn’t it be nice to live a life where happiness came from within and didn’t need to be bought?

If you are struggling with addiction, please do reach out for help. It can be deadly and there is so much support out there. And if you are just struggling to find some happiness in life, don’t think that buying something is going to fix it. You need to start loving yourself because no amount of makeup or clothes or cars or furniture will fill the hole that is causing you so much pain.

Take care of yourselves.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the day the world went a little bit mental

It seemed like such a normal day

When my eyes adjusted to the light.

I guess it seemed quite normal for a while.

I got dressed and brushed my teeth,

I went my normal way to work.

People spoke in a tongue I understood

And gravity was working in the way it should.

So why were people acting weird

And sending cards and flowers

And pretty chocolate boxes

To the people they seem to hate so much

On every other day?

Valentines Day drives me crazy. I think a lot of it is down to the fact that I am jealous because I’m single and have been forever. But we’ll put that to one side for a moment and look at the bizarre way that some people behave on this day.

I know of a lot of couples who argue like cats and dogs ALL OF THE TIME and yet on this day they are all over Facebook proclaiming their undying love for one another through the medium of soppy posts and pictures. And then there is also the amount of money that they spend on each other when they buy all the gifts and meals out and all the other crap that can go with this day.

It. Is. Crazy.

Yes, I am bitter and jealous, but I sometimes think that the world is a little bit bonkers on February 14th. If you are also feeling bit lonely and sad and pulling your hair out over all of those terrible posts you’re seeing, then I’m with you. And on that note, I’m off out to buy an M&S Love Sausage and cry into a bottle of non-alcoholic wine.

Peace Out

Rachel xx

we need a brake

He texted me during my lunch hour

And I opened the message to devour it whole.

I think we need a brake, is what it said.

I laughed with girlfriends over cocktails,

What an utter dick I spat, eyeing the text again,

He couldn’t even spell; it never would have worked.

Friends helped that night, to get me into bed,

My brain too drenched in something called a woo woo

To function like a normal human should.

Don’t even think about calling him, they warned

As they pulled the door and tiptoed out

Casting worried glances to and fro.

I tried to close my eyes and sleep,

But the bridal magazines called out

From underneath my bed.

Just one more look, it won’t do any harm.

A tear rolled down my cheek as the realisation hit.

Perhaps I had been far too hasty,

Perhaps that little shit was right.

Perhaps a slamming on of brakes was what the doctor ordered.

A break, a brake, it’s all the same.

In the end it all just means

That everything must stop.

I sometimes think that because I can spell and because I was book smart when I was at school, that I am a little bit above everyone else. And then something happens that makes me realise that I have no emotional intelligence whatsoever. And what good is being able to spell, when you can’t navigate the complexities of the relationships around us?

I always used to laugh at people when they tried to do something like break up with my by text but not be able to spell what they were saying. But maybe the joke was on me? Maybe life would have been a bit easier if I’d have just slowed down a bit, applied the brakes in some areas. Maybe if I wasn’t out buying bridal magazines after two months of dating then my relationships would have lasted a little longer (I never actually did that, but it illustrates my point exactly).

If you sometimes find yourself getting a bit too big for your boots then maybe you should think about taking a ‘brake’ so that you can slow down and think why people are slowly backing away from you. Emotional intelligence is a tricky thing to build but once you start to work at it you will find that you are much more sympathetic towards people, relationships improve and you’ll not need so many cocktails to dampen down that anger that always seems to be bubbling away.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

sometimes i'm desperate for a vodka

I’m rattling like an empty pill bottle,

Just one tablet shaken up and down.

It clanks around inside this cage of bones,

No soft and squidgy organs there

To dampen down the noise.

I’m a drunk and what I really need is something chemical

In order to feel good.

I’m pacing round and round a room,

That’s brightly lit and bare.

Fingernails will scrape at walls to keep me sane,

To keep me sober, like a ‘normal’ person.

I wish, I wish I was a normal person

So that I could end this awful noise

That never seems to leave.

meet my alter ego, betty

The door reverberated in its frame,

As Prosecco bubbles dribbled down

Like a washed up, washed out sky full of stars.

My anger had been so immense,

To throw, to slam, to punch all came naturally.

The thing that scares me most is that

The anger was so undeserved.

I couldn’t even tell you what he did.

But somewhere deep inside my brain

A switch was flicked and Betty came alive.

She’s the alter ego that I always try to hide,

(Not always as successfully as one would hope, may I add).

I’m told that Betty didn’t see our childhood quite the way I did,

She clung to fights and threats of suicide,

Like a person clawing at the edges of their burning building,

Unwilling to let possessions perish in the flames.

These threats are not the things that kids should see or hear (or so the therapist says).

She rears her head every time those words appear,

She doesn’t care a jot about intent,

And she never bothers with the context.

She stomps around in a hissy fit

Until they all apologise for what they’ve done to her.

It’s Betty against the world

And God help anyone who stands in her way.

I’m learning to soothe her, though.

I used to buy her loads of shit

In the hope that that would make the tantrums go away.

But love and patience were really want she wants.

She’ll never go away for good,

Popping out at random times,

But now I have control.

It’s fine to throw a glass or plate every now and then,

We’re human and anger’s always on the stove,

Always ready to bubble over and cause a scene.

But don’t you ever let that Betty girl

Take you peace away.

I’ve been feeling some unwanted anger recently. It’s been about several different things and none of it is really any of my business so I shouldn’t allow myself to get angry about it.

But I’m human and so it’s in my nature to get angry about stuff that doesn’t concern me. Through therapy and reading a lot of books, I’ve come to realise that a lot of these unwanted and negative emotions are hard to control because they are wired into us from a young age and they are working at a subconscious level.

I know that my Betty is a part of me that suffered some trauma as a little person and every time something stokes that fire she will appear. Since giving up drinking I haven’t been able to ease the pain that she brings with her but I have been able to control my behaviour so that I don’t lash out. I hope that with more time and patience I will be able to lessen the pain too.

If you are struggling with anger issues then I feel your pain. It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings and it’s right up there with jealousy and grief. Just remember that every time you feel that twinge in your heart that you recognise as anger, it’s not because you are really angry. That twinge is a sign that you are hurting and you have just learnt that lashing out can make it feel a bit more comfortable. I pray that you find a healthy outlet and that you can begin to unpick your past and see why your Betty gets let out when you don’t want her there.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

gardening for lovers

She pressed her palm to the window

And watched him potter in the garden.

Something moved inside her chest;

A jolt of pain, she thought.

What she did know was that it was caused by him.

She watched intently as he potted plants and cut the grass.

It looked like quite the idyllic Sunday afternoon,

With golden rays of shimmery light

Bathing every plant and every tree in warmth.

It should be framed inside a watercolour painting,

For everyone to see and to enjoy.

But underneath that technicolor surface,

The tranquil peace is far from being still.

A pebble has been thrown with force

And now the chaos ripples out with devastating ease.

She turns away in pain and love, a complicated mix,

And tells herself that nothing’s ever perfect.

Marriage never can be smooth, once the doors are closed.

It’s messy and it’s nothing but a tricky balancing act.

She’s sure he’s seething as he slices through the lawn,

She’ll give them time to both cool off,

And when the stillness is restored,

They can try this all again.

I was watching a programme today and one of the characters asked “Are all families like this?” and the other nodded sadly. I think that realisation can be both a heavy one to bear and quite liberating at the same time.

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that nothing is ever going to be perfect. When we are kids we have this fantasies about marrying the love of our lives and living happily ever after in our beautiful houses and never arguing or losing a job or getting divorced.

And then we become an adult and realise that none of that is true. I drank a lot to suppress this because I still wanted to live in my fantasy world. Getting sober has meant that I have had to face these disappointments head on and it’s been hard.

I guess that what I wanted to say in this poem is that relationships and whole lives can look perfect on the outside, but normally there are little disturbances always rumbling away underneath, away from sight.

But don’t give up just because something has gone wrong. You can have an argument or a mishap at work and come back from it. This was something that I didn’t understand when I was drinking. I thought that I just had to throw the towel in as soon as something went wrong.

I hope that if you are going through a tough time with something, that you find the strength to fight through it and save the situation. Never make yourself miserable, but remember that some things are worth saving and pain does fade.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the improper relationship

Stolen kisses in cluttered little cupboards,

While backs are pressed against shelves heaving

With staplers, sharpeners and broken coloured pencils.

If mum and dad could see her now

They’d shake their heads and wonder where it was

That things went wrong for their darling daughter.

So much promise shimmered through in her early years

And now she played with fire in the lunch break hour.

Of course, one cannot really blame the girl,

It’s pretty much a tale as old as time.

She’s rather young with hormones running riot,

All short skirts and makeup layered thick,

And he’s a male; warm blood, a pulse and wandering eyes.

At first it was a sideways glance, a touching cheek,

And then it was a meeting of the minds, behind closed doors.

She had never felt that way before,

He had, but now his wife was absent and unloving.

He never thought that he would be

That cliche he detested, that dirty older man.

But when it started to unfold, and sparks began to fly,

He saw a different man staring back at him,

A younger, lighter version of who he’d grown to be.

He wore a scent she said she liked and ditched the tweed

That all the teachers of a certain age

Had adopted as their uniform.

He found himself on frosty nights, feeling hot,

Heart rate rising as he marked and thought of her,

Wondering if she thought of him as well.

He sighed with lust and loneliness and told her to be quiet

If she didn’t want for him to lose his job.

But he knew just as well as she

That girlish whispers would be heard

While PE socks and polo shirts were folded into bags.

It added to the thrill, he guessed,

What other explanation could there be?

If only life was simple like

He’d expected, planned for on his wedding day.

And here he was, learning on the job,

That love or lust and anything in between

Is far from tidy, neat and clean.

He pushes back her hair behind her ear

And hopes that this won’t end in tears.

I’m considering doing my teacher training which is really exciting as I’ve never had a job that I could consider to be a ‘career’. Today, I went to a presentation by our local schools alliance and got all the information I needed to move forward. All I really need to do now is get a bit of work experience and then apply!

Anyway, while I was there, they were very keen to point out that the applications can’t progress until references and safeguarding checks are completed. This is an obvious as we all want to know that we are sending our children to a safe place each day. However, it got me thinking about what happens when somebody does slip through the cracks and how does a situations like this escalate.

I’m assuming that nobody ever expects to find themselves in a student teacher relationship, but when sparks start to fly I can imagine that it can sometimes be easy to let barriers down and find yourself in a tricky situation.

I just wanted to tackle this subject because forbidden love is just one of the best to tackle and it’s interesting to think about what goes through the head of the person who is in the place of power. I obviously don’t condone this behaviour but I do always find it interesting when good people do bad things because I always wonder what the story is behind it all and what is their driving force.

Anyhoo, I just wanted to share my exciting news and to assure you all that I’ll only be doing any kissing in the stationery cupboard if there is a hot maths teachers in my placement school 😉

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Hit Me Baby One More Time

I must confess, that my loneliness

Was the reason that I

Didn’t do what I should.

I was pining for love,

No matter the cost.

The fist that came flying

And chipped at the bone,

The vase that came soaring,

Splinters so sharp and so bright

Raining down fiercely

Upon my hunched shoulders.

They all made me cower,

But still I demanded that baby I want you

To hit me one more time.

There comes a point, though,

When enough is enough.

No more of that now,

I’m stronger than that.

No more glass fragments adorning my hair,

Just diamonds and flowers

And a safe place to land

While I heal my clipped wings

And a heart that’s been hurt.

I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship but I feel so strongly about giving women a safe place to go when they find themselves in these really dangerous situations.

Domestic violence is not acceptable and I hate it when I watch the news and see that a woman has been killed by her partner. What makes me particularly angry is the fact that in many of these cases the police have been called by the victim before. We need to start taking this a bit more seriously.

Of course, there are times when it’s not the woman that is getting hurt and I would like to acknowledge the fact that men can be the victim of domestic abuse too. Sometimes it can be worse in this situation because men feel embarrassed about speaking out. This is something else that really needs to be addressed in this day and age.

If you are in this horrible situation, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out before something tragic happens. There are charities that can help you and safe places to go. I know that escaping an abusive partner is terrifying but it’s a step that you need and deserve to take.

Much Love

Rachel xx

child psychology

So when exactly was it that

My brain did crystallise

Into what it is today?

That moment when it set into

It’s asymmetric form,

Both ugly and misshapen,

While also strangely beautiful.

A pretty little snowflake of sorts,

But maybe not as delicate,

So perhaps a bit more like a sculpture

Chiselled from the ice.

Did it freeze when I was just a baby

When my mum ignored my strangled cries?

Or was it at the age of eight

When the bullies clawed their way within?

Or was it when I turned sixteen

And thought that smoking weed was cool,

In some park on warm and humid summer nights?

It could have been at any time,

But now I fear that there’s no room for any change.

I could take a blow torch to that complicated structure,

And still it wouldn’t melt.

I am me,

A long and varied, twisting, turning story,

And quite the epic journey.

Since I started going to therapy I have been fascinated by how the brain works and why we behave in the way that we do. I haven’t studied psychology but I’ve had several in depth conversations with a friend who is doing her masters and what I have learnt is mind blowing.

Of course, it is all a bit of an uncertain science, but it is thought that a lot of our personality traits could be set within the first eighteen months of our lives. So, if you have had something traumatic happen in that early stage of your life, it could affect the rest of your life, even though you have no recollection of it.

I always thought that I had a really great childhood but as I worked with my therapist, I found that there was quite a lot of early trauma. Although, it was later on in my childhood, it probably still had a huge impact on how I behave now.

This is great because it means that I know where my ‘bad’ behaviours come from and so I can work on stopping them before they happen. I’ll still act on impulse, but this knowledge gives me a bit of a buffer zone.

If you have had a hard childhood then I think you are amazing if you have managed to come through it and live a happy and productive life. We all get a little bit screwed up by our parents because nobody is perfect, so remember that you are not alone. We are all battling with that little child inside our head who just wants to feel loved and safe.

Much Love,

Rachel xx