the nice guy at the till

food people laptop internet
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

I go there for my lunch each day, trudging in

With all the other tired and worn out office men,

Just looking for a sandwich and a coke to satiate

That hole that’s burnt right through our soul

With the drudgery of each and every day.

But then I cannot help but feel a flicker

Of unadulterated joy, when I reach the queue

And hear his laugh, his cheesy jokes

That brighten up our days. His job is far

From perfect, far worse paid than mine,

And yet he always seems to shine on us

With rays of warmth and yellow light,

Brightening our days, if only for a minute then

Fading to another boring afternoon.

But when my days are feeling like they’ll never end,

I bring to mind the happy guy who shows us how it’s done.

I’m always so impressed with the way that some people can remain incredibly happy (particularly when they are at work). There are some people who can’t even drive to work without becoming aggressive and honking and giving people the middle finger – so hats off to the checkout worker who has a genuine smile on their face all the way until the end of their shift.

I always tried my best to remain upbeat when I worked at the petrol station, but you do meet some nasty people when you work with the public and it makes it incredibly hard to remain friendly.

Yesterday, I got my second dose of vaccine and I have to say that the volunteers there are the happiest people in Britain. On my first visit the guy at the exit who was responsible for giving us our sticker as was left, totally made my day.

Yesterday it was the lady who booked me in. I was wearing my Orlando Florida T-shirt and she ended up having a whole conversation with me about how much she loves Disney and how she has been there five times.

And remember, these people are not being paid! And the people at your local supermarket are on minimum wage. So, if they can be nice, then you can be too. Stop getting all aggressive in the car and learn to smile a little more. You might just make someone’s day.

Much Love

Rachel xx

oooooh, this is like a disaster movie

Violins, strike a fearful chord

As lights are dimmed and we all feel

Like we are trapped in chambers beating

With the flood of chemicals.

There really isn’t any need

But drama is inevitable.

OMG, I saw the ‘trailer’ for the Meghan and Harry interview and almost died today. I will most definitely be watching when it is aired in the UK but mostly because I don’t know what to expect.

I love the royals and I also love Meghan and I sometimes feel like the media wants us to like one or the other. In my humble opinion, I think that both do a lot of good and anyone who is making lives just a little bit better is doing a good thing.

However, the royals doing interviews never seems to end well and so I’m a little bit nervous about watching this. I really hope that it’s not laid on too thick and makes them just look like victims, because I don’t think that’s a fair representation of them.

The American TV stations do have a habit of trying to make things way more dramatic than they need to. I could feel my heart rate increasing as I watched this very dramatic teaser. They even had movie-esque music to build up the tension.

Whether this is an inspired decision or it turn out to be a hot mess, we won’t know until we actually see it and get to see how the press and the Twitterverse decide to react. I just hope that it does go well for them. And I hope that it works out equally as well for the royals still over here and working as royals. It would be a shame if anyone gets harmed because of this.

Much Love

Rachel xx

april 20th, 1999

gray wall with windows with silver frame
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

A single shot ringing down the halls,

To mark the moment when there was an end

To life before, and something new begins,

It’s something ugly, twisted out of shape,

But new can’t always mean it’s clean or ‘nice’

Or any other name that’s pleasant to the ear.

Sometimes new is violent, a warning shot

That whistles through the stagnant air

And pierces flesh too young to die,

It’s ugly just like you and I.

I’m reading a book about Columbine High School at the moment and it’s fascinating in that way that humans seem to find the grotesque and violent so very interesting.

I was about fourteen when the shooting happened so I would have been around the same age as the younger students that were in that school. I think that similarity makes the whole thing seem so much more real to me, and even though I’m in the UK, I still feel sick to the stomach thinking ‘what if?’ when I watch the footage and read the accounts.

One thing that really strikes me about the stories that come out of tragedies like this, is that uncertainty about life and when it will end. We are awfully fragile beings and it only takes a mistake or plain bad luck to have today being your last.

I was watching an account by one students who said that he was driving into school with his sister and they were having an argument. He slammed the door as he got out, not realising that it would be the last time he ever saw her alive.

The fact that he was recounting that twenty years later shows that it’s still something that eats him up and I can’t imagine the pain he must feel every single day of his life. He wasn’t to know, but then none of us know. Reading these accounts has made me very mindful that I shouldn’t go to bed angry and I should always tell Noah and my dad that I love them. Make sure you tell your people the same thing.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’m more upset than the person i upset…

unrecognizable person with sad eyes in daytime
Photo by Victoria Emerson on Pexels.com

A burning, tingling, right behind the eye

Just when I become aware that I

Have made another person cry.

I didn’t mean to hurt no one,

But that is sometimes just the way

Our undulating lands will somehow start to lay.

I got a message from my mentor last night to say that there had been a complaint made by a parent about the way I was teaching, that I was stressing out her daughter. I had given them 40 minutes to write 6 paragraphs so I was a bit pissed off as I signed off at the end of the day.

Anyway, I stewed overnight, thinking ‘how dare this woman complain? has she got nothing better to do with her time?’

My mentor came back to me me today and said that he spoke with the parent at length and she thought that I was putting too much pressure on them and threatening them with sanctions when we were moving too fast.

I was furious for about ten minutes and then I sat down and really thought about what she was saying. And I came to this conclusion:

We are all a little bit in the dark at the moment. Those conscientious kids that are worrying and handing everything in are sitting alone in their rooms wondering why this teacher is going mental at them. Are they doing enough? Is it them that I’m directing my anger at?

Meanwhile, as a teacher, I’m seeing the same people not even bothering a little bit. I’m talking to a screen so I can’t give eye contact to the people I’m talking to. We are all just sitting behind our screens wondering who is angry at who… and that is really difficult to deal with.

The point is, that I now feel really upset that I’ve upset others. We all need to take a look at what we are saying to each other because this is uncharted territory that we are sailing in.

I’m going to have a conversation with the whole class, to let them know that those who are handing work in are doing flipping amazing, and that I’d be devastated to think that they are beating themselves up in such difficult circumstances.

So, be nice today. It’s even harder to know what people are feeling through a computer and I’ve realised that I’ve misread a situation this week so I can confirm that it is incredibly easy to do!

Much Love

Rachel xx

don’t go breakin’ my heart

paper heart on light pink background
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It breaks a little, every day,

Watching the news, the stories plastered

On our internet, the social media

Causing splinters in that muscle,

No longer supple, ready for onslaught.

I cry a little, every day,

For those kids that lost so much,

The family and learning time

That drifted off with summer air,

All gone, with never a chance to claw it back.

I just turned on the news at the end of my day, delivering online lessons to kids that don’t know what to expect from day to day. And once again, I’m faced with more bad news: the UK has surpassed a 100,000 deaths from COVID.

It’s a terrible moment and I’m not normally one for getting all tearful about things that aren’t really closely attached to me, but there have been several occasions over the past few weeks and months when I’ve had a moment bubble up inside.

We’ve lost so many people, and although I’ve been lucky enough to not have to lose anyone really close, I really feel the pain of those that have.

A little closer to home, I find myself upset for the kids. The kids in every year group seem just a little bit younger than they are because they have missed the end of a year. And then there are those that have missed exams, or have uncertainty over whether or not they will be sitting them.

It just feels that every time I turn on the news, or get a moment alone to just sit and reflect, a little piece of my heart feels like it breaks off. And that is a very sad thing to feel. Let’s hope it changes soon.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sending out a few nice reviews

I really hate the fact that as a human race we love to complain. I, myself, love a good moan every now and then. However, I’m always far more likely to moan than I am to praise, especially since the internet makes it so easy to do it anonymously.

I’m not very good at complaining face to face and I’ve been known to eat cold food and not say a thing just so that I can save myself from the awkwardness. I’ve sometimes marveled at the people who can shout about things that they don’t like. I know that it makes people feel bad, but I sometimes wish that I could yell, just to let it all out.

My strength comes in my ability to write the scathing review on a website. I can feel all of the evilness seeping out through my fingertips and it feels like a relief.

But I never seem to write nice things about people. I can think them, but I very rarely go to the trouble to write out a nice review. So I do want to start being a little bit more proactive in the nice things that I dish out to the world.

I finished reading a book last night and the author had written a letter in the back. I always love to read the acknowledgements in books, so I duly read the letter too. It basically said that the author loves to hear from people who have read her book, that it makes her day.

Normally, I would have read that and thought that an agent would pick up all of the messages and the writer would get given a few of the nicer ones. But as I read the letter, I got the feeling that it was very genuine. I imagined the author opening lovely handwritten letters and keeping them all in her office to read when she feels down.

I know that’s not the way things happen these days, but I wanted to let the writer know that I did enjoy the book so I Tweeted. It only took me a second but I like to imagine that she got a little bit of happiness from reading it. Even if I gave somebody ten seconds of happiness, surely that’s enough?

So I’m going to make a bit more of an effort to send out some nice stuff into the world. I’m going to write a nice review, or an email and if I’m feeling really brave, I might compliment someone face to face.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

laughing at yourself: a great piece of advice that i heard the other day

collage photo of woman
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Always learn to pick at flaws,

Those ugly scabs, or so we think they are,

Until we stop, and see the individual-

Ality, and how it makes us who we are,

The lines that just won’t fit the mould,

But they’re the words remembered long

After poems of our life are read.

I was watching a YouTuber who I really enjoy the other day. She is a book reviewer and that is how I stumbled across her channel. However, this video that I watched was about mental health.

Basically, this woman had been having a bit of a bad time and she was really open about the fact that she had gone to the doctor to get medication and she had also been seeing a therapist for a few weeks.

Her story that just struck a chord with me was about a night when she was starting to feel much better. She had been cooking and whatever it was that she was making had gone horribly wrong. As many of us have probably done in the past, she got angry with it, burst into tears and was about to throw the whole thing in the bin.

Her husband came in just in time and managed to save whatever it was that she had been making. But this lady then started to beat herself up over the fact that she thought she was better and yet she was throwing a tantrum and then wanting to bin the whole thing. She felt like she had just gone right back to square one.

However, she did go and calm herself down and speak to her therapist and the conclusion that she came to was one that really has made a mark on me.

She said that that is just the way she is.

It sounds like the most ridiculous answer, but it was also bloody genius. She said that she is a chronic over-reactor and that is just the way she will always be. And it is also the thing that makes the people around her, love her.

She has just shifted her thinking, so rather than say she has to overreact less, she is now saying that she can have a little meltdown as long as she can see the funny side of it afterwards. If she wants to work on anything then it can be something less personal. She could tell herself that in order to stop the meltdowns she could work on her cooking.

I thought this was such a clever switch in thinking. I always get so upset when I fail and then I beat myself up because I’m upset and then I continue getting even more wound up with myself.

Instead, I can just allow those crappy feelings and get rid of the beating that I give myself afterwards. And when I really think about it, it is quite funny that I can get so wound up about an interview or a car repair bill; I just need to look at everything that has happened in the world over the last years to know that my issues are pretty small fry.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, listen to that lady. Don’t get angry at yourself for feeling all the feelings. Trying to stop feelings with willpower is like trying to stop a leak with toilet paper.

The answer to the problem is to learn to laugh at yourself. Sometimes hard, but always worth it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to change someone’s day…

crop black tourist on coast with foamy ocean water
Photo by Laker on Pexels.com

We let off gentle little ripples

Into an apathetic world, or so we’re led to think.

But really there are points out there

That suck that kindness in.

Souls that need that love, that hot and juicy courage,

And without that gentle push from us,

The greater things in life

Would never come to light.

I am genuinely always fascinated by this idea of passing kindness on. I always wonder whether something I have done has, in some convoluted way, led onto something being achieved that never would have happened if it weren’t for something nice that I have done.

It may be quite a conceited way to look at the world and my place in it, but it actually works to drive me on to do nicer things. Sure, it makes me feel like I may be more important than I actually am in the scheme of things, but it also makes me think twice before I do something a little bit shitty.

What if saying something nice about someone’s shoes makes them feel good and so they pay a fiver towards somebody’s petrol because they forgot their debit card, and then that person sees a homeless person and pays for their lunch and then that person helps out at a soup kitchen and then out of that a charity is born and millions of people are helped.

I know none of what went on after I said something nice about the shoes, and yet I’d have done so much good in the world. And then, what happens if the same process happens in reverse? What if I’m rude to someone in a shop and it ends in a death?

Obviously, you can’t blame yourself for all the bad things that happen in the world (and I have been there and I know how miserable that life becomes), but you have to be mindful of where your actions can lead to.

I think about this even more now that I am training to be a teacher. I have this wonderful opportunity, every day, to shape a future. That sounds really cheesy, I know, but to a certain extent, it’s true.

Let’s all send out those positive ripples today. Pretend you have the power to change the world and it really will make you change the little things you do in life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

LOVe and other drugs

It’s sometimes messy, they say,

When leather’s wrapped round desperate arms

And chemicals can course through veins,

When lovers drop to scraped up knees

And wish on stars that they had never met,

We take a thoughtful step away

Knowing that it’s far too late

To wind that clock back to day dot,

Undoing work of addicts’ hands.

it’s so great that these kids get to talk

photo of girl standing while smiling
Photo by Mitch Kesler on Pexels.com

The bubbles start so small and insignificant,

Inconsequential, like stars in galaxies

Far too far away for me to worry on.

But soon they build and then it’s like

An atom bomb that tears through streets,

Ripping life from hopeful hearts.

So talk, my friends, and let it all out

Just try not to worry and stop crying your heart out…..

The BBC Children In Need programme is on at the moment and I think that we need it more than ever this year. Kids that would be struggling anyway have been hit even harder and I think nights like this bring the nation together to do something positive for the world.

I’m noticing while watching that a lot of the schemes that the money will go towards are talking based therapies and that makes my heart so happy. With everything going on it’s so nice to see kids being given the chance to let it out in a healthy way.

I wish that I had had access to a professional person when I was young. There must be so many kids out there that need the help desperately and the CAMHS waiting lists in this country are just too long. I’ve been told that a child needs to have actually hurt themselves in some way to be added to the list which is shocking.

But, here’s a thought, maybe we should all be a little more skilled at listening. We all love to sit and talk about ourselves but sometimes we just need to let people pour out their emotions without comparing their woes to our own.

I’ve made a bit of a conscious effort to listen to the lids at school a bit more and it’s amazing what people tell you when they know that you are giving them your full attention. That trust that they give you is so easily earned and yet it’s so powerful.

I’d encourage everyone to sit down with a fellow human and just listen some time soon. Don’t interrupt or pass judgement, just nod and show you care. And if you get a chance, check out the Children in Need single, Stop Crying Your Heart Out. It’s one of my all time favourites and I think the stars involved have done a great job.

Much Love

Rachel xx