preservation

I’ve been thinking quite a lot

About the way that I might keep

Something fresh and new.

I’ve watched the love that once we had

Wither over time.

I hoped that there could be a way

To preserve what little’s left.

Maybe I could dry it out,

Rub in salt or stick it in a tin.

Anything to stop this pain,

To stop that love from rotting to the core.

If I can halt the process now,

We’ve got a fighting chance.

But any further down the line

And what we have, it will be done.

Make the choice and make it now,

Before we waste another day,

In this hurtful, hateful way.

Watching my parents go through this difficult break up has made me think about love and the way it changes over time. How can two people go from loving each other to hating each other in a matter of months? It feels like the love has an expiry date and once that date has been reached it begins to rot and quickly.

And even if you do recognise that the rot is setting in, is there anything you can do about it? I’m a strong believer in the power of therapy and talking about problems so perhaps that is the way to stop something from going bad? Whatever the answer is, I don’t think that things can ever go back to the way that they were. I think that even if things get patched up, everything will be fundamentally different. I guess that once something has started to go bad there is no undoing it even if you halt the process.

I just hope that it’s all over soon because its put me off marriage altogether and I’ve even heard my son saying that he never wants to fall in love because he thinks that it will hurt too much. It’s awful that somebody in their early teens is already scared of taking that leap of faith into a relationship.

If you’ve been hurt before or you’re watching somebody else go through the pain of a break up then I hope that it doesn’t completely traumatise you. I hope that you can move on and find the confidence to leap into a new relationship because it is a beautiful thing when it works.

Much Love

Rachel xx

more doom and gloom and stuff about breaking up and having to get rid of the house you love

First to be tackled was the fridge,

I wiped away the crumbs that dusted the bottom shelf,

Do you remember making them

When you made me toast to eat in bed?

Then I turned towards the bathroom

To clean the toothpaste from the sink.

Do you remember standing side by side

Brushing teeth and smiling at me in the mirror?

We always brushed our teeth together,

It made me feel like I was in a rom com

And that I’d get my happy ending.

Then I reached that sacred room that housed our bed,

The marriage bed where the deal was sealed.

Do you remember how we used to giggle

Underneath the covers?

Our arms and legs all tangled up in such a loving mess.

And in the living room I dusted the spot where the TV used to be.

Do you remember putting on some MTV

And how we used to dance around

As we drank cheap wine and laughed and laughed and laughed?

I sit down on the couch with a heavy sigh,

Because that was then and this is now.

There isn’t any love, here within these walls.

It vanished with the closing of the door.

This house was where I wanted to grow old.

But now it’s just an empty shell, ready to be filled

With someone else’s love and happy memories.

I know that I am bathing in my bitterness

But I worry they will have to peel me from this sofa

Before they can embark upon their own adventure.

A bit about divorce

The axe has fallen and the blade is sharp,

It slices through the wooden block with ease.

I wish that I could wrap my arms around it

And hold together those two pieces.

But the axe is harsh and does not care,

About my feelings and my sentimental wishes.

The axe, it cares about the bottom dollar,

It cares about an even split,

A “fair” divide between the two opposing sides.

It’s never quite that simple though,

To cut straight through those rings of time,

Without a wrenching of the heart.

It hurts as though it’s I who takes the blow.

And there is nowt that I can do,

Bar watch the gleaming blade come down

And hope that from the mess that’s made,

Something new can grow and bloom.

I’ve been unfortunate enough to be divorced. I git married really young and in a hurry and it all ended badly before I turned twenty two. When I went through my divorce we had only been together for a short time and we had no house or savings, so the divorce was mainly just paperwork. However, now my parents are getting divorced and I am seeing a whole new side to the process.

My parents have been together since the 1980’s and they own a house. I’m a grown up now so I really shouldn’t have much to do with this but I want to support my dad so I went along to his meeting with the solicitor today. And it was horrible.

I just think about all that they have built together and it is getting trashed and I could see the sadness written all over my dad’s face. It was heartbreaking. And I know that I shouldn’t expect inheritance but I’m so sad that the house I grew up in is going to be sold and have somebody else living in it.

The solicitor was excellent but she spoke of the divorce entirely in monetary and legal terms and it all felt so clinical. I wanted to pipe up in the middle of the meeting and say that I didn’t want it to happen and that the house contains so many memories that I don’t want it sold. But that’s not the way the world works and so I had to just sit quietly and watch my history melt away over the course of an hour.

If any of my readers are going through a family breakdown, I hear you. I’m not even involved in this one but it probably hurts even more than my own divorce. Stay strong and keep hold of your dignity. It’s really tempting to lash out but you will feel good for only a short while. Bite your tongue and just practice some self love. I know it’s hard but we can all do it together.

Much Love,

Rachel

If you are having any family issues you can get advice from the Relate website.

On being a single parent; don’t become the victim (a poem)

A poem about the feelings that go along with becoming a single parent. It’s painful and heartbreaking but everybody comes back from it. You have no choice.

The father left quite early on,

One day he’s there, the next he’s gone.

It caused a huge amount of pain,

And the feelings took so long to wane.

He packed his bags and left so quick,

It felt like just a heartless trick.

But he was not to come back home,

He felt that he was free to roam.

To play the field and sow his seed,

To live a life of selfish greed.

And into darkness I would fall,

I lost the battle to stand tall.

Depressing thoughts were all I knew,

And happy days were far and few.

But soon I found I needed light,

And so I put up quite the fight.

I had to do it for my child,

I couldn’t be so meek and mild.

I got a job and found some friends,

And to my heart I made amends.

I learnt to love myself once more,

And what my life was really for.

I mustn’t dwell on all the bad,

And spend my time so glum and sad.

I have a child I must adore,

And goals to set and to explore.

My life is worth more than that guy,

And now I’m ready to go and fly.

I became a single parent when my son was just nine months old and I was absolutely crushed. I loved my husband and I was devastated when I found out about the affair. But I had to pick myself up and carry on. I limped along as an alcoholic for a decade and only recently have I started to sort my life out. I hope that this poem can give you a little bit of hope if you are going through the same thing. Don’t go down the same path that I did. Life is a gift and you mustn’t waste it. The little ones grow so quickly and you don’t know when it could all come to an end. So find something that you’re passionate about and make every day count.

Much Love

Rachel xx

A letter to my 21 year old self

It’s the night before my birthday and time to think about how I have grown and changed over the years. It would be nice if a couple of 21 year olds could be reading this blog and stumble upon this letter. It would be nice if that’s you, that you read this letter and realise that you are not alone. Being 21 is such a funny age. You’re no longer a child but you know that you’re not a proper grown up yet. You’re winging it and you hope that you won’t fuck it all up and that nobody will notice that you don’t have a scooby what you’re doing. Well, we all feel the same at your age and this is a letter to me when I was feeling all of those things. I had a bit of a bumpy ride but this is what I would say if I could write to her now that I am through it all.

Dear Rachel,

Happy birthday, enjoy the cake and a couple of glasses of wine. Enjoy this moment as much as you can because things are about to get tricky. That man that you are married to, the father of your child, he is hiding a secret and it’s all going to come tumbling out in the very near future.

It’s going to crush you and it’s going to make you hate that baby you share. You’ll resent him and wish that you never had him. You will think awful thoughts and then you will beat yourself up for it. And unfortunately, the only way that you are going to get through it is by turning to drink. Alcohol will be the only thing that soothes those horrible feelings but it will get its claws into you and eventually it will swallow you whole.

Your twenties will have their moments of fun and success but it all feels a little bit empty because you’re running on vodka. You’re achievements will be awesome. You will run 100 miles races and swim the English Channel. You’ll get a couple of degrees and one of them will be a first. How the fuck you manage it even I don’t know. It’s a shame because if you’d have been sober you would probably have been a raging success.

But you do make it through. You are tough and there is something inside you that is a survivor. You know when things are getting too much and you’re not too proud to ask for help when you need it. You will get sober and you will start to get your life back. You will change your values and re-evaluate what you think is important. You will start to take care of the people around you and become a much nicer person. You will reach your mid thirties and still be far from perfect. Those degrees are all but useless because you work in a shop and you struggle with anxiety so you can’t even work full time. But you enjoy your work and you go at it with enthusiasm. You have raised that baby and now he is fourteen and such a credit to you.

There are going to be so many horrible moments between you and me and I wish that I could stop them from happening or be there to give you a hug when they knock you down. But you’re a little toughie and you’ll make it through. You’ll have some highs too but try not to get carried away. Keep a level head and make sure you make it safely to 35 because I have a feeling things are about to get good.

Much Love

Older Rachel xx

Where did your pain come from?

I’ve started this blog so that I can make something nice, something that lifts people up. But I have noticed that there is nearly always something painful that has to happen in order for there to be that nice thing borne out of it. And it’s got me thinking what it is in my life that has spurred me on to at least try and create a nice space on the internet.

I’ve been watching some videos on Youtube recently and really zoned in on the ones that show people who have dealt with horrible things and come through fighting and made something good of it. The something good always seems to be completely different but the fact remains that there always is something good.

I have watched videos of people who have fought through cancer or lost relatives to the disease. I’ve seen people describe their fight with addiction and people who have endured painful family breakdowns and the stories that seem to resonate the most with the viewer is always the story where the person who has suffered has come out fighting and they’ve created something beautiful out of their pain.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a charity or anything as obvious as that. It could be something so small, but the very act of coming out the other end and telling your story is so powerful and you have no idea how helpful it may be to somebody else going through something similar.

I’ve been thinking back over the last decade of my life and there have been a few blows along the way. I have spoken briefly about my struggles with addiction but the thing that kind of kicked it off for me was the breakdown of my marriage when I had a nine month old baby and I was only twenty one years old.

I don’t normally like to talk about that time in my life but I felt like putting the words down in this blog might be of help to somebody else and wouldn’t it be great if I could help prevent somebody enduring a decade of alcoholism in the process?

So my story started when I went backpacking around South Africa aged nineteen. I was naive and pretty innocent and I got swept off my feet by a local when I was only two weeks into my trip. I thought this guy was gorgeous and he asked me to marry him after just a few months. We did marry and then I got terribly homesick and decided I needed to go home, leaving him behind. We had the plan for him to follow me over when his visa was sorted and we had some money saved so we could get a flat. However, the day I landed in England I went to the doctor and found out that I was five months pregnant!

It was all a crazy panic in the months that followed but my husband did make it over to England with just a few days to spare. The baby was born and I went back to work very quickly leaving the husband looking after the baby. Unbeknown to me, he started having and affair and it was a good six months before I found out.

Finding out that your trust has been broken in such a terrible way at such a young age was crushing and I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten over it. I’ve not had a relationship since and I find it really hard to trust men. I find it hard to accept any kind of attention from men because my brain seems to instantly associate them with that intense pain that I felt in the early days after the split.

The pain was so intense that cutting myself was the only way to dull it. I also took to starving myself and all manner of other kinds of bodily punishment followed. Anything to get rid of what I was feeling, and that ultimately led to alcohol.

I do wonder if I had had someone to confide in in those early days, would I have gone through so many years of hurt afterwards? If I could have been made aware that my pain was shared by every other human on the planet would I have felt less alone?

The answer is most definitely yes. I think that we need to share our stories of pain so that another young girl who gets hurt at the beginning of her adult life doesn’t lose her twenties entirely. Just because she thinks that she’s the only one feeling so intensely.

Can we all just be a little bit more open about our feelings and our stories. We don’t need to label it as depression or anything heavy like that, we just need to tell people that we were deeply distressed and in a dark place for a time. But we can also show that there is light at the end of the tunnel and give hope. Being left by a spouse at any age is heart wrenching and it would be nice if we could cultivate a space where we could talk about this kind of hurt without feeling like we’re telling some kind of sob story.

I truly believe that something good always comes from the hard times. There is always something that we can pass on to the next person who we see that is struggling. And we can all come together and share our stories to lighten the burden. My parting advice would be to sit with your pain, find others to help you through it and know that there is probably something good coming from it eventually, even if you can’t see it now. If you have any examples of things you’ve been through and how they’ve turned into something good or shaped you in a positive way then I would love to hear it.

Jesus replied “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will” – John 13:7

Much Love

Rachel xx