dark academia

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The boys wear pinstripe suits

While girls read books in dusty attics,

Skulls are balanced on their books

And deathly thoughts will occupy

Their writings in those leather books

Until one dies in ghastly ways.

I went to visit an English teacher friend today and I was obsessed with her bookcases. They were filled with highbrow texts, arranged in arty ways so that the shelving units looked more like beautiful structures.

The titles were invariably written by women who ended up killing themselves in fits of passion, which instantly makes them more interesting to study – because everyone loves a hysterical woman.

And balanced amongst the books was a phrenology head and a human skull (not real, I hope). It reminded me of the dark academia novels that I went through a stage of loving. I could imagine my friend writing in a dusty loft, using a quill and a leather bound book.

I now feel like I have to work on my own book shelves as mine feel comparatively trashy – filled with thriller novels, written by women for women and all with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

Does anyone have a human skull that they wouldn’t mind me taking off their hands?

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’m a teacher, what’s your super power?

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We round up thirty kids each day

And fill their heads with dreams, ideas

And thoughts of what the future holds.

We shape their lives and send them out

Feeling strong and ready for

The jobs, the loves, the ups and downs,

Just hoping that we did it well.

My mentor at school gave me a gift to say well done on getting my new job. In the package was a mug that said ‘I’m a teacher, what’s your super power?’ And it made me realise that actually it is a bit of a super power.

Who else can control thirty unruly children, fill them with knowledge and confidence and then send them out into the world where they will get very little support?

When I started teaching, I thought that the fact that I am emotional and sensitive was going to be my downfall. I thought that the kids would walk all over me and I would just spend all day crying in the stationery cupboard.

But I’ve found that being a bit of a softy is actually a strength. Students appreciate that softer side, especially the ones who are sensitive like me. I’m sure there are students that hate me and just think I’m a bit of a drip – but I’ve also learnt that you can’t win them all.

As long as I am catching some of them, and making their lives just a little bit easier then I really do feel like a superhero.

Much Love

Rachel xx

perhaps i should interview before every half term?

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The sweaty palms, desperately wiped on trousers

As the handshake approaches, and questions

Pile upon questions and you try to pretend

That you work well under pressure,

And all that other crap you promise

But know you’ll never do, but how good

Does it feel when the adrenaline has gone

And the flat line begins.

I have found that I generally don’t seem to enjoy the one week half term holidays because I spend the whole time stressed out. The first half is spent worrying about all the things I did wrong over the last term. Then I hit Wednesday and I start to worry about everything bad that will happen on my return.

It doesn’t make for a relaxing time.

However, this time around, I’m on my first day and I already feel pretty chilled. It’s probably a combination of having a bit of sun, knowing that I can free wheel into the final few weeks, and the pressure of the interview being off.

Whatever the reason, I need to repeat it more often because holidays can sometimes be more stressful than working weeks. I don’t know how well it will go down with schools if I decide to go for an interview once every ten weeks – but I could be onto something.

I’m going to be the teacher that has to change job ever 10-12 weeks just so that I can enjoy the come down after an interview.

Much Love

Rachel ss

why oh why oh why?

Why do I duck and dive

When I wish I could stand

Firm in the knowledge

I have done it all right

Maybe I wavered

But at least I was nice.

It’s funny how you keep your head down and you don’t notice any of the cracks around you, then you step out of line and suddenly it’s all so glaring you can’t quite believe you didn’t see it before.

I’m still struggling to let my line manager know that I’m leaving (she knows, but we haven’t had that conversation yet). The thing is, I’m seeing some of the nastiness that just washed over me and it has made me feel really on edge.

I was almost sick today, because I got so nervous about speaking to the head of department. The look that she gave me in the corridor actually physically hurt me, and I think she would see me as ridiculous for feeling that way.

But there are those in the world that are tough and run departments, and then there are softies like me. I just think that we all need to learn to rub along together nicely.

Much Love

Rachel xx

what a wimp

purple and green paper butterflies
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So free of courage

Butterflies will keep from

The one thing I am meant to do,

The sickly feeling

Turning stomachs

Gets me every time.

I was supposed to tell my boss that I got the job today… and I wimped out. Which is typical Rachel behaviour, and makes me realise what a flake I can sometimes be. There are occasions where many seven year olds would have more courage than I can muster.

I spoke to Noah about it when I got home and it made me realise that drinking has a lot to do with this. I spent fifteen years masking my feelings with booze and now, when those feelings become too strong, I find it really hard to cope.

Whenever I had a difficult email to send, or I had to listen to my voicemails, or open a brown envelope, I could have a couple of vodkas and I would just about have the confidence to do what I needed to do.

Now, it physically hurts me to do these things with no crutch. But this is all a part of recovery and I will do it and I will learn to become a fully functioning adult.

For now, I’m just a bit of a melt.

Much Love

Rachel xx

now for the hard bit

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It’s pleasure and pain,

They go hand in hand,

You can never have fun

Without the sting of defeat,

You can never take the win

Without first being beat.

I got the job!!!! Which is all well and good, but now I have to do the really hard part: handing in my notice. I am the worst at having uncomfortable conversations and tomorrow is going to be full of them.

It made me think of a yoghurt advert we had over here in the UK where the tagline was that you can’t have pleasure without pain. You saw a woman enjoying a low fat yoghurt while a man was running around in the background being chased by bees.

The idea was that you could enjoy something delicious and some other poor fool would suffer the pain.

Oh wish that could apply to real life (not that I want to wish pain on anyone else). But this conversation with the boss is going to be cringe-worthy. I’m halfway through my rollercoaster ride and I’m just about to go into the huge loop that terrifies everyone.

For the second day running, wish me luck.

Much Love

Rachel xx

here we go, no backing out now

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The seats are slightly damp,

The person who just vacated, sweating

Sticking to the plastic cover

And the bar’s pulled down

With no way out, no screaming now

Will help as the cogs begin to turn.

The ride has started and

The people down below will wave

Oblivious of the panic setting in.

So it’s the eve of my interview and it feels like the bar has been pulled down on a rollercoaster and it’s clicked into place; now there is no way out. I will interview tomorrow and, as is the way with teaching positions, I will probably know the outcome before I have left the building.

It feels a bit like I’ve tapped the first domino in a domino run and there is no stopping them all going down. There is no guarantee that I will get the job but I have started something that I can’t go back from too easily.

When I’m on a rollercoaster, I love that feeling of knowing there is no way out until you reach the other end; the thrill seeker comes out in me and I just adore it. However, this makes me feel sick. I’m trying to reframe it and think of it as an exciting adventure – but the truth is, I’m terrified.

Bar down, here we go!

Much Love

Rachel xx

i froze up again

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Sitting on a sagging sofa,

My body just as deflated, staring

At the blank TV screen

Wishing it could give me answers

To all these questions swirling

Round my head, my arms, my legs

And freezing joints to solid stone.

I know I’ve written about my tendency to freeze before, but it’s been a problem again this weekend and I feel that writing about it is helpful to me, and hopefully to others – because knowing that you are not alone is so important.

I have so many big decisions to make if I get this job on Tuesday and rather than getting on with everything that needs to be done, I have found myself sitting on my sofa, not even watching the telly. I have literally just been staring at the blank screen and playing every possible outcome in my mind.

Some people run and some people fight, but I fall into the freeze category and I just do nothing. It is a horrible feeling to know that you have so much to do and yet you feel like you can barely move.

And it can be quite ‘dangerous’ to try and do things when I’m in this state. I have missed turn offs and gotten lost while driving because I’ve zoned out and I sometimes struggle to follow what people are saying to me as my mind is going so quickly.

I’m calming myself down as best I can, but I just have to accept that whatever happens this week, it’s going to be a bit of an uncomfortable one. Wish me luck.

Much Love

Rachel xx

oh, the awkward conversations

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I used to get so nervous in certain situations that I’d start to struggle to follow conversations and my teeth would chatter as though I was really cold. This hasn’t happened for probably three years – and it happened today.

The application that I filled out yesterday, came good. I received a request to interview this afternoon, but they also contacted my Head of Department for a reference. I really didn’t expect that to happen so quickly and it was a little bit uncomfortable when she came to talk to me.

I was then told that it may be a good idea to go and see the head teacher so that I’m being transparent with everyone. By this time, I was going into panic mode and the teeth were chattering. My friend literally had to walk me up the stairs and give me a pep talk on the landing so that I didn’t faint, be sick or just run away and never come back.

But the point is, I did it. I was brave and the head teacher actually said she rated the fact that I had come straight over to speak to her.

I didn’t need her to say anything positive about me, but it has made me reflect on the changes in my life over the past five years. When you are drinking you are not on the same plane as everyone else and the social and professional mistakes you make can be epic.

Those situations that once were baffling, are still really scary, but I realise I can do them and I come out the other end looking and feeling like a half decent human.

So, really I just wanted to toot my own horn and say that I wore my big girl pants and did something brave. And it felt pretty cool (although I’m emotionally wiped out right now).

Much Love

Rachel xx

a hatred of the dreaded application form

They want to know the ins and outs

Of everything, your test results,

Your school and nursery, your loves,

Your favourite food, the colour of

Your pants and what your toilet habits are.

Hours they take, when all I want to shout,

Is give me a bloody job,

Please.