who are you calling in the dark times?

green pine tree in close up photography
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Who are you calling when the clouds hang low

And the sunlight fails to come through?

When you’re fumbling for phones and your face is aglow

With the light from the screen, blinking so blankly,

Growing our hope when there really is none.

There will be a time when you need that saved number

And a hand in the dark to pull towards light,

When you’re sure that there’s nothing left worth the fight.

I trained alongside a girl who was teaching in England for two years having come over from Australia. When I was over in South Africa I was unbelievably homesick so I could only imagine how she felt in the middle of a pandemic.

However, that was some sixteen years ago and so I had forgotten those feelings and how painful they could be. I was only reminded when we were teaching the Year 7s A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

We had just reached the bit that breaks everyone’s hearts and we were all in our staff room talking about our thoughts and how the Year 7s didn’t seem to ‘get it’.

It was then that this Australian girl said that when she had finished with the class that day, she had immediately pulled out her phone and messaged all her family on the other side of the world telling them how much she loved them.

I felt my heart give a little twinge when I heard her say that. My mum had just moved away to I don’t know where and I was wondering if anyone actually loved me. I realised that I had one less person that I could reach out to when life got tough.

Hold onto those people with all of your might; it’s sad when you lose them.

Much Love

Rachel xx

not known at this address

She lived here once, we think,

A faceless ghost that drifted through the rooms.

We thought we heard her whispering

Through netted curtains stained with time,

But we knew it couldn’t be.

So we pulled on thicker sweaters

And closed the windows closed.

We scrubbed her name from envelopes

That poured in through the door in spades,

Even that would not convince them that

She was once known at this loved address.

I got another bag of stuff through from the house that has now been sold. I’ve learnt to harden my heart when they come through because I know that something bad will be in each delivery. And today’s was no different.

In the bag was a letter for me and in my aunt’s handwriting, on the envelope, is written ‘NOT KNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS’. I can’t fathom what would make her wish to scrub me. She has been vicious and it actually hurts my heart. I’ve also been blocked by my mum on Facebook and I know that’s down to her sister.

I think that rejection by a mother is possibly one of the toughest things to go through. To know that your mother hates you so much that you are no longer a known person at the family home.

I literally want to crumple. There is no air in my lungs and my body hurts. This pain is immense.

Much Love

Rachel xx

am i dealing with this right?

carton box and tape with scissors on shabby table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The boxes packed and sealed with packing tape,

As rooms stand empty, sunlight in the dust,

There’s tears and tantrums buried here

But just a silent thought or two

Is all I need right now.

My childhood home that I always imagined that I would inherit from my parents and live in until I was old is all packed up and empty. My mother has torn the whole of our world apart and this feels like such a sad moment.

But, I really don’t know how I am supposed to deal with this. I couldn’t go to the house and I just got my dad to pick up anything that I still had there. I just couldn’t face the house and now I have the feeling that my dad’s friends think I’m a heartless bitch leaving him to empty the house with them.

It’s not that I was lazy or didn’t want to support him, but the anxiety I have around moving house and then the anxiety over everything that happened in that house when she was going crazy and pulling furniture apart and barricading me and Noah out. It’s just a lot to deal with.

And then, how might I have dealt with those feelings if I had actually gone with him? What if I had broken down or started screaming or hyperventilating? What would they all think of me then?

It’s really bloody hard to know what to do and how to react and I feel that I have always been told that my emotions make me bad, so I’m scared to show them. I will just sit here and do my best, but I think my whole family are a little bit broken at the moment.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a love of old photos

Those faces,

Would they know me now?

Long gone

Cloaked by mists of time

That snake

Through all our story lines.

I have a thing for old photos. I don’t even have to know who the people in the images are. I just love to sit and wonder how they felt, where they were and when. What would they think of the way we live now?

I had an old biscuit tin full of photos that I used to look through from time to time. The pictures all showed grandparents and my parents as children and I wished that I could be there so that I could have those stories too.

The cute fella at the front is my dad

I realise that it’s the truest form of FOMO and I guess we all wonder what our parents did and what they felt before we were around. We just wished that we knew them when they were fun and when they had energy and could drink us under the table.

I think that it’s the dreams of a simpler life that also do it. I love to watch Dawson’s Creek so that I can remember that time when I was fourteen and we were just on the cusp of the internet age. It feels so innocent and photos from the 60s and 70s have the same effect, even though I wasn’t there.

Hopefully, it’s not just me and we all enjoy opening that window to the past every now and then. I think that it’s the storyteller in me that wants to see these other lives, so that I can make up tales of fun holidays and crazy parties where Grandma got so drunk that she slept on the sofa from 8pm.

Granddad out fishing

Go and pull out some photo albums if you have them lying around. Or if you have one of those slide projectors, even better. But take a bit of time to remember pre-COVID, pre-internet, pre-you and remember that you are not the centre of the universe.

Much Love

Rachel xx

is it normal to feel physically dizzy when someone is lying about you

The world is tilting at an ugly angle,

I want to right myself but still

The room will spin and I will lose

All sense of up and sense of down.

I just want to get off this scary ride.

Have you ever been on a rollercoaster and only realised that you can’t go through with the ride when the seatbelt is down and there is no going back? That’s kind of what a conversation with my mother feels like.

Last year she spent the summer locking me out of the house, scaring my son to the point where we had to take him to the hospital and making up stories about me stealing from her.

I had to get in contact with her because she has my degree certificates at the house and she has started with this serene act where she is making out that I’ve made it all up. I think this is called gaslighting, but I might have mixed that up with something?

Anyway, this behaviour has made me feel physically dizzy and I was wanting to know if any science-y people could explain that. The lies have tilted my world and I can’t concentrate and I actually feel like I’m about to fall over (specifically to the left). Is there some science behind this?

I really don’t know what to do though. She is my mother but this behaviour is beyond me and it’s hurting my mental health. Should I just cut my losses and say that’s the end of our relationship or will I regret that one day?

Nobody can answer some of these questions but it feels right to ponder them out loud in the hope that the world can echo back with some sort of answer.

Much Love


i bloody love a good christmas advert

This Christmas is going to be a bit of a dud.

There won’t be the parties, and dresses

Covered in sparkles and spritzed with scent.

We’ll all be at home, eating sprouts

And hams that’ll last for days.

But we’ll be with a few, the precious ones

That we need in our lives.

And when spring rolls around

Those lives will return

And our world will be sweet

With kisses on top.

I have this horrible feeling that Christmas isn’t going to be very loud and raucous this year. It’s going to be all about games of cards and Monopoly with just two other people.

But that’s fine. If anything, it’ll teach us a thing or two about what’s really important. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that I’m quite looking forward to it. I’ll be spending the day with Noah and my dad, and it’ll be fun.

I love spending time with them, with Christmas TV and food and the pretty lights. It just feels cosy and wholesome and we actually laugh so much. I know that I’m lucky, so my thoughts are with people who are having a difficult time at this time of year.

And the reason that I’m so interested in Christmas today is because the Christmas adverts are here at last. I can’t get enough of them and I’m so excited to see some of the offerings from John Lewis and Sainsbury’s.

I hope that you are having as much fun as you possibly can in the build up. Even if you’re not, go and buy some mince pies and double cream. You’ll thank me later. You are welcome.

Much Love

Rachel xx

picking at old wounds

toasted breads
Photo by Kim van Vuuren on Pexels.com

I feel like I’m picking at old wounds at the moment. And I really don’t know how safe it is to do. If we pick at physical wounds we can be left with ugly scars, so can the same be said of our psychological wounds?

I’m writing a lot about my past and that is bringing up lots of old memories, some of which are quite upsetting. A lot of it is weird little memories that shouldnt really still be there in my mind, but somehow they’ve stuck.

One thing I wrote about recently was the ‘toast incident’. It still makes me feel uncomfortable when i think about this even though it was from before I had even started school.

I was desperate for breakfast one day and my mum was busy. I’d asked and she just carried on poring over whatever she was doing. So I decided to make my own.

I pulled out a chair so that I could reach the countertop and then began to slide the toaster out of the cupboard. As I dragged it along the shelf, my fingers slipped and the toaster clattered to the ground. The sound was deafening and the front panel had dislodged itself and skidded along the line floor.

My mum came hurrying out to investigate and I was yelled at and sent up to my room without the breakfast I’d set out to make for myself.

When dad got home from work he dutifully fixed the toaster and mum filled him in on her version of events. I had snuck down to the bottom of the stairs and I listened carefully while tucking myself out of sight.

My mum told my dad that I had deliberately broken the toaster and that she was really angry with me. There was no mention of the fact that I had asked and was then just trying to look after myself.

It was my first realisation that nobody has your back. I could never really trust my mother so it doesn’t surprise me that I struggle to trust other people.

I believe that we are all a little bit like computers and we’re programmed in our early years. Unfortunately, nearly all of us have bad experiences that set horrible thoughts in our minds.

The ‘toast incident’ probably sounds so ridiculous to most people but I seem to have hung onto it into adulthood and it’s really shaped the way I think about myself and others.

I hope that you are able to see that you are always ok and the things in the past will always shape you but they dont have to be the be all and end all.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the art of loving and letting go

Love isn’t a switch, it’s not like the gentle thump of the boiler

Heating up in an instant, and running cold once the flame is gone.

It’s more of a sliding scale, an elastic band that stretches

In every direction and snaps back when you don’t expect.

You can love and hate at once,

Isn’t that something worth knowing for now?

You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them.

Tara Westover

I heard this quote while I was flicking through YouTube the other day and it really seemed to hit me hard. Tara Westover, who wrote the memoir Educated, said this in an interview with Oprah when she was talking about her parents. These were parents who denied her a formal education and forced her and her siblings to live in a really unconventional way as they grew up.

There were some parts of her story that were downright scary and made you think that she had every right to hate her parents now that she had broken free. And she had chosen to run away from them and cut them out of her life, so it was surprising to hear her say that she still felt love for them.

My feeling was always that if there was a break down in a relationship, it was best to either try to forget about that person or just hate on them for the rest of time. However, I have learned that the energy this consumes is immense and I knew that there had to be a better way.

My relationship with my mother has been rocky over the past year and after several years of therapy I realised that she had been very manipulative throughout my life. I knew that letting her go could be the best option but it didn’t sit comfortably with me because I’m so grateful to her for all the good things she brought into my life.

Hearing Tara say these words felt like a light bulb moment because it meant that I could still feel love for my mum but I could also distance myself from her so that I feel safe.

These words showed me that it is possible to let go of somebody you love. I’ve always acted on fear and so I hold people tight for fear of losing them, then when they disappoint me I reject them and feel immense hate. I’ve slowly started to learn that relationships aren’t as black and white as this. You can live somewhere in the middle of love and hate and that makes my life far easier to bear.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the sideways glance in a supermarket

It can start with something so simple.

Just two people standing in line,

Paying for groceries, side by side.

A glance and just half of a smile

And then the journey it starts.

An intricate dance through the years

A million more laughs and a sprinkling of tears.

And then in the blink of an eye,

It’s all over and together we lie.

It could have been luck, merely by chance,

But I guess we will never know if magic did spark

Because of that sideways glance.

I really do believe that everything is written out in the stars, our journeys already mapped out before we are even born. And when it comes to love it is no difference. We are put in the queue in the supermarket at the right time so that we can be there at exactly the same moment as the love of our life. I don’t think it’s an accident that they are there.

I sometimes find it funny though, that something as monumental as a lifetime of memories built together can rest on something as simple as whether we bought our bread and milk at the right time and in the right store.

So often we can be with somebody for decades and when we look back at that first meeting we realise how easy it could have been to miss that moment altogether.

And it really does pass in the blink of an eye. One moment you are twenty and making eyes at somebody in the next line and the next thing you realise you have grandchildren and you’re both slipping away from this earth.

I think it’s Christmas and New Year that makes me think this way. Something new could be beginning in the next twelve months and it’s a lovely thought. But at the same time there will be people that we lose over the next year and with them a whole load of memories will vanish.

Make the most of the time you have with these people. Enjoy the dance, even when it’s a little tricky. And most importantly, make sure that 2020 is filled with memorable moments and strong relationships that are good for your soul.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the perfect f**king christmas (cake)

sitting on the kitchen side it looks

kinda like a bride in all her finery.

the icing’s smooth and just so dazzling

it doesn’t look like something one could eat.

it’s perfect, a little too much so.

and when i take a knife and press it through the flesh

i see that all is not as ordered and as perfect

as it looked when looking from afar.

the perfect fucking christmas

is all a jumbled mess.

there is no rhyme or reason to that chaos

that reigns the day itself.

it’s full of mishaps, arguments and tears.

the fruit inside will never form a pattern.

and the nuts will always go

wherever the fuck they want.

you can dress it up, with icing sickly sweet,

marzipan and sugared fruit, organised on top.

but we all know that underneath

those smiling facebook photographs,

there isn’t such a thing as ordered fruit and nuts.

they will do whatever the fuck they please,

because the perfect fucking christmas

is just a construct made to tease.

I try and try every year to make my Christmas perfect and it’s normally by around 9am on the day that I realise it’s not going to pan out that way. Because it’s impossible. The perfect day doesn’t exist.

We put all this pressure on ourselves because the adverts show us what this perfect day looks like but what we seem to forget is that the supermarkets who create these ads have been designing them since fucking February.

So give it a rest this month. There is a chance that someone will get sick or die, someone else will fall out with the family and run off to Australia on Christmas Eve, granny will say something inappropriate at the table and the turkey will get so burnt that all the smoke alarms in the house go off. But that is what Christmas is about. It’s one day and it’s a pressure cooker of a day at that.

Just take a deep breath and enjoy what you can. You are doing awesome no matter what it looks like from the inside. The people around you love you and the TV is normally quite good too!

Much love,

Rachel xx