dreaming of trail runs now that I’m on the mend

A little digital painting to remind me that better days are on the horizon…

allowing myself to scream

screaming woman in black dress
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It bubbles up inside, a rage

A burning need to scream

To let it out, the lies we tell

The words that scar

And still we push it down

Fight against the science that

Tells us that we shouldn’t.

Be quiet, it says

Just keep that anger in.

I saw in the Guardian today that there is a new trend that is springing up all over the country, and that is the scream club. It is open to women and, essentially, they just go to an open space and scream as loud as they can.

It sounds ridiculous but I think there is a lot of power in letting out all that rage. And I think that it’s necessary for our health that we do let out any damaging emotions.

When my parents were breaking up and life felt like it was really falling to bits, I occasionally woke myself up screaming. I remember being really angry in my dream, and I would just take a deep breath and scream. It makes me think that even our subconscious can require us to let it all out.

I would be tempted to attend one of these groups if one appeared in my area. I would love to just go to a field somewhere, after a bad day at work, to just scream like a banshee. And I think it’s significant that these groups are for women. We are normally told to stay quiet and this is telling us to do the exact opposite.

Much Love

R xx

giving the other side a voice

woman placing her finger between her lips
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Some are silenced with a static sound

A snow screen for the ears to blank

The pain that needs to rush out in

An angry torrent to be heard

By a world that when we face the facts

Doesn’t listen to

Our whispered female voices.

I randomly picked a book by Rebecca Humphries called Why Did You Stay? I’m listening to it on Audible and I thought it would be interesting because it was about the Seann Walsh and Katya Jones scandal from the side of the jilted girlfriend.

For those who don’t know what this is, it was a very public relationship breakdown that happened because a celebrity and a pro dancer on Strictly Come Dancing were caught having an affair.

It blew up because the girlfriend of the celebrity released a statement that went viral, and now she has written a book. I wanted to listen to it because I’ve been cheated on, I understand that feeling of betrayal, and I have a bit of a sick need to hear from other people who have also been through it.

However, since selecting and starting that book, the boyfriend has appeared on I’m A Celebrity and we are hearing his side as he tells his campmates about it. I feel like I’m a child caught between two arguing parents as I watch him and then listen to her on my nightly runs.

I know that I shouldn’t really take sides but Rebecca seems so much more articulate (and innocent in the whole matter), so I am on Team Humphries. But it has made me realise how important it seems to be for people to scramble to tell their side of a story when something bad happens.

Someone once told me that whenever there is a falling out, there are three truths: one for each side and then the REAL truth. And that perfectly hits the nail on the head; we all bend the truth a bit, even if we don’t realise we’re doing it.

I just wish that Rebecca had a greater platform to share her story from. He cheated on her and yet he gets to go on one of the biggest TV shows to win over the public, while the jilted woman just gets a spot on one of the back tables in the local Waterstones.

Sounds about right.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the workplace bully

light room with table and chairs near whiteboard
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He wants to show his prominence

And throwing useless weight around

Seems to be the way to have

An iron grip on those below.

He gossips all about their faults,

The drinking problems, gambling

And who got off with who

At the Christmas party.

Stay away from him, or get involved

At your peril if you have

A heart as hard as stone.

The big story in the UK today is the rehiring of Gavin Williamson to the Cabinet.He has a lot of haters after he made a few clangers as the Education Minister and so I thought he was pretty brave in stepping up to the plate again.

But now, there have been allegations that he was bullying staff members last time he was in the Cabinet. He appears to have sent some pretty vile text messages to people and about people and it has come back to bite him on the bum.

And I’m sure that the stories that are being reported are bringing up horrible memories for lots of people – as there are a lot of people out there who have experienced that kind of behaviour before.

Most people will have experienced bullying in the workplace, and the bullies can do what they do without having any idea what kind of havoc they are playing on people’s lives. I got caught up in some nastiness and it led to a complete mental health crisis. I was paid off and that was the last those people probably ever thought of me.

However, good always comes out of the bad, even if you can’t see it when you are in the thick of it. I got sober out of that whole situation and so I could say that something that seemed very dangerous, actually, saved my life.

If you are stuck in a horrible work situation don’t battle on; get out and let the bullies eat each other alive. And remember that your outlook on what is happening will change over time. Things will turn good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a change in the tone of conversation

white clouds
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Come talk to us

If you are feeling down

Come and share your worries

If it’s all a little too much

We’ll try to take the weight

And help you on your way.

I’ve noticed a change in the tone of converation since we have come out of the pandemic. And I’ve noticed it most acutely when I go to church.

In the days before we all went into repeated lockdowns we didn’t seem to talk so much about things being difficult and we didn’t need to ask people to step forward and accept help. Especially in the church environment, I always found that everyone had a sunny outlook. Now the tide seems to have changed.

When we are listening to the service we can put questions forward, anonymously, asking anything that we would like clarified. And there have been a lot of questions recently that start off by saying that the person is struggling in some way, so how does the Bible apply to them?

There are a lot of teenagers in our service and I get the feeling that many of these questions come from them – and that makes me very sad.

The young people are so aware of all the problems of the world and it makes me think that the role of the church is going to have to change. The services will have to be less preaching and more reassuring – especially for teenagers who are evidently really worried at the moment.

Much Love

Rachel xx

stress on the brain

technology computer head health
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Frazzled and ugly,

Singed at the edges

With the unbearable heat

Of a stressful event.

I am the worst at dealing with stress. It was probably the main reason why I ended up drinking so much; anything to get rid of that feeling of having my brain on fire.

I am coming to the end of half term so I’m getting that scratchy feeling in my brain as I prepare to go back to school.

And the thing that I notice the most when I am stressed is that I have an awful memory – like, really awful.

This weekend I was supposed to be running a marathon and I had it in my head that I was supposed to be running on Sunday. This afternoon, I realised that it was supposed to be today. I have officially missed the race that was supposed to make me feel better for missing the race I couldn’t go to because I had COVID.

So that makes me very pissed off.

However, I am determined to not dwell on misfortune and I will run a marathon around the trails near my house. I can even fashion a little medal out of tinfoil to put around my neck once I’m finished.

Much Love

And here’s to a better memory,

Rachel xx

beautiful architecture everywhere

The columns rise majestically

Above our heads, reminding us

Of those that came before our time

And paved the way

For wonders that we know today.

We are having a little half term break in the West. I’m not normally blown away by buildings, but there is something so special about University towns.

We sat in the cathedral this afternoon and I was stunned the stonemasonry. There was also an adjoining library that was equally as impressive.

And then of course, I was lucky enough to go and see the Clifton Suspension Bridge which is a spectacle in itself.

We did have to walk 20km and there were some mean hills. But oh, what a day.

Much Love

Rachel xx

so they do actually trust me

anonymous female friends embracing on spacious meadow
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It’s a funny little thing,

To know that you’re loved,

That they trust your word

And the advice that you give,

It hums in your bones

And puts warmth in your belly,

Knowing they like you,

That they care what you say.

I have a real issue with thinking that people don’t like me, so when I get proof that they do, it can sometimes come as a bit of a shock.

As a teacher, you are putting yourself up for being mocked, and being picked on by teenagers can be miserable. Teenagers are mean.

I have a slightly tricky Year 9 group and there are a couple of girls that are always sniggering in my class. I have spent the whole half term worrying that they hate me.

But yesterday, just before the end of lunch two of them rushed into my room and stood wuietly in front of me, quite obviously deliberating whether or not to confide in me.

“Tell her!” one hissed at the other.

“I don’t think I should,” whispered the girl.

I shifted my weight as I waited for her to word vomit whatever it was just before the bell.

I managed to get out of her that shee was having a friendship issue and she was wanting my advice on what to do. Her plan was to ‘get revenge’, which I told her may not be the best idea. I told her to enjoy her half term and have a break from social media and all the bitching that can go on between fourteen year old girls.

She nodded and off they ran, as the bell began to sound.

I was left standing in my doorway, wandering how I had gotten it so wrong again. I’m obviously doing something right and that was a nice feeling.

Much Love

Rachel xx

be brave and play the game

green tennis ball on court
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There’s always the chance

That you will suffer

Losses far too huge to bear

But sweet success will only come

If you can take those deathly blows

And win the golden medal that

Every person wishes to have hold.

I’m reading a book about sport at the moment, and I love books about any sport because we can learn so much about ourselves if we participate in the game.

One of the huge lessons that I think a lot of the students I teach struggle to deal with, is that we cannot win everything that we do. There has to be a hundred losses suffered before there can even be one win, because those losses give us the necessary experience.

Someone once told me that ‘if you play your chips all night, you’ll always come out even’. I like that saying because there are many times in life when I feel like I am down on my luck. But actually, if you spread all the goods and bads out, you have a nice even mix.

The thing is, you do have to actually play the game if you want to experience those wins. As a raging introvert, I sometimes choose to sit inside and not take part, but perhaps this is my little tap an the shoulder. The universe is whispering in my ear that perhaps I should get out there and do the things.

Much Love

Rachel xx

quiet birthdays and creamy cakes

pink green and yellow ribbon illustration
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When you are eight you dream of mountains

Of presents wrapped in glitzy paper,

A bike with a voluminous bow on the handlebars

And a cake in the shape of Ed the Duck.

When you are eighteen you just wish for booze,

A night on the tiles, with shots and kebabs

And on the the age of twenty eight

Where things are a bit quieter, and you ask

For some sensible clothes for work

And boots and a rain jacket too.

Now I’m heading to forty, just two years to go –

And I think most people have forgotten

But now I take pleasure in the small things,

Some books from the charity shop

And a cake topped with strawberries and cream.

Thirty eight seemed so old, but now

It seems so wonderfully full.

I turned thirty eight today and I knew it was going to be a bit of a wash out because we’re all recovering from COVID and dad’s off on a trip with his friends.

However, I did venture out to the supermarket and so I also hit Matalan and the charity shops to get books and sensible trousers for work.

I had to smile at myself because I felt wonderfully happy and content. When I was drinking, I always wanted fireworks and crazy highs and having a bit of a naff birthday would have resulted in a meltdown where I blamed everyone around me for not loving me enough.

Today, I’m here with a Mug Shot cheesy pasta, Strictly Come Dancing and a strawberries and cream cake from Tesco, and it feels like me cup is half full.

I’m just hoping that when dad arrives tomorrow that he’s going to take me for a cheeky Nandos – then my cup will be overflowing.

Much Love

Rachel xx