Work shy?

The fear of what can happen while I’m there,

It scrapes its talons through the juicy parts,

Of my brain that flickers with anxiety.

Its vast feathery wings beat against my body,

As I try to tell myself that this is all for money.

I need the money if I want to live,

Without it humans simply shrivel up and die.

It’s our lifeblood, it makes the world go round.

But me, I hate the stuff.

It’s crude papery body flutters through my fingers,

Never there quite long enough,

To make a difference in life.

It simply swoops into my line of sight,

Plucks all the happiness that’s curled inside my hand.

It tells me that I’m never good enough,

That my boss will want me out, or want me dead.

Eventually it pecks until there’s nothing left.

I’m just a shell of who I used to be.

Perhaps I’m shy of work, of effort and of toil.

Perhaps I am just trouble, a burden on the state.

Whatever the reason, I’m scared of what will happen.

I’m scared of what will rob me of the life I have,

I’m terrified of the lifelike claws that dig their way,

Inside my thoughts, into my life.

I’m holding on but I don’t know

How much longer this can last.

My grasp is failing.

I am falling.

It is done.

I work part time because I’ve had some horrible experiences at work that have really left me quite frightened. Some people might sneer and say that I’m being a bit of a snowflake, but I’m really trying and this is a poem about that battle.

Every day that I go to my job I have to battle internally with all of my demons and, quite frankly, it’s exhausting. I sometimes worry that I’m work shy, but I know from the amount of effort that I have to put in to just show up that that can’t be the case. I must be committed if I am going to this much trouble.

On a daily basis I have to tell myself that I am trying and the very fact I am getting in and standing on my own two feet is proof that I am winning the battle, little by little. It is terrifying and yet I still do it.

And then, I have the daily reminder that I need to work if I am going to have the money to eat and do the things that I want to. I sometimes worry that eventually it’s all going to dry up and then I will die. It feels like a wild animal is chasing me down and that is where this poem comes from.

If you are struggling with a fear of work and getting fired and everything that goes along with that, then I hear you. It’s horrible to fear something that is so important in life. I hate when I hear people say that they live for their jobs because I wonder what is wrong with me; why can’t I have that passion? Instead I am left with a crippling fear and a life that I feel is half lived. If you are like me then I would love for you to know that there are other people out there. You are not alone. Speak to someone, get counselling. Just don’t let it drive you to the point where you are done.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Sliding Doors

That moment when the doors slide closed,

And life, it changes irrevocably.

You’re cast along another rail,

One not within your plans.

It wasn’t even comprehendible

Just a few short hours in the past.

But now it slides into reality,

Slotting into place

And holding firm despite the fear

That settles in your heart.

Because now your life is split.

Two parallel stories running side by side,

Two trains racing through the darkened tunnels,

Veering off to the left and right,

Horns blaring as they part.

And who knows where each will terminate?

Who knows if it was right the one you picked?

All you can do is hold on tight,

Close your eyes and wait for what?

A voice to come from the loudspeaker?

Telling you that you were right?

No. Nobody will give you that.

You must wait until the end.

The end of the line that you chose.

Ever wonder if there was a pivotal moment in your life when you may well have chosen wrong? I have so many of these moments littered throughout my life and I refer to them as my Sliding Doors Moments. They make me think that if just one moment had been different then I could end up in a completely different life.

Normally it’s a fun game to imagine where I might be, but sometimes my head goes to places that I wasn’t expecting and I can end up in some quite dark places. This poem sticks with the train theme that the original movie used and uses the idea of an out of control train that can’t be stopped once you’ve made that choice. Once you’ve picked the line that you re taking there is no going back. You just need to hold on tight and hope that you get to the end destination safely.

Do you have any moments in life where things could be different if you had done something other than what you did? Could your life have been better or worse? Have a think about it today…..

Just be nice to everyone!!!

Can we all just be nice to each other,

Even when the twat at the till who shouts really loudly at you,

Just deserves a punch in the face.

Because you are better than that.

And the really important thing to remember,

Is that you have no fucking way,

Of knowing what he’s going through.

He may not be as awful as you think.

He might be going through something hard,

He might be in terrific pain.

And you could be the one to ease that just a little.

You could be the one to make the difference,

In a really shitty day.

It could be your smile and hi and friendly bye,

That takes the edge of something terrible.

It’s not all about you and your feelings,

It’s you who has to get that ball rolling.

So roll it and see where it goes.

You may not get to see the final destination,

But I can assure you that it will be somewhere

Pretty fucking nice.

What I REALLY need is someone to look up to

I’m watching BBC Question Time and these are the words that started to come into my head. We are living in a really divided and scary Britain and world at the moment. It’s scary enough to make me want to turn the TV off and pretend that none of it is happening. But poetry is designed to help us say what we feel about these bigger topics in the world, so here goes…

What I really need is someone to look up to.

I don’t need a person who speaks so posh,

That someone like me can’t understand what he thinks,

How he feels and the things that he wants.

I don’t want to follow men who are older than dad,

Who can’t possibly understand

What is nagging at my consciousness, as I toss and turn,

In my bed late at night.

I need somebody who speaks like me, looks like me,

Concerned by the same things as me.

I need to know that the world that I leave,

To my children and their children will be OK.

Better than OK.

I want it to flourish and some posh geezer,

Who waltzed through Eton and Oxford,

Or Cambridge or somewhere like that,

Just doesn’t seem to get what I mean.

When I say that I’m scared, I’m really so scared.

They’re out for themselves in this contest,

For popularity and fame.

Think of the speaking gigs and book deals they’ll get,

When this is all over,

And the country is in tatters.

When we are all left to pick up the pieces.

So I don’t really care if a candidate,

Is young or female or ‘wet behind the ears’.

I care if she cares and I can see it in her eyes.

I want a role model,

And if that makes me stupid or silly or dumb,

I’ll take it on the chin and vote with my foot.

Because all that I really want and need,

Is a person to relate to,

To look up to and a person I’d quite like to be.

I don’t think it’s hard to guess who I’ll be voting for next month and my reasoning behind it. I hope that everyone does get out there and vote and I hope that this next couple of weeks will start to wrap up such a difficult three and a half years in our history.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are in the comments, although do keep them loving and respectful. Politics have the ability to draw us together or rip us apart and I hope that whoever in power does everything they can to do the former. This is about what’s best for the country and not how much glory the person who wins can enjoy.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

What I should have known when I was 20 (a poem)

There are probably a shit tonne of essays and books and blog posts (and maybe a poem or two) about what people wish they had known when they were 20. Looking back, we all wish we could go back and impart our acquired knowledge upon our younger self.

But I was a little bit broken and it was the reason that I ended up not having the career that my friends enjoyed or the relationships or the posh holidays and fancy cars. While they all grew up, I remained a sixteen year old who downed shots, even on a Tuesday.

Now that I have put my drinking days to bed and decided to make a real effort at getting my brain sorted out I feel like I can piece together something similar to all of those other lists on the internet. But mine isn’t what I wish I’d known; mine is what I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. It’s the stuff I really should have picked up if I wasn’t drunk, or high, or wandering around somewhere dangerous in Africa.

So here’s a little poem with some of the obvious stuff and also some of the things that are only applicable to wonky people like me.

When I was young and left my home,

There was a big, exciting world to roam.

But I did not know how to look

After the girl whose world was shook

When she found that drink was nice,

It’s just she didn’t know the price.

I wish that she had understood,

That letting go was what she should

Be doing when those heavy woes

Pushed her deep into her lows.

Let go of all that she resents,

All it does is swiftly robs and then prevents,

The happiness that could be hers,

But anger seems to be what she prefers.

I wish she knew that money, houses and a car

Aren’t the answer, not by far.

They’ll scratch the itch that plagues her so

But they won’t help her fly or grow.

The joy that they will make her feel

Is transient; it isn’t even real.

I wish that I could tell her to

Try the thing that scares her through

To her core; the thing that sets her heart on fire,

A passion of which she’ll never tire.

Don’t do what they all think you should,

Don’t think you need it to be good,

You’re good enough just as you are

Just don’t let them eclipse your star.

How to deal with the ups and downs of life (a couple of helpful tips)

I sometimes feel like I’m living more downs than ups and that can be a really difficult thing to deal with. But we’re all feeling this way and that is why life is so bloody confusing. It’s the fact that we watch everyone else and wonder how the fuck they are making it look so easy when they are looking right back at us and thinking the same thing. It’s laughable really, but it’s a truth that needs to be learned and accepted if we are to do anything great while we are here on earth.

There was a time when I was genuinely convinced that there was some kind of class that I had missed where everybody had a life manual dished out to them. I seriously believed that they all had this book that gave them a comprehensive set of instructions on how to do it right.

Of course, drinking to the excess that I did, didn’t make my understanding of life any easier, but I knew that if I could just get hold of that book, then I’d know where I was going wrong. I would know how to navigate life’s ups and downs without making the complete mess of it that I always did.

Now I know that this manual doesn’t exist and I have had to develop a set of my own rules. I see the rules a little bit like a seat belt that I can use on this rollercoaster that used to throw me all over the place, sometimes nearly leaving me on my deathbed. The rules don’t stop the rollercoaster from moving but they do stop me from flying out of my seat. (Crap metaphor, I know, but it fits with the ferocity of the feelings that I used to have back in those days).

So here are a few little ways in which I try to keep myself safe when I’m on that up and down journey and my knuckles are white with the effort from hanging on for dear life.

  • Repeat the words LET GO AND LET GOD. Handing everything over to a power greater than myself is always a comfort. It’s the loss of control that is scary so hand it over to something bigger than yourself.
  • Remember that another person’s opinion of you cannot harm you. I often find I’m so emotionally hurt by what somebody says that I forget it can’t do any physical damage. It cannot kill me and it only has the power that I allow it to have over me.
  • Somebody else’s opinion is often a reflection of their own insecurities. If they are being horrible to me it’s because something in their own past has been dredged up in them. That has nothing to do with me.
  • Knowing that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. There are not many things in life that last forever. A bad feeling, or a crappy situation will normally pass. I often try to think if I will remember what is happening in five years. If the answer is no then it’s probably not worth wasting too much energy on.
  • See life as a story or novel. You can’t have a good novel without there being a chapter or two where the main character goes through some shit. Without this the novel is going to be a little bit boring! So if you find yourself going through some difficult days or weeks or months, then think of it as only a chapter or two of your life and look forward to the upward curve when you will get your happily ever after.

I hope that some of these are useful to you. I know that shitty times in life are hard to get through when everyone around you appears to be doing so well. But know that they will be dealing with their own problems in their own times and you just need to stay in your own lane, get your head down and look forward to the brighter times that are already on the horizon.

You are loved and you are special and you just need to relax and breathe and smile like you have it all under control, because that’s all that those other people around you are doing.

Much love

Rachel xx