the supermarket frozen aisle

The frozen food section at a quarter to twelve,

It’s a lonely place to be.

The only sound, the humming of the freezers

And the distant beep of check out girls

Scanning chips and apples, loaves of bread.

It is the place I’ve always come

Since that day you left in June.

The cold it keeps me from expiring,

Earlier than I ever should.

The sad and lonely men who drift on by,

Holding empty baskets on their arms,

Are a sad reminder of what I have become.

Their vacant eyes and down turned mouths,

Reflect with painful accuracy,

The person who I’m bound to be

A few years down the line from now.

I wish that I’d tried harder,

I wish that I’d clung on some more.

And then I’d come on shopping trips

With other couples while the sun is up.

But now I’m destined to drift around

This ghostly version of the life that I once had,

Where sad and lonely folk all pass

Underneath the buzzing lights

Of the frozen aisle.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a supermarket in the middle of the night, but it can be a little bit depressing. If you compare it to the hustle and bustle of a Saturday morning, when all of the young families and loved up couples are out in force, there is a stark contrast.

I always think that the people who go shopping in the middle of the night go there to avoid these happy people because they are sad. They don’t want to be reminded of the happiness that they are missing out on. And sometimes I wonder if they are deliberately avoiding it because they once were one of those happy people and the pain of what they lost is too great for them to bear? Perhaps they went through a divorce and now they can’t even entertain the idea of going shopping in amongst all of those happy families?

I always wonder how people end up in the places they do and I feel a great deal of empathy towards the people who I think might have a story to tell. People tend not to choose to be alone and drifting around the supermarket at midnight. There is normally a story to tell and this poem scratches at the surface of this.

If you are alone and wandering around the shops at a ridiculous hour then I hope that you can reach out and find some companionship somewhere in this world.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sorry seems to be the hardest word

In the dark, deserted loneliness

Of the place we once called home,

You whispered several thousand words,

That all expressed how sorry that you were.

But when the day crept into view,

Those empty words began to scatter,

Like spiders when they scuttle

For the safety of the nooks and crannies.

It seems that when the world awakes

And sunlight streams in through the cracks,

You don’t seem so sure you’re wrong.

Or if you are, you’re too ashamed

To admit that what you did, it hurt.

Better to pretend it’s me

That should be shouldering the blame.

Ever been blamed for something that wasn’t your fault? Or had someone change their story when they start to look bad? I can sympathise and I know that it hurts somewhere deep inside.

The problem is that as humans we all have our own story to tell and our own truth. A lot of the time we don’t even know what the truth is because we can make ourselves believe the story we have made up in our own minds.

What really hurts is when someone admits that they have hurt you and say that they are sorry, then when they get out into the public domain, they change their story and say that you have hurt them. It makes you feel like you want to go out into the street and shout so that everybody knows YOUR truth.

But as much as it hurts, it’s always best to remain quiet and graceful. Mouthing off in the street (or on Facebook) doesn’t do anybody any favours and it particularly reflects badly on you. It’s so much better to sit quietly, smile and make everyone think that nothing is hurting you. It’s the hardest thing to do EVER, but it’s so worth it.

Remember that if you are on the receiving end of this, you know your truth. The person on the other side of the fence has their own story and their own reasons for their behaviour. Just try to smile and send love their way. Keep your dignity in tact, you’ll be grateful of it further down the line.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

storm in a teacup

They told me that really it’s nothing,

A storm in a teacup,

It’ll pass in due course, forgotten so soon.

But the storm, it has worsened

And the cup is destroyed.

Pieces of fine china, flying all over,

Ready to cut and to slice and to dice.

I wish that your anger had never been held

Inside that little cup, so dainty and cute.

Because now it is lethal and there is no end in sight.

It’s the shards that will kill me

As your storm grows in size,

Filling the room with all you despise.

I’m having a relationship issue at the moment and all I want is for it to stop. When it all kicked off, over a year ago, I told everyone that it’ll blow over and be OK. But the person at the eye of this storm has just got more and more angry and everything has got so out of control that I hardly know what’s happening anymore.

It reminded me of the idea of a storm in a teacup. I was always a little bit confused by that expression because I was always worried about what would happen if the storm got bigger. And now it has I can see that it’s become bloody dangerous. I imagine bits of shrapnel flying around all over the place and all I want to do is hide under the furniture and hope it goes away.

The situation has also taught me a lot about hatred and how, for some people, it can just grow and grow until it consumes them. It’s very sad because it must be really painful to hold onto such horrible feelings and it shows that they must have had a lot of pain in their lives.

If you are struggling with forgiveness and holding onto hatred, then perhaps you should try to let go of the rope, just a little bit. Forgiveness eases that pain, even though it’s hard to rebuild trust. And if, like me, you are on the receiving end of somebody’s hate, I hope that you can stand strong and realise that you don’t need to retaliate. Again, just drop the rope and pray that one day the storm will blow itself out.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

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

makeup and mothers

Pots and vials and plastic tubes,

I had a few of each, spread across the table.

“You’ll be needing some of that,”

She whispered in my ear.

I shrugged her off dismissively,

But still I reached and grabbed the pot.

I felt her sneer, it burned its way into my back,

Both cold and hot, all at once,

A special skill she’d mastered long ago.

Dutifully, I smeared it on,

I covered every blemish, every pore.

That was what she wanted.

My mother always focused on my flaws.

Long ago I’d lost the confidence

To show my face without its painted mask.

She’d told me that it needed hiding.

The world, it didn’t want to see,

What was lurking underneath,

The building blocks that she had given me.

After all, it was her who formed me in the womb.

Half of me was all of her and that was more than she could take.

If I was less than perfect, then what did that make her?

Better fill my stocking with

The very best that she could buy.

To conceal and colour, to offer a foundation

On which a perfect lie is told,

A lie that paints us in a better light

And keeps our ugly secrets firmly out of sight.

Why the hell do we wear makeup if not to cover up who we really are? I was always getting makeup from my mum. There would always be a little something in my stocking each year even though I never actually wear makeup all that often. I sometimes wonder if the reason she wanted to buy it for me was because she didn’t like what she saw. Maybe she saw the bits of herself that she didn’t like when she looked in the mirror?

Mums do tend to have a way of being super critical and I think a lot of it is because we hope that our kids are going to be a better version of ourselves. But everyone on the planet is flawed and so we are always going to be a little bit disappointed if we put all of our hopes and dreams in another human being.

I do like to play around with makeup every now and then but I refuse to let anyone make me feel like I’m less of a person if I don’t wear it. We’re all beautiful in our own way and we should be proud of the people we are even though we have flaws in both our physical appearance and our personality.

Love who you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

flowers on the side of the road

I stooped and touched the drooping petals,

I guessed those flowers had been there

For several weeks at least.

Cellophane all cracked and crumpled,

And a greeting card that’s long since disappeared.

I wondered how the person these were for

Had died, had perished, lost their life.

I wondered if they had a spouse or kids,

Or anyone who missed them dearly, now that they were gone.

And then my thoughts, they trailed away,

To my own life and my own pain.

I missed her even though she lived.

But the breaking of those bonds,

Were just as violent and severe.

I missed her with the same intensity

That I would feel if I were taping flowers to this tree.

She’s gone, not dead, but vanished from my life.

Perhaps I need to buy some flowers,

Make a little grave to mark

The passing of a love that’s done.

Then perhaps I’ll find a way to put her ghost to rest

And remove this heavy weight that’s rested on my chest.

I miss my mum so much. She’s not died but she has cut me out of her life completely and I have found that some of the things I say to people make it sound like she is no longer here at all. I’m so sad about everything that has happened that I just want to put it all to rest. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t give up on the hope that I might get her back. I can’t have the ‘funeral’ because there is so much uncertainty. And I love her and would have her back in a heartbeat.

If you are mourning the end of a relationship I hope that you are staying strong and looking after yourself. Just be open and ready if the person does want to reconcile because hatred is a horrible and energy draining emotion.

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.

chess, love and woodwork

I can’t make you love me,

I can’t reach across the table,

I can’t shake the hatred from you.

I’d love to be a bit like God

And be the one who’s able

To push around the people in my life,

Like little pieces in a game of chess.

I’d find a way to drill inside that fucking queen

And find a heart, deep within the wood.

I’d win the game and make you love

In just the way I think you should.

I have such a problem with acceptance and it’s taken three years of recovery and working on myself to realise this. While I was drinking I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I can’t make people like me. I can’t make them be nice. People are who they are and I may just have to disagree with them. And quietly, without an argument.

It’s still something that is hard because I am going through a difficult time with my mum and all I want to do is force her to like me. But I can’t and that really hurts in a deep way. But I will sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut. All I can do is be ready for her if she changes her mind, be ready to accept her and love her.

I hope that if you are struggling in a relationship that you can find the strength to be accepting and loving and patient. Just let go and Let God, because everything happens in his perfect timing.

Much Love

Rachel xx

time travelling

I like to think of this thing we call time

As fluid, elastic and stretched across space

Ready to snap when the tension’s too much,

And our fingers are finally ready to touch.

The reason we’ve not made contact before

Isn’t because we were not meant to be,

But rather we’ve had to travel so far

On a journey that raises this galaxy’s bar.

I started a thousand years forward

And you were a million years back.

But when two people are so meant to be

The laws of physics are loosened and free.

And so we are hurtling through time and through space

Until the deep impact where we did first meet.

Remember that bone jarring crash on that day

When fate and good fortune came into play?