why exactly did you stay?

I just finished listening to the audiobook of Why did you stay? by Rebecca Humphries, and it opened up a lot of questions in my own


it was quieter than she expected

It was quiet, much quieter than she expected

When he stumbled into her life

All Levi jeans and winter boots,

A musky scent, filling our space.

She was expecting fireworks, a flash mob

With everyone dancing and a fluttering heart,

But instead

He pulled back the strand of hair

That often fell across her eyes

And whispered into her ear

‘I like your smile, and you made me laugh.

Can I take you out for a glass of wine,

And we’ll just see where this thing goes?’

I love your face

I love you wearing red

Because it brings out your facial expressions.

I love your eyes

Because they make you look really old.

I love your dress

Because it looks like my mum’s curtains.

And I really love your scent

Because it smells a little bit like cheese.

I absolutely love it when people try hard to flirt, and it just falls flat. And I don’t mean bad chat up lines, I mean lines that are probably more likely to offend than flatter (unintentionally, obviously).

I would far rather a guy tell me I smell like cheese because he likes that fragrance than some cheesy small talk (excuse the pun).

Much Love

Rachel xx

the healing effect of an apology

close up view of band aids on blue surface
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They stared at me, maliciously – or so I thought,

They were probably just uncomfortable,

Around my silence and my simple defiance.

I could feel the shame bubbling up inside

And so my energy seeped, and life turned dark.

They did blood tests and shone lights in my eyes,

But, of course, nothing showed up – nothing’s wrong

Despite the fact this aching lethargy

Peppered my bones for several months.

And then one day, I crawled back to that pool,

I cried and told him, I’d never leave again.

It was a load of crap really,

But I did mean one thing -that I was sorry,

I meant that with all my heart. I recovered soon,

With that weight lifted off. The apology

Was was a shadowy turning point.

I find apologising really hard, but every time I’ve done it, and really meant it, it’s been a really healing experience. There is a reason that an apology is one of the twelve steps in a recovery programme – it’s powerful.

I remember when I was a teenager I was a swimmer and I got it into my head that my coach hated me. I left his squad and the decision ate me up for months.

I started to get very tired and within a few months I went from being able to swim 10k to struggling to climb a flight of stairs. I went to my doctor and had tests and reviews and nothing showed up. Apparently, I was completely healthy.

Eventually, feeling so sad and low, I dragged myself to the pool and cried uncontrollably on this poor man. I said I was sorry and I really meant it, and knowing that I was forgiven was even more freeing.

Whether my remarkable recovery had anything to do with this is anyone’s guess, but I like to think that the universe knows when something good has taken place, and rewards it.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

a summer in africa

There’s something about the African sun

That beats from a sky much bluer than ours,

Heat scorched grass and roaring lions,

The cocktails will flow at the Tiki bar

As the boys all dance and drink and smoke

And that sun sinks down as the fireflies light

You caught my eye over a tin of beer,

Little did I know that we’d never be split

As the animal snarls close in on the camp

And a heat rises up between two drunken bodies,

Tanned from the day and tired from the night.

And that was how Africa changed one girl’s world

From a stiff British lip to a woman who roars.

My dad went and cleared out the last of the house yesterday and he brought some bags of my stuff over today. Most of it was a load of old rubbish that is going straight in the bin or to the charity shop, but every so often I stumbled across something that just lightened my mood.

Surprisingly the most powerful things I found were the photos. There were so many from when I was a teenager and I used to take a disposable camera everywhere with me. And that includes the summer that I went to South Africa, all on my own.

I ended up meeting my future husband and Noah’s dad and I found a photograph of us in the piles of junk. It reminded me of times that I had pushed to the back of my mind for so long. At the time they were really painful memories, but stumbling across them now has just made me smile.

It’s reminded me that distance between now and then really does ease pain. The more time that passes, the easier it is to remember those times. In fact, now I am actively enjoying looking through those memories. I can only really feel the good feels; the funny stories; the love.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

we push and pull

starry sky over mountains
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We push and pull within this life,

Inside this tiny home we love.

We love each other but

There’s testing that we need to do

And like a pane of glass

That buckles in the wind

It only takes a little more

And we will smash into a thousand jewels.

So push,

But as our world begins to bend,

Be ready for that break,

Be ready for the sweeping up

Of sparkling stars that could have been

Washed up in our midnight sky.

romance fraud

roll of american dollar banknotes tightened with band
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The money drain through wires on fire

With lies and words that burn through skin.

She trusted him, his deep blue eyes

And promises of heartfelt love,

But really it cannot work out,

The distance and the age for one,

The cruelty of the scam.

I was listening to Jeremy Vine today and he was talking about romance fraud. For those not in the UK, Jeremy Vine has a radio show and he talks about things that have been in the news and takes calls from experts and the public to talk about their opinions and experiences.

Now I know what romance fraud is, I had just never heard it being given a name that was solid and real. It is where somebody gets scammed on line by a person that they thought they were in love with and I think most people have at least heard some of the horror stories about people losing thousands of pounds because of it.

A lot of the time, we listen to these stories and just shake our heads and think how stupid these people must be. But are they? Love is a bloody powerful drug and it can make us humans do some pretty crazy stuff.

I listened to the stories these callers had and I could feel my insides turn, thinking of the pain that they must have gone through. It must be such a shock to lose all that money, but they’re not just losing the money, they’re also losing love. And that must really hurt.

My ex husband saw me coming and he took a fair bit of money from me. Luckily, I didn’t have a lot to give because I was in my teens when he got his claws in. I came out of it with my savings account looking much lighter and the embarrassment of a failed marriage and it is always the loss of the love the hurts the most when I think back to that time.

It’s hard to know what to do in these situations because I think that it’s important we let our defenses down and try to find love, but it can also send you doolally. I guess I’d just say be careful. Don’t harden your heart (which is what I have done), but don’t put yourself at risk.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i really need a bottle of love

bazaar bottles business ceramic
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A bottle with a screw top, preferably,

So that I can take a sip and stow away the rest.

Just so I won’t have to take

Doses that I’d never handle in a million years,

A little here and there to stem the flow

Of hate that courses through my life,

But not enough to cause that pain

At the other end.

I won’t get into a relationship because I’m scared. I’m one of those people with an addictive personality, and I mean that in the worst possible way. Once I’ve removed the lid on something pleasant, I can’t put it back on for love nor money.

I sometimes wish that I could just dip my toe into love so that I could make myself feel more confident. I wish I could do it so that if it all goes wrong, all I have to deal with is something like a mild hangover.

Unfortunately, most people want to dive right in. And then when they fall out of love with you they cut you off just as quickly.

I hear that love is the most amazing feeling and that’s why people just fall into patterns where they date (unsuccessfully) over and over again. It’s just so that they can get those amazing feelings that come with the early stages of a relationship.

There is so much bad going on in the world at the moment that I feel like I need a sip of love, but the fear makes me just keep it on the shelf, looking down at me disapprovingly.

One day I will find the bravery needed.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

junk emails

I pick through inbox rubbish

Weeding out the worthy princes

Asking for my savings to

Be sent to bank accounts

In Africa, it’s fine,

I’ll get a million back.

And then there’s ads

For pills delivered to my door

And hats for cats

And other curiosities

That I’ll never need.

And then I scroll down to your name

And see the subject line.

I’ve read those words a thousand times:

It’s me, not you,

I’ll miss you more

Than you’ll ever know.

the one night stand

black and white portrait of a woman

I crept into a living room I barely knew

And searched for warmth or clothes or dignity.

I found his jumper strangely folded by the couch

And pulled it on, staring at the wall,

His smell was clinging to the wool

Blue and cable knit and more expensive

Than anything that I could hope to buy.

An older man felt stable in the night

When vodka coursed through warmer veins.

Now I feel at odds with life, left wondering

If he was just a big mistake.