seeing my myself on screen

crop faceless multiethnic interviewer and job seeker going through interview
Photo by Alex Green on

It’s like an awful mirror,

Reflecting back the dreaded truth,

Exactly what I looked like

On that day when earth cracked open

And flames of hell were lapping at

My feet, burning soles

And warning me to change.

I just watched a scene on TV that made my toes curl. It depicted a woman being spoken to in a room, and she is alone with a HR person. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that she is an alcoholic and she is in the room because she has done something wrong.

While I was drinking I kept finding myself in that room and wondering why I was there again. I genuinely thought that the world was conspiring against me and it had nothing to do with my behaviour.

And the funny thing is, since I stopped drinking five years ago, I’ve not found myself in one of those situations. Sure, things have gone wrong at work, but they have not spiraled in the way that they used to.

The thing that pushed me to write this wasn’t to talk about how horrible that time was, but to bring up how uncomfortable it is to watch it played back on screen. It was horrible to see it in all its cringey detail.

I think that sometimes we need to be reminded of our errors and feel all that discomfort as a way to remind us not to go back. However, that was a scarily accurate representation of what happened in that final meeting that nearly killed me… and reliving your most shameful moment is never a pleasant experience.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on not knowing when the end will come

yellow and black wooden cabinet
Photo by cottonbro on

We all need a finish line to aim for,

A chalky line across the grass, and tape

To break our way through with our arms held high.

Without that line we’ll keep on running,

Swimming to exhaustion in a pointless circle.

We need to know how long we have, and yet we don’t;

We drift through life without a clue,

It could be twenty years from now, it could be

Crossing over one wrong road at one wrong time,

Never to have time to say goodbye.

I’m reading a book about a woman who has cancer and she is trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to die young. She is dealing with something that many of us won’t have to worry ourselves with; although there are many of us who will have time to think about death as we get older.

My grandmothers died in two very different ways and I have spent a lot of that last decade thinking which I would rather. One died of cancer and although it’s horrid, we all got the chance to make peace with the fact that she was going to go.

On the other hand, my other grandmother just went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. It seemed like quite a lovely way to go, but it was a terrible shock for all of us. However, is that a terrible way to go when you are so much younger? To not know that the end is near? To not live your last day in a way that is fitting?

We all fight with the idea of death at some time and I guess that I’m worrying that I might be halfway now. Or perhaps I’m even further forward. I went to school with a girl who died in her sleep when she was seventeen so it doesn’t just happen to eighty year olds.

And then there are the goodbyes. Don’t we all need to say goodbye, no matter what the relationship? Even if it’s the man on the checkout at your local supermarket; it would feel wrong not to say goodbye and thank you for your company.

So, just in case it’s ever too late, thank you for your company.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

sitting in the therapy chair

man people woman relaxation
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

She taps her pen on her notepad,

Nodding her head and possibly frowning,

Considering the words that fell from my mouth.

She has thoughts, she’ll go to the office

To discuss with the others. I hope

That she doesn’t laugh about me. Perhaps

They have a board in there, counting how many

Patients they’ve made cry that day,

A competition, in a way.

I’m obsessed with the Lori Gottlieb book that I am reading at the moment. I think it might be because I would love to go and see a therapist again. I did find it really difficult to deal with the fact that I couldn’t know what the therapist thought of me and reading this book is really helping me with that.

I think it would be really interesting to unpick how I’m feeling having gotten myself out of the sticky situation that I was in last time around.

It was really interesting to hear Lori speak about why we go to therapy and what our expectations are and I think that’s the biggest thing that has changed in my life. Now, rather than wanting the dream life, I just want a calmer life where I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.

Now I know that those two things are not the same.

Much Love

Rachel xx

how do therapists do it?

tissue paper on container near glass window
Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on

The heaviest weight

That squashes and squeezes

Til the air can’t be held

In these lungs any more,

That is the weight

Of their problems just dropped

Onto her lap, not wrapped with a bow,

Tell me, where does that pain go?

I have just started listening to the audiobook version of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb and it just made me think about how hard it must be to shoulder the weight of all those problems coming into your office each day.

I struggle to deal with the teenage problems that come into my room and I’m not even meant to be dealing with their issues. I have sometimes gone home feeling drained and sad for the kids in my class, taking on some of the pain they float my way.

I take my hat off to those people who listen to horrible stories of pain each and every day. It must be a real skill to keep yourself walled off so that you don’t make yourself sick.

I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of the book on my long runs this holiday. I’m sure I’ll laugh and I’ll cry throughout. I guess that’s how they do deal with the job; cling onto the successes and the funny stories that they are let in on.

Much Love

Rachel xx

writing monologues

crop author writing novel in notebook at aged table
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hi mum,

i wanted to tell you that i missed you,

that i wish you were here to see me grow.

i wish that i knew where you are.

are you here in this town

or have you moved far away?

do you think that we’ll talk

ever again?

can our lives twist together

like the vines round a tree

or are we destined to split,

creaking apart with the weight of our pain?

i wanted to tell you

that i miss you so much,

i wish you were here,

just what do we do?

I’m teaching my Year 7s to write dramatic monologues and it’s such an interesting form of writing that I never really utilise.

I’ve been scouring the internet for examples and there are some that actually have the power to move me to tears. I’m finding that writing my own monologues is almost like going to therapy.

I think that sometimes we need to be a little bit more indulgent and let it all out. It helps us all to breathe a little easier, and I think we all need that every now and then.

Surprise, surprise, most of my outpourings are about my mum and our broken relationship. But writing those words feels a little bit like applying a soothing ointment to a really painful wound.

Much Love

Rachel xx

there’s something about water

photography of waterfalls between trees
Photo by Rifqi Ramadhan on

There’s something about water,

The way that she moves under the sun,

A smashed mosaic, a reflection so broken

That it takes hours on end to see any meaningful

Image inside its body of work.

And that sound of it lapping at the edge of the coast,

Like a hypnotist waiting to steal away time.

Before you will know it an hour has passed

And water has won another slow round.

I don’t know what it is about water, but it just soothes in so many ways. I’m a swimmer, so going for a swim is like therapy for me. It feels like I’m being held in a way that no human can do. And the rhythmic slapping of my arms on the surface is relaxing and reassuring in equal measures.

Even people who don’t swim find it so powerful to just sit by a body of water and if you are anything like me, you will often feel yourself being drawn their when times are hard or stressful.

There was one time when things were proving a little difficult and I would go running only to stop at the river half way around my route. I would sit and listen to that gentle trickling and watch the sun on the surface and I would just feel so at peace.

Water is magical and I think that if we could teach our kids on the side of a lake, or set up our offices beside a secluded waterfall, we would all be much happier people. Our souls would feed off that calmness and our lives would be so much better for it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

holding in the crying

We traipsed through luscious woods

Dripping with the pearly greens

Of sodden leaves and cracking twigs.

He wants to know the reason why

I’m silent as we walk far deeper in

Where sounds are muffled in the leaves.

He wants to know the reason why we’re here.

It is to let it out, the scream that’s building there.

I cannot burst the pressured seal

Until I’m safe, ensconced within the trees.

He shakes as sound escapes from lips

And echoes through the branching wood.

He’s never heard this piercing noise,

It’s frightening for us both.

But when I’m done, we take each other’s hands

And walk back to the life we left behind.

I am working with the 4 and 5 year olds in year R at the moment and I absolutely love watching their quirks. Today, a little girl had a spat with one of her classmates and instead of kicking and screaming she screwed up her face and grimaced as though she was in pain and holding it all in.

She calmed down really quickly but it made me think about my own childhood and how it has followed through into my adult life. I was always told not to make a noise and I would never dare have thrown a tantrum when I was a child.

It’s continued into my adult life and last year after months of bad behaviour from my mum I lost it and a scream just escaped from my body. It was piercing and loud and mum and my son just froze with the the shock as I had never screamed, ever.

I’m sure everyone has had those moments where you can feel anger or fear or frustration building up and you know that you are going to blow. That feeling that you need to go to the middle of the forest and just let it out must me universal to humans. Am I right? I hope I’m right.

I just hope that little girl is OK and that her parents allow her to express her emotions in a healthy way, because if they don’t their daughter might turn out like me, and that would be disastrous…..

Much Love

Rachel xx

i sometimes wonder who i would be if i just didn’t care

A set of rules are all laid out like tracks

And I must follow, questions shan’t be asked.

But what if bumping off the rails

Wasn’t quite as dangerous as they say?

What if they are lying and fields on either side

Are full of nourishment to make a happy life?

What if they are lying, so that all those crops

Are all kept for themselves

While we all chug on by?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the choices I have made during my life and why I have made them. And I’m sad to say that most of my big decisions have been made based on what other people think.

I don’t know about anyone else but I had a very narrow view of how life should pan out while I was growing up. From a very young age I strongly believed that you got good grades at school, got a job, met someone and married, bought a house and had kids. It was the only path that I could see.

And as I got older I tried to rigidly stick to that plan even though my heart was telling me that it was all wrong. And you know what? The whole thing went up in flames, or just made me very unhappy.

I got married when I was really young and had a baby. The marriage didn’t last and it’s scared me off having a relationship again, meaning that I have been single for well over a decade.

I bought a flat, and although I do love it, it makes me feel stressed out every day as I think about the fact that I have a mortgage weighing me down until I’m nearly sixty. I realise that I only bought it because I had some money and it was what everyone told me was the right thing to do with it.

This led me on to thinking what I would have done if I had just listened to my own inner voice and not everyone around me. I would probably be living on a canal boat or in a tiny house, I’d have travelled the world and I’d have been confident enough to really push forward with my art and writing. In short, I wouldn’t have played it so safe.

I hope that people start to see that those rules we think we need to live by aren’t real. We’re told to stick to the formula because it keeps everyone in check and makes a few people rich. I know that once my son has finished school I’m going to start breaking some of these rules, just to see what happens. My gut instinct tells me that it’ll be fun and I won’t actually care if boring people turn their noses up at me.

Much Love

Rachel xx

becoming a grown up means doing hard stuff

The dishes in the sink are lying

In dirt I cannot clean away

I wring the cloth and fell like I

Have also wrung my heart.

The blood spreads through thick white suds

And I’m not sure the knife sliced through

By accident or by some slip of madness.

I wish that I could just scream it out

But greasy water clogs my throat.

It’s dangerous, trying to wash up.

I never realised

Until my body hit the floor.

Ugh, I’m so torn as to whether or not I have done the right thing. My mother has just come back into my life after eight months of not talking to me. But we have just picked up were we left off with her slagging everyone off and I’m not allowed to say a word back. Last time I tried she locked me out of my home with my child.

Anyway, I sent her an email today to say that I will not carry on if she doesn’t agree to some sort of therapy with me. I had to be quite forceful in my email, not horrible, but I had to put my foot down.

I feel like I’m just becoming a proper adult at the age of 35 but it’s hard and I still wish that I could just curl up with a vodka and numb everything. I am a grown up though. I have shown that I can live on my own two feet for almost a year and I don’t need to be put into these frightening situations.

If you’re putting yourself down, spend a bit of time going through everything that you’ve achieved. Even if it’s just saving up for a holiday or keeping a goldfish alive, you’ve done that all by yourself. Congratulate yourself and move on to the next thing.

Much Love

Rachel xx

She doesn’t seem to understand, there’s something very wrong

Heads bent together

Over greasy fish and chips

As eyes meet from time to time,

Sulkily and lovingly,

I never knew that we could feel

Such a perfect storm,

A flurried cocktail fuming with

Deepest loves and chimneys cracked

With over use and too much hate.

I pick at bones and smile through pain,

She doesn’t seem to know.