the angel on the bus

He was dressed all in white

Which was quite a curious thing.

She prayed that he wouldn’t sit down

On the seat next to her on the bus.

He did stop beside her and she shuffled along,

Hoping that at least he’d stay quiet.

It’s going to be OK, he said after a mile or two.

She looked at him properly for the very first time,

The sun filtered through windows to blind her with light.

I haven’t a clue what you mean, she muttered,

But way deep down in the pit of her stomach

She knew that he knew.

There was something extraordinary

About the man dressed in white.

He smiled and he stroked at her face

And everything melted away.

He was gone by the time they reached the next stop,

But he saved her that day.

She had been travelling to the place where she planned to jump,

Feeling empty and dark, a weight on the world.

It only took one person to shine in a light.

Whether he was real or an angel on the bus,

It really didn’t matter,

He quietened the chatter inside of her head,

For just long enough

To pull her away from the edge.

I feel like everyone needs an angel at some point in their life. And I like to believe that sometimes we get one sent down. There has been a lot of talk about suicide in the UK over this weekend and the need to reach out and talk when things are difficult. But this is a bloody scary thing to do when you already feel crappy, and sometimes it needs to be the other way round.

The brilliant book The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin is a perfect example of this. When somebody is right there on the edge, it can be a stranger who makes all the difference. I know that everyone hates the person who comes and sits next to them on the bus and starts having a conversation when all you want to do is read, but we are a social species and surely the world would be a better place if we all connected a little bit more.

I really do believe in angels, whether they be normal people put in a certain place at just the right time, or some sort of messenger sent straight from God Himself, I really think they are out there. Perhaps we should all aim to be a little bit more like the angel on the bridge. You never know what awful set of events you might stop from happening.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i wish i worked here

She wiped down sticky tabletops

And cleared away the plates and coffee cups.

Aching feet and creaking back,

She wondered when she’d get her break.

She wondered when her knight in shining armour

Would come charging through the door,

When she would be able to hang her apron up

And live a life of shopping trips and luncheon dates.

And then she saw her huddled in a corner booth,

An older lady, wearing furs and draped in frosty diamonds.

“We’re closing up,” she called, eager to get out on time.

The woman raised her red and puffy face,

Streaked with quiet tears that screamed of pain.

“I’m going, dear,” she said, dabbing at her eyes.

“You’ll never know how lucky you are working here,”

She smiled and stood, throwing money down to pay.

“I wish that I could have a life so simple and so……

Nice,” she said after a little pause.

The bell above the door tinkled as she left,

And she wondered what it was that lady could have meant.

I often spend time wondering what it must be like to have lots of money and not have to work my crappy retail job. I imagine that people who have this life I dream of must have no worries at all. But deep down, I also know that this is rubbish. Everyone has problems and in some ways my life is so nice BECAUSE it is so uncomplicated. Perhaps if I had money I would be worrying about my health or worrying that people are only friends with me for my money.

I think that we really need to remember that we are all human and we all have the same number of struggles, they can just look a bit different from the outside. And just because someone has money, it doesn’t mean that their pain is any less valid than somebody who is struggling to get by.

Next time you find yourself wishing that you were better off, or that your problems are far worse than others, try to think of some of the positive things in your life. And then remind yourself that we are ALL struggling so don’t think that because someone has gone on a nice holiday, that they are exempt from feeling emotional pain. We are all human and we are all on this journey together, so let’s help each other along rather than wishing we were in another person’s shoes.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Setting some life goals….

Sitting at my desk and staring

At the inspirational quotes

That I tacked to the walls,

In the hope that they’d make

Me work that bit harder

And achieve a bit faster.

There’s a notepad in front of me,

And nothing written in it.

The truth is that none of this stuff really works.

I can’t see what will happen tomorrow,

Or next month or next year.

Trying to plan and pretend that I know

Where I will be in ten years,

Isn’t much use in this world of such ups,

And such incredible downs.

I’ll rip down those quotes,

And tear them to ribbons

That flutter like petals of snow.

I’ll get out and I’ll feel

The sun on my skin,

Experience my life on the terms of that life,

Because all that is coming my way

Isn’t for me to know.

I hate people telling me to plan ahead and think about my career goals and where I want to be in the next ten years. I can’t plan further than my next meal. And there is a reason for that. I’m terrible at life and it just makes me angry and full of anxiety.

I totally agree that we need to have dreams and things to work towards, but I think that when we are making list after list of rigid goals, it can be really upsetting when we don’t reach them, or they start taking much longer than anticipated.

I have found in recovery that it is far better to hand it over to God or the Universe of whatever you believe to be more powerful than yourself. Work hard and make the world a better place and really try to enjoy everything that you do, but don’t beat yourself up when something you have no control over gets in your way. These things happen and they are nobody’s fault.

Of course, some people thrive on making these lists, so if this is you, crack on. But if you’re wired like me, don’t feel like you’re letting yourself down by being a bit more free and easy about where you are going in the future. Just enjoy the adventure!

Much Love

Rachel xx

isn’t poetry lovely?

isn’t poetry

just the loveliest of art forms?

i can make

such a beautiful thing

with nothing but words.

no money or space

for clay or paints,

but an endless array

of ways to sculpt

the letters i love.

I was watching a piece on TV about Grayson Perry the other day. If you are unfamiliar with him, he is an artist whose pottery sells for astronomical prices. However, this wasn’t always the case. He used to make lots of clay creations for people for next to nothing and now he is looking for people to return his early work so that it can be put in a new exhibition.

Watching the segment on TV, it got me thinking about all of the art forms and how poetry is so underrated. When you think about it, we have no costs and we have endless combinations of words that we can play with. If I were a potter I would have to worry about where I could keep my more ugly creations, that nobody wants to see. And then I would have to worry about all the money I had spent to make this hideous pot that I can’t sell on.

As a would be poet I can play around forever. If nobody wants to see what I’ve written then they can just breeze over it. I could pump out fifty poems a day if I so wished and I wouldn’t have to worry about filling my house with them.

Poetry really is the loveliest of art forms.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the royal drama

The wedding captured all our hearts,

We waved our flags wished them well.

The hope for future happiness?

It’s what the papers used to sell.

*

But as the years ticked by with speed,

Our hopes and dreams began to fail,

The love affair with our duchess

Had long before, set out to sail.

*

Who should take the weight of blame?

Was it them who riled the press?

Or was it us who pushed her down

Even though she showed distress?

*

But now we need to step away,

To look at what we’ve done again.

We’ve pushed a family to the edge

And not learnt lessons from back then.

*

Listen to his woeful words,

He’s lived through this one time before.

Those words, they prove that just because he’s royal,

It doesn’t mean that he’s not human at the core.

I’ve been watching the royal drama unfold with bated breath over the last couple of weeks. I love the royal couple and all I wish for is their future happiness. But I really didn’t expect all of this when I watched their wedding less than two years ago.

Watching this play out on the news has been a good reminder of what is important. Harry and Meghan never have to worry about money; some would say that they have the charmed life. But under the press scrutiny that she has been under it would be hard for anybody to live.

And then you throw into the mix the fact that Harry’s beloved mother was killed in a car accident involving the press and you can see why he is so protective of Archie and Meghan. It’s no wonder that he has made the decision to step back from everything he has ever known.

I think that we should all take from this that the most important thing in life is love. Harry looked so upset as he gave his speech about the split last night and I am sure that he is pining for a normal life with his wife and child. He is probably pining for a life a bit more like the life that I complain about. This week I will make sure that I am a bit more grateful for having exactly what I have in my possession. And I will definitely be saying a prayer for Harry and Archie and hoping that they have the life that they were probably dreaming of when they got married on that magical day.

Much Love

Rachel

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

to be like charlize theron

I’m thirsty for something.

I want to fill that gaping hole.

I want to find the thing that’s missing,

The piece that’s missing from my soul.

Perhaps I need to buy something?

That perfume they’ve been advertising,

That could be the thing I’m looking for.

Surely if I bought more stuff

My problems would all go away.

I’d be just like the models that I see,

The ones they use to show the stuff

To all of us who are upset

With where our lives have taken us.

If I was like Charlize Theron

And spritzed myself with damned Dior,

Then I could look like her, and be like her and have her perfect life!

I wouldn’t feel so thirsty

And I wouldn’t have that hole inside.

But I cannot afford that scent

So I’m not worthy of a place,

Among the blessed, the super models and the super rich.

Instead I’ll just go back to work

And spur the cycle on and on.

As humans we are thirsty for something and this world is so broken that we just chase all the things that give us instant gratification. I know that I’ve used alcohol to fill that hole in the past, but people can use all sorts and companies use that to their advantage. They know that we want to be happy and beautiful and by using a perfect looking model to advertise their products they are sending us a very clear message: buy this, and your life will be perfect. Buy this and all of your pain and your hurt will go away.

But I think that there is a way to fill that hole without chasing all this stuff. I think that we can fill it spiritually and it is far more effective. I know that not everyone agrees with organised religion but I think that a lot of people believe that there is something out there that is bigger than us and that offers people a lot of hope.

There is a reason that in 12 step recovery there is mention of a higher power, and that is because we can’t control ourselves without the help of something greater than ourselves. In times of stress and unhappiness, it is a great comfort to lean on something greater than any human.

I hope that you can find some way of connecting with your higher power because there is sometimes so much temptation in this world that it’s difficult to avoid doing yourself any serious damage. If you are struggling then maybe at least try picking up a Bible and having a read. I find that the Psalms are really encouraging. Even if the Bible is a bit scary, you might find that getting out in nature and connecting with a higher power is easier, or perhaps meditating. However you do it, I think that it’s worth at least exploring these ideas as we are bombarded with so many things that cause us stress.

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

lost

I stared at the map, limp in my hands

It looked like a scrawl of red and blue lines,

Impossible to read with my heart in my throat.

You had your hands on the wheel,

Gripping so tight that your knuckles turned white.

“Tell me what’s wrong,” I said.

My voice wavered and it sounded like more of a question.

“Just keep your eyes on the map.”

I wished that I hadn’t told you the truth.

The set of your jaw told me just how you felt.

No words to describe the fiery hot hate.

The text was still open, the phone on the dash.

I wish I had known what strife it would bring,

Two people together, in a little tin box,

And yet acres between them because of this wedge

That’s been driven between them without his permission.

“Will you please slow down,” I begged as I crumpled the map.

He could scare me at times in an average day,

Glass hitting walls when those teeth start to grind.

Last time it started with a stain on his shirt

And ended with bruises on delicate eyes.

I held the map tightly and wished I could find,

The place where we were in this tangled up mess.

We weren’t slowing down and I cried out for help.

I knew that the end was almost in sight,

Closing of eyes and extinguish the light.

the mental health plague

Do you want to know why we don’t tell a soul?

Do you want to know why it is kept under lock?

Do you want to know why we scuttle through shadows,

Licking our wounds and patching up gashes,

With dirty, torn rags and useless, worn plasters?

It’s because we’re ashamed and it’s all down to you,

Making us feel like we’re meant for the corner

With the rats and the vermin,

The creatures that nobody wishes to see.

Because you are worried that we may infect,

That our weakness will claw at your shell that is cracking.

And once the disease is inside the body,

There’s no fighting the symptoms with rainbows and smiles

And all of the things you suggest all day long.

Better to turn a blind eye to the darkness,

Or maybe just shout at it, bully it out?

Because you are respectable and can’t have our kind

Clouding your doorways and draining your bank.

You are rich and above all this death and disease,

But herbs and spices stuffed in your nose cone

Will do nothing to help when the fear comes a-knocking.

It knows not the difference between master and slave.

So you’d better be kind while you still have the chance.

To take part in this deathly and gruesome last dance.

There is a lot of shame involve in telling your boss that you have a mental illness and many people choose to not divulge that information. Unfortunately a lot of people have had bad experiences and it is really sad that this means that they are then scared to get the support they need in the future.

I’m guessing that the reason some bosses are so unsupportive is because they don’t understand mental illness. They think that because somebody has anxiety or depression, they may be taking time off constantly and costing the business as a result. But many people who suffer are really hard and conscientious workers and it’s just cruel to treat them in a way that’s so disrespectful.

When I see managers treating their staff poorly because they have a mental illness, it makes me think of the illness as being a bit like the black death. I imagine these people being frightened of getting infected themselves and shunning the sufferers. I imagine them tucked away in their ivory towers thinking that they’re safe because they have money and power and status.

But the truth is that we are all vulnerable and it only takes one traumatic experience or a bad run of luck for a few weeks and we can all find ourselves on that slippery slope downwards. So if you are in a management position, show some compassion. Don’t just try and bully out the weakest link, because sometimes that ‘weakest link’ can be the one that is brimming with the best ideas if you just give them a chance and a bit of support when times are hard.

And if you are struggling at the hands of someone who is bullying you at work because they know you are weak, stay strong. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you never deserve to be put in the corner if you are feeling sad or anxious. I’ll say a little prayer for you today and I hope that some of that positivity reaches you in some way, shape or form.

Much Love,

Rachel xx