This week saw me make a considerable amount of significant decisions. It required a lot of radical honesty as I came to terms with my past and sought to understand resulting beliefs. In a lot of ways, I finally began to comprehend the messy, gritty, drawn out and all encompassing experience that is divorce. Familial bonds have started to look so different. I’ve felt pulled to therapy again when I truly believed that period of time was done and dusted. The past and present have just collided and I’ve felt like running far away. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall. I just don’t want to be in the middle of everything. A part of me feels guilty for struggling to accept my stepmother. It doesn’t seem like the high or mature route to take and yet I cannot shake the thoughts that have arisen. The feelings that demand to be felt. It is just a big adjustment, almost adult or otherwise.
I have always been somewhat opposed to change. I don’t ask for many people to enter my life. I can be somewhat closeted, introverted. I keep to myself and often circle around my own universe. The world I am used to and committed to making sense of is my own mind. My father’s marriage was arranged and while he has known his wife for two years, I’ve known her a couple of hours. This idea of instant family doesn’t sit right because it takes time to get used to someone. They are not usually thrust into important positions in your life just like that. In ways it feels as if my free will has been stripped from me- am I forced to exchange pleasantries and get along with somebody I can’t necessarily relate to? I know that I’m too old to consider her a parent and need only develop a bond of friendship but this predetermined timeline on us getting to know each other makes me uncomfortable.
Beyond that, there are cultural and religious tensions. I don’t understand why it’s seen as wrong to date prior to making a more serious commitment but perfectly okay to shop around for a partner, interview them and then make a decision as to whether they’d be a suitable life partner. Perhaps I’m old fashioned. It just seems like a waste of life to marry for any reason besides love. After all, our most tender, vulnerable and intimate moments are shared with our significant other. They are the mother or father of our children. They witness our tears, our laughter, our milestones. They celebrate with us, they provide support during times of need. How could you do that with a perfect stranger without it being sacrilege? The most sacred of bonds has become, in ways, laughable. Born entirely out of convenience.
My first encounter and therefore impressions of my stepmother were very mixed. My dad and brother picked me up in the Jaguar they’d rented for the day and we headed to the city to pick her up from hotel quarantine, along with her sister’s family who live locally. We’ve seen them on and off for the last two years. My dad bought two bunches of flowers for his wife, one of which I was to give. We all waited in the hotel lobby for my stepmother to be cleared with security. Apparently she was struggling to move her luggage but could only be assisted by the police due to safety measures.
It was a very emotional moment as she walked through those doors and embraced my dad. A big hug and a very forward kiss. He was somewhat thrown off but went with it. It was quite tender, honestly. I felt incredibly happy for them in the moment and genuinely believed I’d shed a tear any moment. That feeling was quickly swallowed by confusion as she made her way around without acknowledging my brother and I. Etiquette and natural progression would suggest that she greet us next however that is not what happened. We spent an awkward two minutes standing around and shuffling our feet before she came over again.
We then headed back to her sister’s place along with another relative of theirs. It went without a hitch except for some awkwardness over dinner time. The initial platters of food were served while the men were still praying so my dad kept encouraging me to eat once more as everyone gathered around the table. I was full at this point but struggled to politely decline over and over. I noticed that my stepmother picked at the food, chewing on carrot slices and taking small spoonfuls of rice and lentils.
It made sense that the lady who didn’t cook also didn’t eat. This threw me because my family have always been such foodies. We’re European after all. That’s a primary way we show love and create bonds. Sharing a meal is something personal and I almost felt she didn’t appreciate that. To make matters worse, one of her sister’s kids pulled out a scale and insisted everybody weigh themselves. My brother declined and I wasn’t asked but my stepmother volunteered. She hopped on and read out the number, then made a slight fuss. She wasn’t a bit over forty eight kilos after food. Compare that to my considerably different figure and the donut I had in hand and you get the picture.
Afterwards, we moved to go back to their granny flat. Earlier in the day, my stepmother’s sister had delivered groceries and her suitcases to their home. We got inside, had a look at the rooms and backyard and then got to unpacking. My stepmother barely said a word to me apart from hello and goodbye. I feel that it was somewhat of a betrayal for my father to marry a woman without English skills as that creates a huge language barrier and make it impossible to relate to each other, increasing the risk of misunderstandings. It still seems selfish to me. The pair would be in the front seat talking to each other while my brother and I felt completely alienated. I can’t speak to her character as such but I found her to be okay otherwise. She has somewhat of a severe personality though. A no fuss and no frills kind. Warm when you’re close to her but can come off as standoffish otherwise.
I can’t say I have much else to report this week. I’ve made a substantial amount of progress with my room renovation however. My grandma and I moved my full length mirror and bed frame to our house in the Blue Mountains finally. Even disassembled it was quite a hefty task as the pieces are chunky and irregular. We ended up unpacking the car today and loaded the different bits and pieces into the garage so we wouldn’t have to lug them upstairs.
We also got in touch with the painter who did my room and asked for his electrician’s contact. The man we called from there was very helpful and got the job done on the same day and within the hour. My beaded chandelier has finally been hung and looks very luxe. It seemed initially that he’d have to offset the chandelier and have it be supported on the side by a hook but he found a more subtle alternative fix in our garage. Some form of string that is able to support the ceiling mount and chandelier itself. I also bit the bullet and stopped saving my reed diffuser for later on. I popped the sticks in and am now enjoying the scent of leather and lillies each time I come to my desk drawer.
Here in Sydney it’s been quite chilly and we haven’t felt like doing too much overall. The day before yesterday was spent in bed with the electric blanket on from three in the afternoon onwards. I did some online shopping from various sales and picked up a pair of Mejuri’s organic pearl stacked hoops, the flower market dress from Review boutique and a linen botanical cushion from Adairs. I’m also on the lookout for a roomy jewellery box, preferably in a nude leather and with customisation. I found that the best place to look is Etsy, the famous creator’s market. For the rest of the evening I caught up on my YouTube subscriptions, watching vlogs from Elena Taber, Allison Bickerstaff, Ms Katie and more.
By early morning Saturday, I felt as if I’d gotten cabin fever and was itching to get outside. My grandma and I planned to see a movie, The Father, and then pick up a chicken pizza and beef and cheese Gozleme on the way home. That we ended up doing and I felt in much better spirits afterwards. It was a perk up we both needed. We arrived at the local cinema around four twenty in the afternoon and joined a few couples who were already in the theatre room. The Father turned out to be a slow burn psychological thriller about a woman and her elderly father who is suffering from dementia and delusions.
It was very emotive and highly evocative. Thoughtful. A real tear jerker and a reminder of the beauty of youth. Memory and recollection is what makes our lives, after all. It’s what keeps us sane, makes us feel real. By the end of the movie, the man had regressed into an almost childlike state and wanted to be held by his mother again. He believed she’d come to pick him up. It was incredible to see the parallels between these different versions of truth he’d concocted in his head and how they then fitted into reality. A lavish apartment with a long hallway was a hospital. His bubbly care nurse represented his youngest daughter who’d passed away after an accident. Nothing was quite as it appeared, for better or worse.
I keep my Sundays fairly empty as my Grandma and I travel from the Blue Mountains back to the apartment in Parramatta at this time. On our way down we stopped at the cemetery to drop off fresh flowers at a few sites and then visited a local Starbucks in my old area. I picked up a chocolate Frappuccino. I then got to see the townhouse I used to live in all throughout primary and some of high school. It felt like everything and nothing had changed. The suburb is quiet as normal but definitely seems to be getting more dense. They are populating it with fancy apartments and seeking to eventually push out the lower socioeconomic groups. Rebrand the area, if you will. I remember how much money was invested into building a gymnasium, swimming pool, RSL, bowling and arcade area and the like. Back in Parramatta, just a few streets away from my place, was passed the cutest cottage house. It was just so quaint and dreamy. I could imagine sitting on the front porch with tea and scones as the sun rises. Pure bliss xx