This week was highly productive as I worked through two assignments I had due before midnight on Sunday. As we’re just starting off the trimester and our assignments are designed to be built on, I did the initial work for majority of them. For my Joinery and Finishes class I put together a concept board and brief analysis. To break this down, a concept board outlines the overarching philosophy of the project and really crystallises for the client your vision. It showcases with minimal imagery and text your driving force and captures the design essence. Sounds simple enough, hey?
I’m used to putting together moodboards and finishes boards but nothing else. Where I had to present a concept I got stuck on describing a style or theme. The two are just so similar. This represented one aspect of my work where I anticipated smooth sailing but had to allocate extra time to the task in order to get it right. A brief analysis breaks down the project into manageable chunks, helping you to determine what the client needs, what’s required of you and other contractors and the aesthetic boundaries and limitations. You also put together an in depth spatial assessment of the building you’re working with, detailing the sources of light, traffic flow and other such details.
Another big leap that I’ve yet to discuss here was restarting counselling. Billy Blue College offers up to twelve forty five minutes sessions free of charge to domestic and international students. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the past three weeks through Skype. Once you reach the session limit there is the possibility of reevaluation for further support. For a while I blocked out therapy as an option for me- I’ve seen counsellors on and off throughout childhood to discuss family problems and mental health but always felt as if they talked at me, not to me. They didn’t listen to understand but to respond. Oftentimes they failed to do that either.
There is nothing lonelier than bearing your most sacred and despairing thoughts to another person and being met with a mere nod of their head. I’m happy to say that I feel truly heard, seen and understood. I understand that the point of therapy is to have that structure and schedule. To meet with an impartial person at a pre decided time to air your concerns and let it all out. What I’ve always felt is that I’ve needed a friend. Not even somebody emotionally invested in me or completely privy to my past. Just somebody willing to be at my level and meet another human being where they are.
I’d like to be really open and real with you all for a second. That was my vow and I intend to make good on that promise. Here, in my space, you’ll find unmasked me. At this time in my life, I’m experiencing increased uncertainty. My counsellor asked me the other day whether I’m living in the past or looking to the future. Perhaps I am relying on the promise of what’s to come, of brighter days. Yet I am still building on what I have in this present day as I recognise the gift is in the here and now.
At the same time, I am really hopeful and holding strong to that. I spent my last session discussing my plans for the years ahead. Changing my name, moving overseas to be with my partner, pursuing my Interior Design career through an employer and eventually being self run, creating the family I feel I’ve missed out on. “Who is Estelle to you?” my counsellor eventually asks. She touches on the dualities of the woman I see myself as. “A badass.” That’s what I tell her.
It was the most simplistic way to say what I needed to, what I’ve always believed. You can be soft and successful, a traditionalist and a rebel, a lover and a fighter, vulnerable and invincible. If I’m still figuring things out, still making mistakes, still opposing myself, then I’m alive and evolving, questioning and curious. What better could I wish for? Two years ago I had a miscarriage from a pregnancy that resulted from rape. I’m not bound by those twenty minutes but by the possibility of a life that could have been but wasn’t. Against all logic I’ve continued to question my body’s capabilities, my capacity to nurture.
I’ve made feeble attempts alongside my partner to fix what cannot be laid to rest in the present moment. This fear of infertility plays on my mind at night. I think about death as the great equaliser- yet greatly unequal. There is a sheer absurdity to feeling the stirring of life dissipate within you before it’s really been. Some never open their eyes or take a breath and others live to see many generations being born and hit triple digits. I’ve begun fearing getting old. I see myself in all these senior citizens, skipping over an entire lifetime. Grounding myself in realism has become almost an art. My counsellor suggested that I set my mind at ease and do an internal exam. Quench these worries and give them no basis to be brought forward. So that’s what I’ll do.
This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my week because I most certainly did. I arrived home to the Blue Mountains on Wednesday. Monday was a public holiday and an old friend of mine came over to hang out. It was so pleasant just laughing with him and picking up where we left off. We’d booked a table at my favourite Spanish Tapas restaurant, Lusso, for seven that evening in a neighbouring area to Parramatta, Rouse Hill. The atmosphere there is warm, intimate and homely. They have cabinets of fine wine and the ceiling is printed with old time photographs. We ordered cheese and spinach gozleme, spicy fried chicken drumettes with chilli mayo and lamb and chilli kofta with traditional tzatziki.
There was a waiter there who seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite pick it all throughout dinner. Only when we paid did I realise that he looked exactly like Joe Goldberg from the Netflix show You, just lighter haired version. He laughed and said that Joe was a good looking guy so he was flattered. That he’d heard the same before and ironically his name was Joe. I just found that brilliant and so amusing. On Tuesday I had my first on campus class for Joinery and Finishes. We were placed in lockdown after returning to Sydney from our recent holiday in Melbourne.
We’d stayed in a very rural part but were unfortunately subject to the same conditions as it was a blanket rule. Thankfully I was able to catch up and settle in quickly. After class I stopped at the nearby Westfield shopping centre- everything is so close and accessible in the city. I planned to pick up lunch at Sumo Salad. They have an incredible pesto chicken, walnut, feta and leafy greens mix that is to die for. Sadly their franchise seems to be going down and this location has now disappeared. I decided instead on a grilled chicken and olive oil panini and a creamy pasta for later in the day.
Wednesday was a thrill in itself. We had lots of packages come in the mail as well as our first Hello Fresh box. We purchased five meals as my Grandma and I now spend the majority of our time in the Mountains. On the weekends we’ll go out to eat, usually for Chinese or to the local club. I was in charge of meal planning and decided on lots of pasta. Definitely my non guilty pleasure. The cooking process was stress free and relaxing, taking about an hour. The recipes were clear to read and all the kits marked properly. Between two people we often still had leftovers.
Enjoying a gourmet meal shouldn’t be reserved for two days out of the week. It’s just such good value for money and has helped me eat more health consciously without feeling like I’m having Lite and Easy or Weight Watchers food. The variety is seriously impressive too. Just this week we’ve eaten Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian cuisine and it’s felt really authentic. Another habit I’ve begun implementing is daily vitamins. I picked up a women’s multivitamin and one for hair, skin and nails. A moment of discomfort for a beneficial turnout, that’s what I tell myself. As long as I down them with juice and eat something, I do fine.
Overall I’ve felt quite inspired and renewed. I’m reading The Woman in The Window and have watched or am in the middle of a few Netflix series. I finished American Son, The Beautiful Lie and am seeing Working Moms and Security. The former two really captured my attention and touched on some humbling themes. Contentedness, appreciation for what you have, overcoming resentment, keeping boundaries, being consumed by grief, comparing yourself morally to another, being mighty enough to dish out blame. Understanding the divide in experience, watching history repeat itself, seeing the end as near in the very beginning. I highly suggest you set aside some time and give these two a watch. American Son kept me wide eyed throughout and I almost felt it was my duty as a non coloured person to sit there and further educate myself.
Eventually the weekend rolled around and my grandma and I came back to Parramatta for a family dinner. My mum, brother and cousin Shane all have birthdays close together in the month and we figured getting together would be a lovely way to mark the occasion. We went to Bondi Pizza, a local restaurant. I got chargrilled lamb with feta, balsamic onion, roma tomato, rocket, sweet potato crisp and caesar sauce. It was absolutely delicious and we took lots of photos. My sweet baby cousin Arya was there and we just fawned over her- so precious. This really was another week filled with incredible eats. Nothing I love more after all.