Awards, Rewards and Late Night D&M’s…

Last night was the Graduate Exhibition for the Masters Students and oh boy, there was some fantastic work on display. The location was awesome – a small, corrugated iron clad factory with exposed structure, a high ceiling and mismatched suspended light fittings… Very rustic and cool. The work was displayed in vertical freestanding frames made of raw timber wall studs and these were arranged to create semi-enclosed, more intimate gathering spaces. The whole exhibition was ‘designed’ and as such, very effective in its simplicity.

The Head of School gave a poignant address about the power of architecture to create and stimulate change and to reflect value systems, citing the South African Constitutional Court as a prime example. This is the task we are charged with and I have no doubt upon seeing the work displayed last night that the field of architecture in Australia is in good hands.

The highlight of my night was having all my friends and family there when I received my award for the most outstanding academic performance by a second year student. I don’t usually allow myself to give in to feelings like pride and contentment because ive learnt 2 things in life: a) there is always someone better than you and you should never raise yourself above others – it’s just not a nice trait and (b) when I’m content, life usually goes pear-shaped. But last night I allowed myself to feel both, just for a couple of minutes. And it felt good. And my world is still in tact. Haha. I’m going to have fun spending my prize at my favourite bookstore!! I can’t get enough architectural inspiration and adding to my design library is a great reward 🙂

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When my flatmate and I dropped my parents off and headed home, we got into a conversation about love and relationships. Not something we really discuss and namely due to the fact that I don’t have either (in the romantic sense). He is 22 and studies with me at university, so he understands the time constraints we have. I could tell he was hedging around the issue so I asked:

“Are you worried about the fact that I will be 35 by the time I finish Architecture and it might be too late for me to have babies if I put off a relationship much longer?”

He said yes, and then asked me what qualities I needed in a person to make me happy. My answer surprised even me.

“I’m already happy”

Love and relationships for me now are more about rational decision making. Of course emotion comes into it… I’m a girl for God’s sake… But it’s not the only consideration now. I’m single by choice, not by necessity. I want the person I spend my life with (if that’s even in the universe’s plan for me) to make me laugh and to understand what I do and how important it is to me and to be as independent in themselves as I am. Someone who can put up with my little idiosyncrasies and support me through thick and thin. Basically everything that I would do for them is all I expect in return. Decency, respect and commitment… It’s not actually asking that much now that I look at it…

The whole conversation started because we were talking about fulfillment. We all have damage inside of us, we all have ‘stuff’ and have been through ‘stuff’ we wish we hadn’t. But the conclusion we came to in our D&M last night is essentially this: no one can fix those parts or fill those voids other than you. If you can’t complete yourself and feel good in your own right, it’s not fair and it’s not right to put the onus on another person to do that for you. It’s a recipe for disaster and a habit you’re doomed to repeat over and over. Until you can look at yourself and say honestly – “I like me, I’m a good person and I feel strong and whole” – maybe it’s better to be on your own? Is it really fair to put someone else through your emotional roller coaster just so you don’t feel alone? I don’t have the answers, I’m just floating it out there… That’s how I feel about it and part of me thinks there is something oddly (and dangerously) narcissistic about people who expect others to fulfill them. I’ve done it in the past when I was much younger and I’m living proof it doesn’t work.

Sometimes my dad will say to me – “we will love whoever you choose to be with… Notice I said ‘whoever’, I didn’t specify gender….”

At which point I usually jump in with “Dad, I’m not gay! I’m just busy, stressed and focused on getting myself right first” … I think I owe that to whoever I end up with… The same goes for anyone out there… And my flatmate agrees (although I think he’s a little freaked out by the rational, pragmatic way I approach the idea of relationships and family). I think it’s also something that happens as you get older; the little things that used to matter cease to be important and the approach to intimate relationships becomes more holistic.

Do I hope Cupid strikes one day? Sure. Am I going to actively pursue love? Not right now. If it is meant to happen, it will 🙂

Xx

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