PhD in Interior Design

For 12 years I’ve been with Sanj, he’s never (NEVER!!!) contributed to the interior design of our humble abodes. And it was good. I think I have done a pretty decent job decorating our house (as a temporary abode) although there’s still canvas left for creativity hear and there. 

And now the balance got disturbed as Sanj got bored during working hours. For a few weeks now we have been delaying the purchase of adhesive Velcro for the coasters to hang on my wall (for various reasons… because there are always more important things in life than ordering an alternative to a nail) but the idea of how I want to hang these coasters with poirtraits by Trechikoff has been there since I got them as a gift from South Africa. 

Once I see something I know how I want it to be styled. I am terrible at making from scratch but when you give me a piece I can compose it into a whole. That’s my gift. Oh and don’t forget about symmetry. That’s the essence of my philosophy just like balance. 

And there, I’m coming home after a long week at work and what I see? Velcro stuck to the wall in the most random places of the wall. 

The speech started: “The whole life Sanj hasn’t make any decisions about what should be where in our house and when the moment comes it’s irreversible unless you strip the whole wallpaper off”. 

He tried. He really tried to take these bloody stickers off but they were coming off even with the third layer of paint from the post-war time. 

So now I ended up with this symmetry-less decor which looks like fridge magnets which some globetrekker brought from the gap year around the world.


It will haunt me forever!

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My Soul Belongs to London

Some time ago Sanj asked me how would my life would be now if I hadn’t move to London 11 years ago. It made me think and being here for such a long time helped too. I realised one way or the other I would have ended up in London or any other Snglish speaking big city. Perhaps somewhere in USA. If I married someone in Poland probably some part of me would be missing. 

As much as I’m very proud about our culture, our food, our traditions and landscape my mentality doesn’t fit the profile. Perhaps not entirely. I need an ocean to swim, even if I’m just a tiny fish circling around in a minor lagoon. I need options and free will. No judgement, no limits. And unfortunately all this still exists here. At least for that matter, I can’t bring up my daughter in a country where Catholicism is being forced on her and if she’s not choosing it – it will haunt her  or bully her sooner or later. At least for that matter that I’m walking into a supermarket and everyone has a grimace of a grumpy (not funny) cat moaning how terrible life is. At least for that matter that when a mother goes to an expensive spa she’s judged that she’s not spending this money on her child. And don’t even get me started on the way I bring up my baby. Every single person knows best and pushed their advice on me. 

I need my life in my own bubble where I work hard on my family, develop professionally and spiritually, sometimes feeling lonely but taking pleasure from arranging a girls night out once a month. Maybe I do look like a zombie when observed on the tube, sitting blankly with my iPhone updating my status on Facebook. But I love my life in London and can’t imagine going back to Poland and aclimatising there. 

Christmas on Wings

My time in Poland is coming to an end. I spent here three weeks and as much as I enjoyed my holiday I am glad to be flying back home. Yes home. My home is in London. My small house, decorated by us, my sweet little baby kitten – Bastian, our life. 

The sad part is that I never fully felt the Christmas spirit. I know, it comes from within, but the lack of snow, Christmas carols on TV, Home Alone 😁 and Arya having a cold – all that contributed. Nevertheless, it’s been my first Christmas. My first Christmas in total happiness. Light, without the depression, the miserable hope for next year. Light, with wings. 

Yesterday, at Christmas supper, as tradition goes we shared the wafer and said wishes to each other. I realised – I don’t wish for anything this year. Apart from health, all the rest I need to work hard for on my own. All I need- is here with me. I’m strong. I’m complete. The rest will follow out of my happiness.

    
  

Separation Anxiety- Mine or Hers?

I was looking forward to this event for months. Planned the outfit weeks before and changed it entirely at the last minute. The makeup artist was booked and ideas exchanged on a regular basis. The evening finally came. My husband’s cousin kindly agreed to come and watch Arya while I was undergoing a facial makeover so all was sorted and planned to the very end. Yeah right, planned my ass. You can plan as you want but when you have a baby you can take this plan and shove it deep into your… Well you know where I’m getting to. Surely not to a rosy fields with unicorns strolling freely. As soon as the make up artist came Arya turned on “cry hard” mode and no distraction, no ignoring strategy worked. The crying was unbelievable. Sorry, I meant unbearable. To me. Everyone was nodding their heads calming me down: “It’s fine. She’s going to be ok. All babies are like that”. But I can’t. I simply can’t go past that. You see your baby all covered in tears, sniffing her nose, so sad and upset, turning her head from left to right trying to find you and you’re not there, her heart pumping hard. No one can convince me that such moments don’t affect them. I will not believe that. Yes they don’t remember that one day their mummy left them for a few hours and they were scared she would never come back. But the feeling, the emotions – they must affect them when they are older one way or the other. Subconsciously. Without knowing their source. I’m sure every single emotion felt since the conception (or the first time their nervous system can transport any impulse) does have its record and representation in our behaviour. 

So I was getting palpitations. The makeup artists says: “close your eyes” I’m staring at her blankly, completely melted and itchy to run to Arya. Guilt is nothing comparing to the feeling inside me but at the same time I do want to go. I can’t compromise myself so I must be brave.

Arya joined me for the most part of preparations in the form of a lump stuck to my leg or on my lap very much not helping the situation. Thank you Ana for being so patient and understanding. And to have a result like this with all these obstacles – it’s simply talent.

   
 I left without even saying goodbye to my baby and spent the whole evening texting Sanj every five minutes asking if she was ok. Of course she was. She was with her daddy – a master of putting babies to sleep. 

No sooner did I arrived at the London Coliseum my baby had already been in bed and didn’t even wake up when I was back at midnight. That said, never have I been so torn in my entire life. Just a year ago I would have gone crazy at the British Fashion Awards, so excited as if I drank 10 coffees (I know because I’ve already been in such a state and yes it was related to fashion ), last Monday though my emotions were all over the place. And my poor friend, who attended the event with me had to put up with my texting and worrying. You would think I’ve got a text template: “Is she Ok?” And Sanj: “Yes” on our iPhones. Or we have programmed Siri to send these auto messages to each other every 5 minutes. But I missed her. That was it. I missed her. I watched Stella McCartney receiving her award and at the same time I was imagining Arya sleeping cozily in our bed and I wanted be near her, to hold her hand or just watch her sleep (as creepy as it sounds). 

I made it to the final though and even drinks after. 

   
   
I guess that’s how my life will be from now on – torn and never enjoying anything fully unless with her. How long does this phase last? A few more months?18 years? Half of a century? Anyone? Please tell me. I need to prepare myself for it.

To Another Level

Once I became a mum, from time to time (I would say – rather often) I learn the new levels. Maximum level of patience, maximum level of stress, maximum level of sleepiness. They are all maximum until the day when life turns it up the notch and then you say to yourself: “oh I though it can’t go higher”. Oh yes it can. And it will continue, tell it to yourself, Agnieszka, loudly and clearly, repeat it a few times and accept it, although at this very moment you probably won’t comprehend how this phenomenon works neither can you imagine the very next level. It’s like when the astrophysicists tell you there are millions of galaxies and once your mind kind of gathers that greatness, they tell you there are multiple universes too and then you go: “Fuck it, it’s beyond me”. It’s almost like that. Almost, because when you hear about the cosmos you technically don’t need to do anything about it. Just strain your imagination. But when you’re a mum you actually have to be a part of this infinity of levels. And that’s not fun…

Yesterday, I went through another level of maximum (maximum so far, because,as I do repeat to myself, it will be worse). This time it was the maximum of exhaustion. At the end of the day, waiting for San-Jay to come home (bitter-funnily enough – it was one of those days when Sanj was coming home late), I could only sit on the couch and do everything in my power to make Arya WANT to be on that couch with me. When my magic stopped working I turned to drastic measures – I “forced breast-fed” her to sleep. Well, I didn’t drug her and chained her to my bosom of course. Since she loves food (in this case “Alleluia”)  it wasn’t too difficult to put her on my lap, take the boob out and wait for her to suck. Thank God, she fell asleep within 10 minutes. Alleluia again!

When Sanj came home he probably thought I had turned into a zombie which was a bit bizarre because on this occasion it was a human who was feasting on a zombie rather than the other way out. But when you realise that it’s a  mother zombie, then all becomes clearer : this particular type of zombies is too exhausted to move or eat. She’s just lying there staring blankly at nothing, hardly breathing. Just mumbling quietly to the baby: “Sleep, sleep a little bit longer, just one more minute, I beg you. Eat however much you want, just sleep”.

When I think about the whole day,  I probably didn’t do much – I just went to Westfield to help my husband’s cousin choose an outfit. That’s it. Two stops by tube, one shop and the trip back. In your bloody dreams!

London is the worst city ever for mums with babies and for those on wheelchair – you know it when you become one. And you know it so well that you want to cry. It’s a “motherist” and “wheelchairist” place, I tell you. Equality my ass. Unless you live around Oxford Street, you have no access to the centre AT ALL(!!!) if you are a mum with a baby travelling on your own (with a baby of course). No, sorry – you do have access – no one stops you from going. Free country. Go. Good luck though when changing lines or getting in/out from the tube. You probably have two, very interesting options: you either have to grab the buggy in your teeth while your baby is bouncing off your back or you carry the baby in Babybjorn (which after a couple of hours probably will crack your spine, when your baby is no feather any more). Oh yes, you’ve got buses – if you’re lucky you can take just one (probably minimum of 45 min journey) but most often it’s at least two so probably one way trip will take you 1.5 hour. You also have to pray that after waiting for a bus for 30 minutes the driver won’t tell you that there’s no space for another buggy because if he will you’re waiting another infinity for another bus. And then you bravely decide (seeing your baby is still sleeping, “Alleluia!”) that you can probably walk so off you go, half running, thanking your baby for each minute of closed eyes because if she wakes up you will definitely end up pushing the buggy and carrying the baby (which has become your lot recently). Half of the journey is up the hill, and it starts raining (OF COURSE) and you remember how your husband keeps telling you every day how stressful his work is and then you say loud: “Stressful my ass” and a few trespassers just briefly lock their eyes on you but then they realise that you’re not crazy, you’re just a mother, so they pass you by casually. Finally, you come home, your baby’s smile saves you. Because that’s how it is – you stress, you don’t sleep, you fall on the ground with exhaustion and shout: “enough” but then this little one is opening her eyes and smiles and all you see is these two McDonald logo-shaped teeth at the bottom of her gums and you smile back and suddenly it’s all OK. Until you start making dinner, as you always do. Potatoes peeled and in the pot boiling on the stove. You feel a bit like someone else is doing all this and you’re just hanging above them like a cloud. Then you grab the meat, (with your baby under your one armpit, because she just at this very moment has a whim to NOT sit and play on her own) and put the ingredients on the kitchen table, knees bending under you+10kg and then you go: “Fuck it. No dinner today” which is when you throw yourself on the sofa where you stay until your husband is back. Or perhaps even longer. FOREVER, perhaps.