‘The unexpected way cheese changed my life’

Opinion — OK I know what you’re thinking, how could cheese possibly change someone’s life? Well, I can assure you, I’m not being dramatic.

I love cheese. Always have, always will. Cheddar, mozzarella, brie, camembert – you name it. But it never played too integral a role in my life until three years ago.

I was doing a portrait painting workshop with my sister at an art gallery in Sydney run by a fabulous artist from Western Sydney – let’s call her Nora*. After the workshop, we got to speaking and ended up in a conversation about trauma, healing and the power of art.

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Cheese never played too integral a role in my life until three years ago. (Getty Images/Westend61)

As the conversation was coming to an end, she mentioned a catch-up that she was having that weekend with a few women and invited me to join.

Nora told me that the group were lovely and that they had fostered a safe space for insightful or vulnerable conversations.

At the time, I was going through a rough patch. It was my second year of university, I had recently lost my grandmother and was lacking a place to have some in depth conversations about my identity.

It was the weirdest experience ever because of the dynamic of the friendship and the nature of the group

Being a Lebanese girl that attended a predominantly white public high school and university was no easy task. I had many friends but it was rare I’d open up topics of family or racism. They were hard conversations to have, and I wasn’t in a place where it would be easy for me to explain the things happening in my life.

That Sunday, I attended the cheese group meet-up, or ‘the cheese’ as they like to call it.

It’s safe to say I got so much more than I bargained for. Camembert with a side of life-long friendship and mentoring. 

The women were quick to make me feel comfortable and safe, and before I knew it I was opening up about things I hadn’t told…..

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