On Being Too Greek

lamb

To simultaneously think too much and too little of yourself. Perhaps. even, to be proud that you’re a fuck up. In some strange way.

If it’s true to say I never much liked the Greeks it’s most likely because I don’t much like myself. I try to pretend I’m nothing like them. As a baby bubble all those years ago, I wished I could be any other race but Greek. And the it’s really upsetting to think I have acquired a racism from people who’s opinions I don’t value: people who bullied me for being Greek. Those nasty little shits that pelted me with berries, trying to get me in the tit. The same little shits that cornered me one day on the stairs ‘what sort of wog are you anyway?’ they asked, the answer to which I had no clue. The very same abortion survivors who lovingly asked an English little boy, Jamie, to step aside so he wouldn’t get hurt while they took aim at me again.

It’s not only the reason I don’t like the Greeks, but most likely the reason I don’t like anyone: myself included some days.

windex

If you met me, you might think, she doesn’t seem so Greek. And it’s true, I’m no Androulla Papadopoulos, I definitely know people much Greeker in looks and temperament than me. But it’s something inherent within me none the less. Sneaking around somewhere in my innards, popping olives and lemony salads. And yes I do believe it’s in your blood. It doesn’t mean that my front garden has to look like the Parthenon or that I have to bank with the Cyprus Popular Bank or risk being exiled from ‘the village’ or wherever the fuck it is I hail from.

No. But I am the best and worst of both worlds when it comes to being Greek and Cypriot. I can cook up a storm and I will over feed you if you visit my house, I will always bring you something when I visit your house (couldn’t bare the shame on my name of turning up empty handed). But I will also start planning a funeral if someone even has the slightest cold, I do have an unhealthy constant pre-occupation with death and I do have an intrinsic Zorba The Greek yearning to fuck everything off, eat a shitload of food and dance till my fat arse hits the ground with a thud.

It’s beautiful and loathsome all at once to feel relentlessly Greek Cypriot. And all those years ago when I watched The Weeping Meadow and took the piss, I now realise I am that guy who staggers forlorn through the sheets screaming for Eleni and the deep terrifying dread…all the live long day….the dread.

Do I need to quit and embrace my inner Brit? Which compared to most Greeks, I’m actually very good at outwardly doing. Or do I just go with it, keep staying awake at night stressing over everything that exists between heaven and earth. Feeding everyone that comes near me, loving the fleas that spring from their knees wildly into the air, smelling the sky with my bold Greek nose, truly madly Greekly happy to be alive. Do I just accept that I’ll have a beard and hoofs by the time I’m 60? That my voice will go raspy and my eyes will be glorious cola bottles imbedded in their baggy turtle sockets. I’ll laugh like the strum of a Bouzouki, toss my head back like the jump-flick of heals and I’ll have been a character, with plenty of stories to tell. Whatever transcends as the strongest of my essential flavours, there’ll have some family left to mourn the loss and revel in the deep loving amusement that was me.

greek

Advertisements

Be Four: And After.

stars-sky-lg

The Overview

Another year has passed. And don’t other people’s children seem to grow so fast. One minute they are seeds and the next in bloom. But this period of only 4 years, feels like an eternity stretch. Slow burning and wearing, like the sun in the Sahara.

I lay awake last night, as I do most, trying to picture how big a four year old feels like. How heavy they would be. How I would hold one. And I couldn’t. Despite of all my dry heaving, I can never bring anything up.

Losing a baby is something you’re tarnished with forever. I suppose most of us choose to be, because it’s all we have left. The pain and misery over the emptiness any day. And have I turned weird because of it? Do other mothers feel cautious around me? Nervous of me even? Do they hold their children harder when I’m around because I’m a reminder of how it doesn’t always work out? Or perhaps that’s all just in my head.

Bitterness talking

I half wonder whether people aren’t tired, in the honest bitchy part of their brains, of me ‘going on and on about it’. I can’t say I blame them if they do. But it won’t stop me because ours is a grief that never expires and if that’s tedious to witness then off they can fuck.

The bit I hate the most, is feeling at a stand off with other mothers. Because for their sake, you have to be ok around their children. You can’t grab their baby, smell it’s little head and cry for all you’ve lost. You have to be cool and relaxed and non-weird about everything. Which is easy for me to do because other people’s feelings seem to matter more to me than my own. Which is weird in itself because I didn’t think I was that considerate. Or perhaps it’s that I have a deeply coveted envy like a lord of the rings Gollum, seeping out of me like the glistening goo of a bed sore. Mop it up, quick, before anyone sees. God forbid anyone should see: smee.

Most of the time I feel for them. Their little tired bedraggled faces: never getting enough of anything they need. And if I really look with my Cypriot seeing eyes, I can see. Of course I can see. They are just as weird as me. Because having a baby brings it out in us, whether alive or dead. Something so precious brewing within, sends the whole world on a wonk. And the slip-sliding of another soul from the wetness of our knickers is surely the strangest and sweetest thing we will ever know. After that, how can anyone ever be the same again.

So if they’re strange and too clingy, I forgive them. If they gang together in gaumless groups, visiting farm parks and purposefully adopting speech impediments then again I’ll forgive them. If their only subject is the little shit dragging itself along the carpet then so be it, I’ll revel in every word they share. If being a mother brings out the worst in them, estranges them from their partners and everyone who doesn’t have a baby, then of course again I’ll forgive them. Because they are just becoming everything I couldn’t, and I would be a fool to judge.

I sometimes wonder whether people don’t just have children because they can’t think of anything else better to do with their lives. It’s not a bad way to pass the time is it. It gives you some focus, something to take your mind off the here and now, the realisation that you’re hurtling through space and time towards a certain and relatively pointless end. And if relationships are target driven vehicles to get you from a to b, then parenthood surely is one of the major destinations on your hop and ride tour of the same old shit. So keep squeezing out children people, why not, they are fairly cute most of the time and hopefully one in 500,000 of them will be a child genius who will solve all the worlds problems and the drain on the earth’s resources that all the others caused will have been worth it because we would have one beautiful soul in a sea of dumbfucks.

Backtracking

It pains me to think that I might never have another child. Especially when I think of the autopsy. My poor baby in bits. How many? Who knows. But I can’t think of it, not even me, it’s too dark a place even for me to go. So I picture him whole, complete, perfect at last.

If I’m offensive I apologise. I don’t mean it against you and your children, you’re lovely and deserving of all the things you have, don’t feel guilty about it not even for a second. Just because some bitter old bitch casts a critical shadow on everything you do, it doesn’t mean you have to pay attention, shrug it off and lets both pray you never know what it feels like.

But I must lash out now and then because this wolf is hungry and I’m not very good at starving it. Because even though I might look normal, I’m actually screaming in agony somewhere in the corner of my soul. Isn’t it funny how we can do that. Split ourselves off into sections, nice and neat. I’ll wear my work persona today with my yellow office shoes. Today I fancy the goth bitch who’s sarcastic and relentlessly sulky, she’ll compliment my handbag perfectly. Today I’ll be loathsome and intolerable…today I’ll be the sexiest woman you’ve ever seen, lean as you like, slithering my way up your legs….

If I’ve turned into a horror, simply because I have suffered, I hope that some of you will forgive me. Because underneath it all, I’m still mostly me. And that’s not such a bad person to be, despite it all.

The conclusion

Today I want to make peace with something. Even though I don’t know how. Even though I know it’s fleeting and elusive. I miss my baby and wish I could have held him. With all my mite I send out a love so hard I pray it bends the barriers of life and death and penetrates his little heart. I hope he feels it when I’m lying on my bed listening to the special music that connects me to my grief, soaking my pillow with snot and secretions.

Four years old. I should have written him something about butterflies and moons and beautiful magical childhood things. But that’s just not us.