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.
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.