A small manifesto on truthfulness.
Looking back at the inception of this online writing platform 6 years ago; there was no predicting where it would take me. While reflecting upon the sixth consecutive year of writing online, I was reminded of my sixth anniversary living in New York. One absolutely undeniable thing I’ve realized about this city is :
New York doesn’t give a fuck what you think of her. (Sorry Sex and the City- New York is no boyfriend) Shes a badass, loudmouthed, Italian, Latino, black, Jewish, Irish, Dominican, African, Indian, Pakistani, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Korean, Russian, Romanian, Chilean, Israeli, Palestinian, Ukrainian, Brazilian, Armenian, Syrian (I could go on and on) and every other American Woman.
I realized early last year; January 2018 to be exact, that speaking my truth, expressing my writing and poetry honestly and conveying my point of view without reservations, is my greatest challenge and biggest goal for the years to come. (Yes I stole a little attitude from one of my writing heroes and badass traveler, advocate, explorer and all around truth teller Mr. Anthony Bourdain). For the first time after starting this writing project; I don’t give a fuck with people think. I’ve spent countless years, (as many women do) side stepping, avoiding, cleaning up, self editing in order to fit a particular mold or idea of how I should express myself publicly or privately. I’m not trying to grab or hold anyone’s attention. If you follow my writing and care to share your point of view with me, It is welcome. If you don’t care for what I’m writing about, and think its shit, make a valid point, and give your point of view.
On January 1st 2018, at about 6 am, on a very cold bright morning; It hit me: Nothing of who I am and what I’ve done so far with my life fits any ,constructs or ideas of what a woman my age living, loving creating, and writing in 2018 should be like, look like or act like. I was never one to submit to conformity. Whenever I tried to fit in, my life would always swerve away from it, one way or another. Should have been, should have had, should have accomplished, often slaps me around from time to time.
We all go through moments where we are faced with the stories other people like to tell about us. Inevitably as we get older (not necessarily wiser as I’ve come to discover), some of us find our own true voice, allowing us to be exactly who we want and can be. Others predictably, stay stuck within the confines of an identity formed by others, society, parents, or heritage; forming an idea of themselves with personas or masks that really don’t quite fit. More still never really take the risk to flourish into something far more beautiful and unique that may not quite fit the narrative we’ve been fed.
Time has shown me that spending more time alone, with myself has given me ample opportunities to really know who I am, shed any prét a porter personalities and embrace how I want to live my life. Yet every year that closes, I spend a few moments wondering what would have been if I took a different path.
The shoulds- A list
On the eve of a new year, I narrow down the list of shoulds that apply to where someone like me should be according to society, my own made up standards, and how very famously stated in Greece, according to what “people say”.
Here’s my top 5 so I don’t go to crazy down the rabbit hole.
1. I should have had kids by now. Well to be fair I almost did, and although I do think about that possibility often, I’m thankful everyday I decided against it. It’s been a strange feeling to know I came close.
2. I should have my own business by now. I did at some point and for a good 10 years, I did run my own business as a yoga teacher and massage therapist. I’ve taken a detour so the possibility is still there.
3. I should be settled somewhere and have a beautiful home. I also had that at one point in my life, but the Greek crisis forced many of us to leave the life we knew and the home we had along with all its comforts; and find new paths in new counties. Now and for however it lasts, New York is home.
4. I should be more successful in my career and make more money. Well this is only up to my efforts so stay tuned 😉
5. I should drop everything I’m doing here in New York and move back to Greece… Well this one I left for last because it’s as complicated and simple as all the others on the list. For the simple reason that I’m not someone who likes to drop something in the middle before I’ve seen in through; staying in New York although a difficult journey, has and still does inspire me. My writing and poetry has developed over the years here, and the same would not have occurred in Athens. So I take the inspiration and wherever it takes me I’m willing to go. All the risks we take lead us somewhere magical.
On to the next chapter.
Happy New Year to all.