What role do our memories play in how we hold on to people?
I romanticize my exes.
Even when years have passed, they cross my mind. I do this just enough so I can trick my self into thinking how I regret losing them.
I’m surrounded by phantoms; ghosts of lovers past who I tap into every time I want to feel wounded about my crap choices in partners, lovers and men who are far from perfect in reality; yet I paint them in very different and much more favorable colors.
I’m the painter, it’s my canvas I’ll cry on it if I want to.
I’m content with how my life is right now, and after some time has passed, I’m fine with my choice to not seek any further romantic involvement, with all my failed romantic escapades. Yet… my skin feels the touch points he touched, I romanticize this imperfect and quite ridiculous person into some prince charming when he was far from it…
I clung for years to my memories of these imperfect men like little nuggets of a fairy tale gone horribly bad.
Of course they were imperfect, not what I truly wanted or needed in my life then or now. My loneliness played tricks on me, and we all do this; I projected characteristics, reactions and romantic comedy bull shit scenarios to these toads, who adorned me with fancy words, and over the top flattery.
Rhinestone Cowboys I like to call them. You know the type of men who will pretty much say anything just to get recognition, a smile, vulnerability, and ultimately power over you. And you let them; despite all the cautionary tales, and your friends telling you he’s full of shit, and your own brain trying to avoid another collision course, because it’s inevitable you will fall for the ones who tell you what you want to hear.
When we sit down and take stock of our past failures in relationships with people who on the surface may have seemed “perfect for us”; ultimately what we lament is not the loss of these seemingly perfect people, but the loss of ourselves, in them.
We must not lose ourselves for the whims and wants of others.
We must not lose who we are, we must not lose who we want to become, or hold back to please other peoples idea of us. As hard as that is, as challenging as it may seem, holding out for those who meet us half way or all the way for that matter are far more gratifying, appealing and beautiful.
There is no time for false narratives, bad stories and fake vulnerability. Holding on to ghosts as backward as it may seem to many, has at least helped me know what I definitely don’t want. And for many, recognizing even that; is a start to letting go of the ghosts and the phantoms of the past.
We’ve all had that moment.
We are projecting one version of ourselves, yet a completely different person is being reflected back at us.
We see ourselves one way and others see us in a completely different light.
Where do these two perceptions clash?
Most of it is based on people’s own stream of consciousness and not what we project.
We think no one is noticing us, while there are clearly people drawn to us, our energy, and who we are. Or the idea of who we might be in their head. We hardly notice or welcome people’s gaze, attention, or reflections of us, in a society where everyone is on social media posting every aspect of our lives.
Yet… with all this communication, there is clearly a big deficit in actual communication.
I’ve done this many times and I’m sure everyone does.
I fantasize about who people are, rather than actually seeing them for who they are.
My exploration of these dual realities and images comes at a very pivotal time. I have only recently discovered what I can simply call “my authentic self”. I am still battling with my perceived awkwardness of the pimply shy teenager I used to be, the one no one wants to talk to, and everyone makes fun of, and there are plenty of times I think I’m still that awkward girl. I often hope I go unnoticed, lurking in the shadows observing others.
I battled that fear of exposure, and people taking notice of who I was, or who they thought I was, when I posed for various photographers in the five years I’ve lived in New York. Some nude, some for Yoga purposes, some for fun. I continue to be open and vulnerable in my recent work performing my poetry in front of complete strangers. (that was a challenge!)
In every instance I haven’t seen myself as particularly attractive, interesting or photogenic, but more theatrical and obscure. A curiosity.
Yet the response I get from people, is that of someone who is quite different. After I turned 40 all the shyness and awkwardness of my youth has slowly faded away.
Claiming space, claiming my worth, my voice, beauty, or image as a woman; has been a very interesting exploration. But I’m still baffled at how others perceive me.
How we see ourselves may not be hour others see us.
We are shaped by a myriad of references. Cultural experiences being one of them. I grew up in Greece in the late 70’s and 80’s and then again in the early 2000’s. Despite my American accent and passport, everything about who I am and have become is shaped by my life in Greece. Recently a friend said to me “oh you’re such a Greek-American!” which is a blatant fact. I belong to two worlds, two camps, two realities. Often opposing each other vehemently. Depending on my surroundings; like a chameleon I absorb cultural references I grew up with, and mold them to my current reality. You never know what you’re going to get!
Yet time and time again, others who observe us, will see something purely based on their own perceptions. We ALL do that, sometimes to our advantage, sometimes to our detriment.
Next time you observe someone, before you impose your idea of them, let them unfold in front of you unobstructed by your own perceptions.
You might be surprised by what you receive.
I must confess; I’m in love with Brooklyn.
There is something enchanting about Brooklyn evenings that few other neighborhoods in New York City possess.
My bias is not with out an excuse; I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in south Brooklyn ever since I moved to New York from Athens five years ago. Except for a brief stint living in Manhattan in the East Village and the Lower East Side (which I still love), most of my time has been spent south of Prospect Park.
I owe my love of this part of city to my original host and friend from college who introduced me to this multi- ethnic, multi cultural and multi layered microcosm few (thank goodness) still know about.
Simply put it’s a gem.
Nestled in between Prospect Park and the Greenwood Cemetery, this still unspoiled part of Brooklyn is a place where you can say hello to the corner bodega owner, chat with your neighbor while they walk their dog, and see familiar faces walking around the streets on a lazy, Sunday afternoon. I wave to the store owners catching a glimpse of the action in the street every morning when I go to work, but I never think of taking the time to truly explore further.
From what many locals tell me, the neighborhood hasn’t changed that much over the years. Originally an Italian immigrant neighborhood, it is now peppered with a spectrum of nationalities, languages, cultures and religions. A true cultural crossroads. But I needed to know more.
Summer nights are a perfect excuse for a long walk.
One evening after an event in the Greenwood cemetery I took this rare opportunity to take the long way home.
As the sunset burst into a beautiful tapestry of colors; shades of pink, salmon, purple and yellow adorned the early evening sky. The aroma of evening primrose and soft wet soil wafted through the air… I was transported. For a moment I was lifted away from the worries of my New York life and felt like I was walking through the streets of my old neighborhood in Athens. I instantly felt carefree; but the real treat didn’t arrive until the sun set; revealing thousands upon thousands of fireflies signaling to each other in their own mystical code.
I closed my eyes took a deep breath and floated with the sounds of stories being told of the families living in these neighborhoods, of meals shared, travels taken and lives changed forever. This was the first time in my years living in New York that I was absolutely in tune with my surroundings.
Living in such a high strung city, we are used to boxing ourselves in. We end up shielding our bodies and minds from the cacophony of noises, lights, tall buildings, strong aromas; all of which accost our senses in invasive ways. We choose to be numb to the big stuff and forget to take a moment to really observe the more subtle aspects of this city. During my walk through my neighborhood, all of that outer noise instantly vanished, and I was able to just enjoy the long walk home.
I have had a recent lull to my writing, in stark contrast to the frenzy of past months. My spring feverish ideas and thoughts left freely from my brain onto the page. I truly enjoyed my every day post commitment I set out to complete back in March (birthday challenge) . Truly nothing has kept me more on my toes, than my yoga/ exercise practice and my writing.
As of late I’ve had what many would call a freeze of my creative flow. I don’t know if this is a set back or a regroup, but for what its worth, I would not be a particularly good blogger, if I didn’t share this stagnancy with my small yet powerful and encouraging audience (share my posts with your friends!).
I’m feeling a little stuck.
There are a plethora of things I want to share my thoughts on, but in this growing cacophony of opinions and thoughts my mind is becoming overwhelmed with the opinions of everybody else, to really be able to be a valid voice in the mix. The reminder that depression, and suicide is so openly discussed, took me back to my days of battling depression, and how I was able through very lucky circumstances and good people to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, pull myself out of dark cavernous thoughts, and figure shit out.
I battle with self doubt, body image issues, self esteem issues, and the list goes on. Yet here I am writing about it, even though I’m still stuck. I often promise I will share as much of myself as possible it’s the only way to write.
There is definitely a chaotic order to the way I convey my thoughts on this blog, and I appreciate those who’ve followed and continue to follow my musings, poetry, analysis and reflections.
For now I will leave you with a small gratitude list. When you get stuck, make one too, it helps.
- I’m grateful for my health. Two dear friends who I deeply care for are battling cancer. They are warriors, who absolutely give me courage to be even better and more resilient.
- I’m extremely grateful for my home here in New York. It’s a sanctuary and a quiet space, in this overwhelming city. Every night I sit on my balcony; on these warm summer nights, and smile at how blessed I am to be here. I miss Greece and my home there every waking moment, but having the opportunity to travel and live here isn’t available to many of my fellow country men and women. Thousands of refugees are still in limbo on many Greek islands bordering Turkey. Children and their families are being torn apart as we speak at US borders. As we all battle internal crisis, so much turmoil is occurring on a daily basis. That forces me to think twice before I forget where I’ve come from.
- I’m grateful for rekindled and real friendships, from the embers of dead affairs. And I’m grateful I recently escaped a toxic affair before it created further damage.
- I’m grateful for Art. As I’ve mentioned in past posts and I’ll say it again, Art is the only thing that can and has created meaningful change. Art touches and effects everyone in small and big ways and is and will continue to be a huge vehicle for truth, change, and progress.
I’m still stuck with my writing, but I’m grateful I can share that too. When overwhelmed with life’s rocky path, be grateful for what you have to overcome it.
May all beings be Happy and Free.
Des mots faciles des mots fragiles
C’était trop beau
–Paroles Paroles by Alain Delon and Dalida
Choose your words wisely.
It’s a matter of principle, it’s a matter of how we see the world and how the world sees us. Even though so much of communication is non verbal; choosing the words we use carefully is of utmost importance. There is an art to knowing what to say and how to say it, and if need be not saying anything at all.
Words matter; they can hurt or they can heal. A lot is revealed by their tone, their phrasing their intent. The more I write, the more I share through both Greek and English; I’m often called upon to sharpen my pencil and my mind. One wrong word and the whole meaning is altered, the whole feel of what is meant to come through is derailed.
Sometimes silence is the only answer.
The words we use for and about others matter. How we describe others, how we talk about them, what energy we share through verbal communication is as sharp and affecting as any weapon. One word can uplift whereas another can dismantle and destroy. How we express ourselves matters; how we speak to others matters, and how we communicate matters, because as words go, lots can be lost in translation.
Words are slippery and deceiving and like little children need guidance and boundaries to thrive and shine on and off the page. Words have weight, they sting and jab, sooth and caress. Each syllable contains an energy; and knowing how to use that energy is as valuable as any amount of currency, because words are also currency.
Even though so much of communication is non verbal; choosing the words we use carefully is of utmost importance.
Recently I had an exchange with an old lover. I was very cautious about how I wanted to respond to his communication. The right words were not appearing to me in order to carefully convey what I wanted to say in response to his contact. I mulled over it for quite some time before I realized that any words I used were a waste of time, energy, and ultimately I would never properly convey verbally what I desperately wanted to say; so I said nothing. Sometimes keeping one’s words to oneself is the wisest choice.
Words matter, words are fragile and delicate and can bend and break after they have been uttered. Words mean nothing; and they mean everything, and sometimes there aren’t enough words to describe a feeling.
So sometimes silence is the only answer.
-What time is it there ?
-I never remember the time difference.
-7 hours difference, it has been my whole life.
Time zones have been a part of my daily life ever since I can remember. My mother would contact her relatives in the United States when we lived in Greece, long before social media of course, or even a steady phone line (for those who remember a time before smart phones). I would call my American grandmother (at great cost for international calls) once a month, and all other communication was with letter writing and post cards. (yes letters; remember those??)
At 14 my parents and I moved to the United States, where maintaining communication with friends and loved ones back in Greece was an exercise not only in keeping up with daily life, but also the Greek language. I distinctly recall my friend sending me spelling corrections in my letters to her when she would reply. (thanks Georgia after all those years).
At 23 I moved back to Athens, and communicated weekly with cell phones and regular calls and emails with my friends in London, Paris and the U.S. I would stay awake in the very late hours (12- 3am) to talk to my friends in New York, and try to catch up as best as we could with cheap international calling cards just to fill each other in on our lives.
Now back in New York with chats, Viber, Whats-app, Facebook messenger, Instagram, time is relative. Time difference almost doesn’t matter. I talk to my close friends after they have put their kids to bed. They stay up for a night cap and a quiet moment, and I text back and forth at 5 am in the morning with my cousins and best friends before I go to work. I live between two time zones, always carving time to connect, talk, share our lives whenever possible.
It’s somewhat easier to stay connected with technology on our side; but still that phone call once a week, once a month, or even once a day; happens between those seven hours difference. I feel like a double agent, calculating, managing time in a split world between the one I live here in New York and the one I live with my friends and family back in Greece. We steal moments from our present lives to share stories, gossip, news, family pictures, and most recently most of my writing here.
What time is it there? 5.30am–
What are you doing up that early??
Taking time to talk with you…
What time zone are you in?