This is Me- a poem

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Photo by George Vordos


These are my scars.

I stand tall above the mound and reach for the stars.

Every step I take lights up with fire

There are no boundaries to my desire

Make no mistake I’m a lethal woman

My poison can be deadly and your remedy.

And try as you might you can’t absorb my energy


This is my body.

Every curve tells a story

Every inhale and exhale swells like a waterfall

I move to a rhythm that you can’t even hear

So do you want to go higher?

Pay close attention as I will only mention this once.

I can have my cake and eat it too

I can choose to keep a piece for you.


These are my eyes.

They speak the truth despite your lies.

I went to the ends of the earth and STILL brought back flowers

You doubted my faith and you scorned my powers,

I washed my tired body after the fight and stood silently by the light

Because darkness is no match for me

I walk and the earth trembles

You turn your gaze because you are too weak to see

This fire that is within me


This is my heart.

It’s stronger than its pain

It swells with love

And the love I feel can not be squandered

Even though my mind has wandered

To moments of silence and remorse

It’s all par for the course


The pulse you hear cannot be silenced

It will embrace your hate

It will envelop your fear

It will transform you.

If you let it.


Traveling Yogi- Part I

         Stories of Travel and creating independence


New York was starting to weigh heavily on me.  A hostile, abrasive city environment after a very emotionally taxing winter, was pushing me to my limits, so when the time came for a free weekend in June, I jumped to the chance to get out. Nothing makes me happier than being on the road, on a plane or on a boat. Moving from place to place has been part of my whole existence, and there is something incredibly calming and familiar about airports. I packed my bags with much anticipation to go somewhere I had been longing to visit for years… It was a just what I needed.



Arizona desert, 5am as the sun is rising; I squint as the sky fills with mesmerizing colors and hues. Small shapes start to appear, wild desert animals are wide awake taking their place in the trees and the rocks. Silhouettes of low brush and tall proud cacti pepper the landscape. I walk carefully down the rocky path being extra careful not to trip on the jacked rocks as we climb up the hill. We keep a steady pace and I can hear my breath with every step. My friend T and his wife brought water packs for us, and I’m thankful because I left my backpack in the car so I wouldn’t be weighted down during our hike. Its a good hour-long drive away from Phoenix where they live, so we had started out as early as possible to “beat the heat”. It’s the first time in months I feel strong enough to take this journey. After my abortion, I barely had energy for seated meditation, but it gave me purpose to concentrate on my breath when not much else did.


“I started weeping, tears slowly forming in my eyes, my cheeks burning with the sun’s light my heart expanding with every breath…”

This early morning in June marked 2 months after my procedure and I can feel my body take in the desert sun like a sponge. My skin felt warm, my breath felt strong. I want to test my legs and endurance in this challenging environment. I stand still and take a moment to experience this vista that is so new and so familiar at the same time. I am in awe of what mother earth has to offer. I am still anxious about my body being able to deal with the extra pressure and physical demands of hiking, but I know that I’m in good hands. I needed to do this, to prove to myself that I have reclaimed my body. I am starting to feel alive again.


I’ve known my friend T since high school; we lost touch after I went to college; we reconnected after I came to live in New York four years ago, and after my abortion he was one of the few people I could trust with my experience.  He and his family stood by me, and emotionally supported my decision like champions. He has two gorgeous daughters with his wife and they are quite possibly the most loving, joyous and giving young girls I’ve seen in a long time. His youngest stole my heart, and instantly knew how to draw me in, hold me tight and show me unbound love. They embraced, nourished, and took care of me like few friends can and now we were silently walking up the hill together with this glorious landscape as our backdrop.


I felt a strong desire to connect with the earth again and find a true north. In the cacophony of the city that task of being able to maintain serenity and balance is not unlike the task handed to Sisyphus,  by the Greek gods. He was forever punished for his hubris and trickery with pushing up a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down again. I was tired of meaningless tasks, futile relationships and disruptive people, and nature always serves as a reset button unlike any other.


I sat on a beautiful rock formation overlooking the valley below.  The desert expanse spread out before me and I closed my eyes. The sun was rising, the colors changing and the energy around us could be cut with a knife. There is nothing more pure and unfiltered as the sun’s light. I felt the warmth of the rocks rising up through my spine, each synapse and nerve ending slowing down for just a second and I watched the anxieties, the fear the anger the sadness slowly lift away from my body. I started to realize that whatever I had felt up until that point was moving away from me and into those rocks. Like layers coming off from a snake as it renews its skin leaving the old and embracing the new shiny layers underneath.


I saw the injustice, how I was being wronged, insulted, and ridiculed by the very persons who had vowed to be my protectors and my champions lift and slowly dissipate into the morning air. I started weeping, tears slowly forming in my eyes, I looked up at the purple and blue and pink sky as my cheeks started burning with the sun’s light, my heart expanding with every breath, and my womb connecting with mother nature.  A deep understanding came over me, knowing that it’s no longer empty, no longer barren no longer scarred. She is my mother, the earth the sky the wind, and my friends my guides and my protectors on this amazing transformation. I closed my eyes again.

This is only the beginning — I kept breathing in and out, slowing my heart rate, the stream of my tears falling on the rocks and becoming one with the earth. It’s the closest I have ever felt to a divine experience. We speak a lot of meditative and transcendental states in yoga, yet it is a connection that can never be fully explained unless it is experienced. I bowed down to the teachers before me, those who taught me that strength is what you find within and not what you seek outside of yourself.  Happiness, is a work in progress and not a holy grail that you have to look for. Despite the pitfalls of sadness, I’m freshly determined to explore this newly found joy one day at a time.


I opened my eyes, my friends were there sitting beside me and we embraced the new day ahead of us. “Let’s go get some breakfast! I said… I’m famished.”

We nodded, we laughed  we gave a high-five, and walked back down the hill as the new day began.


On the way back a song came on, on the radio…. Nina’s voice crooning our new beginning. And I’m feeling good.

Feeling Good







To be a man

I’ve heard a lot of high minded stories of how women should act, how women should behave and what requirements we have to adhere to in order to keep their man. We are judged on our makeup, our walk, what we wear, if we smile on the street, and if we keep our man “happy”.  We are to please men’s gaze because that’s our job, that’s what is expected. We are seen ultimately as helpers, caretakers, mommy figures despite our accomplishments, our intellect and our professional successes. We are everything to everybody and in the end leaving nothing to ourselves. And this got me thinking, what is it to be a real man? Do the same rules apply, and what are those rules? It seems that very little emphasis if any is given to how men should develop their emotional intelligence leaving much to be admired, in self centered, narcissistic and misogynist behavior that I’ve seen too much of recently. Men with all the love in  my heart, grow up, wise up, and get a grip.

So indulge me and let me flip the script. For those who so quickly pass judgement without looking in the mirror, and take a moment to ask yourselves. What of manhood?

I wanted to share my observations over the years but most recently, this past year:

  • For those who know me, know that I appreciate a man with his feminine side intact, and his masculine side fully developed.
  • A man, who’s hat is tipped slightly to one side and who doesn’t ride like a brute through life. (aka take time to notice the world around you)
  • A sensitive, self assured, knowing man who’s life isn’t about how much pussy he’s licked, or how much money he makes, but how he’s dealt with his fears, kicked his ego to the side, and is present in all aspects of his life.
  • A man who can raise the bar for all men, and be seen as an example to emulate rather than one to avoid. (we know far too many of the latter)

Those men are not a rarity, and let’s be clear, you ain’t shit if you talk a good game, and can’t back it up with actions. You can’t insult others in your path, demean others who you don’t agree with, and degrade women who for whatever reason didn’t give you what you wanted, and call yourself a good person, leader, father, man. That’s an oxymoron.

It’s not manly to call out the shortcomings of others, but all the while pushing out your pent up aggression, insecurities and tragic lack of self awareness for the whole world to see.

That isn’t manhood, its buffoonery.

We have too many examples of those men, to last a lifetime. Let’s raise, uplift and appreciate those who don’t fit into that category. So here is my little poem about a man that inspires me.

Thank you to the real gems out there, you know who you are. Thank you to the men who remain steadfast to their beliefs,  while empowering, uplifting and encouraging others to reach their potential.

Thank you.


There is man who makes me smile, 

a man who cleans that gunk off the tile.

And with his gaze lifts me uplifts me onto the pile of fresh laundry he’s been meaning to fold.

There is a man who can be bold

A man who doesn’t do what he’s told,

but dreams hard and thinks for himself

who doesn’t leave ideas to wither on the shelf.


There is a man who knows he doesn’t have it made just because he fucked me

A man who doesn’t let the passion fizzle and drizzles that extra special sauce I like,

Because he knows that later I’m gonna make his hair stand on end…


There is man who can’t wait to kiss me

And doesn’t diss me because we differ in how we drink our coffee

There is a man who is always proud

Who doesn’t have to talk out loud; he whispers,

Little nothings in my ear, the way I like to hear.


There is a man who sleeps next to me and gives me bear hugs in his dreams,

Who wants to scream out loud and tell everyone how proud he is of his woman,

Rather than complain and act all ashamed because of the little things that make us different.

There is a man who loves to listen rather than chatter endlessly about his “superiority”.

There is a man who says more in silence than a thousand words could ever do.


There is a man who sees the scars, smiles and looks up at the stars and says:

“I love you because you’re perfect for me. There is nothing I can do but be….with you here, and now”

There is a man who when the time comes sits next to me and without saying a word,

takes me in his arms, and whatever bothered us up until that point



And If I am frustrated with life, and it brings me to tears?

He’s there to figure out the stupid shit with me, dispels my fears and insecurities because sometimes,

It just takes a smile and a deep knowing that he has my back no matter what.


There is a man who will get me out of my rut.

And looks to me to help him if he gets stuck

There is a man who isn’t afraid to wear flowers.

Because a man who is strong isn’t afraid to show his powers…

with flair.


Here is a man who deeply stares in my eyes and without saying a word

takes me by surprise and lets go of any disguise and is real with me.

Shedding the petty little lies that are the demise of the beauty within us.


I know a man who makes me smile

And all the while knows deeply how wonderful life can be

With me.


And a little tune to keep you going:

Neneh Cherry- Trouble Man


A woman’s worth

Its not liberating to walk freely in a path that is chosen for you.


The Fallacy of Youth

We had gone through thick and thin together as clueless teenagers, then as young women seeking our place in the world in our early 20’s, and finally in our late 30’s early 40’s carving a path fueled by our experience and collective wisdom. Looking back at our youthful naiveté we thought we possessed, an indestructible power. We could take over the world, and all be damned. We conquered all that we had set out to do, even through this false sense of security, we would accomplish anything we set our minds on. Yet now we realize it’s not always the case; we didn’t have all the answers, as we so painfully discovered along this path to maturity and growth.

I’m reminded of a young woman I knew; she had her pick of men in her late teens early twenties. They were disposable to her and at the flick of her long brown hair, she would leave them as quickly as they would appear. She had no remorse, no care for their feelings. Sometimes these men came into her life to fix her or repair her in some way, but soon discovered that their interference wasn’t welcome, and were left with their hearts broken and their anger intact. She wasn’t frivolous with her feelings, she was cut throat and knew what she wanted.

Her life was not easy, she had many misfortunes and tragedies at a very young age, losing her father  from cancer, at the tender age of 14, finally settling at her family home with her newly widowed mother and her sister, trying to find a base, and an anchor. When her mother remarried, she found comfort in her new family, finding some stability, a safe space. Yet still she was restless, and wild she had a fire that could not be quenched. I envied her, I wanted to be just like her.

She wanted to escape the expectations others had of her. Marry, have children be an obedient wife,  and be like so many of the women in her family, but she didn’t subscribe to these rules. I remember idealizing this woman this unabashed and free person who did as she pleased, not fully knowing whether this was something I wanted for myself. I had to fall in love with every boy I met, I had to be normal, I had to be obedient. Until I discovered later that, the persona I was so desperately trying to fit in to, was my noose.

We grew apart, she started her own business, met many men, had affairs and did as she pleased. Free, bad ass, independent, take no bullshit. I studied dance, and followed my dream to be a choreographer, I wrote poetry, I was an artist. I fell in love with men, I cried over them, I created art for them and kept looking for the one. As everyone around me slowly got married, had kids, settled down, I just couldn’t subscribe to that kind of ideology. Not because I didn’t want it for myself, but because I wanted to write that story differently, with my pen; instead of accepting a pre-approved script. Finding that true voice was more important to me than obeying convention, and looking happy for a picture on a mantle.

My dear friend and I connected again after my separation from a long drawn out relationship with a man 14 years my senior. He had taught me a lot, but inevitably I was no longer in love with him, and truthfully neither was he. I was sitting in her living room, having moved out of the home I shared with my partner, and picking up the pieces of my life when I realized, while holding her then 1-year-old daughter on my lap, that she had done all of it, while following her own rule book. She was with an amazing man who was six years younger, she had a beautiful daughter who was the light of her life and she had her own home. She had chosen to create a family with this man, not because she had to but because she wanted to and it was beautiful.

A few years later her son was born and the wild woman who defied all, was a mother of two amazing children. Yet still her fire, her absolution, her redemption was that she shed all that was expected of her and did exactly what she wanted.  I see her daughter; approximately the same age as my friend when we first met, and she is exactly like her mother, that mischievous sparkle in her eye, the same creativity and playfulness but in her own way. Now I see that her daughter will grow up to be an incredible woman. She has her own convictions, her own ideas and her own thoughts about how life should be. She is part of this new generation of women and men who will shed expectations and gender norms to find their own path in life, burning through the old handbooks that kept us bound to unattainable and ridiculous norms, and I’m incredibly proud of her and her mom.

A Real woman-

A real woman gets married, a real woman does what her husband tells her, a real woman paints her toenails, puts on the good dress, and acts all proper because why should she walk out of the house unkempt and without make up, even though she’s exhausted and has no time to be a barbie doll. A real woman has kids or else she’s not whole.  A real woman can’t possibly have a career and a family. A real woman doesn’t sacrifice her family life for travel, career advancement or ambition. She will be alone, forgotten,  and useless, if she doesn’t perform her duties as expected. A real woman doesn’t have dreams beyond her finely crafted role in society, and if she dare break away from that role, she’s seen as a bitter, unfulfilled misfit. And shame on her if she doesn’t get it all done before dinner time, because then she really doesn’t have it together. I’ve seen countless women who struggle to confine themselves into those labels placed upon them, trying to be perfect in every aspect of their lives, and never realizing what id behind door No. 2.

Shedding the norm, releasing the status quo, cuts the old ideology, patriarchy and rotten gender identity to its core.

Because let’s be honest, why would you want to aspire to anything else than what others construct for you? It’s a finely laid out trap that snaps shut each time we sniff at the proverbial cheese. We all buy into it, we all think it’s just best that way. Why push boundaries, why take the road less traveled? Why seek a life that is glorious and unbound, for something comfortable, understood and accepted by those who have no imagination beyond the cartoonish life they have chosen for themselves; yet this is not the movies, its real life. Its not liberating to walk freely in a path that is chosen for you.

What I see in the women and hopefully the men of this new generation, is an evolved way of thinking. Those who define themselves, and accept no one else’s definition of them. Who aren’t #lit, #queens, #woke #badass and don’t #slay, because that’s still a label, made for them. What makes us unique, shining examples of women in this world, is our choice.

Feminism is about choice. If you choose to have a family and be a mother and a housewife that is a choice you can make because others have paved the path for you with blood sweat and tears. If you choose to have an abortion it is because, a brave woman named Margaret Sanger made it possible for women to get access to birth control and safe family planning. If you choose to travel the world, run your own company, and be a CEO; you can because you have a choice.  Shedding the norm, releasing the status quo, cuts the old ideology, patriarchy and rotten gender identity to its core. We are no longer fitting into a mold built by men, we are not building one at all. Young men and women have an incredible opportunity to break away from these shackles of supposed social structures, and instead of being pushed into another category, they create one of their own and are gloriously unapologetic for it.

And that’s a real woman.





Fathering a child doesn’t make you a father. Being there and raising one does. — Unknown


This is for the fathers, those who are there, those who are supportive those who take on their role with bravery even though they never planned for it, those who are parents to children who aren’t theirs and those who are fathers and mothers at the same time. Men are not trained or raised to be fathers,  and most don’t know what to do, and so many step into this role absolutely unprepared, but I praise those who despite the lack of a handbook, take on their responsibility with all the courage and dignity in order to teach, and raise their children to be honorable, responsible and loving people.

And for the dead beat dads who never showed up, who neglected their roles, there are the brave and incredibly strong women who have to fill the role of both mother and father, like my grandmother Pauline who raised  my mother and my uncle alone, and she did it all, encapsulating both roles, raising an amazing strong woman in my mother and a gifted, brave Vietnam veteran in my uncle.

This is for the fathers who become role models, mentors and educators of their children.

I am proud of the fathers who show up, who raise their daughters to be strong, independent and self reliant women. The fathers who fuel their daughters with courage to speak their mind and never shy away from their true self, the fathers who instruct their daughters that its not shameful to make mistakes, and fuck up, and to fight their own battles, patriarchal stereotypes, and the bullshit images they see portrayed on a daily basis. The fathers who show their daughters through actions, words and deeds how women should be treated by being a living example. The fathers who treat the women in their lives with respect, integrity and dignity. The fathers who sing to their daughters, and take their sons on adventures that build character and conviction. The fathers who take time to read books, listen to music, color in coloring books and play with dolls because real men do that too. The fathers who raise their sons to be kind, loving and respectful, to be men and husbands and leaders and not perpetuating macho, sexist behaviors that make them a “real man”. The fathers who show, and teach their sons and daughters valuable lessons,  and challenge their way of thinking by pushing them to be more than just their stereotypical roles and show them how its done through their own life choices. The fathers who teach their boys to be inquisitive and responsible young men, who will make strides to protect, uplift and respect the women in their lives.

And I pity those who fall short, who fail, to understand their place, who neglect the enormous responsibility they have been given to fulfill; who pretend, that just because they fathered a child, or pay the bills, its not up to them how that child grows up in society, and who don’t understand that fatherhood isn’t a role that is a given, but a unfathomable gift and monumental task that lasts a lifetime.

For my father.

“Everybody is an asshole just try to be less of an asshole” – J. Kounelis


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I could not end this post with out thanking my father. A man who’s life has been a whirlwind of triumph and tragedy, and who’s courage to overcome his adversities has made me fight harder for what I believe in.

So dad this is for you:

Thank you for having faith in me, for singing to me while you shaved in the bathroom, for taking me for omelette and fries on the top of a village mountain, for teaching me about painting, poetry and architecture. Thank you for teaching me to love others despite the outcome, for instilling in me the passion for travel and adventure.  Thank you for showing me how to sail the seas, drive fast and furious, and walk in the hot sand, and pick out sea shells. Thank you for showing me how to create art out of simple objects. Thank you for teaching me to love music and taking me to my first Pink Floyd concert. Thank you for showing me that standing up for my rights, for my voice, is what real women do, and that my right to choose motherhood or not is my decision and no one else’s. Thank you for trusting me to fight my own battles and thank you for letting me choose my path instead of choosing one for me. Thank you for taking me bar hopping at age six and pushing me to go up against the big boys and not tolerate bullying and intimidation. Thank you for showing me that failure is part of success and that being perfect isn’t really all that important. Thank you for quietly and behind the scenes, supporting my love of dance and never doubting my instincts. Thank you for being a mentor and a teacher and a surrogate father to other children who didn’t have a father to look up to. I am grateful for you dad, despite our differences and disagreements, our quarrels and moments of silence, you are the best father a daughter could ever hope for.

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The power of the pen and freedom of speech

My dear Readers,

I was approached recently by people connected to the blogs I have recently published. Most notably my experience with my abusive ex partner and my recovery from my abortion. These were experiences, that were unfathomably difficult to go through, and extremely painful to recount. It took all my strength to share them with a wider audience. I felt compelled to share my experience because it has reached those who may not have had a voice. Countless people have reached out, and told me that my words have spoken to them in ways they could never have imagined, and that gives me the courage to keep sharing, keep writing and keep speaking about what I have experienced. All of my writing comes from a place of profound respect for what I have to share, because above all else I am talking about my life. I have not mentioned and will never mention the names of the people involved.

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That being said;

As a writer and an artist any attempt at censoring and silencing of my words will not be tolerated in any way.

I realize I have taken a risk to write about my life, to open up about deeply personal moments to the public. I don’t mention anyone by name and I don’t reveal identities. Some may find what I write uncomfortable, or offensive and that is unfortunate for them. This is a country with free speech written in the fundamentals of its constitution. I speak my truth,  I share my experiences with honesty and integrity and will not accept threats of any kind from persons related or unrelated to the articles I share. We are all free to read or not read what may interest us. That which does not interest us we have the freedom to avoid. That is the beauty of freedom of speech and expression.

Dear readers and followers, If you don’t like what you read here feel free to not read it. I realize not all of what I write is easy to accept. I also realize I can’t please everyone with my writing. That is all a matter of taste. My life has recently, repeatedly, and disrespectfully been exposed, talked about and ridiculed countless times in ways that can not be taken back. Things have been said publicly about me, and recorded in detail, without regard to my feelings, or how this would impact me, and those I love and care about. We all risk public and personal exposure. That is the price we pay. For those who would like to read my blog and have something of value to share, I welcome your feedback and comments. Those you feel the need to justify or defend by threatening me into silence are greatly mistaken.

The power of the pen is stronger than any threat.

I make that renewed commitment to my loyal followers and to those who have supported my writing over the years. I shall not be silenced.

I welcome everyone who wishes to read my blog posts, subscribe, follow and share with friends and loved ones.

Thank you.

How I broke up with myself. Loss and rebirth.

Two losses, and finding myself again.

Touch Point Article

leftovers and memories in a bowl of rice

Leftovers and memories in a bowl of rice

A story that reminds me that integrity can be found in a simple meal.




Leftovers… there is something uniquely comforting about them.

These are the things that make us feel “at home”; that last plate of food that reminds us that there is someone who cares enough to feed us, body and soul. Yesterday’s bountiful meal, today merely a simple plate of food, and for the creative, culinary lovers, a way to re imagine a re-heated bowl of rice. A couple of days ago, I sat down after a very long and tiring day to eat a bowl of risotto that I had made the night before. I was mentally and physically exhausted…. I have not slept a full night’s sleep for at least a month and food, is has been the last thing on my mind.

I usually don’t get inspired to cook unless I am preparing food for others, and making a meal, is something I cherish and look forward to, especially in New York, where so many eat out on a regular basis. There is nothing that makes me happier than serving up a wholesome dinner. That offering of nourishment, shelter and safety is probably the most sacred bond you can ever create with someone.  These days I find myself at my most un-creative, unmotivated and uninspired in the kitchen. My cookbooks are gathering dust, and my desire to eat is at an all time low. I’ve lost my need to prepare food, and quite honestly, have also lost my appetite. I used to cook all the time for my partner, and when friends came to visit, but for past couple of months I have been mostly alone, recovering physically,  and emotionally so a simple bowl of rice is all I had any inspiration to make.

Leftover rice, pesto sauce, avocado, and sweet potatoes. I stared at them for a while before my instinct kicked in and I started preparing the first meal in months that didn’t feel like a chore. I took out my grandmother’s old bowl and placed the rice, the sliced avocado and some salt and pepper to taste. As I took the first bite, the memories of my maternal grandmother flooded my brain. I have had this bowl ever since her passing in 1995.


Pauline Winifred Councilman, Nash, Jackson was born in 1908 in Montague, Massachusetts, to a very poor working class family.

She along with her three brothers Paul, Norman, Phillip and sister Ester, was raised in the center of town. She was rebellious, tenacious and strong even at a young age.  She didn’t finish high school and neither did any of her siblings. She lived her whole life in Montague, except for when she traveled to Greece to visit my newly wed mother and to meet me as a baby. She married and divorced twice. She raised my uncle Norman and my mother Christine alone, and worked full-time at Sears Roebuck & Company, until she retired.

Pauline was a woman full of fire and strength. Her gaze, was like nothing I’ve ever seen before or since. She had white blond hair and piercing blue eyes, and was always very slender and petite. Her delicate frame was a bit underweight and frail in the end. A lifelong smoker, she smoked up to four packs a day in her youth, which over the years took a terrible toll on her health.

A take no bullshit woman, she worked hard her whole life and with no help from her ex husbands. She didn’t tolerate anything for long and even though many women of her generation would have remained married she chose to defy convention, and not be beholden to anyone who didn’t have her best interest. So she kicked both of them out, and they never were a part of their children’s lives. She was fiercely loyal to her family and they supported her in every way as she raised her two children on her own. I feel (sometimes to my detriment) I take much of my personality from her.

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Pauline with her son Norman mid 1930’s

Her home was humble, tidy and always welcomed visitors with open arms. She kept it pristine to the point of neurosis, because of her obsession with germs and cleanliness. I recall her old vacuum cleaner which now would adorn some hipster’s apartment in New York as an antique curiosity. She always had lemon candy in the sugar bowl by her dining table, and small snacks in the cupboard for when I would come to stay.  She worked to the bone for everything she had, and the bowl that is now stored in my kitchen cabinet was bought as part of a set; piece by piece on lay away. Despite her apparent “poverty”, my grandmother Pauline was a generous woman, in her spirit, with her heart and with her love. She had endured hardships and difficulties that I can only imagine, yet she was a woman of conviction, of morality and integrity like no woman I’ve ever met. She never complained about her circumstance and always had a graciousness that surpassed many who I’ve met in my life.

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Photograph taken by Christine Counelis circa 1954

As I looked down at my bowl of rice, I closed my eyes and remembered the last time I visited my grandmother’s home. It was this past Christmas, my best friend had come from Athens, and we had planned a road trip to western Mass to see my parents and relatives for the holidays. My partner decided not to join us, so it was us two crazy ladies on the road. The woman who currently owns my grandmother’s home graciously invited me to a Christmas party, and I felt this was an incredible opportunity to show my mom her old home again. This was going to be an emotional time for us all, since my mother had not seen the home she grew up in since 1995, yet I felt it would be an amazing opportunity to reconnect with her memories and breathe new life into its current reincarnation.

Food was being served and prepared in an incredible banquet, of fish, salads, fruit, meats and cheeses. My grandmother in contrast wasn’t much of a cook and didn’t have any gatherings in her home for the holidays. She was always too frail to prepare elaborate meals, so most of her food was prepared by others or bought in frozen meals. She loved saltines and to this day I can’t have one without thinking of her.

Seeing so many people gathered together drinking, eating, and celebrating in merriment felt like new life was breathing in to this home filled with childhood memories for both my mother and I.  As I looked out into her backyard, which was home to wild turkeys, blueberry bushes and hundreds of fireflies during summertime, I felt so comforted by the realization that even though homes change owners, their memories live on in the little things, like a bowl, a table, and the wood floors. New memories can be made with what seems to be a part of one’s own personal history.

I am glad that I’ve kept a small part of my grandmother’s personal history with me. She reminds me to be strong at times of adversity and to appreciate the small things despite their value. Her bowl has been to Greece, Mykonos, London and back to the U.S, so her spirit has traveled with me.

To Pauline… This recipe is for you

For the Rice:

2 Cups of Basmatti Rice (or any rice of your choosing)

1 1/2 Teaspoon of Butter to boil with the rice

Half a chopped shallot added to the simmering rice

A pinch of herbs de Provence or any other dry herb of your choice ( oregano, basil, marjoram)

let the rice simmer until done.

For the Sweet potatoes:

wash the potatoes well and leave the skin on. Cut them in quarters and place them on a baking tray. put salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil to taste

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350-400 degrees (250 Celsius) until soft.

let cool.

Combine the rice and the sweet potato cut in small cubes; add salt and pepper to taste

Cut up half an avocado lengthwise in strips put salt, pepper and a little but of lime

finish off with chopped spring onions







Two losses, and finding myself again.

My experience of deep loss, rebirth and finding my body again. 

I felt compelled to write about this because I had a duty to share my experience. I know there are other women out there who feel the same way I do. Nothing prepares you for this. No one can tell you how it will feel.  No one can teach you how to deal with the loss and how to fight to find yourself again. No one can prepare you for the utter emptiness you feel inside. No one can tell you it will be OK.

I never thought I would have to ever face this alone. I felt helpless, and still feel something missing that will never be replaced. I know women in my family who underwent  six, or seven abortions just because it was a form of contraception for them.

 I was horrified at the fact that the body can go through so much change and preparation only to then be void, useless, unproductive and scarred. I felt abandoned and alone. My partner who had left me 3 weeks prior, was unresponsive, abusive, or declined any reply to my pleas for assistance, or support. At every attempt to communicate, I was met with disbelief, accusations and threats. That betrayal felt far worse than the realization that I had to undertake this procedure all on my own.

I told my mother, two weeks before I booked my appointment with the clinic. She was my hero and my support the whole time before during and after the abortion. She understood me even without saying a word, she felt compelled to be there even though this was something she wasn’t prepared for either. She was a calm force beside me and quite honestly, I could never have done this without her. I was falling apart. She was there for me every step of the way. She stayed at the clinic when I got my final blood tests, waited patiently as we drove the 30 minutes from the house to the clinic, she stayed in the waiting room as I got my final ultrasound, and took me to the home after all was done. I barely ate, or slept before that day, and for weeks after. I saw nightmares and dreams of death, and the only thing that kept me sane was my yoga practice and my daily meditation.

“the body can go through so much change and preparation only to then be void, useless, unproductive and scarred”

I was devastated at all this loss. The loss of my partner’s support who refused to believe I was pregnant, demanded proof, and called me a liar, and a nut job, who instead sent me abusive, threatening messages, and lent me no support in my decision to terminate the pregnancy. The loss of my body and my ability to fathom ever recovering from this, and the loss of my faith in a person who I loved dearly and wanted to share this scary life changing experience with, who showed no understanding or care for what I was going though.


Yet with all this pain and insanity, came the people who surrounded me with so much love, care and support from every part of my life, that I felt it embracing me like no other time. The clinic was incredibly supportive before, during and after the procedure. My closest friend in New York, called me every day,  my friends in Greece sent constant messages, acquaintances reached out and assured me that everything I was feeling was normal. Women I only had a recent connection with spoke to me, walked me through it and reassured me that everything however uncomfortable was normal….

I felt far from normal, and nothing was normal.

Upon arriving for my appointment, I was met with the kindness and understanding that is so vital when going through something so incredibly difficult and life altering. There were no protesters, there was no harassment and above all there was no moment where I was made to feel guilty because of my decision. I chose to go to Massachusetts at a women’s clinic that was not only incredible in their services, but beyond the call of duty in their emotional and physical support during the whole process. Going through this alone in New York felt like a fight I was not prepared for.

I felt the after effects for days, and weeks after the abortion. My body felt numb, dizzy, and nauseous. I felt faint and weak and could barely function for the first few days after the procedure.  I felt absolutely torn from myself, devastated at not being with the person I loved so much during this difficult part of my life, and incapable or feeling anything at all but waves of shame, remorse and regret. I was at my lowest point when I reached out to a trusted confidant who directed me to an incredible organization based in New York called Avail. I had to talk to someone who knew exactly how I felt, who knew exactly what my body was going through and who needed no explanations.

Avail proved to be so much more than a recovery center. It has been a safe haven for me to let go of all the feelings connected to my pregnancy, my abortion and how I didn’t think I could move on from my sadness. Their counselors and group support staff have been incredibly supportive in guiding me towards, recovery in my body and finding some joy again in everyday life. This is a service that is available to all women for free, and offer group as well as individual counseling that has brought me to a place of some acceptance that I could never have achieved on my own. It has given me the resolve to talk about my experience and share my grief in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

“I felt the after effects for days, and weeks after the abortion. My body felt numb, dizzy, and nauseous”

This experience however difficult, deeply sobering and saddening has given me the strength to educate others on what they can do to heal their bodies, focus on those who will care and support them and become stronger through their adversity, as did I.  It’s been over a month and although I’ve had some very dark days, feeling a sadness that can’t be described, and I still battle with nightmares and hormonal changes that I can’t control, I am slowly making peace now with the choice I made, and my body is slowly coming back to life. 

If anyone in your life needs support help each other, women need other women to listen, comfort and surround themselves with positive understanding people through this very daunting time in their lives. In my darkest hour, women reached out to me in ways I could never have imagined. This journey hard as it was has taught me that nothing is more valuable than the knowledge that we are all stronger together.

Please know that you are never alone and even if it takes months or years it will be OK. 

For further information on Avail please check the link below:

Let me say this….



Let me tell you a story about leaving home, about struggling to find a place of your own, Let me tell you about walking miles every day in this crazy city, and asking yourself over and over again is this all there is?

Let me tell you about loving and heartbreak, about standing on your own two feet, about flirtation about opening your heart again about loneliness about doubt and fear, let me tell you about sitting alone at night thinking…

There must be more than life to this.

Let me tell you about rejoicing in knowing you have friends who love you and you love them. Let me tell you about poetry and listening to father analyse over and over the importance of poetry…. because talking about your motherland falling apart isn’t that pleasant.

Let me tell you about mother and how she is my best friend.  Let me tell you about laughter in the middle of the street, till your guts hurt and not caring how loud you are cause that shit was so damn funny!  Let me tell you about sex, and passion, lack of intimacy or truth, let me tell you about excuses and mistreatment and unfulfilled embraces, let me tell you about pain. Let me tell you about not wanting to live again.

“let me tell you about sitting alone at night thinking, there must be more than life to this…”

Let me tell you about falling in love and going out of your mind, let me show you loss and tears. Let me tell you about walking alone, and sleeping alone and crying alone and feeling alone even though your not. Let me tell you about countless early mornings sitting alone just breathing and hoping it will all get better.

Let me tell you about waking up with sun in your eyes and smelling the island breeze and wishing you were there with me, diving deeper and deeper into the deep blue sea.


Let me tell you about missing home, and missing my people, my sun kissed balcony, the aromas of fresh baked bread from the village bakery

salt on my skin

the sound of hundreds of cicadas drowning the air with their numbing rhythm. Let me tell you about music and dancing, and embracing friends who are far away, and letting your hair down cause…

that’s what life is all about.

Let me show you what I see, what I hear let me share with you my story, and I want you to tell me yours.

Tell me about you, tell me about your dreams and struggles your life and goals, your fears.

are you sitting up at night thinking is this all there is?

Eat with me, drink with me, laugh with me, cry with me, look into my eyes and see there is nothing more beautiful than sitting in silence and knowing, understanding one another and realizing….

Yes that this is ALL there is.

My grandmother’s hands

A young hand holding an old pair of handsMy grandmothers hands.

I keep remembering her hands, how she knitted a sweater, how she stirred the pot of piping hot semolina for the taramosalata she used to make for lent, the way she drank her afternoon coffee.  How she mended everything with her expert sewing skills.  All these small movements she used to make with nothing grand or exceptional about them, but  only that they were hers. She had a way of being delicate and strong at the same time.

I recall the shape of her hands as she held mine. We would run together holding hands as we crossed the busy highway towards her house. I remember how soft they were in mine. She always had very soft hands, her wedding ring on one and a petite watch adorned her wrist. Years later I would hold her hand when she was in the hospital, after her stroke. I sat by her side changed her diapers and made sure she had something to listen to on a small transistor radio even though she wasn’t much into music.

I read to her, I told her stories, I sometimes sang to her, and she sometimes recognized me so purely, like she didn’t have a trace of her aging and forgetfulness. But more often than not, she would get lost in a distant gaze when we would sit together in the kitchen drinking our afternoon coffee, especially towards the end. I remember her making a overtly strong comment about my tattoos, that she would not have made if not losing her etiquette along with her brain sharpness.  I laughed it off, knowing full well she didn’t mean what she said, and  took her hand and drawing a small flower on it said “see there you go, your a whore too, I know you were jealous and wanted a tattoo as well” and I winked at her and she slightly smiled, realizing that yes I was making her laugh and she loved it.

image2 (1)

I remember her somber smile and I can’t describe how sad I feel that she has been gone since 2008. I will never forget what she had done for me over the years. My grandmother was my second mother in many respects, and at times a surrogate mother when my own mom would travel for work for extended periods of time. At the times that dad would join her, I would spend many weeks at my gran’s house virtually living there until I would rejoin my “real” family again.

She was my protector my confidant, the person I would tell secrets to and make her swear that she wouldn’t tell my parents. I loved her so damn much. And she loved me. She would sing to me when I was a young girl,  “My little eleana my little girl”, and I would smile and just know she accepted me exactly for who I was. I didn’t need to be anything but myself with her. I may have hidden my true self from others, trying to be obedient or likable or pleasant, but with her I was my wild self, my inquisitive, wonderful self. I felt at home, sometimes more than I did with my parents.

I slept in a converted loft. It was my uncle’s bedroom when he was a teenager, and was mine when I was in junior high school. I spent for hours up there as a young girl. I did my homework, read books, took afternoon naps, played hide and go seek with my cousins. It was my castle. As an adult I would visit  for long weekends to keep her company until she died in 2008. I sometimes would nap with her when I was much younger, hearing her light snore and air leaving her lips when she slept next to me. And I would pretend to sleep too, and just sit there, and daydream as she rested next to me. The ceilings in her house were so high I would squint to look at the details around the fixtures, those two plain rings of molding that would adorn the hanging lamp above her bed.

The light would faintly come through the shutters as the summer sun would submerge into a pleasantly cool evening.  She would lightly stir, wake up and slide her feet into her house slippers, taking the short walk to her kitchen. It was her daily ritual after her afternoon siesta I would emerge soon after stretching my body in an animated way so I would convince her that I had slept as deeply as she did. She would place the small coffee pot on her old fashioned electric cooker slowly stirring the water and the coffee grinds until they were blended perfectly and then add a short teaspoon of sugar for taste. She made mine a touch sweeter as I had a passion for anything sugary and sweet as a youngster.

We drank coffee as companions, we sat side by side, she at the head of the table and me to her right, and lot more after my grandfather died, she and I became companions. We would take our coffees on a tray with some of her home baked orange biscuits, and we would watch television together. All the American soap operas were her favorite at the time, and later on the Brazilian soap operas replaced them. We would read small articles from the tv guide, or she would bring out a book and read to me, usually stories for youngsters but from a traditional Greek author or some religious text that she felt compelled to share with me.

I remember when she would have a hard time getting up from her arm chair and I would help her up until she got stronger and could move around more easily. Her hands would grip mine and we would get up together and she would say “opa” and smile lightly after getting her footing and felt strong enough to stand on her own. I would massage her hands with olive oil to alleviate her arthritic aches and pains. Even though her body would get weaker, her grip was always strong and confident, and reassuring. I knew that she would protect me no matter what. She was my angel, my wing man, my caretaker, my mom, my father, my whole family.


I would come home from school and cry at her shoulder about those mean boys who bullied me and she would turn to me and say, “they mean nothing, don’t pay attention to those boys. YOU know who you are, so don’t let them think they are anything more than pesky annoyances.” I tried but it wasn’t always easy. I was a sensitive as a young girl, and I took things very seriously and personally as a young child,  and often would get bullied even by my own family, but when others bullied me she would swoop in like a lioness protecting her cubs and, take care of business. No one could say anything to Eleni Kouneli and I wanted so much to have her wisdom and courage and strength. She was my inspiration, my rock,  and my yiayia.

And I miss her.


May 1st, 2017 marked the 9th anniversary of her death, and not a year goes by that I don’t see her somehow in my dreams or near me. I am connected to her in an inexplicable way; she is there for me when I need her to be by my side. I can’t fathom that she has been gone for all these years, but at the same time I always feel her with me, guiding me, letting me know that she has my back. She smiles at my woes knowing that I have a lot more to learn about life and people and how strong I can be. She doesn’t worry about the mistakes or the wrong turns because she knows that I will eventually find the right path.

I could use her wisdom right now. I am going through one of the toughest times in my life and I feel a deep sorrow that only she could soothe. I know she would give me the right advice and the guidance I needed.  She was twice my mother twice my protector and in so many ways my teacher. She would say something that would make sense that would ease my pain and show me that everything will be alright. I wish she could talk some sense into that boy who hurt me in grade school, or any other boy who has hurt me since, but honestly, I know she would say, something to help me rise above it all.

Thank you yiayia for your presence in my life. Your wisdom your courage your strength and tenacity. I will strive in every way to honor your faith in me.

I plan to write a longer series of stories about my grandmother, and other women in my family in the coming months. My hope is that out of this will arise a more solid body of work in a form of short stories. I wish to share these stories with people in my life, and my loyal readers. Maybe you will enjoy them. I know she would.


Happy Mother’s Day.