Day 8. To be a woman

“Women will save the world, but first they must start by saving themselves.” — DL


Today is International Women’s Day — Women’s achievements, sacrifice, tenacity, willpower, beauty, and presence is celebrated around the world.

Yes but…. there is a but.

What is lacking in all this celebration of togetherness is the sheer lack of self care that most women give themselves. Over and over women are celebrated by being the healers, the nurturers the caretakers, as of late (only in American Culture) the fighters; the true heroines. More often than not these same women are time and time again put into positions to care for others more than they can care for themselves.

And yet…. there is a yet; women are still abused, by their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, lovers, relatives. Wives and girlfriends are battered in more households across Greece than I care to mention. I’ve heard it with my own to ears. I’ve heard it here, in New York right next to my own home. Because violence physical, verbal and mental; despite this rah rah mentality of celebrating women, still exists.

We, women; are strong, unrelenting in our abilities to do whatever we want to do. And still, yes there is a still; we have to deal with the abuse, the control and the pressure of society to be nice, pretty, agreeable, convincing with our bodies and not our minds and lastly and this is not easy for me to say, become blind of all that has happened and continues to happen to us and get on with it.

I celebrate women, I revere their strength their ability to get things done in the most difficult of circumstances but above all; I celebrate their ability to forgive; love unconditionally, and bring communities together when no one else can. My biggest heroes are not the famous faces; everyone knows them. My heroines are the women in my family; the women I call my sisters, and the women who despite illness, financial difficulty and incredible odds against them; still get shit done. These are the role models that young women need to look up to.

We are the healers, the negotiators the ones who raise families, our own and of others, we are strong, we are survivors, we get up when life throws us down, but we must never forget that in order to heal the world, we must begin with ourselves.

Celebrate women’s day every day.

This is me…a letter

IMG_0079My dear friends, readers, fellow bloggers. This piece of writing came out of an experiment a very dear friend challenged me to put together. She said, write about yourself without the men in your life. So this is my result. I vowed this year to share more of who I am, so you get to know the real Eleana Kouneli.


Here is my story.



I was an awkward child. A resolute soul, very sure in my mind of what was wrong and right. I spent my youth trying to put chaos into order. You see my parents were kinda artistic and free thinkers, so I felt that I needed some structure and discipline. I found dance to be my guide, movement used to calm me and still does. I navigate through life with my body is my compass, or else I feel lost.

My greatest fear is that I will lose connection with my body and then lose my connection with the world. I think too much, I analyze things till they are no longer recognizable in my head, I over think, and when I do that’s when I have to move so I can forget. I fall in love with everything almost immediately, and find myself while losing myself in others. I’ve found that boundaries are my hardest and most painstaking task in life. I hated them as a child but now find them to be panacea to the evils and half truths of others.

I dream vivid dreams, my landscapes are bright, the buildings precise the people immediate. I am terrified of being alone, while at the same time I cherish my time with myself as I get older. There are moments I wish I was blissfully ignorant and had no care in the world, then other times I’m painfully plagued by the ills and wrongs of this distorted reality we all live in.

I battle for the truth and for love. I love deeply, so deeply it hurts and I have love in my heart that I don’t know what to do with. It’s like a blessing and a curse, this need to share and be in and want to love, yet I’m horrible at receiving absolutely anything. I can’t receive love, I don’t know how. I can’t receive affection it feels like a trap.

I have a strong sense of justice and a deep self loathing that stems from my early years as a young girl and I can’t quite seem to shake that off. I am lonely, often and I can’t ask for help when I really need it. I have an overwhelming feeling I will die and no one will notice. I feel incredibly unprepared for the challenges life has thrown at me, but at the same time like a thrill seeker I choose the harder path. I feel a deep disdain  for those who have it “easy”, I absolutely loathe comfort. I need fire and friction and creative drive like I need oxygen or I grow bored out of my skull.

I am my harshest and most brutal critic. I use the most damaging and harsh words on myself cause it feels more real than a compliment and a kind word. I rarely believe when people tell me I’m beautiful, I think it’s a trick, a lie , flattery. The only person I believe is my mother and two of my closest friends. I deeply fear my life without her. I have a hard time relating to myself without the mirror of others, hence why this piece of writing has been so difficult. I am often very lonely, and at times feel a deep longing that feels like a burning in my heart, for something, joy, love, connection, affection, ecstatic love. I hate big crowds of people, I feel absolutely swallowed by their energy, I feel almost agoraphobic when I’m surrounded by too many people. Even at parties I put together back in Greece, I always sought refuge in a corner somewhere, I hated being the center of attention, and at the same time I love it. When I perform, I feel alive, when I’m on stage I feel whole, connected, unified with my audience, completely

I am an artist. I have little doubts about that, as I may doubt everything else. Above all else, I see the world as an art project. When I was little I used to pretend to write. And now as an adult, I find it’s the most cathartic, beautiful and most real thing I can do. I want to tell my story, because I want to matter, I want people to read my words and connect with me in deep and profound ways and that makes me happy.

It’s not about my story anymore, it’s about the collective story, the one we all share. I am deeply proud of my Greek roots. I fought very hard for them. I was an abomination, a rarity a strange amalgam in my family. The Greek- American, that weird strange girl no one wanted to know but everyone wanted a piece of . I love the depth, profound beauty and difficulty of the Greek language. I love listening to people speak theis. I can’t understand the words but I understand the nuance the feeling the passion in language.

My life is a piece of memories that I’ve put together in my mind. I want to build a new life based on me, not everyone else’s image of me, I’m very afraid of what the future will bring. I am very certain that I’ve been here before. I am very certain I can speak to people long gone, and I’m deeply connected to understanding other people and by way of them, understanding myself. I am lost without my soul mates; my brothers and sisters, my life companions. I feel deeply that I’m going to be alone, uncoupled for the remainder of my adult life, even though I feel that my other half is out there.

I sometimes lose myself if I can’t relate to someone else, and then I take a step back and try to find me again. I love men, in a sexual erotic way but I revere women, my most profound and meaningful connections have been with my women friends. I admire women, I am jealous of men. I am attracted to men, but find feminine energy more interesting. I love life.

I am my most honest when I’m naked.

Sometimes I cannot forgive myself for the shit I’ve done to myself, or allowed to happen to me.

I am brave when I have to be.

I don’t fear my own death, and I choose to live life to the fullest.


Thank you.

New York — February 24th, 2018