Sunday, May 15, 2011


Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard.

I’m a 32 year old single woman, and quite often I feel I’m under attack from all directions.

On the personal sphere. I’ve trained myself in avoiding any contact with my parents’ friends. When I fail, my behaviour borders on the aloof, the rude, the sarcastic. ‘Yes, there aren’t any men’. ‘Yes, it appears that my parents will have to live without grandchildren’. “No, I’d rather pull my eye out with a fork than meet your nephew the pharmacist/civil engineer/economic analyst’.

Some of my friends advocate casual sex. They are unaware of the curse my mum placed on me when I was still in elementary school: You shall have sex only with people you love. Every time I’ve tried otherwise, it has been a disaster.

So I try having relationships. They all start off wonderfully. And as I am a great romantic, I think this is it, I found my companion. And then the ridiculous demands begin. ‘I’m abusive, jealous and I drink. Stick with me, I’ll change’. ‘Are we going to get married or should marry the cousin my mum picked out for me?’ ‘I love you, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be faithful’. ‘I love you more than anything in the world but you didn’t tell me you ran into your ex boyfriend and I can never trust you again. Let’s stay friends, though.’

My hair turns white, I stop eating, I can’t sleep, but eventually I start trying to pick up the pieces after every insane break up and hope I’ll be stronger for the next one. Meanwhile, there is always psychotherapy.

I’ve been a privileged daughter. I can’t complain. But now my parents need me and I feel inadequate to cope with the cancer and all the other health problems, the bureaucracy, the money issues. I can’t spend more than ten minutes talking to my father even though I know he’s lonely and I avoid seeing my mother as much as I can because I can’t stand her showing how worried she is about me. She brings me food, it rots in the fridge.  

Work requires more diplomatic manoeuvres than actual skill. Plus the crisis has ensured that employees now live in a reign of terror. At least you have a job, people say and they are right. Soon people who have a job will be the exception. Where I work, one can never predict who is going to get fired and why. You show up for work and you’re told to pack your things and go. Just like that. It’s the crisis. It can’t be helped. Human decency, employment law, they have nothing to do with it. It’s the crisis. It’s difficult for all of us. Bye now.

But the hardest thing of all is coping with this insane country. The fear that all that my grandparents and parents worked for will have to be sold off just to pay the taxes. Year after year they have to pay taxes for the luxury of ownership. It hadn’t occurred to me how ridiculous this was until a friend who grew up in a different country and system pointed it out. 

The fear that if you do take to the streets and protest for all that is going wrong in this place (and assuming you don’t get fired for doing so) you’ll end up in hospital for having been within the range of a policeman’s glob. If you go out night or day in the city of Athens, chances are you’ll be robbed (I thought all this was an exaggeration until it happened to me), mugged, stabbed, or see someone else get stabbed for being dark skinned, or carrying a camera with him, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You might see, in the middle of the day, as you’re doing your grocery shopping in the open market, a woman on fire because some of the petrol aimed at the police motorcycle by some dickhead was spilt on her too, and you might see a man set alight as he’s trying to help her.

You have known for years it was going to come to this and you were hoping that someone else, the mayor, the members of parliament, your fellow citizens, were seeing it, too. But there was never any plan. And now the people, humiliated by the IMF, disgraced by the EU, unemployed, scared, betrayed by government after government, have turned into angry sheep, an angry mob, and there is no way to contain them.

And you know it is not going to get any better.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous27/8/11 22:06

    It is a very moving piece of confessional honesty - I hope things will ease out for you on the personal level but may your literary input stay as bombast, hearty and raising the bar. Your true lover will eventually not suffer you a compromising relationship - a real man is someone who abides by his word of promise and has eyes and soul for the long run of things - a relationship deepens when the love is not solely for self-satisfaction but rather an enfolding of the other in arms wide and able enough - this is the trial true love undergoes, to become special for the one special for you - to defy the mortal restraints and be a palliative to all the shocks of life - you are good obviously for this kind of love, I hope it finds you soon.