Whenever I would come home, distraught in one way or another, (omg emotions are so hard sometimes), I vividly remember, my loving and generous mother telling me that there wasn’t anything to worry about; ‘you’re just crying because you’re Greek. Remember when we visit Yaya in Melbourne, she’s always crying? it’s because she’s Greek too.’
Born and raised in England with an English father and a mother that I identified simply as Australian, being Greek meant nothing to me. It made me feel as though, there was some kind of defect and my emotions felt unfamiliar to me. It didn’t help me understand that I was reasonably upset because that boy told me I was silly (one day you will pay Edward Jenkins), instead it shifted all the blame into my own 7 year old shoulders. I wasn’t upset because someone had hurt my feelings, it was because half my blood cells were overly emotional, crying and screaming in Greek.
Instead of being told that it’s ok to have your feelings hurt sometimes, I was shown that emotions are foreign and often have no root cause.
Unfortunately, there’s this ball ache of a thing that is the human condition. As we grow older, we realise that despite all of our ambitions, dreams and achievements we can’t avoid being sad, disappointed, stressed, angry etc. All the things that we associate with negativity and stow away in a big bag of emotions labelled ‘BAD, AVOID AT ALL COSTS’.
Honestly, it’s a pain in the arse, and I hate having to realise that I can’t be happy all the time. Despite how much I wish it to be, despite how many barriers I put in my mind, despite the times that I have a stern word with myself and say ‘C’mon now Tara, you’ve just made yourself a nice cup of tea, why aren’t you content, peaceful and happy with life?’ that heaviness in my chest, that tension headache, the uncomfortable flutterings of my heart don’t budge, no matter how mean I am to them, no matter how many times I tell them to go fuck themselves. I’ve slowly, and bregrudingly, come to the realisation that it’s ok not to feel ‘good’ all the time. It’s actually, even ok and normal, to feel really upset, to feel really frustrated, and it’s perfectly fine to wish that things were different. It’s all ok.
Tara is a writer living in Melbourne. She studies counselling at ACAP.