My childhood was perfect. I grew up in Athens and had five glorious years playing in the balmy sunshine before moving to London to taste another more sedate side of life. Wherever we were I always had magical Christmases - the feel of a stocking laden at the end of your bed - and egg-tastic Easters hunting for foiled goodies in our garden.
I did very well at school even though I was not very popular and got into Oxford uni. One of my proudest moments.
I had fun at there and did a lot of floating around in a Harry Potter-style gown. After I fell into advertising, the salary helped. I had some okay-ish relationships then a failed marriage and divorce. My life after seemed to take a nosedive and was heading for burn out. I got fired and my worst nightmare came true - my father died. It felt like I'd been living in a superficial bubble.
For the first time I could see clearly. Yet it was most definitely through un-rosy spectacles.
I was 38 and had more questions than answers.
I had the good fortune of knowing great healers, therapists and friends. I had to go back in time and unravel some stuff that was stopping me go forward.
The truth is everyone has stuff from childhood. In fact the perfect parents do not exist - if they did you would never leave home.
Also we ALL develop systems and coping mechanisms that come from past experiences or traumas.
I have a friend who is constantly single, she picks bad men that end up running away. She accuses them of being commitment phobic. But her shrink revealed she was actually the one with the commitment problem. So scarred by absent parents as a child she recreated situations where she would be abandoned. Or another totally different pal who was so over protected and adored by her parents that no man will ever be as good as her doting Dad.
With help from various guides - some on earth and some more mystical, I started to join the dots.
My rupture from Greece turned out to be more significant than I realised. When it happened it was like someone had taken my toy box away.
Everything seemed gloomier afterwards. I remember arriving for the first time at Heathrow, under dreary skies and noticed how all the houses seemed grey and monotonously similar. Nothing seemed good any more. If only we had stayed my life would have been better. All my life I craved an escape route to a sunnier happier place - a idealised paradise. It was often my get out clause in relationships. The paradise was actually non existent. As soon as I did run away me restlessness followed me.
My comfy fusion with mum and dad in the orange groves of our Greek home had gone. We moved into a dreary suburb and I was sent to a private school in a nearby town. It seemed miles away and I often had to stay at my step-granny's after school. One day she forgot to pick me up. I remember sitting on the school steps wondering if I'd be there all night.
I became needy as a kid and as an adult I had this black and white need for absolute fusion for fear of rejection. I would 'diss' friends if they let me down. I would panic if my boyfriend did not call when he said he would. I had this constant impending sense of doom. So when my Dad passed away, the ultimate form of abandonment, my world imploded.
I now get it. At the time those experiences seemed inconsequential. But they formed who I am. In the same way that my father taught me to be cosmopolitan and urbane and my mother gave me immense joie de vie.
Why am I writing this? I was lucky to meet people that helped me figure all this out. It made me a better person, less unstable and unpredictable. Most of all happiness used to be occasional. Wild bursts of pleasure and then flat moments. Now there is less hysteria and more of a stable form of contentment. I would urge each and everyone to seek help from counsellors, guides or psychologists. It is so easy to blame sadness or anger on the outside world or people around you.
It all starts from you. We spend hours nurturing our kids, growing plants, looking after animals, making our bosses happy and giving to our friends and family. Why on earth do we not tend to ourselves? Our souls, our pysches need as much feeding and attention. As my personal experience shows if you neglect the inner you, life will come along and wallop you in the guts so that you do something to sort yourself out.
May this year's biggest affirmation for us all be to try and get happy.
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