I grew up in a home where my mother wanted to give us everything. She worked until late, so that we would want for nothing materially, and she spent all her free time with us, so that we would want for nothing emotionally speaking either. She raised my sister and me with incredible love, but also giving us the sense that we are capable of doing and being whatever we wanted. Of course, going out into the world we realised that this wasn’t so easy.
Ever since I was a child, I had a personality that doesn’t correlate with what a girl should be like, according to society. I could not understand why I had to limit my abilities because of my gender. That’s why, every time I would hear that I couldn’t do something because I’m a girl, I would go and do it, whether it was lifting a suitcase or fighting the boys in my neighbourhood. According to my parents, I was the boy of the family because I was strong, opinionated, athletic, and independent. And I always wondered, why am I the one that has to be like a boy and not the other way around, why did my personality have to belong to someone else and I simply happened to have it.
And of course, when you’re a woman with a mind of her own you will not have a good time in school either, and that is why I was bullied from a young age, often to the point where one of the boys in my class would hit me, probably because he didn't like what I was saying. No matter how many times my mother would come to school to complain, the teachers would just “scold” the little boy and tell him not to do it again. As if they considered it a normal thing, that a little boy could bang his female classmate’s head on the desk. Maybe they were thinking that the girl probably said something to provoke him. In any case, I remember all my teachers, or rather my supposed educators, “advising” me not to pay too much attention to these boys, or better still to pretend not to hear them and they would then leave me alone. Greek women have been raised with this criminal advice since nursery age. Don’t listen to them, don’t annoy them and they won’t hurt you. Because if they do, you are the one who made it happen.
That was when I realised that I have to be the one who protects myself from these behaviours and so I decided to hide, or rather, to repress for a certain amount of time, parts of my personality that were considered annoying. But growing up I met some women with whom I could identify and I saw that they were using their personalities and gifts to help others and to evolve themselves. I realised that my personality is my strength and I want to use it to make the world a little bit more fair than it was yesterday.
I don’t want any little girl to feel that she is not woman enough for society, that she doesn’t have the “right personality” or that she has to limit her abilities so that she is able to survive in this world. And most of all, I don’t want any little girl to grow up in a society where she can’t evolve because she is afraid of the hand or the words of a man.