She Be a Poet – Sacred Sage

Image credit: https://elenaray.photoshelter.com/image/I0000LWfnwNGGGBE

Sage burns in dank dark corners, my mind is set alight

Flickering, sparking, glowing; long into the night.

Sage speaks to me in wisdoms my ancestors got right,

Bold and brave philosophers, self-aware rational fight.

Sage smoulders in polluted air, it cleanses now I breathe,

Fragrant smoke it whispers, no more choking,

‘Arise my suffering knees.’

© Michelle Sotiriou 2019

So You Think You’re Ugly? Look Again!

So you think you’re ugly? Most of us do at some point in our lives and it seems age doesn’t really matter when you feel this way which is why I was guided to this video. A video which reminded me how I felt as a girl and adolescent. I could never take a compliment, could never look someone in the eye when they paid me one, didn’t believe them when they told me I was pretty and would always reply by saying, “No I’m not”.

The struggles of a Greek girl were real though! The mono-brow I wasn’t allowed to pluck and a hairy top lip, ginger in appearance after my cousins introduced me to bleaching; what a stunner!

The struggle still goes on but it is a little different. When a medical problem challenges you by changing the way you look even slightly, you have to find once more, the confidence to say ‘thank you’ after a compliment which you know deep inside to be honest and true.

I recently became the proud owner of a wonky eye, this is what I call it because I have to turn every hurdle into a joke and find that self-deprecation is my only medicine. It’s a coping mechanism which my friends and family know all too well. Luckily, I know my worth, wonky eye or no wonky eye I can still see out of it which is all that really matters and I am well past worrying about what others see when they look at me. What other people think of me is their business, not mine.

© Michelle Sotiriou 2015

Give me a word, any word and I will show you the root of that word is Greek ~ Chromophobia

(Irrational fear or conditioned response to colour)

The Greek Cypriot in me occasionally awakens with words I have never heard of before; even though their existence has manifestations in many forms. It can take just one Grecian word to open a kaleidoscope of topics for discussion, debate and provocative thinking. The word Chromophobia was introduced to me by a dear friend who has made a career out of creating beautiful colours whilst changing perceptions in the process.

Maybe, you have an irrational fear of the colour green? Unable to eat your peas or any vegetable with a greenish hue for fear they will choke you. Perhaps red is the colour you avoid? I mean red is dangerous, isn’t it? It commands you to stop and forbids you to go there; wherever there may be. There are symptoms of Chromophobia and hate is one of them. Hate through fear, hate because Chromophobes see nothing but dark, foreign bodies and not the full spectrum.

Generally, we all see things in black and white, right and wrong. These views may be part of our genetic make-up, ideas without foundation from our teachers or peers; misguided without a full understanding of the global pallet and its variety of colours. If we choose not to live in colour the canvas will always be blank. If we choose to explore and understand, we lose the fear imbedded in our psyche long before we first opened our eyes to see complexions.

© Michelle Sotiriou 2015

The 80’s – Power and Perfume

The 80’s was the decade of the New Romantics, Frankie said we should relax, Eddie Grant walked down Electric Avenue, Musical Youth were passing the ‘Dutchie’ and girls just wanted to have fun! The aroma in the discotheque was that of cigarette smoke mixed with ‘Panache’ by Lentheric the fragrance of the moment for women and ‘Brute’ was favourite with the gents; they splashed it on all over! The standard slow dance at the end of the night meant you could prop each other up after drinking one too many Campari and Soda’s and chat up lines were all the rage, cheesy but very acceptable:

‘If I told you that you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me’

‘Would you grab my arm so I can tell my friends I’ve been touched by an angel’

Magnum was the thinking lady’s crumpet and Starsky and Hutch set pulses racing on a Saturday night…the throwing of their badges into the ocean scene episode really affected me. Midweek entertainment came in the form of Dynasty and Dallas accompanied by shoulder pads, Stetson’s, stilettos, Bourbon on the rocks, Dex Dexter and the Oil Baron’s Ball an annual event we looked forward to with bated breath. Miss World was another viewing pleasure, an array of lovelies wanting to help children all over the world…Bless em!

The buzz word for that time was ‘POWER’. Superpower, fight the power, power trip, power walk, power dressing, power ballads and the power of love. Some abused this word but other more visionary people realized that by using their creative powers a difference could be made to another word which many had heard for the first time; ‘Famine’. The desperate plight of Ethiopia and its people was a reality that no one with any regard for human life could ignore. I wondered why we were only told about this devastating drought at a time when women, men and children were nearing their last breath. It was clear by the images we saw on the news that this had been going on for some time so why did we hear about it as late as we did?

A power that was perhaps underestimated until the 80’s was music. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been influenced in some way by lyrics written to heal, help and of course enjoy but when musicians from both sides of the Atlantic collaborated to raise awareness and funds to feed the world everyone listened. Music became the only power that mattered during the 80’s and continues to be just as influential today.

It was also a decade of change on a massive scale for girls, their lifestyle and career choices. Strong women became our role models and the front-runners where Margaret Thatcher and Joan Collins…what a contrast! A combination of beauty and brains, Joan Collins showed that it was possible to work hard and be there every step of the way for your children whilst remaining a woman in every sense of the word. So that was the 80’s I remember, full of glitz and glamour but it was also a time when people had the courage to stand up and say we don’t like what we see let’s do something about it. Now that’s powerful.

© Michelle Sotiriou 2015

Weekend Glory – Maya Angelou  

Some clichty folks
don’t know the facts,
posin’ and preenin’
and puttin’ on acts,
stretchin’ their backs.

They move into condos
up over the ranks,
pawn their souls
to the local banks.
Buying big cars
they can’t afford,
ridin’ around town
actin’ bored.

If they want to learn how to live life right
they ought to study me on Saturday night.

My job at the plant
ain’t the biggest bet,
but I pay my bills
and stay out of debt.
I get my hair done
for my own self’s sake,
so I don’t have to pick
and I don’t have to rake.

Take the church money out
and head cross town
to my friend girl’s house
where we plan our round.
We meet our men and go to a joint
where the music is blue
and to the point.

Folks write about me.
They just can’t see
how I work all week
at the factory.
Then get spruced up
and laugh and dance
And turn away from worry
with sassy glance.

They accuse me of livin’
from day to day,
but who are they kiddin’?
So are they.

My life ain’t heaven
but it sure ain’t hell.
I’m not on top
but I call it swell
if I’m able to work
and get paid right
and have the luck to be Black
on a Saturday night.