The Good Greek Girl


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In the book she recalls the events like a slow flickering film with a series of frames, which goes from being punched in the face in the kitchen, to lying curled up like a question mark on her bedroom floor, dried blood on her cheek, awash with the sense of abandonment. Even now, the Greek part of me asks if I am bringing disgrace and shame to the family. Katsonis initially wrote the book skirting the issue, hinting at a schism that existed between herself and her father, so big it led to their virtual estrangement that was healed only when he became sick.

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Abuse, she discovered, like mental illness also carries a heavy stigma. It was a dramatic pivot point in the book; it shaped my identity. I had to write it no matter how ugly it was.


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While it is hard to say whether her first brush with a period of depression that followed was triggered by the violence, the family's response to it must have been a contributing factor. Author and academic Andrew Solomon, who has written extensively about depression, describes it as "the aloneness within us made manifest" and after the attack Katsonis was left marooned in her misery. Neither parent ever mentioned the incident ever again. She says she couldn't tell anyone, not even her brother, or favourite aunt: "I do wonder what would have happened if I had got some sort of help immediately afterwards, like counselling," she reflects now.

Trauma is often a trigger for depression but the major episode that felled her at the knees six years ago, came at a time when her life was brimming with vitality and promise. She had nursed her parents through terminal illnesses, was working as a senior executive for the then State Services Authority within the Victorian government — a top job for a woman who describes herself as a "policy wonk" and "natural-born bureaucrat" — and had just moved into the Prahran house. Two weeks later she woke in the night bathed in sweat and gasping for breath. The next morning the world was "drained of colour.

Katsonis pulls no punches when she describes in the book the mental torture she subsequently endured; the nights spent cutting herself with knives and working on her suicide plan which felt like a salvation. But at the hour of her self-appointed death she couldn't go through with it.

Greek Names for Girls

Her binary mind therefore concluded that if she couldn't die, she needed to seek help to live. A doctor referred her to a psychiatric ward at a hospital in Richmond and in a series of chapters she chronicles her slow crawl to recovery. During the writing of her memoir, Katsonis gained access to her hospital records; 70 pages which contained details of every single interaction she had with those involved in her care during her five-week stay.

But it was a Polaroid taken of her on admittance that proved most confronting: "There was this person sitting there who was hollowed out in the face, with listless lank hair and looked totally neglected, slumped into the folds of a fleece. Maria Katsonis outside what had been her parents' milkbar. Credit: Sarah Walker. The hospital chapters are written with the Greek flair for tragi-comedy, the bleakness buffered by moments of mirth and buffoonery. In scenes which are strangely reminiscent of both Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest , she describes cunning plans to commandeer the communal television to watch Underbelly ; smuggling out a patient for an illicit night at a steakhouse; and mad dashes to Seven Eleven for illegal "contraband" in the form of chocolate and buns a side effect of one of her medications was a yearning for sugar.

Doing so has become her life's work; she is now an ambassador for the mental health charity beyondblue and gives regular talks. These days she is a strategic policy adviser for the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which hired her with full knowledge of her mental health history. Beautiful, but there are other goddesses right in your own area code I assume to the rest of the world this is what a Greek girl should always look like.

But what makes Greek girls so great is that there isn't a prototype of what a Greek girl should look like, and in a way, this is what makes them more beautiful. The killer combination of dark hair and dark eyes and tan skin are usually what most people associate with Greek girls, but there are plenty of Greek girls out there with naturally blonde hair and light eyes, who look more European than Mediterranean. Greek girls never take this natural beauty for granted. They go out of their way to accentuate it, while never flaunting it. Greek girls care about how they look.

While some might see this as a unhealthy egoismo , it really is a healthy self-respect. You never see a Greek girl looking frumpy. You never see a Greek girl dressing like a guy.

What do Greek Women look like?

Greek girls dress like girls. They wear the tight tops and the black pants, because well, that's how girls are supposed to dress. No, you'll never catch a Greek girl wearing the Birkenstocks or the big heavy sweatshirts, even during their college years. Sure this might come off as all Greek girls dressing alike, but if it works, then there is no need to change it. Aside from looks, there are other reasons why we love Greek girls. Greek girls are the sweetest girls around.

90+ Greek Girl Names That Make Much Sense To Everyone

They might not look like the most approachable girls out there, especially in the venues where we see them the most -- Greek Nights -- but once you get to talking to a Greek girl you realize that it's all a front. A Greek girl will go through her "bad girl" phase during her late teens and early 20s, but despite it all, and even during this phase, there is still that underlying sense of innocence that a Greek girl never loses.

Behind the smoke of the Marlboro Lights and the occasional empty cocktail glass, is still the girl who shows up to church once every couple of months, is great with her niece, nephew or Godchild, and is the favorite of every yiayia at coffee hour. This sense of innocence translates into another quality we love about Greek girls-- discretion.

A Greek girl is always discreet.

She cares how she portrays herself to those around her. She's careful about who she's seen "talking" to when she's out. It's not that she's a snob, but rather she doesn't want to give anyone the wrong impression. A Greek girl won't give out her number to just anyone. And when she does it's almost never in a place where anyone can see it. I don't think I've ever gotten a number from a Greek girl in a situation when anyone could be watching. In fact I don't even think any of these girls carried a pen in their purses. To go along with all these traits is confidence.

A Greek girl is always confident in what she does. We're starting to see more of the young women in our community going to school, studying, and getting good jobs.


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  5. We were particularly surprised during our college years to see many girls actually leaving home to go to school, breaking away from the double-standard in this community of parents "allowing" their boys to go away from school, but always forcing their daughters to live at home.

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