I was my Greek father's little Greek princess. Nearly every day of my childhood he told me, “Elli, you will never find a man who will take as good care of you as I do”. Each year on my birthday, I got a giant double-decker box of Godiva chocolates from Belgium and something else expensive like diamond earrings, the newest stereo system, a pony, or expensive clothes and shoes. As he handed me the gift, he'd say, “You can try to find someone who will spoil you like I do, but he does not exist.”
The Family Expectations of a Greek Princess
He portrayed me as someone who needed to be spoiled and lavished upon. I'd live in a mansion filled with chandeliers, fine furniture, an art collection, and fresh flowers on every tabletop. I'd await my husband's return from work, greet him at the door with a kiss, and ask, “Darling, where shall you take me tonight to dine?” My husband would cut my filet mignon and pass me a small black velvet box with diamond earrings. Can you imagine how disappointed I was to get a Red Hot Chili Pepper concert T-shirt from John on my birthday?
Status was everything to my dad. Success meant you owned a Mercedes, had a library in your house, and a tennis court in the backyard. You had a membership to an exclusive club, always chose valet parking, and had at least three crystal chandeliers. His prize possession was his sailboat. He dressed up like a captain, wanting my mother to wear white linen, and his two children to look like carbon copies of their parents.
He hoped my brother would make lots of money and become a lawyer, and he wanted me to marry someone successful, an engineer, just like him. He didn't take my goal and desire of becoming a professional artist too seriously. He figured I'd play with my colors until I met a man who might almost live up to his level of care. He supported my hobby, buying me beautiful art supplies and encouraging me to paint. He thought art could be a creative outlet while I raised children for my husband.
Defying Family Expectations and Traditional Norms
In his eyes, no one could measure up to him, and he prepared me for his inevitable disappointment in my choice of partner. But when I chose an ARTIST, he became possessed! Every single day, he drilled into me that I'd starve, my children would be skin and bone living on the streets, and I'd be miserable. My artist husband wasn't a "real" man in his eyes, and I was destined to live a miserable life.
John and I fought to be together, and our early marriage was a battlefield littered with landmines of my father’s words that lingered in our minds. Together, John and I found something far greater than status, more profound than hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, and more fulfilling than a luxury car.
Discovering Our Shared Love, Passion, and Purpose
We found PURPOSE. We knew we had a destiny together. We had a mandate, an assignment. We were called to do something great. All of our decisions would serve this purpose. We were united, not against a common enemy, but united in purpose. We were both chasing the same dream.
That was our magical turning point. We had nothing left to prove. We no longer looked for anyone's approval. We embarked on an adventure together, with heaven singing over us.
We followed our dreams, always looking upward for signs. We were guided, year by year, in our mission to revolutionize the art world with a whole generation of prospering, thriving, and determined artists who would fill the digital landscape with beauty, hope, and love.
Ironically, today, even though it wasn't my focus, I drive a nice car, have a pony in my backyard, live in a house with chandeliers, and I don’t care if John buys me diamond earrings.
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