It is inevitable that having grown up in south Cyprus, surrounded mainly by Greek Cypriots and my Turkish Cypriot family members, I am more comfortable around Greek Cypriots.
I’ve mentioned this on a number of occasions. However sometimes I feel it’s important to revisit certain topics as reactions and feelings may change over time.
This conclusion is based on language, as I am a Greek speaker, but it’s also not based on language, as I’ve come face to face with a lot of reactions over the years regardless of what language I speak, some welcoming and some altogether strange.
I’ve known the customs and traditions of Greek Cypriots all my life, much of my childhood was also spent at Greek Cypriot weddings, as opposed to Turkish Cypriot ones. To this day, I have still never been to a Turkish Cypriot wedding.
I’ve worked in Greek, loved in Greek and complained in Greek. I’ve done all these things in a language which may be perceived by some, as a language which should not naturally be the more comfortable language for me. In recent years, I have come to love Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot dialect once more, after years of having it locked away in a corner of my mind, allowing it to waste away. But truthfully, I still express myself better in English and Greek.
I realised recently though that I have become much more comfortable, maybe even blasé, about declaring being a Turkish Cypriot to Greek Cypriots. Sometimes it seems to me that the reaction I evoke from Turkish Cypriots is the more unexpected reaction though, and most especially from the younger generation.
The more typical reaction is one of disbelief. Now how do I convince you that I’m part of this community (apparently)? Should I bother convincing you? These are just some of the questions that flow through my mind during this type of conversation.
The truth is I’m not a part of this community; I’m a part of the Turkish Cypriot community of Potamia.
Acceptance in the end doesn’t complete a person or a person’s identity. In my case, it simply makes me realise how essential it has become for me to overcome the need to be accepted by all.
- A theory of evolution
- Coming face to face with identity