Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Buoyed By Memories

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Babe Ruth   

I used to work with a handwriting analyst. The work we did at the time—consulting for the Italian Ministry of Finance—had nothing to do with this skill he’d studied in university and later used during his military duty. By the time we met and worked together, he did these analyses simply to pass the time over coffee or lunch.

He was a lovely man and we had long conversations about the state of the world, the various projects we were involved in and life in general.

So when he suggested he’d examine my handwriting, I jumped at the opportunity.

I haven’t thought about this man in a very long time. I left Italy eighteen years ago (yikes, hard to believe). But this week, drowning in organizational responsibilities and unable to cope with the accompanying stress (albeit self-inflicted), I was reminded about what he said to me after he’d analysed my handwriting.   

“You don’t go around walls, you go through them.”

Yes, he got that right. But let’s face it, I’m pretty easy to read: handwriting analysis or not. Most people have me figured out within ten minutes of meeting me. I’m stubborn, driven and rarely, if ever, take the simple way.

It’s exhausting and sometimes I want to stop everything I’m involved in and just be for a time.

I’ve had these periods of questioning before. I used to discuss these frustrations and setbacks with my mother.

“You know you are enough. Right?”

“I know,” I’d say, as I pondered what else still had to be done.

“You don’t have to work so hard. Take it easy for once in your life.”

My mother was one to talk. She’d moved to a foreign country with three small children and a husband, learned the language and customs and raised a family far from her culture and anything she’d ever known. She did all of this and so much more with few complaints, a good sense of humour (I can still hear her laugh) and with stubborn determination. “We have to do better, be better. It’s what we were put here to do.”

I remind myself of the example I grew up with. And even though I miss my mother every single day, thoughts of her buoy me. My complaints fade.

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