Catharine Jones tells of a homecoming, but it isn’t so straightforward. She discusses the relationship between her identity as a survivor and the other aspects of life that make her who she is. Fun, friendly, and inviting, Jones’s tone invites her readers on a journey of self-discovery.
Once Greek, Always Greek
by Catharine Jones
Σε αγαπώ Ελλάδα
I love you, Greece.
That’s my truth.
I have felt this truth in my bones my whole life. I knew this truth well before I knew what to say meeting my father for the first time when I was 18 years old. I knew this truth was greater than the pain of divorce, sexual abuse, and domestic violence that came from the man who gave me my Greek blood.
In this quest of pursuing a career in the arts I chose to make acting my main focus for the first 10 years. Carrying my proud Greek last name of Pilafas with me. My grandmother, mother, brother, and I all have different last names. All of us have different colored eyes. Differences within the fragments that are pieces of the whole. I went by Pilafas and not my mom’s name to remember my father.
But how do we remember what we don’t fully understand?
With so many Me Too stories being shared, I ask how do we take the pain of remembering with us? In our memories, bodies, our cells and for me, in my DNA. It’s pieces of the whole that make us – a fact I have to come embrace as I have become older. I was on a SAG-AFTRA panel about Diversity and Women’s issues, and we discussed how to combat the sexual harassment in the industry. We discussed survival, awareness, support, and education. We heard stories of women using their voices to report the abuse, and stop it before it gets worse. It’s vital to see positive examples of how to handle a situation like this. Though, I poised the question to the group how to do we take the person who inflicts pain or victimizes others with us? Take them with us on our collective path to greater consciousness?
Big picture questions like this have consumed me in the current political climate. The whole of our country’s soul feels weighted down by extremes. How do we take the “bully on the playground” with us? How do we get a greater view past political lines and emotions and proceed with peaceful compassion first? Examining who we give our power to? Our behaviors to each other and what have missed or need to pick up again from history’s lessons?
My husband and I were in search of a greater perspective. With this in mind we embarked upon a month-long backpacking trip through Europe. We visited seven countries. We were reminded not just how big but how old the world is. All that the earth has witnessed and endured. We were reminded of all that we are thankful for, all we take for granted. The trip cracked us open and made us yearn for more and appreciate deeply what we have back home.
How do we cope, heal, wake-up and reconnect with each other and find a sustainable future through each other? My work is to answer this call with creativity and art.
The beginning of my 30’s has been full of moments where I feel myself growing up into who I am meant to be. This trip to Europe was a catapult for that mature shift. I worked with healers (http://www.nickelacupuncture.com/) to understand the changes happening within and around me. It helped me grasp that visiting Greece was completion to a circle of life I knew I needed to experience. To put to rest with compassion all of the past with my father and to completely honor my Grecian roots with deep love. With all of this divine shift I knew it was time to own my married name of Jones as my identity in totality. I knew the day would come, I just didn’t know when. Not until I returned “home” to Greece.
Thank you, Greece.
“Once Greek, Always Greek” was originally published on Jones’ website.
Catharine Jones (SAG-AFTRA) is an award-winning director, actor, teaching artist, and choreographer. The mission of her work is to lead all aspects of filmmaking with conscious collaboration, enthusiasm and radiant imagination. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting and minor in Dance from the University of Northern Colorado. After making her New York theatre debut in Victory Garden’s Off-Broadway historical drama, Conviction, Catharine shifted her career focus to film directing and acting in New Mexico. In Catharine’s directorial debut film, Pinky Promise, she was awarded the Best Director honors, at the International Different Faces Different Voices Film Festival for the Flicks4Chicks contest. Her follow up film, Seagull, an all-female WWII drama had an international festival run, and her current film OM+ME, that she wrote and directed is in festivals and won the Audience Award at the New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase. Catharine was awarded 1st place in the Chimaera Project’s In (H)er (D)irection Film Competition in 2017, whose Advisory Board includes, Octavia Spencer and Anjelica Houston. Off set, Catharine is a Hatha-flow yoga instructor. Her favorite pastime is to adventure alongside her husband, the author, Adam James Jones, and their pug, Tobey. Stay connected at catjonesfilms.com.