Image and article by Adriana Mejia.
A while back when I first heard about Melinoe my reaction was “wow, that’s a cool figure.” I know I used the word figure and I’ve argued with myself over the term. Version A will say “woman, that is a GOD why use the word figure?!” Version B will reply “Bitch please! You can’t even figure out if YOU truly exist that word is the best compromise.” There is a lot more back and forth between my inner dialogue that devolves into a 5 year old like tantrums and name calling but for simplicity’s sake I just tell myself “you’re a Pisces you will always argue, just move on before you lose sight of what you wanted to do in the first place.”
So now that my two sides are silenced and I can think with one voice, I will get back to my point. Melinoe, or rather the circumstances of her birth and dual catharsis. She was born under sorrowful and frightening circumstances. The first emotions ever shown to her was hatred and revulsion. Her playmates were the dead that had been driven into a frenzy by her mother. As a result she grew up emulating that behavior and reacted to things that spirits couldn’t see. On top of that her father was so sad that he didn’t know what to do, how could her help her.
Then Dionysos comes along and recognizes her uniqueness, her regalness. He also recognizes that she is insane at the moment because he is Dionysos, he would know. So after a fight with Haides that nearly injured Melinoe he decides to help her out. So while most likely drunk at the time, he plays, dances, and sings with the girl as he holds out various objects then whispers something in her ear. Why did this strike me? Well, I used to work in an Alzheimer’s wing of an assisted living facility. I worked the overnight shift when people known as Sundowners would be up and not acting the way you would remember your grandparents acting. I found that if you needed to get someone’s attention it was gentler to play along with their fantasy. This wasn’t to difficult and my supervisors were asleep in their beds at this point so who was there to accuse me of being crazy. If the person ate, drank their coffee, or decided to go to bed without a fuss what harm was there?
Which makes me question the nature of reality yet again. I suspect it the source of my insomnia but then again I do drink way too much caffeine. So on these increasingly frequent sleepless nights I write down some lines of prose that help untangle the mess in my brain. Versions A and B will argue:
You call it reality but what if its just a matter of context?
I see what I see, I feel what I feel, I do what I do.
If you are incapable of seeing what I see then how do I know if its you that is blind and not me seeing what’s not there?
If you feel wronged by an outcome and I feel justified who is there to say what is right?
Who sets the standards of our actions? Who decides what stage we perform on?
In the end what does it matter?
You hear music, I hear noise, they hear dogs howling or the wind blowing.
Maybe its enough that we can listen at all.
Wait, what was point to all this? Melinoe! Imagine you hear something that made you laugh and cry at the same time. Imagine that at the moment your mind clears and are brought in sync with the rest of the plane and you have an emotional response. Imagine you realize you were born as a living memory of a terrible trauma. In my experience there is never just one emotion present when you react, its always a mess. Shock, anguish, comprehension, relief are what I’ve felt that made me react the same way. Imagine that now you realize what the outside world calls insanity was your “normal”. Well what now? I imagine Giving everyone nightmares is the only time she can return to her normal. You drive a human into frenzy that way, you remind her of her old playmates. Its all fun for her, like nostalgia.
In the end I can only speculate, and I find it distasteful to presume what others are feeling or have felt in the past. That being said speculating what an important and cool figure felt could be so close to something I feel provides me with some comfort. So in the end I suppose its because of these similarities that make me feel a connection however faint it may be. Its something I can take back to my reality.