Meghan Arias

Stones of Remembrance

The stories in the scriptures

Where he or she or they

Gathered rocks to build monuments of remembrance

To mark a moment in time

The notable

The painful

The important

The beautiful

Have made their way into my head.

And I know

That if I were to build my own rocks for you

They would be like

The Great Fucking Pyramid of Giza

Figuratively

On par with the Mona Lisa

Mount Everest sized

Too high for eyes.

 

You were my prize and I yours

Outstanding among ten thousands

Light of my life

Knife of my heart

 

Maybe I will miss you forever.

 

Jenny and Cheese Grits and Jiggly Bits and Thinkings and Bad Punctuation

It’s been at least 730 days and most likely a lot more since I have seen sweet Jenny from Michigan (I wrote a song about her called "Atoms" -- maybe one day I'll share it) and yet today, after all those other days that have passed, over her picked apart breakfast quesadilla, she says to me something along the lines of,

“Are you sure what you’re holding out for is because it’s what you want or because of the story?”

I think I stared at my cheese grits. I think I stared at the place above her head.

I think I stared right down into myself.

This is what I have learned:

If you have a modicum of connection with someone; if you have a semblance of chemistry and physical attraction and enjoy being with them, then you can make anything work.  

But what about passion? What about love?

Perhaps it’s impossible to stay “in love” with someone.  It settles down, that love. It burrows into you and, if you forget to choose that person everyday, if you stop remembering that they are another human person who cannot fulfill all the places in you that you thought they could (whether conscious of it or not), if you start thinking that their mess-ups are somehow directed at you, well – then it’s easy to give up.

Even when you’re trying. Or you think you are. Sometimes your very best at the time simply is not enough for your other person. One of you is trying more than the other and vice-versa and it seems too hard to try and synch up the trying.

It’s easy to fall in love. It’s hard as fuck to stay there.

It’s easy to find yourself connecting with another person. It’s hard as fuck to remember the love and the connection. It’s hard as fuck to keep choosing to choose them.

Dirty underwear.

Dirty dishes.

Dirty house.

Dirty hearts.

Dirty hopes.

Everything filtering through

Our separate filters

Of what is right

Of what is wrong

Of what that should mean

Of what they should’ve known

A man was watching soccer on the T.V.

At the bar at Brezza Cucina and quoted,

“If you don’t understand my silence

Then you don’t deserve my words.”

But is that truth?

And then we’re sick.

And then he’s sick.

And then you’re sick.

And then you’re both happy in Paris.

And you’re sad in Oregon

And he’s upset in North Georgia

And you’re crying because you made a mistake

And it’s scary to say you’re scared

And he’s angry because he wants what he thinks you got to have

And yet you didn’t really want it – it was a night you hate.

And then the bills.

And then the calendar.

And the kids.

And then their parents.

And then your anger.

And then his disappearing.

And then your (you’re) trying and failing.

And then his trying and failing.

And then the words.

And then the not words.

And then can’t you see I’m reaching for you?

And didn’t you know how much you were hurting me?

And yet he met you on the porch with the music and the wine and the porch swing and the chair and you could see a way through.

And you thought he could, too.

 

If I could draw a picture of this everyone who saw it would understand.

 

We have all been here. There. Everywhere.

 

Where two are gathered together eventually someone is going to be in a lot of pain.

 

I’m hurting you’re hurting we’re hurting we hurt.

And if a bomb didn’t know it was a bomb

Went off; blew everyone to bits, including itself,

What does that say about the bomb?

Do any of us really know what we are these days?

I saw myself as crawling up a mountain and all you could see were the rocks that were hitting you in my wake.

While you were secretly mapping a new way

I took for granted that what we had was invincible.

I thought we were invincible.

We could still be invincible.

Tell ‘em David,

“We could be Heroes.”

 

And then you meet a person.

And you weren’t expecting to meet a person.

And it’s easy.

And you think to yourself,

“This is lovely.”

And your heart shakes its head and pinches its forehead

And your brain shifts in its seat and looks at you knowingly

And you look back and say,

“What?”

And they say,

“Again?”

And you say,

“What else am I supposed to do? I was easy to love once. He put it in a picture, on a train, in the middle of the night. Perhaps I can be again.”

 

It hits you then, that yes – you are easy to love.

 

You stop waiting for someone to tell you you’re loved and you just decide to love yourself.   

 

THAT IS HARD TO DO.

 

But then Jenny is sitting there, all aquamarine eyes and talking of the Good Book, and making you laugh and the cream in your coffee is still swirling and waiting for a spoon and you think of the man with the drums and the glasses and the big big heart who sends you songs he’s written who uses “ameliorate” in a sentence who does better accents than you who suffers from a Catholic-like contrition who makes benches for an animal hospital who tries to roller skate and shares his nachos and who tells you you’re beautiful and tells you you’re amazing and tells you he likes you a lot and yet you realize he knows nothing about you (does he really want to?) or your broken broken broken heart and your mangled mangled mangled life and you imagine walking up to him, holding a shoe – maybe one of your favorite red boots – and saying,

“I am a complicated literal bi-polar woman who loves hard, fucks up a lot, night owl who suffers from insomnia, who suffers with out of nowhere migraines, who feels too much and thinks too much and imagines too much who used to be so so angry about all the wrong things and is learning how to not be angry and be grateful for all of the right things and yet who is TRYING SO GODDAMN HARD TO DO THE FUCKING BEST I CAN. I have jiggly bits and not so jiggly bits and nice tits that sag a little and blue eyes and I can sing and I like to dance, maybe not well but I like to dance, and I like to make things out of bits of paper and I like to paint googly-eyes on thrift store paintings and drink cheap beer in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes I cry and then get mad ‘cause I cried and I don’t sweat in a pretty way, mostly I turn red and just look weird, and I snore and my hair turns into really bad art installations in the middle of the night, and I’ve made two people in my life – one out of youth and one out of deep deep love -- and I’m stinkin’ proud of both of my peoples and I’ll most likely be a really adorable old lady and I can tell a good joke and I don’t laugh I cackle and I’m smart and I read and I start things I don’t finish and I finish things I didn’t mean to start and I am the villain in someone else’s story and a hero in someone else’s and I stand in the middle of this doorway between when I was born and when I will die and I AM JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW NOT TO FUCK MORE THINGS UP.”

 

This is where you imagine dropping your red boot on the ground and then you say,

“There; the other shoe just dropped.”

 

Jenny is watching the video of him playing the guitar and I say,

“Watch, he’ll smile at the camera in a bit; I love that part.”

 

I will be 38 in five days.

What have I learned?

We are all just walking each other home. We are all doing our best to survive. We are all trying.

$50 that I do not have...

...and so therefore I still have this website.

Great.

I had forgotten I had it. 

I suppose there was a part of me, somewhere in the back of my mind, the part of me that creates and writes and has things to say, that part of me still knew this was here. The me right now, the me that is doing my darndest to merely EXIST, had forgotten. Right now I think about things like, "How old is that deli meat and if I eat it will I die?" or "Ramen noodles four nights in a row is an adventure!" or "Let's turn this 'how in the HELL does MARTA work for anyone in real life?' into a game!"

So, when the $50 annual charge from Squarespace showed up in my bank account I thought, "Well. There's that. Now what?"

This time last year I was blissfully unaware of what was about to come. There had been trouble in my marriage but I thought, like all marriages, that we were going to come through it. I was terrified of the fact that I was turning 37 soon. I really thought I wasn't going to make it.

I was preparing for my play, "The Vitreous Humor." I had scratched most of what I had written and was starting over. I was crawling out of my skin. I was a wreck. But I had my family. I had security. I had the love of my life. I was going to be okay. We were going to be okay.

I am sitting on a front porch in Kirkwood, a neighborhood in Atlanta. It's the front porch of a house where I have stayed for eight months now. A little apartment in an old house. The people who live downstairs rent rooms by the month. My brother, Asa, and I are roommates. We just recently found out that there is a coin laundry in the basement that we can use. That was a happy day -- we had been going to the Medlock Laundry to wash clothes. What a luxury it is to be able to walk downstairs and wash clothes in the same place where one lives! 

My youngest son, Hawke, right now is inside with Asa. They are watching something on YouTube and laughing. I can hear them. Laughing. 

I do not have my piano here. My soul carries that like an anchor. I play my guitar but it is still foreign to me, even after 17 years of playing. My piano is where I think. My piano is where I go.

I do not know how to stop loving my Beloved. I love him more than I have words for. Even now, after all the hurts, after all the "time to move on's", the sight of him lights me up. Everyday I send him all the love I have. I imagine it shooting up out of me and making its way to him, wherever he is, and misting all around him.

Happy. I want him to be happy. If that is without me, then so be it. I love him anyway. I choose him anyway. My husband is the best person I know. He outstanding among 10,000. He is my favorite adult. I love him no matter what. Ever and always.

Throughout all of this though, I have also learned to choose myself. I know that I am strong. I know that I am more than the mistakes that I have made. Somedays, like today, days when it feels like life can't get any worse, I breathe deeply. I hold gratitude close and closer. I pick up each little joyful and beautiful moment and I dwell on that. 

I was never taught how to do that before. I am teaching myself now. I spent too much of my life allowing my pain to control me. Allowing my fear and my anger to rule me. No more.

I can feel the tension in my brain. The tension of the stress and the hurt and the pain and the longing for my family. I feel that I walk a tightrope of just barely making it. That there is an abyss on either side of me that would be so easy to fall into. So I will myself to keep my eyes on the other side. 

I believe in myself. I must. When I am old, I will be able to look back and say, "Shit was fucked up. In my pain and ignorance and pride I ruined so much. But I did not give up. I did not lose hope. I hung on."

My friends, we are more than our mistakes. We are more than what people say or think we are. And when someone who knew me then walks up to me with the old clothes I once wore and tries to put them on me again, I will smile and decline and I will love them anyway. I will choose to love myself anyway.

And if, when you see me next, and you ask how I am doing, and tears spring to my eyes unbidden, don't worry. You see, I have so many tears I spent so many years trying to hide, that I give them all the freedom in the world now. 

It's not you; it's me. And I'm okay with me.

 

What about you? Are you okay with you? Is there a someone, or people in your life, who are still trying to put you in your old clothes?

 

 

(Quite a few of you have written saying that you'd like to help. Two months ago, when I was laid off from my job, I started a GoFundMe campaign, which was/is very humbling. Friends and family rallied around me and raised over $3000. Now with my car breaking down with a $2800 repair bill AND my expensive electric bike being stolen this past Saturday, any little bit extra can help. All money is going towards my car repair bill.)

https://www.gofundme.com/248hz6c

Homesick

Slit myself from the base of throat

Right where five initials rest

All the way down to where you used to kiss me.

Peel the skin off, strip down to my very bones;

If you look closely

My love for you

Is etched on every one.

 

The joke that I was too happy

To write sings to song.

Something to write about now,

The went-ings of wrong.

Music box heart;

Open it up

Watch the dancer there.

Say, “I am enough.”

 

The lights are floating in the glass

Outside

You are floating in the sky

Outside

Homesick hearts, both of us,

So lonely

Not so far apart.

 

 

Back is bruised, literally,

From flipping upside down

Clinging to fabric

In an effort to push

Into and then out of fear.

Would talk to you about it

If you would listen.

You are in there peering from behind bars

Put in place in secret

While we were both looking the other way.

 

Smash the examples, any one you want,

Into powder and I will

Carefully cup my hands

Pour it all into a bowl

Called Love

Watch:

Add water,

add honey,

add love,

add tears,

add whiskey,

add wine,

and hope,

add years.

Mix it all up

Put it on the wheel,

Spin it into a new thing,

Fire it into a new thing.

No matter how many times

We might break each other

You will always be the one

I will want to form anew with.

 

How many different iterations will we take

On this journey together

Around this star?

Every morning

Waking up

To meet each other again

And every night

Holding close

And choosing the other

Again

Again

And

Again.

Starbucks on 14th Street (a ramble of my brain)

Am I a sociopath?

Would a sociopath wonder if they were a sociopath?

Do I process the world the way I ought to?

Is there something wrong with me?

What is that beeping sound?

 

I hate bad jazz.

 

Blinking cursor.

Blinking cursor.

Fucking cursor.

Fuck.

 

Why didn’t I bring any headphones?

 

That man is burping.

 

That lady is chewing her fingernails.

 

Melanie said she thinks that the inside of my brain

Must be full of rainbow slides and crazy colours.

“I am amazed at how your brain works,” she says and I laugh.

“Actually there are a lot of thunderclouds and lightning, too.”

 

Thanksgiving.

Time with family.

Will they still be my family this time next year?

 

The man I love tied me to them but,

if he cuts me loose from him,

if he chooses to give up on us,

I will lose more than just him.

My beloved.

 

God. I love my husband so fucking much.

 

Am I a genius?

Why must I care?

Why do I compare myself against others so much?

 

Writing.

 

Writing to write.

 

Popping in my ear.

 

My hands are shaking a bit.

 

Tightening my butt muscles while sitting down.

 

Kegels.

 

Pause for Snapchat.

 

All the art I want to make.

All the time I want to create.

All the words I want to write.

All the love I want to make at night.

All the hurt I want to heal.

All the trust I want to build.

All the walls I want to scale.

All the seas I want to sail.

 

Catch up. 

Catch up If you can.

 

Don’t worry about the grammar

Whether the words are right

Just write and it will be right

Just write and what is left

Will be your empty brain

And the sound of a heart at rest

 

No pen in hand.

"The quaking and popping," he says,

Off to my right,

At a table in the night.

St. Arbucks a safe haven

The McDonald’s of caffeinated

Over priced espresso.

 

Sit here.

Sit there.

Staring staring staring in to devices.

She remarks about something.

He rests his head in his hand.

And GODDAMN what is that sound?

Is this really the time to ground

The beans

For the caffeine?

 

I can feel my knees through the holes in my jeans.

I just spent one hundred eighty-three dollars

And change

On bras to hold my tits up.

Jayna always hated the word, “tit”.

Tit for tat.

Tat for tit.

Bit the bat

But the bat won’t bit.

Photography

Photography

Photography

My photographer can’t see me.

 

My brain won’t stop.

How to slow it down?

How to slow down the clown?

What is sown in the rest

Of my life in a space

Full of tragedy and comedy

And every kind of waste

Full of nonsense

And every kind of chance.

I am not my evil words.

My temper.

My face.

When it falls into disdain,

The face that masked pain.

Your pain.

So real.

I expected too much of you.

You wanted too much from me.

But I love you all the more.

I love him all the more.

He is my person.

You are my person.

He and you are the same person.

I’m getting my pronouns confused.

Because there is only one you.

You

You

You

You

Me

Me

Me

Me.

 

Sips hot tea.

 

I have flashes of moments where I know – I just know – that I’m great.

That I’m amazing and lovely and worth it and worth the wait

But then I fall back into

Feeling ashamed of feeling worthy as if

How dare I think I am worth any of this?

 

Where does that come from?

Where can I make it go?

So far from me

So that I can finally grow?

 

 

I will become the better me.

I will learn how to be

Radically accepting

Wisely in mind

Not ruled by emotions

Or just my logical side.

 

I wish he could see me

Loving him here.

I must learn how to see myself.

Let that be enough.

Learn to love myself.

 

I must love myself.

 

No matter what.

Volcanoes and Poisonous Trees :: I Was An Abuser

I was emotionally abused for years.

Years.

For as long as I can remember nothing I did was ever good enough. The mental and verbal abuse was awful. 

Nothing about me was right.

I felt all the wrong things and never at the right times.

Sit down and shut up.

Who the hell do you think you are?

You’re never going to amount to anything.

Nothing you say is worth listening to anyway.

You like to perform, huh? Why do you like to perform on a stage?

Probably because you’re a narcissist or something.

What the hell is wrong with you wanting to be on a stage?

You think you’re smart but you’re really not.

You’re just an imposter and everyone knows it.

You’re fat and you’re ugly and you’re not worth loving.

Sure. Real nice idea. It’ll never work.

Oh great, pulling your hair out again. You're so gross.

Oh great, biting your nails again, what are you? Five?

Oh great, playing with razors again. You're so weak.

People don’t actually like you. They just put up with you.

You know, they’re just too nice to say so.

They just put up with you.

Life would be better without you messing things up for everyone.

Your life could’ve been great.

Your life should’ve been awesome.

They just put up with you.

Everyone puts up with you.

They just put up with you.

 

 

On and on and on.

 

My abuser was -- is?—me of course.

 

Myself.

 

Years of this and I didn’t know how to stop it. On top of this was my endless rumination on past hurts, past moments, past regrets. I ruminated on what I could never change instead of focusing on moving forward.

Rage would build up in me and, like a volcano, I would blow.

My fire raining down on my husband first. A torrent of abuse towards myself that grew into a torrent of abuse towards him.

It was never intentional. But. But. But -- instead of learning how to stop the eruptions, I wasted time trying to build channels to direct the heat away from him, away from our kids. It was exhausting trying to keep from erupting and then furiously digging channels when I did.

 

I was, and still am, so ashamed of myself. I had grown so accustomed to the heat myself, my “skin” so scarred, that I could not see how badly it was burning them.

 

A leprosy of the heart.

 

Our home became one of eggshells. Everyone, including myself, stepping around gingerly, to not cause a crack. Do not cause a crack because then the whole thing will fall down.

 

One night my beloved husband, Zack, with tears in his eyes said, “I didn’t kill your mother. I wasn’t there when your life was hard as a teenager. I wasn’t the one who abandoned you. But I’ve become your punching bag.”

 

“Beautiful; talented; intelligent – and as mean as a snake,” he said another night.

 

I could not hear him for the roaring in my ears.

 

He was right, of course.

 

I scared myself with how easily I could turn on a dime. My Hyde overtaking my Jekyll. My Hulk taking over my Bruce. Never knowing when all hell would break loose.

 

It was a night in early July when the eggshell house finally broke. Where all the channels I had been building turned to dust. Where the ash of my own fucking pain was wiped away enough to see how badly, how very badly my husband was burned. How hard he had been trying to love me through the lava.

 

And so here I am, almost five months later, and I am trying to rebuild the house I burned down.

 

I am an emotional abuser. I am an abuser.

 

I was an abuser.

 

Learning how to forgive myself.

 

Hoping that those I love can forgive me.

 

I am hopeful and scared and joyful and terrified all at once.

 

You see, I have a way forward. The poisonous tree I had been trying to cut down with a proverbial butter knife is now being laid waste by the proverbial chainsaw I have learned (still learning) how to wield.  

 

Volcanoes and poisonous trees. Channels and chainsaws.

 

My friends, I fear I have lost everything in this burning. The house that I turned into eggshells is gone. Nothing but a place full of rubble now. Now to clear it.

 

But what will be built in its place? Will we survive this?

 

I am hopeful. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

She started shooting herself first.

With a silencer

Round after round

Into her stomach

Where the bullets piled up

And weighed her down

Scar tissue growing around them

Till the hardness felt normal

Became a comfort

To feel the numbing

Of mental bullet verbosity.

 

She started shooting herself first.

With a rocket

Round after round

Into her head

Where the thoughts rattled off

And flew around the rooms

Till the shrapnel felt softer

Became a blanket

To cover the bleeding

Of words running silently by.

 

She started shooting him next.

With a love letter

Round after round

Into his heart

Where the missives stacked up

And paper cut-ted his aorta

Till the slicing felt subtle

Became a caress

To wipe away longing

Of ever being a good enough good enough.

 

She started shooting him next.

With an armament

Round after round

Into his hope

Where the missiles laid waste

And covered the land

Till the soil grew weary

Became a desert

Too parched to find meaning

Of fighting without much life.

 

She started shooting the children last.

With a projectile

Round after round

Into their lives

Where the worry grew wild

And covered their eyes

Till the light made them wary

Became a blindness

To stave off the hurting

Of walking so as not to tremble her earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violets (Live in my Dining Room)

In going though old recordings of mine from years ago I stumbled across this song that I recorded in the dining room of my little duplex on Clairemont Avenue the summer of 2006. I wrote this song nine years ago and it feels oddly applicable to my life now; I am a prophetess.

It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning that I sat down and recorded myself singing and playing a new song I was working on. I rarely write songs on the guitar and so I was particularly invested in getting the song "captured" as it were. I used GarageBand and only the internal mic on my laptop. Afterwards I went back in and added some accordion (badly), backing vocals, and some piano. I love the ambulance in the beginning; I almost stopped the recording to wait for it to pass but decided to plow on. I'm glad I did.

It's best listened to on headphones.

I love this little song and I just thought I'd share here for posterity. 

 

Here are the lyrics if you're so inclined:

You are no closer to better

Look at the tumbling

Ground is broken

Please don’t come any nearer

You burned up in your leaving

 

Careful, you might not get better

Just ‘cause you moved

Your location

Still you will write all your letters

And hope for change

But don’t change too much

 

We tried, we tried

But those violets died

 

You only see me in fragments

Bits and pieces

Under your lens

How could you even have noticed?

When you only

Saw everyone

Else?

Everyone else.

 

We tried, we tried

But those violets died

 

I tried, I tried

And now you hide.

Kintsugi Airplane

Nights with lights strung around bars

Ashes of smoke in a burned out jar

One point five liters of Woodbridge reprieval 

Upheaval in a heart gone wild.

 

You say Patty sings and speaks for you

While her words hold so much truth

There are meanings found in everything

When searching in the dark.

 

We fought too hard to end up here

You sitting there

And me sitting here

Both in the air

One hundred miles apart

You within and

Me without

 

Let's build an airplane; fill in the cracks

With gold from the stars and grace for the past

This is a story that belongs in a song

You are the Johnny to my June.

 

We fought too hard to end up here

You sitting there

And me sitting here

Both in the air

One hundred miles apart

You within and

Me without

 

Maybe you'll forget to remember to forget me.

 

 

 

The Vitreous Humor

Allow me, if I may, a bit of an explanation, before I give you an explanation.

Quite a few years ago, eight years to be exact, when Zack and I were still dating, we were lying on his couch listening to some piano and vocal tracks I had recently recorded. 

"You know what you should do?" Zack queried, talking into my hair. "You should write a book with a song for each chapter."

The idea intrigued me. What would I write about? The more I thought about it, the more it thought about me, if that makes any sense at all.

Alternatively, with the joy of my marriage to Zack in July 2008, and then the birth of Hawke in May of 2009, my life, for the first time in a long time, was truly settled and secure. That is when the ghost of my mother began to haunt me.

By haunt I mean she began to invade my thoughts more than ever before. I was rapidly approaching the age when she passed away; I now had four children -- roughly the same ages my siblings and I were when she died -- and I wanted more than ever before just to be able to talk to this person I never really got a chance to know. Woman to woman. Oh, my heart still aches for this. I began a process of reaching out to every person I knew who knew her, to try and get an idea of who she was when she wasn't being "Mom" and their recollections around the time of her death. A fascinating trend began to emerge: some key points of her personality were consistent, but a lot of people remembered her and her life, and how it ended, very differently. Which was the truth? 

Then, in my dreams, I would see myself walking out onto a stage; I could see the set up perfectly. Every time I would walk down center, to the front of the stage and begin speaking to an audience.

I began to realize that this reoccurring dream, along with Zack's song for each chapter idea, and the longing to know my mother we're all coming together into one thing. It terrified me, which, as I am beginning to learn, is exactly why I knew I must do it.

So what is The Vitreous Humor? Literally it is the jelly like substance that makes up one's eyeball. It is also the title of my one woman play. Well, a play with music, too.  It's a play about childhood and the blind spot children have for their parents; it's a play about how no one sees anything the same and memories aren't to be trusted, even though they're all we have; it's a play about my family; it's a play for my mother.