“The impact of separation on an individual’s life.”
Separation from precious people or things has worked its way into the lives of many individuals. Whether it was an accidental disaster or a long-planned out plan to move away, people have found different ways to cope with the loss of what they held dear. However, frequently the common instinct of human nature is to try to forget what happened. Store it away in the back of their mind, never to seek or dwell on it again. In Tony Haoagland’s poem Perpetual Motion he delivers imagery of emotions that one goes through while going through the process of separation, and how it affected their thoughts and emotions. It’s through this poem that the author shows when a relationship with someone or something is ruined by separation, it’s common for them to try to forget the separation, rather than dwell on the pain that comes with it.
The poem is called Perpetual Motion. To clarify, perpetual motion means to not stop moving. The title itself can relate in that time will never stop, and that sometimes it’s best to just move on and forget. The pictured individual further shows the impact of separation on their mind. Rather than dealing with the pain, their mind chooses to forget about it to the best of its abilities, resulting in driving down the never-ending road to space out and forget what happened. They state it as “the traveling disease”, and that it’s the same disease that’s “…celebrated by the cracked lips of many blues musicians…”. Blues musicians tend to sing tales of the grief and melancholy of life, and the driver can relate to them, further indicating the grief that separation has caused in this individual feel. So they drive, they turn up the radio and let the highway carry them away, allowing it to take their thoughts away. He finally states “…the desire to vanish is stronger than the desire to appear”, and this is the point where it’s clearly evident on the impact separation has had on this person. It has broken them down to the point where they feel the need to get lost and hide away from society. But time moves on, and the driver is left with nothing but the open road and the desire to forget. In reality, the highway will end, and so will the troubles that come with the initial shock of separation. In reality, the separation’s wrath was temporary, and the individual will move on. However, it is the initial shock of the sting of separation that causes individuals to go into this state of trying to think of anything but reality and to hope to disappear as if to hide from all their problems.
While reading this, my personal past comes to mind of the many friends I have lost over the years. It came in many forms, through changes in schools, betrayal, disagreements, or the passing of time that swept them away. Whenever I lose a close one, I tend to do anything in my power to think of anything but them. The impact of separating from people is one my brain fears, so it cowers away in the infinite abyss of irrelevant topics and ideas to drone out the presence of loss. Rather than dwell on what I had; I would much rather dull my mind by playing countless mindless hours of video games, like the driver in the poem. I propose that this isn’t just something I consciously do but is more of a subconscious getaway for my brain that stems from the pain that is separation. It’s an uncontrollable force that when faced with a problem, instead of facing it head-on, my brain resorts to locking it up in a vault and letting time deal with it. Problems such as separation tend to magnify this effect. Instead of a problem caused by an added load, it’s a problem caused by the removed supports that hold up that load. My theory is this: for my brain to deal with having support removed by the separation of a much cared for person, it vacates my mind of everything important, and floods it with the desire to forget it ever happened. When my brain can pretend a problem doesn’t exist by trying forgetting about it, it removes the grief allowing for an easier fix to the problem.
However, I know that this doesn’t just happen to me, as it’s evident the same process goes on in the driver’s mind in the poem Perpetual Motion, that was written by an author who, most likely, went through the same experience of separation. This is evidence that shows how the brain deals with losing the support of friends or a loved one. The impact of separation tends to be so strong that the brain will do whatever it can to forget it, even if it means numbing itself to such a meaningless task such as driving with no destination. The conscience of individuals would rather forget that there is red hot coal burning through its sanity and wait till it cooled down itself over time, rather than immediately dealing with it by facing the emotional strain the separation has enforced.