Amnesia in the Face of Past Painful Feeling


Sigmund Freud coined the term 'the unconscious'

And by unconscious I understand that he meant

Those parts of our mental being that we believe

We couldn't plausibly, face

If placed in front of us, in plain, unforgiving view

They have to stay hidden, like an iceberg's bulky mass under the sea

Those traumas, those visceral impulses,

The fears we have glimpsed, imagined and bred


These hidden aspects make up the biggest part of our psyche

And it is a part that is locked away

It is the seventh door that Bluebeard

Keeps a secret from his wife

You don't want to go there

So you've thrown away the key

And all you get are impressions, coded signposts

Made palatable during dreams and in unguarded moments

The silent rises up and makes itself known

If only by cryptic and meandering means


Freud, I read, made it a point

To not call this part of our mind the subconscious

He insisted according to books that it is an unknown region

Conrad's Heart of Darkness diversely clad

A person, who is not to be made privy to all that is teeming in the cellar

So we may be protected from our bestial instincts

From our primal panics


And not only are we to be placed away from potential harm

We ourselves put uncomfortable and terrifying facts and fears

In blindfolds so they may not plot our inevitable demise

The unconscious keeps us safe and sane

In our everyday lives and dealings

It's the defense mechanism of a mind

Whose imagination often runs wild

And whose incoming impressions

Leave no uncertain imprints on the physicality of our anatomy


The mind-body connection is an intimate one

And in constant danger of being blatantly usurped

So, the mind has devised a system

That subjects certain 'sensitive' information pertaining to our lives

To scrupulous scrutiny and keeps our more squalid aspects

Under hermetic lock and key

Isn't it impressive how time aids this savvy self-check

By diminishing once rampant emotional pain

To a memory capable of only being recalled

Along cognitive lines?


The scenes are still retrievable but the tears

And the tearing sensations in the gut

Have left no affective and physically felt traces

It's how we can move on from something tragic

And become engaged once more in a similar circumstance

Sometimes only a short while down the line


Is that what it takes to go on in life, to not give in and pack up?

Would our minds implode or forcefully dissolve if past emotion

Were instantly recalled, utilized as a watchful reminder

To tread a slight bit more carefully this time around?

Is this obscure part of ourselves helping us manage our lives

Or could it be robbing us of honed intuitive sense?

Is it in fact weakening our adaptive skill set?

Could it fail us wherein internal growth

And pain tolerance is concerned?


Maybe the unconscious ought to be made conscious

So we know what we are dealing with down there

And maybe this excavating process would

Help in nurturing this kind little word called empathy


All this to say that

I just saw a movie, whose theme was definitely a familiar one to me

I knew I had lived a similar emotional experience in the past

I focused on the display of affections,

The subsequent negations, rejections, and sorrow

On the faces of the three protagonists

One could call it a morose turn on a ménage a trois

And I felt a part of me ought

To have cried in sympathy, in remembrance, in solidarity

However, the visceral, fleshy bit of my personal memory

Was nowhere to be dredged up

I couldn't call it in;

I failed to make myself accessible emotionally


I didn't relive this pain; I could only recognize it and name it

On a purely cognitive plane

Good luck, bad luck, enterprise or destiny?

I am not sure what to feel about this absence

It's probably there because it helped me move on eventually

And I know that were this situation to arise again

I can hardly count on a learning curve in matters of love

The pain will resuscitate and its sting will be here once again

I am not claiming that I have surpassed this stage

Emotionally I'll always be on the verge of revisiting

A mind led astray

But when it comes to associate, to relate, to commiserate

Emotions past have a long way to travel up from

The spot where they have been purposely stuffed

Way down where we are told not to rummage and make a mess


They are the shadow part

They are parts of the spider lady

They are there to remind me that we are simple creatures

Who all want basic things to live by

To love and be loved and to keep most pain under wraps

Well, maybe not all of us

But, I'd care to wager most among us