I got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet. – The Beatles, “I’ll Cry Instead”
I envy Lennon’s feet. Rather, something bigger than his, presumably, size 10 feet. My chip can fluctuate, anything from a tiny, invisible speck, to a giant rock, to a mountain competing with K2. It all depends on the shape-shifting thing, and how much the world wants me to have it. I believe the world is really, generally nice. Even the people who end up doing awful, awful things can show signs of humanity, compassion. But, there are some nasty specimens out there. Some who thrive on making you feel small, insignificant, unimportant. They want you to sink under the weight of your K2 so that they can, well, get whatever satisfaction they do get.
But, having that chip, Lennon feet+, rock or mountain, is also a form of protection. It is damaging when you are around nice, nurturing people, but it exists for you to defend yourself around people who don’t want you to be nurtured, to grow. And you wear it all the time, because you don’t know when such people will come into your life. That is why some people have made alienation cool. Artists have made entire careers on the basic feeling of, well, feeling disenfranchised. Lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers, CEOs, all became what they are and some even decided to give back because someone had made them feel small. They felt ashamed, helpless, vulnerable. And then, they felt angry, determined, and went and did something about it.
This is the dark side of how we survive, how we progress as a species. All because of some invisible chip on our shoulders. It is a sneaky trick of nature and humanity. But, it works. Because, if you didn’t have that, what would you do? How many of us can say we fully live for what we do solely because we love it? That this love was a pleasing, noble, idealistic thing that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy every minute of the day? I wish I could sing “Happy Working Song” like Giselle from Enchanted and do my stuff with the same spirit day after day. But, even that song had a bridge that went:
Oh, how strange a place to be
‘Till Edward comes for me, my heart is sighing
Still, as long as I am here
I guess a new experience could be worth trying
Hey, keep trying
Everyone has it. It is just difficult to accept that someone else has it too. That, no matter how loved, satisfied, brimming with possibility they may be, something always has the power to destroy it all. We’ve always liked seeing this in stories: great, big and awesome heroes making fatal decisions when that chip comes into their purview. That very chip that may have taken them so far, destroys everything they made.
Ultimately, the chip on your shoulder maybe your drive to make something of your time, but loss will be your true lesson. Loss will help you look past big and small, and find love. Even Lennon decided to “cry instead”, despite threatening to break the hearts of girls “all around the world,” because that was the better option. Crying may have brought him clarity. When you are able to look at your life clearly, as if the lenses of your eyes were washed and cleansed to look at the world freshly, you will realise you needed that chip after all, to get to that vision.
How do you deal with the chip on your shoulder?