When I serve myself dinner, I inevitably use one of a certain set of plates. Saying that they are not fancy, is not false modesty, they are metal plates covered in a grey enamel. Well made, durable, but not what you break out when you are expecting company.
Just as I usually use this set, I invariably choose the chipped one. It’s not always the one on top in the cupboard. I choose that one. This made me ponder, “Why do I do that?’
In my childhood, I had an affinity for broken toys and such. Not to say I deliberately broke my toys, (lets chalk those up to accidents or perhaps some were poorly constructed) but seeing something with a defect evoked sympathy in me. I recall one incident, where I was with my mother in a Christmas ornament store and seeing a one-eyed lion yarn lion. I pleaded with my mother to buy it, knowing that if we left without it, that no one else would want a one-eyed lion.
We did not get the one-eyed lion, but one that had little problem with depth perception. I hope that someone else bought that cyclopean king of the beasts, but I still hope it found a home and is cherished to this day.
Do I choose the chipped plate because it would feel sorrow that no one wants to use it? It’s absolutely absurd to think that an inanimate object has feelings. Especially a plate. With no images on it. Just a grey plate. And yet, it’s my first choice. I think I might feel bad using one of the other ones.
I wonder if I choose it because I think we are alike somehow, a little chipped around the edges? If I’m being honest, were I a plate, being chipped might be bottom on my list of defects. Is picking that plate aspirational? Do I think I’m somehow less than a chipped plate?
Maybe I think that’s all I deserve, a chipped plate. Like the rest of humanity, I wrestle with the idea that I don’t deserve to be happy, or to be loved or that I have any worth. To keep you from worrying about me overtly, these are not a constant battle but like everyone, these thoughts do go through my brain.
Perhaps there are people that find joy in all aspects of life, from the successes to the heartbreak. I’m sure it’s a profound way to exist and you are richer for it. I wish I could say I’m one of those people, but it’s not the way I’m wired. Good for those of you that are.
So in the end maybe I find that even if something is imperfect, it still has value. Everyone wants things to be perfect but nothing is. Life is ultimately unfair, but I take comfort that even a flawed thing can be useful and loved. It gives me hope for the future.
And if you’re one of those people who’s life if filled with joy, no matter what, and sees even setbacks as a lesson and a gift from the universe, know this. Everybody else thinks you’re an asshole. Thank the universe for that nugget of wisdom.