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  • Juliette Angelo

You Are the Chain

“He saw a baby elephant tied to a post with a steel chain. The baby ripped and scratched and tried to get free, but the chain wouldn't break. Then, he saw a grown elephant tied to a post with nothing but a little piece of rope. He asked his mother how the little piece of rope held the big elephant in place. She explained they chain the babies until they give up. The elephants think that little piece of rope is still a chain.”

- Stephen Chbosky, Imaginary Friend

Lately I've been thinking about emotional chains and illusions of power. I myself have succumbed to others' false sense of authority time and time again. I've bowed down to those who take advantage of me. I've allowed others to poison my mindset, to doubt my own abilities, all because, once upon a time, someone convinced me I was trapped.

We are a free people. Our minds are our greatest superpower. They can transport us into new worlds, allow us to create our own realities, but they are sensitive, vulnerable, and intricate, and very impressionable when we are very young.

When you are taught you are chained from childhood, it feels nearly impossible to live without it. There even becomes a point where that chain is comforting. The thought of living without that chain is impossible, for who am I, if not tied down?

That's the question that changes everything. For who am I, without limitations? Without restrictions? Without doubt? Without fear? Who am I?

As the brain begins wondering, thinking, learning... The chain becomes lighter, fainter, quieter. Until the chain is nothing more than a string around our ankle. A string we can simply break out of, in fact, it's already untied. Some may question if the string was even there to begin with.

One of the hardest things I ever did was realize that I was deserving of something more out of life. The crushing reality of my circumstances broke me, for once someone convinced me that that chain was in fact made out of love.

Love does not weigh you down. Love does not control you, manipulate you, feed you falsehoods about who you are and backwards prophecies about what you are capable of becoming. Love does not ask for anything in return. Love wants nothing but to see you happy and at peace.

The Avett Brothers wrote a beautiful song about love and hate, entitled The Ballad of Love and Hate. I'll link it here.

I also wrote a beautiful song about love, entitled Black and Blue. I'll link it here as well.

I have always admired elephants. I find them to be gigantic, intimidating creatures who want nothing more than to be loved. Isn't that what we all want, at our core? That giant in your life, who wants nothing but to see you fail, does he not want anything but to be loved? And somewhere along the line someone taught him he was not deserving of such? And thus, the cycle continues?

The chain is a story that needn't exist in your life any longer. You are so much bigger and stronger than you could ever imagine. All you must do is believe, take that first step, shatter the chain, break the string, and walk into the brightness of a future that is so graciously waiting for you.

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