Carry That Weight is about the past—specifically that of the Beatles. It acknowledges that nothing the Beatles would do as solo artists would ever equal what they did as a band. This heavy psychological and emotional ‘weight’ was theirs to carry from then on.
The Beatles broke up in April 1970. Seemingly the only Beatle who didn’t have a grudge against the others by then was Ringo.
Grudges are heavy things. Immaterial, but they still occupy space. Invisible, but they possess mass and weight. Grudges often live long lives, but never productive ones. Some people collect and keep grudges like pets—I’m one such person.
Autistics and neurotypicals often don’t play well together. As the former I can attest—my black and white thinking bumps into grey ambiguity; my adherence to rules rubs up against interpretation; and, of course, there’s the good old missed social cue. Somebody takes offense. Maybe there’s an argument, or withdrawal and avoidance. It’s another day in human socialization.
But like many autistics, I lent weight to these social disputes—often, a lot of weight which grew into a grudge. I’m something of a pro-am grudge bearer. My longest grudge ran for almost three years, when I didn’t speak to a coworker. Other grudges lasted weeks or months.
Individuals on the spectrum ruminate over past slights and grievances the way cows ruminate, chewing a particular cud over and over…and over. And what we chew over are bad things, uncomfortable events, arguments, and fights. It doesn’t matter if the cud is decades old. The autistic usually can recite what happened, who said what, who did what, and how it all fell out with amazing accuracy. They still chew on it now and then.
The neurotypical, meanwhile, probably purged that event from their mind years ago. It’s deleted. Or it’s in a subfolder of a subdirectory of a secondary mental drive, lost to the user until the autistic ‘types here to search’. How often is the file not found? How often is the autistic convinced that the neurotypical is pretending not to remember? I carry this weight, why isn’t he (or she) doing the same? Where is the apology? The admission of wrong?
Do yourself a favor. Don’t carry that weight.
That’s all a grudge usually amounts to—dead weight.
Drop it. Get on with things and others.
What you might see as the opening shots of World War One, they recall as the occasional friction of social interaction. Are they talking to you again as if nothing happened? Roll with it. Don’t expect an apology. Don’t expect forensic analysis of what went down.
Recall theory of mind: they think they’re in the right, too. Instead, see it for what it is--neurotypical social pragmatism. The neurotypical just wants to get on with it. Whatever occurred is to them already a museum exhibit; display; dated plaque; done. Why not do the same?
Then head to the gift shop, where they usually have your special interest in stock.
Guest Blogger: Mike Minnis, Client