Friends and Flatware,
As many of you know, Kettle and I recently split up. It was the right choice; we couldn’t keep putting our personal lives on the back burner. But it’s been hard. So I’ve been reading a lot of books lately about self-care. By books I mean mostly blog posts, but that still counts. And they’ve helped me come to a huge realization: I have allowed myself to be labeled by others for far too long.
For instance: People have called me “little” since I was young. Now that I’m an adult, I find it condescending. The blogs I read are right: I deserve to be treated with dignity. I guess they aren’t so much blogs as lengthy Facebook posts, but that doesn’t make them any less true.
And I’m officially done with people making comments about my appearance. As long as I can remember, people have been calling me “short” and—this one really stings—“stout.” I act like I don’t care, but how could I not? I internalized those hurtful words, constantly comparing myself to unrealistic standards of beauty, like Mrs. Potts, from Beauty and the Beast, or any one of the flawless, famous teapots from pop culture that we all know. (And don’t get me started on the Kool-Aid pitcher, I can’t even.)
But guess what: I just looked it up, and I am just a centimeter shorter than the average teapot. And news flash: Healthy teapots are supposed to be round. Who wants to boil water in an hourglass? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that shape! Some of the most amazing timers I know have perfect hourglass figures.)
These Facebook posts—okay, they’re mostly just inspirational quotes from Pinterest—they’ve helped me realize how objectified I’ve been. People like to boil me down nothing more than just a handle and a spout, it’s degrading! Instead of focusing on my appearance, why can’t people appreciate what’s on the inside: Up to forty-eight ounces of water?
When I think of how I’ve been treated… how much PAIN some people have caused me…it just makes me red hot! You—you monsters! How DARE you?! You DESERVE TO BE SCALDED!!!!!
…Deep breaths, Potty. Deep breaths.
Look, I lost my temper a bit there. I know I can get a little, um, “steamed up” from time to time. (Kettle used to always call me out for this, but he’s one to talk! I mean, talk about the pot calling the…actually, never mind.)
Anyway, what I’ve learned is that I should affirm my emotions, not shame them. It’s okay to get steamed up. It’s okay to shout. It’s okay if your feelings tip out.
I can’t control what other people say or do. But I can stop internalizing these labels. I’m done waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror, and thinking: I am a little teapot. I’m short. I’m stout. All I have to offer is a handle and spout. No matter how steamed up I get, no matter how loud I shout, people are just going to tip me over until I’m all poured out.
Well I’m over it. No more negative self-talk. From now on, when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m going to say:
I am a beautiful and normally-sized Teapot.
Strong, confident, worthwhile.
I am so much more than the sum of my parts.
My emotions are valid.
I will be poured out on my own terms. ❏
Jordan Call is a writer based in D.C.
Photo by Richard Iwaki