“It’s OK to be the teacup with a chip in it. That’s the one with the story.”
(Matt Haig. The Comfort Book 2021)
What a wonderfully profound quote. So few words, yet each one has so much meaning, so much depth. Comparing the state of self to something as beautiful and as delicate as a teacup.
If I compared myself to a teacup I would most definitely have a chip or two. I would also have cracks and be a little crazed. Glossed over with pretty patterns. I would hope no one would notice the differences between me and the other five in the set, sitting pretty and undamaged. I never know if people notice my chips and cracks. What I do know is that I can count on one hand the amount of people that know, really know my story…
The first small crack was in playgroup. I knew in an instant, as young as I was that life was going to have valleys and mountain tops. All I wanted to do was play being my mummy in the home corner. A peer told me I couldn’t go in. “You’ve got scabs” they said. That was it I just knew. So off I went to the ring games, to the security of my mummy’s hand.
As a tree branches out, so do our lives and we have no choice we have to keep moving forward and try and grow. Throughout my school life that crack got larger and a few chips added. The bullying and exclusion continued. Not all valleys though. Life time friends were made and they encouraged me to gloss over the chips and look at life from mountain tops. From those beautiful mountain tops I could see a life for me. However I needed certain things, confidence, personality, bravery and determination. Where could a damaged teacup aquire these?
College was a much better experience. After a difficult start, due to chips showing on the surface, a little care and alot of gloss my pattern was becoming brighter and my crazed appearance glossed over. Qualifications were gained and the world was my oyster. Or, so I thought!!!
This fragile teacup for the next decade made stories I dare not put into print!!! Life was a buzz, and those chips hidden so well. An ocean of friends. A life full of fun and energy and non stop frivolity. No one would ever know how fragile I was. How could they? I didn’t know myself!!! No regrets here. I love my memories and keep them safe where only I can see. Life was certainly giving back to me a thousandfold what it took from me in my early years.
This teacup has always compared herself to the other five in the set, even when life was good. Such a shame, but it’s what happens to seconds in a set!! She wanted to be a bigger part of a set, so settled for something that really couldn’t help with her chips and cracks. All because, because why? Why do humans make irrational decisions? So they can look part of something, part of the set… My decade was over, a corner turned and no one could imagine what the next one would hold…
The cracked, but very polished teacup found a saucer. Only she couldn’t see the saucer didn’t match. It wasn’t delicate china, it was rough earthenware. Not glossed. Thick with no finish. The teacup wanted so badly to have a saucer she didn’t care what everybody else could see. The teacup was about to begin a chapter that really has never found its conclusion…
So a bad match, a bad move. Earthenware and china do not belong in the same dishwasher. The heaviness of the pot broke the teacup and shattered all the dreams she ever had. Just like that solitary moment in the home corner so many decades before. However as the quote tells us, stories were made. I say stories to be polite, this story had no happy ending for a while anyway.
After a very long wait, a lonely wait. Many cracks, chips and shattered pieces the teacup found a special place in a cupboard full of other delicate teacups that know just what it was like to be outcast. To be cracked. To be chipped. The delicate teacup found her cupboard, where people would listen to her story. That is where she’s staying. It’s safe. There she is loved. There no one uses and abuses her. There she is appreciated. From this cupboard she has found a true love and a promise she never has to be outcast again.
Although she has chips and cracks she can on most days dress over them. Most days she thinks of smashing herself against the wall so she shatters so much she can’t be fixed. Most days she knows she’s never going to be part of a pretty set, but, most days she knows she has many a story to tell, if anyone wants to listen. She has more strength than delicate unskaved teacups. She has a bigger heart, because she knows what life is like on the mountain tops and in the valleys. She has gratitude and she can choose most of the time, what tea she has inside her shell and she’s very fussy. For the days she is unable to choose her tea, she gets by knowing she has the stories the other cups don’t.
So I may have a chip or two, they maybe glossed over. I may not like being that teacup but I hope I can help by telling my stories other delicate teacups to hang on their hook with pride knowing their stories. I do hope so, as if I don’t hold that thought, I may leave my safe hook, in my cupboard and then I would have no story to tell…