People are not potatoes

People are not potatoes. Just in case you have no concept of taxonomy, or even rudimentary biology, I’m going to say it one more time. People are not potatoes. People are people and potatoes are potatoes.


So a couple of weeks ago I made mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Is it just me or does anyone else enjoy peeling potatoes? I like peeling carrots, too. And yams. I imagine I would also be fond of peeling parsnips but I’ve never actually tried it so I can’t be sure. The point is that I like peeling vegetables, although my interest in root vegetable peeling is not imperative to the actual point of this post. For the record, I do not like peeling apples, but that’s not important either.


Are you still with me? I promise if you keep reading we will end up at a point-worthy point.

Anyway, there I was in the kitchen peeling the potatoes, and I was making sure to strip away all the dark spots and blemishes so that they wouldn’t end up sullying the mashed potatoes. Had you been in my kitchen it would have been very easy to tell the difference between the potatoes and me because, as I said, people are not potatoes. See?


Tell me you can see the difference.

But as I sat there peeling away, I found myself kind of wishing that I was a potato.

Think about it, if we were all potatoes living potato lives then everything we didn’t like and every problem we came across could be easily peeled away. No more blemishes. No more bumps. No more scars. And not just on the outside, on the inside, too.

I mean I’m sure we’d all love to take a potato peeler to our physical appearances now and again. Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to easily just smooth out that cellulite or do away with that muffin top? Maybe turn a cankle into an ankle or a Pinocchio nose into the nose of someone who had never told a lie? If we were potatoes we could do all of those things.

(Safety warning: you are a person, not a potato, so please do not attempt to change your appearance with a potato peeler. Finding My Miracle is not responsible for any medical costs should you choose to ignore this warning.)

But it’s not just outside changes; imagine if we could peel away the parts of our personalities that we didn’t like. The spots, defects, and scars, the lasting effects of everything we’ve been through and every time we’ve fallen to the ground, all of them would be removed. From there, all the bumps and lumps, the things that make us stand out and feel like we don’t fit in, all of them would be smoothed out. And eventually, if we kept peeling, all of our weaknesses, faults and insecurities would be stripped away.

We would be these perfect potatoes living perfect potato lives.

And then I realized that we would also be boring.

Do you know what happens when you peel a potato until it is perfect? A lot of it gets wasted. In the pursuit of that smooth and spot-free spud, perfectly good potato gets unnecessarily peeled away. And just like potatoes, when we as people try to be perfect, pieces of who we are get lost. We end up smaller. We miss out on opportunities and adventures. And we all start to look the same.

So thank goodness we are not potatoes. Thank goodness we can’t just get rid of the parts of ourselves that we don’t like and the things that make us unique. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. All kinds of people and their all kinds of personalities and everything that makes them who they are. Short tempers, stubbornness, self-doubt, social anxiety and everything else. Even the cankles and big noses.

We can’t change how we are built. We can’t change what we’ve been through. We can’t change who we are. And we can’t change how other people are built, what they’ve been through or who they are.

We are people and people are imperfect, but that’s what makes life interesting. That’s also what allows us to grow and change and become better people. Not perfect, just better. It’s what allows us to try new things and learn from our experiences. It’s what allows us to make connections with each other. It’s why we get to be individuals.

Don’t give that up. Don’t let yourself become smaller. There are plenty of potatoes in the world but there is only one you.

So put down the potato peeler.

And go be imperfect. Go be awesome. Go be you.


7 thoughts on “People are not potatoes

  1. Pingback: Keeping the faith | Finding my Miracle

  2. Wow. Hello Catherine. My name is Jonathan. Nice to meet you. I am a 47 year old male living in West Michigan, diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) in April of 2012. I stumbled onto your blog and could not leave; I was like a fly caught in a spider web. (That’s a good thing by the way) With my new found sedentary powers I browse the internet often. Thank you for posting. When people tell me they will pray for me I tell them “thank you, I’ll take all the help I can get.”


    • Hi Jonathan – I’m sorry to hear about your SPMS diagnosis. It’s never easy when your body stops be able to do what you want it to do. I hope that today is going as well as possible for you. Thanks for reading!

  3. And who better to lead by example than you, Catherine, because you are pretty awesome yourself. I mean that. Even though we are on opposite sides of the world, we one can read between the lines of your blog to discover that you have an amazing level of ‘awesome’.

      • You are so eloquent and talented with your words, how could I not keep reading? Plus everything you write about; people like me are reading and nodding because you have found a way to put shared experiences into words that make sense, especially for others around us who may not ‘get it’ but, after reading your pieces which may challenge their thinking, they begin to see a different point of view. It helps.

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