Saturday, May 8, 2004

Being Real

I sometimes wonder, as I am sure we all do, if the things I have been through in my life, the terrible things that won me every one of a million little quirks, were worth living. I think, wouldn’t it have been nice to live in a state of Normal instead of ten miles outside of it? I have my moments of “why me” and “what did I do to deserve this,” just like anyone, but I try to not see life’s obstacles as things sent to hold me back. If you’ve never truly experienced pain then you have either lived on golden luck or by the avoidance of real living.

There is a story I read as a child that has only now become truly meaningful for me. I think, that had I gotten the message earlier on, I probably could have avoided much of the bad in my life, or at least suffered less of a sting from it. But then, it’s the sting that makes us what we are...

The Velveteen Rabbit
An Excerpt
by Margery Williams

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


scribblekitten said...

What would we do without nursery magic?

Ah and now my little "skin horse" you finally see the wisdom of that magic. Never forget even though some might think of you as shabby with places where your hair has been loved off and you are loose in the joints, you have always been real to me and have been loved a long, long time.

morcielaga said...


Cotton Candy People +smiles+. To be content with vicarious misery sounds very..umm..unapetizing ^_^...I agree with this post,despite the fact that i havent had to face any significant problems in my life.
You have however managed to frighten me a wondering now whether 'growing up' is such a good idea...oO( Ponce de Leon..i could use that elixer right about now)^_~

ghostbard said...

Only those who have experienced pain can truly understand the value of life's simple pleasures. And some not so simple ones as well. In my case, that's watching my daughter smile and laugh...seeing her crawl across the floor and start to explore her world...and knowing that, because of some awkward choices I made I might never have seen this.