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What You Get at the End of the Journey to Realness

·410 words·2 mins

“Real isn’t how you’re 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.”

-Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

I know you only see your flaws, but all the best people do. It’s a sort of Greek tragedy played over our modern lives — the good people can never see their goodness when it’s so obvious to other people.

And wretched folks are often completely in love with themselves, oblivious to the pain that they cause other people. They’re also quite adept at reframing the strengths of other people as “flaws,” convincing the best people that they’re abject failures.

And the best people — the most real people, if you will — are often the ones who believe other people when they point out their flaws. Meanwhile, wretched individuals will never see. They’re incapable of seeing.

I hate it. I do.

I wish I could do something about it. I wish I could make it so that the wrong people didn’t have all the fear.

But I can’t.

And here you and I are, both made Real. We are beautiful to those who understand, ugly to braggadocios and egotistical cowards.

I don’t have much to give you. Just my love. But know that I see you, how Real you are — and that I think it’s the most beautiful quality of all.

If you’re lucky, that’s what you get at the end of the journey to Realness. Maybe it isn’t what you deserve, but it’s what I have. And you’re welcome to it.


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