On Monday evening I wrote this post.
On Tuesday morning I woke up with a hangover. Not an alcohol-induced one. That’s strictly off limits with my medication.
This was a new kind. A vulnerability hangover. Isn’t it nice when everything has a name.
I woke up with the sudden realisation that I had shared a lot. That perhaps it hadn’t been the best idea. That maybe some things need to be kept to myself. That I should probably hide.
So I did. We stayed in all day, apart from the nursery run. I abandoned the friends I was supposed to call, and spent the evening curled up in my pyjamas on the sofa with a bag of Skittles.
And then as I sat in bed, waiting for Wes to finish his angry-email-to-the-second-hand-car-dealer, I picked up Daring Greatly. Just for a minute. Just to remind myself of why I write this blog.
There it was. In black and white. The most beautiful quote, from one of my absolute favourite childhood books, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. It’s a bit long for a tattoo, but it definitely needs putting up on my wall. So that I can see it. Every. Single. Day.
This is what it says;
“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.”
There it is. That’s exactly it. That’s why I write these things that sometimes make me want to run away and bury my head in the biscuit tin.
Because Real is something worth being. It’s messy and shabby and vulnerable, and certainly not very shiny. But it’s the only way to be loved. Really loved. By myself, as much as anyone else.
I am becoming. It’s taking a long time. But I’m on my way.
If a toy rabbit can do it, anyone can.