“Me..I'm rusted and weathered
Barely holding together
I'm covered with skin that peels and it just won't heal”
I am feeling weathered. Weary. Worn out. Does this mean, as defined in the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, that I have been well LOVED … or does that only apply to toys?
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 happen often 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 do not mind so much being hurt anymore. If there is pain … then there is feeling and I know that I am not quite as numb as I oft pretend. Breakable I am not or I would have broken many a year ago. I do not have to be kept quite as carefully as most. It is true that I look much shabbier than I would like. Being real is a risky business. One must be willing to take chances in life … opening the heart and mind with the knowledge that one will likely feel pain along the way. There will be pain, but pain is not alone. There will also be: joy, sorrow, happiness, anger, envy, surprise, anticipation, fear etc.
And, there will be LOVE.