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Sunday, October 24, 2010

What is Real?


I didn’t know as a little girl that I would find myself relying on the profound words of a children's book when I was grown.  But many times when I look back at where I have been and who I have become, I can’t help but to remember the words of Margery Williams in “The Velveteen Rabbit”. 

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.  “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”  Does it happen all at once…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.”

We begin our lives in the simplest form. We come out of the womb with nothing but the hands that hold us and nurture us and sometimes those hands are broken.  Maybe it’s not the hands that are broken, but the lives to which they are attached. We live and grow because of the care of others. We are dependent upon others for everything. With each day, year we become more independent to the point of making our own decisions. Often those decisions are an effort to find out who we are and how we fit in this world.

Sometimes even the most loving and protective hands can’t save us from ourselves.  We hurry through life trying to become the person that we think others want us to be.  We do this in an effort to hide who we truly are, or maybe who we are becoming.  Why?  I’ve asked myself this many times.  Why did I dress a certain way when I performed?  Why did I use alcohol for so many years to hide my pain and loneliness? I was, like many, afraid to let people know the person inside.  I was afraid that if someone saw my emotions, my frailties; that they wouldn’t like what they saw.  I was afraid that those who had become my friends would walk out of my life; maybe even forever.

You know what?  When I came face to face with my alcoholism, and began to uncover the things that led me there, I began to realize that the person hidden inside all those years was really a beautiful person.  I am beautiful just the way I am.  I have a limited understanding of the world of antique investing, but what I have learned is that if a person refinishes an antique, the value is decreased.  Original is the key.  I am almost an antique and I have made a lot of changes, walked a lot of paths.  Some of those paths were not the best choices.  Today I am grateful for the woman whom I have become and I am comfortable with the fact that I can never be ugly except to people who don’t understand.

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