"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."
From The Velveteen Rabbit
I still love this story-don't you?
I am real. Sometimes, in fact, I am a real pain in the butt. You can usually count on me to tell you how I feel, whether it makes either of us comfortable. I get petulant sometimes. I hear someone has even seen my stomp my feet.
But I also know how to apologize--after all, I have so much to apologize for. And generally, while I have parts where I am a bit loose in the joints, like the Skin Horse, I don't have lots of sharp edges.
I have been fortunate, thus far, to have found love -- and to be capable of loving back. So when I look at potential romantic partners, my first question is, like that of Margery William's bunny: what is real about you?
Are you on the run? Have you faced up to your brokenness, your loneliness, your desire healing? Or have you buried all of that "stuff" we call living under layers of rationalizations, excuses, diversions?
Thus far, most of the men my own age, or close to it, on the dating site I frequent seem to have buried their authentic selves under layers of past hurts or present turmoil. They are like quicksilver...or like castles with battlements high enough not to fall to the sweet seige of compassion.
As for me, I'm seeking that "real"guy--my funny Valentine, my frog, my Shrek. If you happen to come across him, give him my email address--two toads can make beautiful music together!