To love at all is to be vulnerable. C.S. Lewis
From the time we emerge, wrinkled, red and screaming our heads off in the delivery room, we begin to grow. We bravely take first steps, say first words and train daily for life as a fully realized human in the world. We get skinned knees, scrapes, spills and tears along the way to all the good stuff and then we realize – it might not be all good stuff.
Pinocchio got a crash course in what it means to be ‘real’ when he became a human boy. Suddenly, he had all the best and worst of being real. He also had to choose not to lie, not only to everyone else, but also to himself. We’re all a little like that wooden boy who, as we grow, learn to embrace true selves, including all the broken pieces because it’s in those pieces we learn to be kind, genuinely, sincerely kind. We learn to say what we mean and mean what we say, trying not to hurt others but empower them. We learn, we learn, we learn. . . if we’re lucky, if we’re aware, if we are ever to be ‘real’.
Part of being real is being authentic, broken parts and all. And that can be really tough to dive deep inside ourselves for our truest feelings. But those are the only ones that count. We all get broken in different ways in this thing we call life and we need to be mindful of what we experience to stay connected to ourselves. Maybe we could take a page from The Velveteen Rabbit’s playbook. As plush toys go, those guys were pretty evolved. “You become. It takes a long time.” the Skin Horse explained to the Velveteen Rabbit. Real “doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept.”