"Real isn't how you are made...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...It doesn't happen all at once...You become. It takes a long time...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 your 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."
When I was about 15, I had a very profound experience re-reading "The Velveteen Rabbit." It was one of my favorite books when I still young enough to shyly show my age on the fingers of one hand. When I read it again, I was so moved by its description of unconditional love that I gave it as presents and re-told it on long bus trips and added a track of my own voice reading it to mixed cds. Stephen gave me a copy for our first Valentine's Day. He special-ordered a copy with the illustrations he grew up with. For now, it's in THE BOX (dum dum DUM).
I'm re-visiting a lot of books and songs and places I haven't been in a while. I remember listening to the Indigo Girls when I was 15 and feeling very cool, very empowered and very sophisticated. I remember wanting to see them in concert SO BADLY that I bailed on my final section leader responsibilities when Amanda and Kelly got me tickets one Memorial Day weekend. I got really, really sick, but I still wanted to go. Amanda offered to stop at every gas station along the way if we had to, but I ended up giving the ticket to a friend after I fell out of the shower and threw up on the floor before we could get on the road.
So I 'm listening to "Indians, Nomads and Saints" again, for the first time in years, probably. I find myself humming along and laughing out loud when I remember the connections my High School Self made to the lyrics. And it's cool in its on own way, imagining what the "Velveteen Rabbit" will mean to me when I'm a mother, a grand-mother, a spunky old lady. For now, it's just part of the journey, learning to be by myself, knowing who I can trust. So there that is.
"there i am in younger days, star gazing
painting picture perfect maps
of how my life and love would be
not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
my compass, faith in love's perfection
i missed ten million miles of road i should have seen
meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
left each other one by one on the road to fairer weather
and we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
to the slim chance of love's recovery"