I have not felt ‘real’, like a real person, as if I didn’t really exist. Everyone else mattered and were real, not me.

What is real?

This excerpt from the VELVETEEN RABBIT says so much. I became real when I loved my child within.

What is REAL for you?


“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.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.


19 thoughts on “WHAT IS REAL

      1. I Am The Shadow

        I am the shadow,
        I exist in a world of light,
        Blending into the darkness of night.

        My face you cannot see,
        My expressions, sometimes misleading.

        If you hear a whisper in the wind,
        It may be me.

        I am the shadow,
        I exist in a world of sounds, good and bad.
        Of laughter,

        You think that I feel nothing,
        No love,
        No hate,
        No anger,
        No fear,
        No pain.
        But you are wrong.

        You think that I do not cry,
        But I weep silently.
        You cannot see the tears that slide down my cheeks,
        But they are there.

        I am the shadow, you cannot touch,
        Always within sight but never within reach.

        I am the shadow, afraid to trust the light for it distorts me.
        Please forgive me if I trick you,
        I cannot control it.

        I long to live in the light,
        To be held and loved,
        But I am only a silent shadow,
        Watching but unable to take part in it all,
        What others do, I can only dream of.

        So I lurk in corners,
        Always waiting for the night to come,
        Always dying but never dead.

        I am the shadow, I have no friends,
        Even in a crowd, I’m all alone.
        Existing in somber shades of gray,
        A lonely shadow,
        I’m doomed to stay.

        By Joyce Savage, 1990.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I also have felt this way. I like the way you described the whole phenomenon. I’ve had trouble articulating this sense of otherness. You did it well. I also really appreciate the way someone becomes real, by being loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, hiding for so long, that’s a very sad part of it and one that makes the process of coming out to the light so agonizingly slow. And many still do hide, though shouldn’t have to. It’s brave to step forth, scary, but brave.
      I’m proud to be ‘skin horse’!


  2. Patricia, your post hits me in a tender spot today, as well as your many commenters who express the desire to come out of the shadows–to be Real. So many of, in this together. I never thought I would speak up before my life ended. Fifty years it took for me to find my voice. To imagine I could find value in living, in myself, before it’s all over is profound or me. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post made me feel very sad for all of us survivors of childhood trauma who live their lives hiding from others and themselves. It’s great though that there are many of us and we have each other’s support through the healing process. I so want to be the ‘real’ me. I am finding bits of her all the time but I have long to go.


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