The “cool dude” pictured above is my version of the Velveteen Rabbit. I named him “Sunny” because he always wears his fabulous sun glasses, (because they are sewed to his head) and he has an awesome disposition. I imagine he was cool when he was new, but he is super cool now. He is a homemade rabbit and I bet some little old lady made him for her grandson or granddaughter. I bet he looked awesome in his bright red pants and his red, unscratched sunglasses and I bet his brown plush fur was amazing, but back than he hadn’t become real yet.
I bought him at an antique shop years ago and he was already old. That is what I like about him. I know for sure he was loved before I got him and he has sure been loved since he moved in with me. He is old, dusty, not so cuddly and his red overalls are now pink, so they almost match his pink sunglasses, which probably use to be red too. He doesn’t seem to mind that his pants and glasses are pink. His fur is worn out in some places and his yarn features are wearing away, but you can still see his smile. Sunny is Real! He is the best Sunny I know, because he is his authentic self.
The Velveteen Rabbit Realness
Most of us read the Velveteen Rabbit when we were children. It is the story of a little toy stuffed rabbit who dreams of becoming “real”. The Velveteen Rabbit gets advice from the Old Skin Horse who’d lived in the nursery longer than any of the other animals. He was the resident old soul and he was wise and kind. The Velveteen Rabbit longed to become real and it was the wizened old Skin Horse that had the answers.
The Skin Horse told Rabbit, “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 love that! You are only ugly to people who don’t know you and who don’t understand you.
Beauty – true beauty – is about being real. It’s about becoming the real person that you were intended to be, which is really a challenge when most of society trains us to conform. We are told that to fit in and be loved we must be like other people. The silly thing about that is that each of us is unique and no one can be like us. No one can do the special things we came to do. No one looks like us, has our personality or our special gifts. To think we could all be the same is like comparing apples to oranges.
The Pulse of Beauty
The pulse of beauty has always come from Hollywood or Paris through models who work 10-12 hours a day to maintain the way they look. Many of them suffer from eating disorders because the weight standards are so low. With modern technology they can be touched up through Photoshop before they even hit the magazines they are featured in. The Hollywood version of beauty is not real, it is manipulated and so are we if we buy into it.
The fashion world creates trends, and we are led to believe that we need to keep up with the current fashions. When I was in high school if you weren’t wearing the current fashion trend you were not considered cool. I know it is still that way and Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang seem to know what we would all look good in. What if I want to wear faded pink overalls and scratched pink sunglasses, like Sunny does, will that make me look less beautiful? I know for sure that I would have been laughed at back in High School because that is where conformity really took it’s roots.
It’s just as Margery Williams said in The Velveteen Rabbit. “Real isn’t how you are made,” the skin horse told the Velveteen Rabbit in this meaningful story. Rather, “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.” Real isn’t how we look or what we wear. Life makes us more beautiful because of our life experiences, which push us to become more authentic. Life makes our pants fade, scratches our sunglasses and wears off our fur and in the process we become more beautiful.
I have learned that beauty is truly about “being real,”, which means being the best you that you can be. When you hold back and don’t shine your true self, others miss out on something that is very precious. To me, choosing to be present and open and living from your heart is being real and just like the Velveteen Rabbit, understanding that only loving and believing in yourself can make you real
True beauty has so very little to do with what you look like, but everything to do with what you radiate from within.
What would happen if we all stopped paying attention to the Hollywood and Paris status quo? What if we dressed to suit our hearts desire and let our soul speak out. What if we embraced our uniqueness and lived authentic lives? What if we didn’t cover up and hide who we are to fit in? What if we didn’t care what people thought about us? What if we said what we meant and meant what we said? What would the world look like if we were all Real? I think that is the way things are heading and I can wait to watch what happens.