What is Real?

Stripes“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.”
The Velveteen Rabbit

This is Stripes. I don’t remember at what point I renamed him after years of my parents calling him “Rocky Raccoon.” He was gifted to me when I was born and has been with me every single year of my life. He has traveled with me to multiple states and countries. He has soaked up my tears and my laughter. Somehow along the timeline of our lives, regardless of how I’ve grown, he has has always been the perfect fit as my little spoon in bed. If I ever changed my mind and felt the need for a marriage ceremony, he would be my bouquet. But just as I can’t remember at what point I named him, I also can’t remember at what point he moved from my bed to my nightstand, and then from the nightstand to the shelf. He now has a resting spot sitting atop our 3 volume Calvin And Hobbes collection. It feels like the most appropriate place for him. I wanted to post a photo this week that dealt with the subject matter of “What is Real?” but was having trouble figuring out just how to capture that rather abstract concept. While sitting in my bedroom brainstorming, I looked over at my old friend. The longer I stared at him, the more I realized just how much of a reflection of each other we are. Life has left us both a bit tattered and torn. We both have a whisper of sadness in our eyes but also wear smiles on our faces. Our joints are weathered and we have both needed a few stitches here and there. But when I look at him all I see is beauty, and I know that’s what he sees in me. Because what is most real between us is our love.

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