Bookish Words of Wisdom #1 – From The Velveteen Rabbit

the-velveteen-rabbit“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or who 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.”

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

In my 40th year, here are some sound words of advice from the wise Skin Horse in the nursery. I may be wrinklier and decidedly more shabby than I was 20 years ago, but hopefully I’m more real.


  1. Glen Hunting

    Amen, sister. With any luck, when we get to our respective death-beds, we won’t need to ask, “Am I real?” because we will be, at last.

  2. Louise Allan

    I have a very ‘REAL’ 46-year-old teddy: he’s lost most of his fur; had his crotch stitched; and one eye is hanging by thread. I’m catching up to him in ‘REALNESS’: my hair is thinning; my crotch — well, let’s just say I’ve had four kids and leave it at that; and my eyes can no longer read anything smaller than the big letter at the top of the optometrist’s chart!

  3. Gorgeous quote, and it considerably cheered up this ever so much wrinklier and shabbier person. Thanks for sharing, Natasha 🙂

  4. marlish glorie

    Well, actually none of you are wrinkly and shabby, not you Natasha, or Amanda, or Glen, or Louise. And yet you’re all more than real, you’re all wonderful people. I know children, teenagers and young adults who demonstrate a wisdom, kindness and compassion way beyond their years. Then I’ve come across older people who are so lacking in wisdom, kindness and compassion that it beggars belief. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m entirely convinced that aging improves a person. You guys, i.e. Natasha, Amanda, Glen and Louise, I bet were wonderful at aged two, twenty-two, thirty-two, forty-two…and will still be as wonderful at aged one hundred and two!

    • Glen Hunting

      Very kind of you, Marlish. 🙂
      The Skin Horse quote has just reminded me of the fox in The Little Prince, asking to be ‘tamed’ (loved.) And then there were the final lines from Charlotte’s Web that Louise posted last week. May we never be too old to read really good children’s literature.

      • I have never read The Little Prince, Glen, so I will have to make sure that I do now that you’ve mentioned it. And thank you Marlish for your lovely words – I agree, even though I might be a little shabby, I’d rather be the age and the person I am now.

  5. Louise Allan

    I had to share this on Facebook — it’s a beautiful quote. The funny thing is, I don’t mind ageing, even with the wrinkles and all of the problems I listed above (and the ones I didn’t list!). The older me is in so many ways more Real, partly because she has more confidence to let her Real self show.

  6. marlish glorie

    “Really!” snaps the Mad Woman in The Attic. ” I’ve always been Real. A Real loud-mouth, a Real idiot, a Real eccentric. It all depends on who you speak to about me i.e. their perspective, including my own, As far as I’m concerned, I’m Real quiet. Although my daughter thinks I’m Real mad – and too loud, and way too opinionated. Am I getting off track here?….I guess what I could say about aging is that I do feel more comfortable within my own skin, but then again, I still have my days of profound doubt about everything including myself i.e. who I am, and what the hell am I doing on this planet. But I think that’s normal. Isn’ it? Have I gone off on a tangent here….am I talking to myself, here, again?” mutters the Mad Woman in The Attic.

  7. marlish glorie

    What a great quote. And so true. And so brilliant to connect with like-minded souls.
    Thanks Natasha for your wonderful blog.

  8. Pingback: The Velveteen Equation (Part 1) | My Blog, aka, Sorry My Mind Must Have Wandered

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