you & me

Tired of Hiding: Can we be truly real?

 {Via Pinterest}

{Photo: Vladimir Clavijo, via Angelmeat on Tumblr}

How do we become real? I mean truly real.

Existing as our one authentic, individual self amongst a society in which we are all struggling to be accepted and loved. How do we come to love ourselves for the beautiful, one-of-a-kind, unique human beings we are, each of us put on this earth with a sole purpose apart from any other?

How do we fit in? How can we be truly real in our society? A society where we learn from an early age that thinking differently, acting differently, looking differently will only create isolation and suffering. At what point do we exist as our truly real selves?

In a society where we are held to a standard of perfection, an unrealistic standard, we often portray ourselves as someone we are not. There is a cover-up for every flaw we might possess as human beings, a way for us to become flawless.

If you feel too much, you can take a drug to numb your emotions, to hide your madness. Pop your humanness away. If you lack the perfection of physical appearance you can nip, tuck, laser, enhance, boost, shape, and carve yourself into that perfect physical specimen of a human being.

Once we are finished with the numbing, the hiding, the faking, what do we become?

How do we become real?

When I was a young girl, my favorite story was the Velveteen Rabbit. There was so much meaning in this simple story about what it is to be truly real and to be truly loved. I particularly remember the conversation between the Skin Horse and the Velveteen Rabbit.

“”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.’”

~ Marjery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Love, love is the answer.

When we are loved, truly loved, we become our authentic selves. Love sets us free from our one big fear that keeps us from being ourselves: the fear of not being loved.

Being real is the capacity to accept and love ourselves, every bit of ourselves so we may be loved by others. This becoming real may take 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 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.”

~ Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

{Photo credit: Shawnee Thornton}

{Photo credit: Shawnee Thornton}


When I was 6 years old, my mother made me a sock monkey.

I carried her around with me everywhere I went. I sewed clothes to fit her small sock monkey frame and tied ribbons around her head. I shared my deepest secrets with her in the silence of the night, as she lay tucked closely next to me in my bed.

She accompanied me to climb trees and read books in the shade of the aspen trees. I dragged her along beside me on my adventures across dusty paths and muddy streams.

I loved my sock monkey. I loved her until her sock belly became thin and worn, until her wooden button eyes came off, until her arms stretched out, until she was matted and discolored.  She had become real to me. She was alive. She was my silent companion, my steadfast friend and the more worn she became, the more beautiful she was to me.

Sometimes the realest people are the ones who have been through the most battles in life. There’s a true beauty to this realness, this depth of a person. The worn parts of you are the most beautiful parts of you, for you have earned every scar, every blemish, and every wound. Love these worn parts, for they are the realest part of you and therefore the very essence of your beauty.

When you can love your realness and find another that loves your realness, that truly understands you, accepts you and loves you for who you are, you will no longer have the need to be anything/anyone other than you, because once you are real, you can’t be ugly except to those who don’t understand.


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Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton grew up in the mountains of Montana. Her family lived off the grid for most of her childhood with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. Growing up in this manner, Shawnee developed a lifelong love and appreciation for nature. She found her way to Boston, where she experienced life in an urban setting until she eventually settled in San Diego. Shawnee has a passion for writing, teaching and learning. She works with private clients to facilitate physical and emotional health, growth and well-being through the practice of Yoga . She is the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, and has published a book in December 2014, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs: Yoga to Help Children with their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness. Her purpose in life is to inspire others and to seek out others who inspire her. Connect with Shawnee via this website, this website, or her Facebook page, and follow her blog.
Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton

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