“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.”
On Thursday after work my soul felt rubbed raw like the velveteen rabbit’s fur and it made me sad so I went home to the person (and the dog) who loves me, even when I’m loose in the joints and shabby. We’ve both been under stress lately and so when I got home we treated each other kindly, as if we were both unbalanced old people who can make it to the bathroom if we lean on each other. Or toddlers who need a little sympathy before they slide into a puddle of tears from being overly tired. Okay, maybe I was the toddler. Also, probably the old person who thought she was helping the other one balance but is really the one being propped up.
All I wanted to do was cuddle in bed and read my new Anne Lamott book, Some Assembly Required. She is the perfect writer for times when the world feels big and overwhelming and you feel very small and sad and not very nice about it because that’s how she seems to feel often too, but she makes you laugh about it and realize the lovely things that exist. Her book is about her son having a son and it made me cry a little and laugh through the tears and feel better about everything.
I got into bed and Ian followed with his iPad. Penny came a second later and saw an opening, so she slinked her way between us and fell asleep after receiving one too many belly rubs. Every time one of us moved suddenly she sat up and harumpfed at us. We watched New Girl with Zooey Deschanel, who also makes you feel better because of her undying optimism despite the rest of the world.
After the shows I read and Ian played Angry Birds in SPACE! and we took turns rubbing Penny’s belly and cooing at her. It was a perfect recovery, lying in bed with my husband and my dog, a good book to get lost in and TV shows to make me laugh.
All weekend we’ve continued trying to treat each other with vigorous kindness because we don’t want stress to take its toll on our relationship too. So we’ve been cuddling more, and doing little things to show the other person how much we love them. Last night I made BBQ chicken, cornbread and mango coconut rice for dessert. Then we watched The Muppets and laughed at all of the jokes just like we were kids.
In her book Anne quotes Rumi and I wrote it down. “Through love, all pain will be turned to medication.” I think it’s a quote to tattoo on your arm and read daily.