OPED: Getting ‘real’ for 2019

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RBC | I did it, folks. Three whole weeks without Facebook. I ventured back on for the first time Christmas morning and while it was nice to see and hear from people, I realized I haven’t missed anything worthwhile.

I seem to be craving a deeper connection these days, so much so that when anyone seems vaguely friendly, I tend to overshare. We’re almost to the three month mark of my little brother’s fatal car accident, and it seems like he keeps coming up in conversations all the time.  Maybe I’m just more sensitive to it, but here I am writing a piece on the subject (again,) so maybe there’s some meat to this particular theory.

Being away from the sham reality of social media for a bit has made me realize how deeply I appreciate the people in life who are “real,” whether I know them well or not. They’re the ones who don’t flinch when I burst into tears or blurt out a memory of my brother. They acknowledge the pain and honor the loss—and yet they don’t treat me like I’m impossibly broken, even though that’s exactly how I feel.

People who are “real” are rare treasures, and there’s no better way to say it than with this favorite quote of mine from the children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

“[Real] doesn’t happen all at once. 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 the people who don’t understand.”

Wonderful real ones: thank you.

By CAITLIN WALKER | caitlin@ht1885.com