because once you are Real you can’t be ugly by Teresa Robinson

{A note from Beth: from May through August 2015, I am featuring some delicious guest writers here on the blog as I recover from pregnancy and birth and adjust to our new family rhythms (find more details here). Enjoy!} 

art by Teresa

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The initial response to Suffering {emotional overwhelm, betrayal, pain, delays, slander, distress, death} is Denial: personal resistance to avoid acceptance. We slam the door in its face upon arrival and deny its very existence. Then as we stand braced against that closed door, we immediately commence racking our brain for reasons to explain {blame}:
  • Why did this happen?
  • What did I do?
  • What didn’t I do?
  • Who caused this?
  • Who must pay?

Questions asked to serve as white noise in the surreal, soundless emptiness that follows the thundering noise of our life as it slams into the brick wall of suffering. We instinctively wrap our-self in the faux comfort and rationalization that our suffering is “unexpected” — that it is not that bad, that we are not as bad off as {fill-in-the-blank}.

The pounding continues within this tailspin of pretending to control the suffering as we move into Denial — as we self-medicate by increasing the passionate intensity of our questioning. Until our emotions escalate and converge — angrily demanding a plan be devised to resolve the question of:
  • How will I survive this?

Anger stands waiting on-deck, shape-shifting as visceral blame, stoic indifference and impassioned busyness. All the while mauling us from within as we isolate our-self from anyone whose presence would threaten this inner processing; secretly blaming them for abandoning us in our time of need.

Then the circular frustration of Bargaining — if-only’s and when-oh-when’s? — it rages as we enter the eye of the suffering storm within us … Shoulda, woulda, coulda scenarios that somehow would have spared us from this turmoil. Bargaining with our-self, believing:
  • I need to prevent this from happening again.

Cue Hopelessness and Depression because Suffering is not something we want to accept — and yet we futilely seek a means of avoiding it. Even as we know there is nothing we can do about it; even as we desperately seek guarantees and solutions and someone to carry the blame. Suffering is part of living. There are guarantees or deals to be made.

We circle back to Denial because we desperately want safety, some sort of a powerful force field, a razor-wire fence — a boundary Suffering cannot cross.


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. — Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit


The safety is being Real. Denial and resistance merely intensify suffering.
The reality is: bad things happen — a lot. Our {living} includes suffering and hardship in varying levels every single day.

Being Real facilitates Acceptance. The space where we can exhale, pull away from our intercourse with paranoia, and open the blinds of our heart to see the light of Truth. The space we hold for mourning the loss caused by suffering, and for love to comfort us; to be sustained with each inhale and exhale.

Let us allow suffering its place; liberating us from the loss of energy and vision. Let us allow our flailing to serve us — strengthening us as we become Real.



Teresa Robinson aka stargardener believes each day is a canvas awaiting the elements we decide have meaning. She maps her way through with torn bits of paper, words of found poetry and splashes of paint and ink; posting field notes to Right Brain Planner and on Instagram

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