When You’re Real

Most of my life I craved REAL while living the opposite. By the time I was in my late fifties I’d grown bone tired of keeping up appearances, looking happy when sad, successful when failing, confident when crushed, in love when…sigh….

Nobody said I had to fake it. The compulsion came from inside. The whole perfect facade of my life hid a mucked-up mess.

It was the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, that helped me change; helped me become REAL.

Isn't it ironic how this was one of my most favourite stories as a child and I really didn't know why ... but now I do.

It was the single most profound thing I’d ever read. It became my holy book, lines underscored, pages earmarked, and this paragraph especially, tear stained.

I look back on that time often, now that my joints are loose (more likely stiff) my hair’s been rubbed off (gotten thin) and my eyes have fallen out (lasik surgery). In spite of all evidence to the contrary, I don’t feel a bit ugly. I surround myself with REAL people, and they understand.

I no longer require pristine perfection in other things, either. Like, for instance my REAL groceries from the Ubud morning market. Far from the scrubbed and sanitized, shrink wrapped, color enhanced, chemical infused products proliferating the shelves in the local grocery stores, my food is brought in battered trucks fresh from the villages at 5:00 a.m.


Ketut visits the market pre-dawn and does all the shopping. When I realized a year ago that I was protein deficient and needed to add a little meat to my vegetarian diet, I asked him if he could get chicken at the market. His answer was lengthy. Not only could he get it, he could get it fried, open fire roasted, grilled, steamed in banana leaves with Balinese bumbu, made into satays, and raw. I decided to try the fire roasted. He looked happy.

Next morning the grossest looking fowl I’d ever seen (exactly like the one above) arrived on my counter top. I’m ashamed to admit this now, but I squeaked when I saw it. I scream at snakes, most everything else that surprises me gets a squeak. I asked Ketut to take it to his kitchen, remove the head and feet, and return it looking less like it might get up and walk. He said I should use those parts to make soup. I told him he was welcome to have them for that or any other purpose just please take them away.

Of course it turned out that the scary bird was the most delicious meat I’d ever eaten. I’m sure it had been free-ranging, scratching and pecking in the family compound only minutes before it was captured, de-feathered, gutted, cleaned, and roasted over the smoking fire.

The brilliant green spinach offered up a few surprises of it’s own. It’s locally grown and organic. How do I know? It comes complete with bugs still residing in the leaves. The ones I miss during cleaning come floating to the top when I boil it for dinner.

And the eggs…?


The eggs still have REAL poop on them!

I derive such pleasure from the simplicity. These products haven’t been cleaned up and made presentable. They come from farmers living a few miles away who load their trucks at o-dark-thirty and rumble into town. I love knowing that by avoiding the grocery stores and purchasing from the morning market I’m supporting independent family businesses, REAL people with REAL food.

Sometimes I wonder: What if I’d never read The Velveteen Rabbit? Would I still be living a soulless life? Words have incredible power to inform and transform. That little book happened to fall into my hands at precisely the time I was ripe for it’s message. And oh what bliss: the intoxicating magic of REAL!





10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kate
    Jun 06, 2018 @ 23:56:41

    You ‘really’ reach out and touch us in a real and honest way! How you manage to send a message and articulate what I’m feeling is beyond me 🙂 I keep thinking I need to find a passion… but I need to find a realness. How did you have the courage to find your’s so far away?

    Liked by 1 person


    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jun 07, 2018 @ 17:43:10

      Thank you for your your comment, Kate. It wasn’t courage, it was abject terror when I came to the realization that I was miserably unhappy and just marking time waiting to die. That kicked me out of complacency and motivated me to do whatever it took to change my circumstances. Fear can be a useful tool at times!



  2. stevecastley
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 05:14:34

    Sherry, This is another inspirational post. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. gerard oosterman
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 06:27:32

    Good post. Bali has always been inspiring and Ubud even more so. Especially its people. They show us the essence of living.

    Liked by 1 person


    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jun 07, 2018 @ 17:48:39

      So true, Gerard. I think those of us who have adopted Bali as our home not only deeply appreciate the rich culture of the Balinese that is so different from our own, but also have to be a bit unique ourselves to choose this unconventional life.



  4. Anonymous
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 11:28:07

    Wonderful Sherry!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. writingforselfdiscovery
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 17:49:00

    Thank you for reading and commenting.



  6. Sondra Jackson
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 01:03:21

    That Chicken looks scary as hell, just saying LOL!

    Liked by 1 person


  7. writingforselfdiscovery
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 14:28:26

    Only the first one. Once you’ve tasted it – oh my! After that they’re beautiful!



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