“What is real? asked the rabbit one day. Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?… Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you … Does it hurt? asked the rabbit … Sometimes, when you are real you don’t mind being hurt … Does it happen all at once like being wound up, or bit by bit? … It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen 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 your 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.”

Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams