Porcupines are covered in thick sharp hairs that they use as a defense mechanism to protect them from predators. So it would not be fairly accurate to describe them as the best for cuddling purposes nor would they be considered fluffy. As a child I randomly came across this book called, A Porcupine Named Fluffy, by Helen Lester. I didn’t remember who the author was before I looked it up again but I remember the book almost as well as my favorite Dr. Seuss’ Fox In Socks. Anyways, A Porcupine Named Fluffy was a cute children’s book that I realized had a profound effect on me. As the title suggests it is about a cute little porcupine that his parents named Fluffy. Now as sweet as Fluffy was, Fluffy was obviously not fluffy. So in the book he tries to figure out ways that he can be fluffy. His name is Fluffy and he wants to be fluffy so bad so he tries hiding in pillows (which ends up bad for his mother who sat on him), he tries to eat marshmallows, tries covering himself with whip cream, etc. Fluffy gets discouraged by the fact that he is unable to become fluffy. He doesn’t understand why his parents would name him Fluffy when he wasn’t fluffy. In his depression he goes for a walk and meets a rhinoceros who finds the irony of a porcupine named Fluffy to be hilarious. Fluffy insulted by the laughter of the rhino asks him what he name was and he tells him it’s Hippo. Now Fluffy starts laughing and realizes that he will never be fluffy just as his new bff will never be a hippo. He is Fluffy, but he is not fluffy. There is nothing he can do about his sharp spikes and he’s just going to have to accept himself just the way he was created.
Cute kids’ story but the message is something that has stuck with me my entire life. It influenced me in the long run and I had no idea. I never tried to be something other than me. Some might call it rebellion but who writes the rules on what is normal or considered cool? I think it’s cool to be yourself and follow your own path. On a larger scale, you have to let others be who they are. I’m guilty of meeting the broken winged bird and thinking I could rehabilitate and fix this bird to be what I think its true potential could be. It’s hard to accept the fact that the porcupine you met and could possibly love will never ever be fluffy. No matter how hard you wish for the other to be fluffy, they just aren’t fluffy and will never be fluffy. No matter how you fold or cut the paper, it will always be paper. People change because they decide that’s who they are, not because of what you want them to be. It’s disappointing but there’s no sense trying to teach a bear to be your loyal dog because at the end of the day what you have isn’t a loyal dog . . . IT’S STILL A BEAR.
“A rose by any other name would still smell sweet.”
-William Shakespeare, Romeo And Juliet