Updates-April 2016

It’s been far too long since I updated here. Today I went through my links page and cleaned it up. I removed the broken links and added a few new places.

Other than that, I’m still happy with the content and layout of my website so nothing has changed there.

I simply need to think of, and then write, new essays! Thoughts and suggestions are always welcome!

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Updates-January 2013

I have finished re-organizing, cleaning up and editing my website. I think I’ve finally got it looking the way I want; an overhaul of the visual aesthetics was definitely in order!

All my essays are now dated and I’ve added new sub-sections as I don’t identify solely as a wolf therian any more. My wolf essays are good essays, near and dear to my heart since they document my first exploits into the online ‘kin communities, but because of my aquatic tendencies they needed to be updated. I’m keeping them visible here, if only to help me document my own learning and growing process over the years, but perhaps someone else will find my early writings interesting too.

I’ve also decided to get rid of my Oceanic Instincts website by combining my aquatic essays here under their own sub-section.

Hopefully, new content in the form of essays will be coming to my muse soon!

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Animal Mentality

Originally written December 27, 2012

Most of my essays are either introductory topics into therianthropy and identifying as otherkin or short peaks into my individual experiences (which are probably outdated now anyway). But this essay is about just being animal and the mentality that goes with it.

I tend to have trouble verbalizing my experiences simply because 1. I’ve been this way for as long as I’ve written about the topic so there is no human-me shifting to other-me mindset, I’m simply ME all the time and 2. I don’t think like normal humans do. Things like worrying about your to do list, or how to finish that college essay, or what you’re going to say the next time you see your family, etc. Future tense, and to a lesser extent past tense, simply don’t exist in my everyday mind. I have to consciously focus to do those things, and it does not come naturally to me.

And I realize this oftentimes makes me come across as stupid, although I am not. I just don’t function mentally the way other people in the general populous do. My mind tends to be focused on exactly what I’m doing at the time. True, that I do enjoy daydreaming, but I’ve found that if I do that while trying to do things in this physical world, I become detached from reality. And that is not a smart thing to do while, say, driving a car.

For example, as I write this, at 12:16pm EST, I am focused mentally on nothing but typing this down. My mind is focused on the words in my head and getting them out before I forget them. Which is another thing in how my mind is different, I have an abysmal short term memory. I can remember random facts about movies or how it felt to scuba dive for the first time, but ask me something you said to me 10 minutes ago and it’s simply not there. Only empty darkness when I try to recall it. It gets immensely frustrating. I wish I thought in pictures or beautiful metaphors, but if I concentrate, I find that I most often think in words or very general concepts. And there isn’t a lot of focus.

My animality, which is just another extension of me, is broadcast with how I personally think and feel about the world. I live in the here and the RIGHTNOW, like a wild animal does. There isn’t a plan for the future beyond: get food, sleep, tend the young/your mate, repeat (in my human life it’s more like go to work, come home, hang with friends/family, repeat). And in my everyday life, which isn’t exciting to begin with (and how I prefer it!) I am a creature of habit and repetition. So the beast behind my eyes isn’t concerned with the social hierarchy of my office with its subtle nuances, or the traffic I’m going to face driving home which is going to suck, or even seeing Les Misérables tonight which I’m excited for, it’s about whatever I’m physically doing at that exact moment.

My animal mentality often peaks through in moments of extreme emotion, which for me, isn’t often. I am a very animated, happy person, but wild animals don’t really have human comedy. But get me truly angry and I tend to growl, snarl and bare my teeth a lot. I’m sure I lay my phantom ears back as well and raise my fur ruff, but being in the here and now I don’t ever focus on those feelings, if they exist, when I’m pissed off. It’s all about the moment.

I realize my impressions may be romanticized variations of an animal’s mindset, but yet this is how I experience it: distant from societal norms of mental comprehension and expression.

I also notice that when I’m online at least, I tend to be easily distracted. There’s so much to read and learn! I also focus on exactly what I’m involved with in my everyday life. I don’t tend to set time aside to meditate or just think about things. So naturally, I tend to pay more attention to my animality whenever I’m truly bored: usually during a meeting at work. It’s during these times where I can simply sit quietly and focus on how it feels to sit like a human in a chair when I would prefer to lounge on the ground, or why I feel like I need to be under the salty waves to breathe.

Animality to me is the difference between focusing your mental thoughts on your human life and simply reacting as your inner self and just having instincts. I believe that most people, ‘kin and not, tend to do the former: it’s how we’re raised and just simply how the human mind was built to work. But it’s whenever an instinct takes over or you just react to something that I think true animality shows through. It’s not deep thoughts or planned initiatives, its action and reaction, wild instinct and animal mentality.

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Wolf Mythos

External Wolf Mythos Internalized

Meirya posted an entry on the WordPress blog Beyond Awakening (http://thehornedgate.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/exploring-the-mythic/) asking for others to write about their experiences with their animal identity and the archetype in folklore, myths and stories regarding their inner animal.

I haven’t written anything therian-related lately so I thought I’d tackle the prompt. However, I’m going to just go with what I already have internalized regarding wolves and werewolf myths before taking on the larger project of heavily researching “historical” werewolves. Saves time since I feel like writing right now and it might actually be more pertinent since it’s internal already.

Let’s just assume that this takes place after my realization of being an animal person since I honestly don’t remember how I was as a child or my childhood in general, although I’m fairly certain I was always this way, just didn’t have the right terminology until years later. And let’s also just assume the normal disclaimers: these are superficial myths and not grounded in real wolf biology, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Wolf Myths

  • Pack hierarchy
  • Lone wolf
  • Howling at the moon

There’s more, but I’ll approach the major ones. In elementary school, we learned about animals and one of the things always attributed to wolves was their pack hierarchy and strong family orientation.

I’ve felt, more than once, that Andy and I are sort of the “alpha pair” among our close group of friends. Simply because when shit needs to be done or something needs to be organized, we both naturally step up to the plate. And as far as I can tell, no one seems to mind. But both of us are comfortable in that leadership role. More so him than me, but then I naturally take second, or “beta” wolf to his “alpha”. And sometimes I attribute this to us both identifying as wolves.

As far as being a strong familial unit goes for wolves, there is some truth to that particular myth, of which both my husband and I strongly embody. While we have no desire for human children of our own, we do have a cat who is our fur baby. She’s treated just like another member of the family, something which was always important to my own family growing up: the pets were family too. And in the case of my parents and sister, we’re all very close. Closer than any other family I know actually! (Which is sad in and of itself, but that’s another essay.)

Being a lone wolf is often stereotyped in movies and books mostly because I think it epitomizes the romantic ideals that being alone makes you strong and rugged. I am very much not a lone wolf. In the wild, a lone wolf equals, in most cases, a dead wolf because hunting prey hundreds of pounds heavier than you are is dangerous and requires teamwork to succeed. Something like only one in three hunts ends successfully if I remember correctly. So hunting something like elk or bison alone would be impossible and very possibly deadly to even try. This is one of the stereotypes of wolf mythology that I have never embodied simply because I like my family and close friends and have never seen a reason not to ask for their help when needed or to just be near them as often as possible. Being alone, either by choice or not, has never been something that’s appealed to me. Granted, I like my alone time just as much as the next person, but after more than a single day, I grow to hate it. I don’t want to be alone and would never classify myself as a lone wolf type.

Ever since I was little I’ve been, like most people, fascinated by the moon, particularly the full moon. And I admit it, I howl at the moon. It’s a way for me to commune with the “inner wolf” so to speak. And for some reason, probably because of those pesky werewolf stories, I like to howl at the full moon specifically. Granted, I’ll howl whenever I’m moved either by being really happy, feeling more wolf-like or in sadness, but sometimes I howl just for its own sake. And when it’s just to howl to hear myself, it usually happens with the full moon.

Werewolf Myths

  • Howling at the moon
  • Rage
  • Silver

Following along the same lines as wolves howling at the moon we have werewolf mythology, most notable the physical transformation on nights of the full moon. Obviously I don’t do that, but other than howling at the full moon, I often tend to feel more wolf-like during this time. Now that I’m older and understand how my therianthropy expresses itself a bit more, I attribute this to the werewolf legends I learned growing up. I also learned along the way that it wasn’t my “inner wolf” expressing itself on nights of the full moon because I suddenly felt more wolf-like, but rather that I was acting out, to “let the wolf out”, because of the werewolf mythos being ingrained subconsciously.

Looking back on some of those experiences, one in particular where I actually tried (and thought I had for a short period of time) to physically shapeshift, I realize that those specific things were a direct result of assimilating werewolf stories into my already wolf-oriented mind. Nights of the full moon let me express my wolfness better because that’s when werewolves did it. As the shirt by Goldenwolf says “shift happens”.

In hindsight, I was an idiot acting out legends, but it did help me during periods of time when mental shifting could’ve been a lot rougher on me than it was. It actually helped me control mental shifts and better deal with being “not human”, albeit in a silly way. Looking back on it now, acting the part of the werewolf on the full moon allowed me to feel closer to that unexplained animal part of my soul.

We’re all familiar with the rage of the werewolf. How, upon transforming into a hideously huge, furred monster, a human is suddenly unaware of their actions and is therefore consumed with the red haze of anger and hatred for anything and everything around them. Once or twice I’ve felt anger such as described in many stories I’ve read. However, I’ve always thought this part of the werewolf mythos was illogical and just flat out wrong. Why would physically changing form affect your mind and suddenly turn you into a slavering murderer? A more beast-oriented mind I could easily believe: something focused more on nature and being the wild animal counterpart. But stark raving mad? No, it just never worked for me.

So while werewolves in myths are usually depicted as violent monsters, I don’t envision myself as such. True, that when I’m angry I growl and will lock my jaws together to prevent biting, but I think this has less to do with my werewolf rage and more to do with simply being pissed off.

On the other hand, there have been a few rare occasions where I’ve been so angry that I’ve felt like letting loose with raw rage on anything and anyone near me. In those few cases, I can easily see where someone may have been blinded by rage and then were mistaken for some otherworldly creature. Only on a few, rare occasions, but I have felt a small taste of what I’d classify as werewolf rage.

Silver is supposed to be the one thing that can stop a werewolf. And it’s something that never resonated with me either since I happen to love and wear silver. I’ve never had any sort of an allergic reaction to it either. I wonder if the connection between werewolves and silver is because silver symbolizes the moon, the cause of a werewolf’s transformation, in many cultures.

Nevertheless, silver has been my favorite jewelry color of choice for years so the werewolf myth of being allergic to silver has never affected me. And of course if a normal bullet could stop me, so then could a silver one and the metal it’s made of has nothing to do with that fact.

Other Myths

  • Heraldry
  • Symbolic

In England, animals were popular depictions for family houses and on flags for the battlefield. Wolves were often used to represent loyalty and fidelity to the local lord. I assume this started well before the 1700’s since the last wolf in England was killed in the late 1750’s (1758 rings a bell, but that might have been in Ireland). Wolves were viewed as defenders of their young and strong against their enemies. I’d like to think I embody loyalty, a fierce warrior instinct and love of family and close friends.

Along those same lines is the purely symbolism of wolves (and to a lesser extent werewolves) throughout history. That theme of a fierce protector yet loving individual within a familial unit is key for the wolf mythos.

In the end, only certain wolf and werewolf mythos have grown into how I view myself as a wolf therian/animal person. Among those are strongly family oriented (just no human kids), loyalty, being the alpha female, howling at the moon, a fierce warrior instinct and on very rare occasions that famous werewolf rage.

To me, wolf as an archetype is a warrior, with wild yet controlled strength, an individual within a group, loyal within reason, loving towards family yet wary of strangers, the symbol of the wilderness itself.

And to that end, I am a wolf.

Originally written April 1, 2011

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Flights of Fancy & Imagination Being Real

What’s the Difference Between Flights of Fancy and Imagination Being Real?

I’ve seen this line of questioning come up more than once in the therian and Otherkin communities and without fail, people always answer that “only you can know for sure what you are”. This is absolutely true, but monumentally unhelpful when it comes to trying to figure out whether your imagination is running away with you or if what you’re experiencing is actually real.

I realize there is no way to prove without a doubt whether or not therianthropy and Otherkin are real. That’s the ultimate downside to this phenomenon. However, I myself have often wondered how to tell if what I’m experiencing is real or just a flight of imaginary fancy.

And it basically comes down to what you believe. For example if you believe, with all your heart, that you’re an alien species from the planet Voltron, and you’ve done your research to back up your claims to others in the community, then by golly, it’s real to you. Enough so that it affects your everyday life.

This may not actually make it real to the world, however I’m not going to get into that here. Arguing that would be like trying to make the spoon bend in the matrix: is it actually bending or is it just bending in my mind? The point is that it’s bending to you. If you bend the spoon and then go outside and tell all your friends, they can either believe you or not and that’s on them. You cannot force other people to believe your claims, you can only present what you believe in an intelligent manner and then allow those individuals to decide for themselves how credible you and your claims are.

(Whether or not down the road you discover you were wrong about Voltron and it was nothing but an over-excited imagination is beside the point and irrelevant. We all never stop learning after all. And sometimes, we get it wrong. Even folks who’ve been active in a community for years. All signs point to this answer but then later, they change or their ideas change and presto, they no longer agree with their earlier line of thinking. And there’s nothing wrong with that, people can and do make mistakes.)

There comes a point where all the questioning gets redundant and you have to either choose to believe in something so impossible that it’s ridiculous and far-fetched or not. Only an individual, based on their personal experiences and research, can make that decision.

The difference between someone claiming to be something obscure and someone who’s done their homework and come to the same conclusion is huge. The former is usually succumbing to the “this is special and shiny” problem which tends to happen with teens and newbies. Whereas the later has usually gone through various scenarios and still ended with the same conclusion. After the researching and soul-searching has been done, that individual has more credibility than someone who has not, because they have spent time trying to find the correct answers. One has done their research while the other has just jumped on the bandwagon.

But if believing you are something out of a fairy tale does not hamper your everyday life and you’ve done research into what/how/why/etc. and you still come to this conclusion and it makes you happy, then I say, where’s the harm?

So you’ve got to answer the only question which should matter: is it real to you or not? And only you can do that.

But my point in all this is yes, we need to strongly question ourselves and yes, only each of us as individuals can answer what we are inside, but also only an individual can answer whether what they feel is real to them or not. And as far as I’m concerned, if it’s real to them and they present their beliefs in an intelligent and well-researched manner, then it’s real enough for me.

Originally written February 10, 2011

 

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It’s OK to not be “Other”

 It’s Okay – to not be “other”.

After a conversation with sparky, and also after reading an essay by bewylderbeast on the Werelist entitled “It’s okay to not be a therian”, I got to thinking that I should write an article about why it’s ok to not be “other”. And here it is. 😉

We all have an innate desire to feel special. It can be an unconscious or conscious desire, but it’s there and there’s nothing wrong with it. We want people to like us, we want to be good at something, we want to feel unique in a sea of people that are the same as us.

Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with this feeling and everyone experiences it at one time or another during their lives. This desire may even cause someone to assume that they are Otherkin when in fact they are not. I’m not going to judge whether someone is legitimate in thinking they are Otherkin or not, or even if it’s because they want to feel “special” or not. My point with this essay is to simply state this: being Otherkin (therians included) is not about being special or different from any other human.

If you want to feel special, that’s fine, but it has no place among Otherkin because identifying as Otherkin isn’t special at all. It’s just something different from the norm. People that identify with being Otherkin simply believe that they have a spiritual, psychological, etc. connection to something other than human and they choose to identify with it. That does not make them any more special than anyone else, human or not. It is simply another label that some people use to identify themselves.

For example, consider the idea of someone thinking that because they have brown eyes rather than blue that they’re somehow better than someone who happens to actually have blue eyes. It doesn’t make one person more special than the other and there’s nothing either person can do to change the fact that their eyes are different colors. And it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway. We’re all different whether it’s because I’ve got blue eyes and you’ve got brown or because he’s a demon and she’s a human. It makes no difference and Otherkin are no more special than your average Joe.

My point in all this is, don’t use the label of Otherkin because you want to feel special or different from other people. People that are Otherkin are no different from anyone else; there is nothing special about identifying as something other than human on the inside. Use the term Otherkin because you actually believe that some part of you is non-human in nature.

As I’ve said before, it’s not about being cool or special or different. It’s about what you feel you really are on the inside.

In conclusion, as sparky said, everyone is in fact special in their own way. That just doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with someone identifying as Otherkin or not.

Originally written January 28, 2009

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The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

I was in a meeting this morning with upwards of 30 people and I can’t help but notice certain things between myself and them. And the phrase “elephant in the room” couldn’t be more apparent to me. The phrase itself is in regards to something glaringly obvious but that no one pays any attention to.

As I sit listening to someone drone on about work-related stuff, I feel the pressure of my phantom ears poking out the top of my head through my hair. This of course makes me pay more attention to the fact that my tail is hanging off the side of the wooden chair, half-dangling in the cool room temperature. Damn if I don’t want to touch that area just to feel the fur between my fingers even though I know I’ll only touch empty air.

Then my mind starts to wander to things more interesting than figures and what’s going to happen at work next week. The feeling of running through a field where the long grass is dry and brown from a summer under the sun as my paws hit the hard-packed, cracked earth. Of running between pack mates, ducking and looping, just for the joy of it.

My attention snaps back to whoever was last speaking, jolting me back to the reality that while I feel the invisible fur, I see before me naked, pink monkeys nodding in a consensus to something nonsensical to me. As I inhale the scent of polished old wood, dusty bookshelves and humans all around me, I’m reminded of the heavy scent of pine and dead needles carpeting the forest floor and of the fresh, crisp scent of the sea far away from me.

No one around me notices that my attention isn’t peaked and no one seems to notice if I drift in and out of paying attention. They all have their own agendas and don’t give me much heed so long as I remain that calm and impassive little female who sits quietly and doesn’t want to be bothered. We all have other places we’d rather be, things we’d much rather be doing, none of us wants to be bothered in this meeting because we all just want it to be over quickly so we can get back to what matters to each of us.

So I am left alone, despite this glaringly obvious thing that anyone who knows what they’re looking at would see. The slightly cocked head when I hear a faint and interesting sound or the way I sit in the uncomfortably hard wooden chair so as to better feel my tail.

I am the elephant in the room; a wolf among the sheep.

Originally written April 7, 2011

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