sonne_windsoul: (eye eclipse)
[personal profile] sonne_windsoul
[Sort of ramblings tonight that turned into something I felt worth posting in some places.]

Animality, or more accurately, human-animality, is such an essential part of who I am: my very life, self, mind, and soul are painted with it and have been that way ever since at least my early childhood.  It’s not just therianthropy or being otherkin.  It’s not just liking or having a connection to animals or even “animalistic-humanoids”.  It’s not a fetish or being a fan.  It’s the life-blood of me, and though I can describe aspects of it with certain descriptors and labels, it ultimately goes above and beyond those terms and runs deeper than maybe I have tended to want to admit to myself, let alone others.  Why, oh why, have I consistently remained feeling like I am “out of place” or lacking a sense of belonging amongst otherkin, therians, and nonhuman fictionkin (and fictives), seemingly no matter what their ‘type(s) or what they share about their views and experiences?  Granted, yes, I’ve felt connection to such people and online communities—I still do—and I genuinely care about members and groups of individuals in such communities as I’ve sympathized and empathized with them, which has led me to offer what efforts, help, and resources I have contributed in the past (at this point) about 10 years.  And yet, there remains something major, something fundamental, missing for me that these ‘communities’ have come closer to satisfying than any other people, interests, or communities I’ve come across thus far, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s not “enough”.  But I don’t even know what “enough” would actually be, let alone how or where to find it, if it even *can* be found.
 
The focus of my Tumblr blog “Shifting Animality” fits, in general, much more what I’m seeking and wanting to express, but it’s not just what others can so far see on that blog, but also dozens of other posts, many are text-based, some of them by me, that I have saved under drafts, as I wait for the “right time” to post them—waiting for more or maybe the ‘right’ people to follow the blog who will really appreciate that content and, most especially, engage me in discussion about it.  However, it’s also on Tumblr, so the likelihood of getting that better or deeper discussion is unfortunately rather low, even if the medium in ways allows me to potentially have better capacity to reach out and find others of similar mind to share thoughts with.  Why does my damn mind have to have such specific needs for a kind of people that are so hard to find and seemingly so few in this world?  Yet the need is something that remains in me, unshakably, regardless of what I do or don’t do—regardless of pushing it away, desperately hiding it from everyone even trying to hide it to extents from myself for the better part of 20 years or more, and sometimes shaming myself for it (or parts of it).  Sure, I could try to “move on” from the therian and otherkin communities to focus on trying to satisfy this similar but different need and desire, but I haven’t even *found* a place or people to move on *to*.
 
I’ve offered my help, my writings and thoughts, and so forth in the therian and ‘kin communities for years in large part as a means to reduce the isolation that numerous other therians/’kin can and do feel.  And within the past few years, I’ve come to realize that I, myself, am still isolated too much when it comes to various things regarding my human-animality, and no resources, discussions, increased acceptance in the communities, higher diversity within them, or individuals have managed to remove that feeling.
 
It also doesn’t help that since probably my early childhood some part of me has felt like I, in essence, “should” be physically nonhuman, humanoid, and it’s of course something that I can never actually have—I completely realize and understand that, yet consciously knowing such doesn’t ultimately take away the subconscious longing for me to be, physically, ability-wise, behaviorally, etc. something humanoid but not actually human.  I don’t actually see my body or human life as a “cage”, and I don’t want superficial body modifications to try to somewhat satisfy my longing, as those aren’t what I’m looking for either.  No one will ever be able to really see me for who and what I feel I really am—a sentiment that I know many therians, otherkin, and fictionkin can relate to, among others.  But maybe when that’s stacked along with other issues in my life, my future, my goals, and so forth, it makes the reality of it harder to bear, especially chronically.  I’m already feeling like I’m basically “floating” through life with no real, set direction, and have been for years, so anything that additionally makes me feel more isolated is enhanced and made significantly more difficult to bear.
 
What do I want—sincerely, deeply want—at this time?  I’m not actually sure—I keep trying to figure that out and keep coming up with no answer or something too cryptic for me to yet decipher.  However, I can at least say that: I long and crave to have my art and art muse back and well alive again (I fucking miss that so much), and I want to be able to let my human-animality SING through my art (in whatever form) without me goddamn worrying about how others may view it or respond to it.  To let me throw parts of myself in depth and detail, symbolically into my visual art, poetry and poetic prose, and personal essays and tossing them out in some form of public view for others to see and react to, and to not feel like I’m losing pieces of myself or making them vulnerable, but instead *strengthening* and enhancing parts of myself.  I would love for others to find inspiration in my artistic ideas and these aesthetic displays of my soul-parts, and maybe actually get to connect with some of those people and find notable similarity, possibly even friendship or more.
 
I don’t want my art muse to be hidden, scared, and near-comatose anymore—I haven’t wanted it to be stuck like that for years and years—and I wonder if somehow pouring myself into my art through a lens heavily colored in human-animality is a way to significantly help bring it back from its place of high vulnerability.  No bigger, especially other-people-changing goal here: just to be able to use my art to throw myself out ‘there’, open-armed and exposed, and not regretting it or shaming myself for it, and to stand through it time and again in confidence—increased confidence—for somehow “showing” parts of my true self to the world that I can never show by other means.  To not be so damn “hidden” and loving myself for doing it.
 
I am a creature of fantasy, of fiction, of humanity and nonhumanity, monstrous and not, and these things do not need to be physical reality for me—they are parts of me, my very Soul, and I continue to live with them entwined and melded into my essence and being.  Wings, claws, fangs, feathers and fur, ferality and domesticity, angels, monsters, chimeric creatures, prey and predator, guides and guardians of spirit and animal; they’re all, and more, parts of me that can’t be seen remotely near the surface but are integrated into the foundations and pillars of that which is Me.  And this is something to embrace and appreciate within myself, not to continually disguise and hide from everyone in nearly any form for the rest of my life.
 
I don’t want to *shout* my Self to the world, but I do want to let myself breathe and sing it into my art where it can have some form of expression and escape for those more obscured parts of me.
[personal profile] emilyshadowwalker
(I hope this is okay as a first post. It'd probably would have been more polite to do an introduction post first, but the guidelines weren't exactly clear about whether that was a requirement or not. If you require a certain clearance or acknowledgement before posting, I'd be more than happy to take this down/have it taken down)

Some therians subconsciously view people as prey. There’s a sense of superiority, an underlying knowledge that everybody around you is a step down on the food chain. They don’t acknowledge it, but it’s there all the same. In the wild, an ordinary lion is going to eat an average human. In a shopping centre surround by slightly overweight, lumbering, distracted people, a hungry lion would be having a field day. At the least, there’s an understanding that ‘I have teeth and claws and am bigger and stronger than you,’ which leaves a lot to be desired when there’s any possibility of a physical altercation.

You’d probably assume that on the other hand, there are therians that are instinctively afraid of humans. Maybe a wary, easily startled deer, or a rabbit, caught in the headlights. Maybe these therians flinch at sudden movements and sounds, or freeze and then skitter away when someone elbows into them in a crowded space.

As someone who identifies as a wolf, I fall into the latter category, perhaps surprisingly considering others I have spoken to. I have maintained, and will always maintain, that wolves; natural, wild wolves, are shit scared of people. A wolf isn’t going to attack a person. It’s going to run away at the very sound of someone approaching. And that’s the truth for me as well. I’m acclimatised to people. If someone walks into me, I can deal with it and internalise it, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a part of me that treats everyone as suspicious. I never really understood that, when you’re in a room and a stranger walks in why, do people automatically assume they’re okay?

Realistically, unless they’re wielding a sawn off shotgun, strangers in the same space as you are not out to get you. This isn’t paranoia, and your chances of getting murdered are statistically pretty low. However, that doesn’t necessarily make other people safe. They’re unpredictable and a little crazy, and the problem with being as I am is that I am all too painfully aware that my teeth are not well suited to biting, and I am not stronger than most people, and I am not even faster than people. If somebody limps, my eyes are drawn to them. If they are ill or weak or slow, there’s a certain manner of singling them out from the group. Yet even then there’s a knowledge that they are not easy prey. They are not to be underestimated.

The instinctive reaction for some people appears to be aggression, and that’s not how I experience it. When cornered, probably, when defensive or protective, likely. But put me toe to toe with some guy outside of a tournament and I’m going to run the heck away as fast as I can.

Last year, I was bitten by a large, white, German Shepherd type dog whilst delivering papers. My reaction was not to growl, or to attack, or even to run away. I stood there. I looked at my arm. Saw the puncture wound. And then I calmly instructed my friend to ring my dad so he could take me to the hospital, as my arm was shaking too much to hold the phone properly. I distinctly remember apologising profusely to the woman who owned the dog and telling her that I was perfectly fine, because English politeness dictates that I should comfort the slightly hysterical woman regardless.

My instinctive reaction to fear is not then, to act aggressively. It’s to freeze. The image is easy to recall, the dog is running towards me, and the last thought I can remember is ‘Oh, shit’ before I put my arm up to my chest/face area to protect it. I didn’t move from the spot. And when people scare me, get too close, behave in a way that makes me uncomfortable, that’s also my reaction. I stop internally, I stifle any feelings deep inside, and I carry on.

People are not something I see as prey. I see a herd of horses or deer, and there’s that instinctive reaction, the rush of knowledge and longing. A group of people do not bring about the same effect. A group of people make me want to be invisible, quiet and small and unnoticed. I want to be able to pass by quietly, so I do.

This isn’t to say that I am shy, or do not interact with people. I have brilliant, wonderful friends, a girlfriend, and I’m more than happy to be the person who goes and asks a stranger where the closest bathroom is, or order food from a waitress. I can walk head held high down the street all I like, and make cocky arguments in debate with total strangers, but I still have an instinctive reaction of suspicion and negativity towards people’s intentions which as a rational, thinking human, I like to optimistically believe is not true. 

People are a lot like wolves, in the end. A lot of what I feel, everybody feels, even if I base it in something rather more eccentric. I believe that if you pitted a human and a wolf against each other in a room, chances are the wolf would come out on top. But probably not before it tried to run away first.

Emily
(http://lifeandlycanthropy.wordpress.com/)
faolchu_rua: (discovery)
[personal profile] faolchu_rua
I hesitated posting this here, largely because it was stream-of-consciousness this morning and doesn't necessarily aim to make any real argument or point. If it doesn't really suit the goals of the group, please do let me know.

---

I am sitting in a small classroom at the run-through for national conference presentations. Men surround me, older, physically larger than I.

Is there ever a moment when I am completely unaware of how out-numbered I am in this place? Thinking, and yet not -thinking-, of survival strategies in any new territory?

I scope out safety: the new, female capoeira scholar to my front-right, a young female professor behind me to the left, the trans-identified man directly in front of me. In their own way, in their queerness and in their gender, I know they will protect me if this goes sour. I have established a pack of four in an inherently volatile space.

The presentations progress; my potential dissertation advisor -- huge, arrogant, intimidating to everyone, including the younger professors in the room -- gives a bumbling presentation in which technology fails and a shallow argument is made. No one questions him; even amongst humans hierarchy is recognized. One other professor, male, makes a largely complimentary comment.

Annoyed by the silence the presenter turns on me, eyes angry though his voice is mockingly amused.

"You know this material, Kaitlyn. Say something."

Blood rushes to my face as my heart pounds thick against my chest. I do not count the beats, but take some comfort in the awareness that my body is doing as it should in the face of a potential threat. A tail I do not have tucks, though my every physical muscle is taut, ready to fight or flee if the words coming out of my mouth -- submissive, agreeing with the statement given moments before, expanding on them just enough to get the aggressor to leave me alone -- are not enough of a display to prove that I am nothing. Nothing to pursue. Nothing to hurt.

He backs away, and I realize that I have been staring at my desk since he confronted me. A quick glance to those named earlier reassures, and I exhale. I take in air once again through my mouth, allow the tension in my back to release. The tiny hairs behind my neck fall as though they had risen as ruff, protective in display and in function. I played the game successfully, but even such a brief encounter is enough to leave me yearning to move on and away. I allow my mind to wander through the bulk of the remaining presentations; the freedom of imagined movement through a familiar Maryland forest soothes. I do not see the body in which I run, for I am behind the gaze, wholly myself.

This is red wolf to me of late. Instantaneously, fluidly here; albeit most often in moments of duress or physical pain. There is little conflict between something human and something not; I am what I need to be in any given moment and thus inherently, permanently both. I have created myth around her in order to have a way of putting the identity into words that others would understand, I have pondered psychological definitions as well, given the recognition of how that aspect of self comes to the fore when I need protection or strength.

But red wolf, in and of itself, is not something so readily written in words, just lived. Accurately conveying that way of being continues to elude me.
feralkiss: Clouded leopard walking up to the viewer, intense look and tongue licking its lips. (lookup)
[personal profile] feralkiss
Edit: Totally unrelated to the essay shared here, but feel free to introduce yourself and post your own writings of course! I'm posting more of my own stuff as a mean to encourage others to write more, it feels a bit intimidating being the only DW poster so far. ^^'

This place is about you and your experiences, and of course you don't have to enter the sort of lengthy somewhat-scholary ramblings that follows below. Use the style that suits you, talk about what makes sense to you (or what doesn't and why), share your ponderings with us!

I'm still available by private message if there is any issue or question regarding this place.

***

[This is the improved version of a writing I shared in my journal recently; I may tweak it a bit more before putting it up on my site, but here goes! It's a bit long but hopefully you'll find it as interesting as some others have. It mixes animality with others aspects such as integrity and social issues, I guess.]

This is about animality, especially feline animality or felinity, as well as ethics. Mostly it is about how they intersect, and pondering over integrity and social issue as an animal-person and my own self-realizations. The following is a collection of thoughts that were gestating since 2005 but that I finally developped during the year of 2010.

There is no definite conclusions that I draw, more like a pattern I sense through the prism of my personal experience as a trans and animal-person. Of course there is a part of criticism in this writing, especially self-criticism, but this essay is more like a tool for self-awareness, to reflect on what makes us who and what we are. How I processed these realizations was non-linear and made possible because of the specific experiences and teaching I went through, so I'll try to give you a bit of context.

Read more... )
[identity profile] sonne-windsoul.livejournal.com
For a brief background regarding this essay, I recently came to admitting to myself and to others online that I have an extinct theriotype (winged theropod) as my fourth theriotype.  The initial writing on it is on my site, and I also have another essay ("Designing a Theriotype") about some of the process of determining the specifics of what that animal "looks like", and thus what may have been the closest recognized categories of theropods and proto-avians that, if it existed, it would likely have been related to (or would be classified under one of those categories); or if I'm fortunate, to actually identify the specific genus or species of it.  Another essay on this theriotype may eventually be written at some point (I'm composing a list already of subjects I would like to cover in it) to describe more of what it is like for me to be it.  Also, the term "erdenvogel" I use to refer to this theriotype basically means 'earth-bird' in German (I would have gone with the German translation for 'ground-bird' instead but didn't prefer it), to denote it being a primarily ground-dwelling, bird-like animal.


“On Wings of a Living Past”

 

I suppose some people would wonder and want to pose questions to me about what it is like to have an extinct theriotype, and to be honest, at this point I must say that I don’t know what it feels like to “be extinct” (therianthropically, of course). I, and thus my theropod theriotype, am quite alive and have no conception of “being extinct”, on top of the fact that for all the time I have recognized my fourth, avian-like theriotype, I didn’t until recently realize it was even an extinct animal (assuming it was a type of animal that really did exist, and it seems likely to have been one). The conception of ‘being extinct’ does not so much for me tie into the experience, as I’d imagine it probably wouldn’t anyway. Instead it ties into my perception, knowledge, and acceptance of being this animal therianthropically and eventually reaching a likely point of knowing that I never will nor ever can see this animal in actual photos (rather than just artistic depictions), see video or hear audio of it, or read information from ethologists on its behaviors, among other details. So far I know this is the reality of my situation, yet I don’t think it’s really set in much emotionally.

 

However, I will say that as odd and new of a realization as this is for me, that non-therian otherkin in general often have to deal with a similar feeling, and probably many of them to a heightened extent, as they live with being animals that either never existed at all, didn’t exist on Earth, or didn’t exist on this plane of existence—some feeling extinct on top of that. Relatively speaking to that, my feelings may remain comparatively mild, though I won’t try to make blanket assumptions on whose feelings are the most warranted for knowing oneself is, in some way, a type of creature that will never be captured in photos, video, audio, or zoological texts except through the use of aesthetics and fiction. In some way, it sort of ties me together a little more to non-therian otherkin, in experience and perception of our ‘kintypes (rather than online community aspects), like I am one of the examples of a branching between most [extant] theriotypes and fantastical ‘kintypes, possibly similar in part to that of gryphons and dragons (though they are on the fantastical (or at least, non-Earth creature) side of the branching point and my extinct theriotype is on the therianthropy side).

 

essay continued under cut )

Well...

Jul. 28th, 2008 06:56 pm
[identity profile] shadow-searcher.livejournal.com
I decided to try and add a recent and very simple writing.
Sorry for such the horrible first writing, but its one of the only ones that are actually understandable.
No need to read its not that important but decided to post  here because I mean hey it is a writing for therian subject.

This is the first essay I decided to post on here, it being more recent. Well its just to get my juices flowing so I can continue writing essays etc. on here and make them readable for other people. Especially newer therians, or someone who is just interested, I need to practice this because when I tend to record my thoughts, or whatever I am writing about, I tend to make it like how I think of it in my mind. Its like a bunch of ramblings that usually I can only really understand. Hard to explain in full detail but, I am just going to assume you understand and move on to the actual writing. But before I start, I decided to go easy on this. Its not very chalk full of information on 'how to find your animal' or anything. But for my first writing here I decided to start simple on some thoughts that I experienced when I went to stay with my father for a couple of days.

 
               
July 24, 2008, I had decided to visit my dad because of the fact I haven't seen him in quite some time. He had just recently moved to a farm type of area, so of course he had a smaller house and a huge yard filled with just open space and trees. I had brought one of my best companions, Max my Siberian husky. So he to also seemed to love the running space. Well my dad had gone to work, leaving me and Max alone at his home. Deciding to go exploring around the land, I got Max and we went out the back door stepping into the light of the sun. As my feet hit the open earth I felt warm tingling on the bottoms of my feet that sent jolts up my body. It felt so natural being barefoot on the grassy earth. No cement, no asphalt, nothing but the earth itself. Before I was even conscious of running, I already had jumped the small fence to help keep coyotes out and was dashing through the high grass with Max besides me. It was amazing, I always felt more at home out of the city, man made towns. I finally decided to slow down to a walk and check the place out. Max kept running though, and I felt a stab of jealousy and want as I watched his four legs sore over the valley floor. I wanted to run close to the ground, I wanted to let all my paws touch the ground. It was such a stir. The urges like this have happened before, but being out in the open more with no one around made it feel even stronger. These urges are amazingly bitter sweet. They feel great, but are slightly painful and depressing because I can't really do what feels natural to me. I decided that any running is better then none and started off again trying to catch up with Max and play a game of tag, hide n seek , or wrestle. We had done all, and I even got to pick some apples which was fun because I would drop one to Max he would catch it and chomp down on it. We did this everyday we stayed, and I felt such a deep sadness in my heart when I returned home to the polluted air. It feels as if I was free but then put back in captivity, that thought made me grimace. Humans capture so many animals and put them in zoos with many enclosures so much smaller and depressing then what they are use too. I know humans do it for learning, and to help the population, but even if we are helping them, they don't know that, or feel any better.
But I suppose that there is not much people can do, whether animals like it or not, their going to continue taming the wild.
Every race likes dominance.
[identity profile] primaldog.livejournal.com
The Watcher )

X-posted to my personal journal, [livejournal.com profile] primaldog. A response to a prompt almost two months late--I'm still getting my steam back, as it were.
[identity profile] wolf-of-sorrows.livejournal.com
Ok so… I’m not exactly sure where to start with this post.. Except I guess with an actual introduction and then moving on from there... so...here goes..

Short History )

I’m not quite sure where else to go with this post… and I’ve written much more than I thought I ever could on such short notice/so quickly. But hopefully I’ve explained it in a manner that you can all understand, without the usual cliché’s and stereotypes.

What I am

Mar. 31st, 2008 03:47 pm
[identity profile] wampus-cat.livejournal.com
My personal animalness essay. A work in progress. Feel free to leave comments or questions about anything in it, or anything I haven't covered.

Humanimal )

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Animal Quills

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Animal Quills is a creative community for animal-people to share and discuss their written works. Over a hundred essays are archived here (many of which in locked entries). We focus on the concrete "here and now" experience of being animal inside, and other related musings (see our About page if you want to post).

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