Hello from a new member.
Hello, I'm Amanda (or, as the username suggests, Arcadia). I'm sixteen for one or two more days, and then I'll be seventeen. I hope my age doesn't create some sort of stigma-induced barrier, as I can assure you that I try my hardest to remain coherent and mature on forums. ::grins:: I enjoy music, history and art. I identify as a vulture therianthrope; specifically, as a bearded vulture [lammergeier]. I can assure you that I've been through quite a few years of introspection focused specifically on working out exactly what I am, and I'm not jumping to any conclusions. It's with immense hesitation that I mention that I know my exact non-physical species at all.
My awakening, although I don't really understand that term [it implies an 'ah-ha!' moment which I never had; rather, I had an 'ohh ... fair enough' moment], was when I was thirteen. I had been feeling like an animal on some non-physical level for a long time. I remember when I was much younger (think five years old here, guys) that I used to rub my back and sides and all around my shoulders to try to convince my wings to 'grow'. It was when I accidentally found the website Otherkin.net that I realised not only was there a term for what I felt, but an entire Internet subculture.
As you can see, I spent four years waiting, not joining a forum. In this time, I read everything that I could find pertaining to Otherkin, and I tried my best to work out what I was. When I was younger, I was quick to jump to conclusions - There was a multitude of articles about wolves that my first assumption was that I must be a wolf, because it seems the common thing to do - a winged wolf, even!
That assumption was quickly lost as I received sharp smacks in the face, over-and-over, from various websites. For a while, I merely flustered about, and learned about the concept behind Otherkin. I focused on what I felt, rather than why I felt it. I then presumed to call myself a Thompson's Gazelle therianthrope, as I confused my therioside with my primary animal totem. This was only a little over a year ago, and came about just after completing a meditation on 'finding one's totem'. I shouldn't do those guided meditations, really. My imagination is far too over-active. ::grimace:: I discarded Thompson's Gazelle quickly, of course, as it was comprised of cameo shifts - and where would my wings fit? As they are, they are so oriented to the sides of my body, and yet still protruding from my back, that they press against my arms awkwardly - the shifts were what made me drop Thompson's Gazelle as my theriotype, and fast! I'm a contherianthrope, you see, and to suddenly begin shifting into something only after seeing it in a meditation didn't strike me as an apt reason to call oneself a ungulate therianthrope.
From thereon-in, I stopped reading websites dedicated to therianthropy. I would actively avoiding mention of Otherkin, and stopped researching animals for a time (which is one of my major hobbies). I wanted to focus on what I felt as though I was, rather than what I was being influenced to feel like. Inevitably, I worked out that all of this time, I'd been experiencing thick feathers, awkwardly curved wings and toe-claws. I know that phantom limbs are nothing to base one's assumption regarding therianthropy off of, as phantom limbs can happen to anybody for any reason whatsoever, but they were present and they were most certainly not the product of any animal other than a bird. I experienced nesting desires, scouting-watching urges, and other such behavioural traits that can be assigned to vultures.
As for the bearded vulture specifically? Well, what can I say? There's no proper explanation for that part - I just feel it to be true.
As you can see, I haven't had the most credible nor the smoothest journey into finding my theriotype. I hold stoically to my statement that I am a bearded vulture therianthrope. I also react quite defensively to questions, and while I try to answer them, I have a tendency to go into an escapist mindset and become inactive in forums if I'm questioned too much or too bluntly. By all means, though, question away. Who knows? Maybe I'll learn a few good habits from it. :]