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My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
Seraphyna
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Post: #1
My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
I’ve been thinking again…which is never a good thing <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> and I’ve been specifically pondering my beliefs regarding my “not humanness” or whatever you wanna call it. I’ve started pondering mainly because of a boy. “ZOMG Sera this is a journal –like boy post? Come ON” you’re thinking…well there’s a point in here somewhere (I hope). This is gonna be long so sit tight…

Anywho, I was kinda sorta dating this guy for almost 6 months and in that span of time I realized that he made me feel human…for the first time probably ever. I mean, from birth (I assume, I’ve just always felt this way) I haven’t felt human, I haven’t understood most of human concepts and emotions (like loyalty to ones’ family out of principle, or dichotomies people split thinking into, etc.) it all just makes zero sense to me though I’m capable of behaving according to social norms and such. I mean, okay, I might not understand it and my parents definitely don’t understand how I can’t feel X way when Y happens and blah blah blah but I’m perfectly capable of existing “normally” in society…I’m not a sociopath I promise. Back on topic. Where was I? Oh yes, boy. I broached the topic of otherkin with him and he had the initial knee jerk reaction of “well I can accept souls ending up in the wrong body but people who think they’re incarnate energy beings like angels and stuff are just insane” needless to say that conversation ended quickly. I abandoned ship…later he said he was kidding but that kinda killed it for me so I never brought it up again. What does *that* have to do with anything? Well, I was just me around him, no explanations aside from the human ones, no excuses, just me. And he was cool with that…and it was kind of awesome to have someone just accept me like that—as is.

That all being said, the otherkin stuff has definitely been on the back burner for months mainly because this whole new “feeling like a human being” thing shoved it there. Until now it’s been an explanation for so many things and this kind of broadsided me. Me? Feel human after 25 years of not? What the hell? I mean, I haven’t felt a phantom limb, haven’t really had a shift of any kind, and haven’t even felt that odd weight between my shoulders. This is just plain strange. Alright, I guess I’ve had the odd fantom set of large feline species-esque chompers and claws but that’s really about it.

The other consideration here is a book I’ve been reading by Michael Shermer called “The Believing Brain”. It’s really interesting and I recommend it to everyone, *especially* otherkin. It’s all about how and why we (humans) form beliefs and how we are hardwired to believe something and then find supporting evidence (sound familiar?).

Where am I going with this? Well, putting all of this together it truly makes me think of this otherkin stuff (meaning my otherkin stuff) as a psychological construct from childhood…and this makes sense when I really think about it. I’m adopted. It is apparently common for adoptees to not feel human, to feel separate from the rest of the human race. I was bullied endlessly from about 4th grade until I got to college…further feeling like I don’t fit in, hating my body (body dismorphia, woo! Not.), feeling like my body is just not right, not understanding a lot of human concepts like certain emotions, you get the idea. So if it is all a psychological construct, doesn’t it make a lot of sense for it to vanish when I find someone who makes all of that go away? If you ask me it does. Now, the rub is that we’re still friends but we’re not together anymore so it’ll be interesting to see if he permanently re-wired my brain (though I still “don’t get” a lot of emotion stuff) or if those phantom sensations, shifts, etc. will come back.
What does this mean? Well, I’m honestly not sure. I have yet to really meditate since or during this whole business, and I certainly haven’t tried to access those pesky “past life memories”…but I’m pretty confident in saying that my “soul” may or may not be an energetic being instead of a plain old human soul. I can’t prove I even have a soul, so it’s all speculation and honestly I’m not sure I care. I mean, the mechanism is all speculation, no one can prove either way if for some of us it’s spiritual or others it’s psychological or if it’s all one or the other regardless of personal theory. So whatever the reason, I guess this means I’m psychological ‘kin until proven otherwise and I’m okay with that because, honestly, the why doesn’t matter how it affects me and my life is what matters.

So if you got this far, I commend you and will summarize what I’m thinking currently about “what,” other than human, I am. Okay. So, the only phantom anythings I’ve felt in the past few months are wings (which eventually went away), claws, and a set of big-cat-like teeth. I’ve also felt like my shoulderblades are “wrong” that is that they should move more like a big-cat’s do than being flat like a human’s. I’ve still got a lot of personal energy, but some people just do, that’s not necessarily a ‘kin thing at all. I’m still rather intrigued by and connected to death, anger, the concepts of vengeance and wrath. It’s all stuff I have to think on and find the time to really meditate on. I mean, at the moment, I’m thinking polymorph (I can still trigger a phantom shift if I really want to, but who knows if that’s psychosomatic or not and I can’t “prove” either way so meh), and my gargoyle concept (lioness-dragon) seems to still fit…it’s just the angel of death part I’m not sure about anymore and will take some pondering. So yeah, regardless of spiritual stuff I’m pretty sure I’m psych-kin (I think that should catch on, the label amuses me <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->) and exactly what I am is open to figuring out…so prepare yourselves for an epic part two at some point (probably weeks or months from now).

In closing, I’d like to thank Archer for her post on a few forums, “Why We Bother?” because I honestly probably wouldn’t have put the time and effort into this if she hadn’t. Funny how people kick you in the butt without trying, eh?


This'll probably be cross-posted a lot of places...for the record <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

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2011-07-08 20:58
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Post: #2
Re: My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
I've been questioning something for a while, though it's only really come to the level where I can grapple with it consciously within about the last six months...that question is, when defining something in comparison to something else, how can we be sure that the "something else" is what we think it is? For example: when defining the self as other than human, how can we be certain that our concept of "human" is accurate?

I mention the otherkin angle of this; though the most profound impact of this question on myself is with the question of gender identity...when defining the self as other than a woman, how can I be certain my concept of "woman" is accurate? I mention this latter aspect because it may, later in this reply, help me to explain some things...

The concept of "humanity" is rather...in my mind, nebulous (this isn't, after all, the time when "humanitarian" or "Humanism", etc., were named); though the concept of alienation from the concept of humanity is more evident.

I'm going to switch gears here to illustrate a point.

When I was growing up, I found myself bombarded with messages about what a "girl" was supposed to take part in, supposed to be, supposed to do to their bodies, supposed to wear, supposed to love, supposed to accept as treatment, supposed to plan for their futures, etc. In addition there is -- or was -- the added pressure of the idea that boys and girls are like different species and one gender is completely and inherently different from the other (the Mars/Venus idea).

This is what I'll call the "rigid view"; it's one that I encountered among children and teens, and one which I've additionally seen in select older people. These people tend to gain followers (who are largely insecure in themselves) who wish to obtain the "blessing" as it were of these people who define themselves as "real men" and "real women".

...my solution to this problem, at this age, was to disidentify as a "girl"; as identifying as a girl was, at the time, restrictive and painful.

It wasn't clear that I was doing this until I got to early college, and started actively identifying as male to temper anger I irrationally held towards males (as I felt they were not under the same pressures females were -- they were, however, under different pressures, as I'd find later).

This was as I was just getting into gender-variant community; by that I mean that I'd met my first conditionally open transgendered and genderqueer contacts. It was the first time anyone had ever let me know that I actually had a choice as to what gender I'd be addressed and respected as -- by extension it was the first time I began to exercise what sociology calls "agency," in relation to how I thought about myself. That is, within the mental framework I had, I began to take the risk of making unexpected choices.

However: these people were all still young; and...there was quite a difference, I'd find later, between (some) second-wave feminist concepts of men and women; as versus transgender and genderqueer concepts of men and women; as versus...concepts of men and women which didn't belong to a philosophical school, though I'd only come across the latter after I got out of college.

In particular, there is a difference between the concept of men as versus women which appears to be held by lesbians (I say "lesbians" because there is at least one feminist tract which separates the term "lesbian" from "woman" on the basis of gender role behavior; I have also known [natal female] people to identify as "butches" and not "women") and the concepts of men as versus women largely held by the trans community as I've known it.

The philosophical worlds are largely different, though the territory they apply to overlaps. By this I mean to point to the idea that when one is traveling in a feminist or lesbian circle (excluding transfeminist circles as an exception for the moment), and one is a natal female, it is largely unquestioned that a natal female is a woman. And "woman" just seems to mean "female"; it -- ideally -- has no restriction attached to it as to how that femaleness will be acted out. However; of course, things are skewed, because there are certain activities, modes of dress, etc., that are socially permissible for females and not for males, and I do believe that people realize this and are (largely) guided into different slots accordingly, because they don't want to be hassled, or because they see value in what people, they see as like themselves, did in the past.

When one is in transgendered circles...there are a few different groups, though the one which contrasts most strongly with the above view ("female = woman, however she wants to play it"), is the view that gender and sex are discrete categories. Thus, just because someone is female doesn't mean she or he or s/he or sie or xe or ze, etc., is a woman; gender status has to do with core gender identity and respect for that core gender identity, not physicality (though there have been at least two studies showing correlation of core gender identity in transsexuals, with brain structure). In these circles, though ideally everything would circle around core gender identity and not what Bornstein calls "gender attribution" (that is, the impression others get of your gender), in reality, people are often gauged by others to be genders other than what the person in question says they are.

I've said that these are two differing philosophical systems with overlapping territories. I happen to exist within the overlapping territory, and to be faced with the question of if it is necessary or of benefit to choose one system or the other, or whether I have the mental inclination and constitution to be able to maintain both of these as separate models of understanding, while being defined by neither.

You mentioned in the OP that there were ideas that you had about "humanity" that you didn't see yourself to fit. I believe it would be of value to investigate whether your ideas about what "humanity" is, are accurate. Key in this would be investigating where those ideas about "humanity" came from, and if you wish to continue to give those ideas power over your own self-definition.

As a comparison...it was clearly apparent to me from about the ages of 14 to 25 that I "didn't fit in" as a girl or woman. As I move into a more adult phase of life, however, I can see -- for one thing -- that who I was in that age range was not mature. I can also see that the messages I was bombarded with in my youth were designed to instill insecurity in order to either sell products or to force conformity -- that is, they were power plays, and the person who would gain by my obedience was not me. I can see that children, because of their developmental status, zero in on anything unusual as a potential object of ridicule, to attempt to contrast themselves as "okay."

I've gone through about a five-year-period which began with the question, "what is it about the idea of 'woman' that keeps me from identifying with it?" to "might as well exercise the freedom to do this and see if I get anything out of it," to "I'm pretty good at this," to "no one says I can't have what I had before, too," to "no one says I have to do this," to "this is my domain," to "I own this." My youthful *concept* of "womanhood" -- the one which was disempowering to myself and not in alignment with reality -- was what was thrown out and replaced with an image of myself and the women I actually know. We are all under similar pressures. But we don't have to let those pressures have power in our lives.

Now how this hooks back to you. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> When you say that you haven't understood most "human" concepts and emotions...how do you know that others do? In my case, I haven't understood some things like "romantic" love -- hell, I don't even know what "romance" means; I haven't understood certain basic social concepts...but that is due, largely, to a lack of socialization. And now that I'm becoming more socialized, it's easier for me to flow with what is expected.

When you say your parents don't understand your feelings which are not in accordance with what they expect -- is that a strong reason to move to the conclusion that one is not human? It sounds as though your friend is serving as a counterexample to the example of your parents, which could be evidence that your parents' influence is at the ground of some of this.

And at the core of this...all of this, I mean the presence of otherkin culture at all -- is the question of, if one is defining oneself *against* having a "human soul," who says that humans (normally) have "human souls?" What *is* a "human soul," and why do we assume most people (other than us, let's say) have them?

Most obviously in my case, Christianity would be the key source saying that humans are human down to the soul-level (or are supposed to be, anyway), but in my case, I don't believe a lot of things Christians say (though nor do I reject them just because Christians say them), so...why accept that, when it goes against my intuition (and experience, inasmuch as it can be said to *be* experience), and is unproven? If we're talking about chakras or energy bodies -- energy bodies are malleable, and chakras, in my case, are predominantly metaphorical -- and I probably wouldn't have known about them if they hadn't been present in preexisting culture.

I think my core message here is that when we're defining ourselves against something, it helps to be certain that the concept we're defining ourselves against is accurate. I have another example I could pull here (homosexual vs. heterosexual), but I think this is long enough for now. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
2011-07-09 0:36
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Post: #3
Re: My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
*hug*

Good post and I want to write a proper reply to it, but I will need to get less tired first.

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2011-07-11 15:38
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Post: #4
Re: My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
It seems a natural progression to go from realizing you're Otherkin and then experiencing lots of shifts/Otherkin-stuff to slowly coming to accept that part of yourself and then experiencing less shifts/Otherkin-stuff. After you've learned to deal with this part of yourself for so long, it becomes old hat and less exciting and perhaps just isn't as important as it once was. (That whole 'who am I' phase a lot of people go through during college? Yeah, that.) That doesn't make someone who doesn't experience said things any less Otherkin, but rather that they're at a different stage in their personal journey.

The longer I'm active in the online communities and the longer I identify as something other than human, I noticed that the less I've been experiencing shifts. I'm not sure why this might be so, but it's certainly not uncommon within the therian community at least. I also find that the older I get the less I care about the how or why I am this way and the more I just enjoy being me, quirks and all.

I still have unanswered questions, about various Otherkin stuff not just wolf/therian stuff, and I doubt I'll ever have all the answers (damn, wouldn't that be nice?), but at this point in my journey I accept the label I've chosen to apply to myself and just go with it in my day to day life.

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2011-07-11 16:28
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Post: #5
Re: My Semi-Overdo Re-Think
I find that when you become busy with life as a whole and are aware from others like yourself, you tend to put yourself on the back burner, as you said. Being what you are doesn't matter a whole lot in social situations, really. People will talk to you and want to be around you for your personality, and not your kin-ness. I was out of the Otherkin loop for several months tending to my sick and dying great Nan, and also tending to my Borderline Schizophrenic friend. Because being an Otherkin is just something you ARE I don't think it ever goes of way. Of course, us questioning it is probably what keeps us sane in all of this. But--and I'm sorry if this seems racist to some, but it shouldn't--it's just like a white person looking into a mirror. What do they see? Themselves; white or no white. Same with a black person or an asian. Their skin colour is only one part of who they are, and certainly not the first thing they're reminded of when they look in the mirror. Yes, they know what colour their skin is, but it's not a constant question or naggingness on one's mind. It simple is, and I think, in a way, it relates to Otherkin across the globe. We're not always going to be totally intune with ourselves--our whole selves. We're never going to truly forget we're Otherkin, but we're all guaranteed to pay less attention to it for long periods of time in our lives, for other things will take up priority, such as love lives and work.
2012-03-22 22:39
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