Other from birth?
Someone asked a question on a forum I belong to the other day: What was your first otherkin memory? This got me thinking. I remember being a kid and always feeling more comfortable when pretending to be an animal. I would either play “animals” with friends where we’d each be a different animal, just being an animal. I also recall playing “lion pride” which was probably spurred on by the release of The Lion King. Was that just kids being kids? Well, for my friends it probably was, but for me it was deeper it was different. I wasn’t just playing animals because it was fun. I was playing animals because I identified with them. I always felt more myself when not having to be human. That being said, was I conscious of that being true at the time? Not in so many words, but really the question is this: “Can a child be aware of such things?” I certainly wasn’t raised to believe in reincarnation or non-human identities…I was raised Catholic. In my child’s brain being an animal felt good and that was good enough to make “animals” the game of choice.
What really got me thinking further was reading some replies from other people. Someone posted that they had centaur-like experiences which prodded loose memories from my youth, specifically that I would often “gallop” when I ran. As a child, I often did not run like a human I would gallop in a sort of running motion where my right hip would be turned slightly so my right foot would kind of stomp and my left would shuffle-stomp in response. It’s what I would think of as a human’s attempt at galloping. I don’t recall me associating this always with playing animals as a horse or pretending to be a centaur, it’s just something I did because it felt good at the time. So that got me thinking more and more about what I did, how I behaved, as a child.
I remember, once I learned how to swim, always being at home in the water and wishing I could breathe underwater. I also recall that I’ve pretty much always swam like a mermaid, with my legs together moving up and down like a fluke or mermaid’s tail. The release of The Little Mermaid certainly spurred me on with the whole mermaid thing to the point where I’d pretend I was a mermaid in the bathtub. I recall people always remarking on me being a fish because of how much I loved the water and loved to swim, especially underwater.
Enter pets. Now, I had everything from fish to hermit crabs to a dog, but I only really identified with my dog. Part of me attributes my keen senses of smell and hearing to growing up with a dog, but really that’s almost certainly my genes. Anyway, being close to a canine brought about a whole new set of child’s “quirks”. It changed playing animals from shuffling around on my hands and knees to trying to walk around on my hands and feet, my body lengthwise hovering above the floor, trying to do the whole opposite hand and foot movement that quadrupeds do. It also brought about the urge to greet my dog like wolves and many big cats do, rubbing faces or the top of the head along another animal’s cheek. I also found myself identifying more and more with predatory feline species (big cats) and also found myself not just wanting to be able to move like one in the four-legged sense, but also circling and laying down like one with my legs curled around and my head on my hands.
School time! I recall playing animals, lions, galloping at school, but I also recall finding myself growling when provoked and trying to roar properly. Stupid human vocal chords. The growling had persisted to this day; it’s kind of become a response to being provoked in an anger sense as well as a defensive type of thing. I also found myself thinking that my dog and other animals understood me better than other humans could and feeling more and more at home outside in the water or the local nature preserve than inside. I also recall wishing I could’ve been born an animal and not a human. I think the galloping thing ended around middle school as did playing animals, but the mermaid swimming behavior and growling never went away, nor did the curling up like a canine/feline with my legs tucked around and my head on my hands. I found myself crouching a lot, in a squat with my hands on the ground in front of my pelvis, and often tilting my head to the side like a bird might when pondering what to do or a dog/cat does when it’s seemingly thinking or confused. I also found myself randomly craving the taste of blood or a rare steak, well medium rare my parents wouldn’t have gone for the whole raw meat thing. I also felt the urge to run down people who were running away from me, sprinting after them especially if they had hurt me in some way, either physically or by their words. I could go on about what I now think was why I had that urge, but at the time it was just an urge and I was a pretty darn fast sprinter.
I don’t recall experiencing phantom limbs aside from a mermaid tail when I swam until around my senior year of high school or freshman year of college, though I’ve always felt a weight on my back like there was something there taxing the muscles, wings. Once I got to college I also often felt like my shoulder blades and associated musculature should be positioned differently, in order to move vertically like a big cat and the associated teeth and claws, though I can’t say I’ve really experienced a phantom tail out of the water. I also found myself experiencing wanting to swim side to side like a shark, which was new.
So was all of this kids being kids, or something more? Well, I think if it had ended around age 11 when the rest of my friends grew out of playing animals, I’d say yes it was just kids being kids. But the fact that it didn’t go away, but grew progressively more vivid the older I got and the more I found labels for what I was experiencing makes me think otherwise.
This article and others can be found at my site: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://seraphyna.ucoz.com">http://seraphyna.ucoz.com</a><!-- m -->
"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost."-Tolkien
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."-Poe