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differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Chordal
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Post: #1
differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
I'm going to note this right now and come back and do some reading of various threads later...

What's happened on my end is basically that I've gotten the hint that whatever part of me is shapeshifter -- it may not necessarily be "demon". There's a good chance that we're some other kind of shapeshifter (right now we're looking at "fae") and that this identity is largely affiliated with demonic stuff because (he ostensibly feels) it's a fun outlet with which to freak people out. Which, you know, causes some mess when we get into things like accountability (which exists in the human world). Or empathy. Or, you know, relations with demons who are actually demons.

We aren't certain on this -- but the thought arose as we've been trying to shake out what we know of Kage/Fiore (including the time when he would scare us -- for fun), and realizing how much of our internal drama is because of him mimicking one or more of us, and how much of our real-world stress is caused by having to deal with, "oh yeah, and there's this one system member that on the surface seems pretty crazy, and he likes to freak people out, but he's really harmless (unless you attempt to harm us first)"...you know. Right now I'm all, "I don't need a sociopath in my system," (if I've even got the definition of "sociopath" down at all -- maybe Archer [?] would have some input on this? I know the internet is horrible for reliable information on abnormal psych) but maybe it isn't as bad as I'm making it sound...

My specific idea of fae as applies to Kage/Fiore is one where the empathy isn't as fully developed as it would ideally be, and so he does things "for fun" without realizing how it will affect the other person. Kind of like a kid, that way. And it isn't that he's hostile (in the sense of intending harm), it's just that he isn't thinking -- in the sense of being oblivious to the idea that he could be seen as intending harm. And on his end, he knows that he isn't intending harm, but the other person doesn't know that.

I need some rest right now, and I'm noting this here because I really need to get back and read various threads; and this thread will help me re-focus when I come back. In the meantime, how do people here distinguish between different types of shapeshifters (e.g. demonic as vs. fae as vs. polymorph)? Am I being hyper? I think I'm a little energetic right now...

If we're looking at things through a fae lens, that also would explain Sparrow's disposition as well...anyhow, let me get some rest, and I'll get back to this later.
2010-11-02 3:18
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Post: #2
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Chordal Wrote:Right now I'm all, "I don't need a sociopath in my system," (if I've even got the definition of "sociopath" down at all -- maybe Archer [?] would have some input on this? I know the internet is horrible for reliable information on abnormal psych) but maybe it isn't as bad as I'm making it sound...

Roughly speaking, a sociopath is basically someone who does not have a sense of empathy for other people. Empathy isn't something psychic - the ability to feel and understand other people's emotions is a fundamental need for anyone who functions in society. At one end of the scale is the sociopathic serial killer who tortures people for fun, without caring remotely whether or not it hurts that person; at the other is the petty thief who nicks stuff because it's easier than working, and somewhere in between is the stockbroker/lawyer/bank manager/insert-stereotypically-amoral-professional-here who happily goes about their job without caring that he's ruining your life. Probably the most obvious "symptom" is that sociopaths tend to be spectacularly good liars; to paraphrase a very good psychiatrist about one specific sociopath I'm acquainted with, if he said that the sky at mightnight was brightly lit you'd go outside with sunglasses, because he was more convincing than memory and logic. He once said - to a completely innocent person - "Do you remember that time you tried to drown me?" in such a matter-of-fact manner that the person in question wasn't even sure it was a lie.

Another way to understand it is that a sociopath is a person who lacks a conscience - someone who might intellectually know that society considers something "wrong," while having no "feeling" to discourage them from doing it. Given their problems with emotional processing, sociopaths often find it difficult to predict their *own* emotions, and so prison often isn't a deterrant because they can't empathise with their future self while committing a crime, and realise that they really won't like being in the clink.

Sociopaths often tend to have an elevated arousal threshold - in other words, whereas you might have your heart pounding after an argument over a seat on a subway train, a sociopath might need to go out and beat someone half to death in order to feel much of a response.

There are all sorts of technical arguments about sociopathy vs psychopathy and whether it's a disorder of behaviour (eg, running around being a dick = sign of being a sociopath) or of thought (eg, not feeling remorse = sign of being a sociopath) but that's, well, as I said, getting technical.

If this member of your system seems to be a sadistic bastard but in fact is trying to help, then he's not a sociopath. If he genuinely cares about you (or anyone other than himself) then he's not a sociopath. If he's violent and aggressive but has a moral centre (think Hannibal Lecter, or Dexter) then he's not a sociopath. He's just some flavour of: bad person, mess, giver-of-tough-love, or whatever.

I'd say whether or not someone's a sociopath is only really relevant in that sociopathy isn't something that can be cured, fixed, or improved. An antelope can't become a lion's friend and thus teach the lion that it's nasty to kill prey; likewise if a human (or something similar) lacks something as fundamental as a conscience, it won't fill that gap because it's made a friend. (It probably won't even have a concept of "friend", really.)

What's interesting in this case, though, is three things:

1 - this individual is possibly/probably/definitely not human. Sociopathy is a concept that applies to humans, which are basically social animals. It's entirely possible that different entities, ones who don't have social requirements, might have no need to develop a conscience in the first place, and though they look like sociopaths are in fact totally mentally healthy.

2 - this individual might have co-consciousness with others in your system, to some degree or another. If that's the case, even lacking empathy and conscience, he might experience those things through another person. Who knows what that could do?

3 - as a multiple system, it seems that you're not all composed of "normally formatted" beings. Perhaps some parts of your split, perhaps some parts of you joined. In that case, this particular individual might simply not be whole. Frontal lobe damage can lead to behaviour similar to that of sociopathy; if removing part of the brain can have massive effects on behaviour, it stands to reason that removing part of the soul can do even more.

Anyway, that's a bit of a digression, but I'm a sucker for name drops and it might be food for thought.

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2010-11-02 19:57
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Post: #3
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Heh! Sweet -- thanks. This was good stuff to think about.

Archer Wrote:If this member of your system seems to be a sadistic bastard but in fact is trying to help, then he's not a sociopath. If he genuinely cares about you (or anyone other than himself) then he's not a sociopath.
I was thinking about Kage/Fiore's motivations the other night...What I got out of it is the idea that he actually may be trying to help, but his "wisdom stats" (so to speak) are so low that his methods don't accomplish his aims. There are three examples I can think of right now (the drive to fight in PTSD-flashback-mode; then there is his mimicking Bell [the persona of whom has been named "BelFiore"], and his flamebaiting [which we've been able to explain is nonproductive and could be tangibly harmful -- it doesn't get people to see their own fallacies, it just gets them to react based on those fallacies. Awareness of one's own folly doesn't factor in when you're in "kill the Evil" mode]).

As for whether he honestly cares about us or not, we have not been able to determine this yet (though he is saying something to the extent of, "how can you believe that," now). A large part of this is due to the fact that we aren't entirely certain how far he extends into our system. That is, we're uncertain as to whether hypothesis 1 ({Fiore -> Kagerou}; + {Blaze -> [April + Adrian]}) or hypothesis 2 ({Fiore -> Blaze -> [April + Adrian] -> Kagerou}) is true. If the first, Fiore/Kage would have been contained, and Adrian is internally generated. If the second, Fiore's spirit is pretty well incorporated into our system, as Adrian is one of our most predominant fronters. Losing him would be like losing a core part of us (of course, I say, as I speak as Adrian right now). Right now we're considering that maybe this goes beyond our cognitive capacity...thus maybe both models illustrate different aspects of truth, without being literal reflections of reality, or mutually exclusive.

Archer Wrote:Frontal lobe damage can lead to behaviour similar to that of sociopathy; if removing part of the brain can have massive effects on behaviour, it stands to reason that removing part of the soul can do even more.
Interesting though tangential point about BelFiore. Bell is probably our most active system member with the highest "wisdom stats." Fiore is much, much more strongly linked with emotion. As we've been working this out, it seems that Fiore might have been jealous of Bell early on, this being why he mimicked him and tried to sabotage Host's and Bell's relationship. From what I can feel, I don't think Bell would be against a fusion with Fiore, which would temper Fiore. For his part, it doesn't seem like Fiore would dread this, either. It's likely both Bell and Fiore would continue to be accessible (in the same way that Blaze is still accessible, though distant, as an earlier-evolved version of Adrian), but there would also be a trial dual-running mode, which could be interesting, to say the least.

Archer Wrote:Another way to understand it is that a sociopath is a person who lacks a conscience - someone who might intellectually know that society considers something "wrong," while having no "feeling" to discourage them from doing it.
Archer Wrote:2 - this individual might have co-consciousness with others in your system, to some degree or another. If that's the case, even lacking empathy and conscience, he might experience those things through another person. Who knows what that could do?
We do share co-consciousness; however, it seems to be partially one-way. I can recall specific moments in the body's life where it was like the fronter had taken on the role of this body so entirely that it was like his own life; and the fronter reacted in a way characteristic of Kage (trying to help + low wisdom stats = scaring people [not a desired end] and not working). This is physically recorded on our hardware. On the other hand, we have to actually seek answers to realize what Kage's motivations might be -- they aren't on the forefront of our mind, and can't be gained without rational inquiry into our recorded history; plus sincere desire on our part to understand, which may elicit response, which we then have to be open to for anything to get through, which requires at the very least getting beyond some of our fear of him. Understanding helps to get beyond the fear, though that reasoning can kind of go in a circle. Feared because not understood -> shutting down communication -> not understanding -> fearing, ad nauseum.

Kage actually has been able to look and experience through various of us who have a greater empathy ability, though most of the time the second-to-last restraint (before his getting restrained by the rest of our collective wills) is "rational self-interest," meaning it isn't in our collective own best interest to be reckless, or to look only at short-term gains. I'm sure that he's catching on to some of the deliberation as to whether to act on a strange impulse or not, when those impulses pop up -- I can't recall having had to restrain him, recently. And we're collectively learning social navigation as well; what is called for, when, and where to set boundaries so that the more extreme self-defense measures don't have to be used. So there is progress. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
2010-11-03 8:18
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Post: #4
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
I'm wondering how much of a difference in identification between 'kin types is because of the culture experiences are being interpreted from, or through. -- Io

I was reading around in the Fae subforum and found that a lot of those (IIRC) who have at one time identified as demons had also at one time questioned if they were fae. As far as I can tell, the distinction tends to be drawn in quality of energy and past life memories. As per Io's question above...I'm wondering how much importance on past life memories is gauged depending on the culture one was raised in, or exposes oneself to. This question probably wouldn't have come up except for my system's exposure to Eastern religion and philosophy, to the point that I can recognize others who start from the same precepts as myself (largely Buddhist/Daoist/Shinto).

Granted that this doesn't essentially have to do with the culture in which one lives, but that the culture does matter in giving one the option to be exposed to certain modes of thought, like modes of thought originating from Central, South, or East Asian cultures.

For me, it's a little bit difficult to identify with some of what others who ID as Fae describe. At least so far as we (on my end) know, the concept of Fae or Faery is culturally-specific (meaning that not all cultures everywhere have the same set of regularly occurring ideas). In addition, because of our current cultural position in this life, the concept of Faery is somewhat alien...much as I'd think something like, say, the concept of the Six Worlds would be to someone who hadn't sought out cultural exposure to some of the concepts like myself. In turn, learning about the Six Worlds is loosely linked to understanding the underpinnings of what I've experienced in this life -- in short, it's linked to understanding the forces that have shaped my/our psyche, which is in turn linked to my/our outward ethnic identity. (To be clear, I don't discount the experiences of European or Euro-American people as not being "ethnic"...)

Anyhow. Given the social milieu that I've been raised in -- both familial and societal -- the concept of "Demon" is more accessible to me than the concept of "Faery". This is even given as the Japanese term (from my ethnic background) which translates into both "Demon" and "Fae" is the same: "Youkai" (at least, a statement saying such was attributed to a Japanese mythology expert [whose name I've unfortunately forgotten] on the now defunct website, "Youkaimura"). But granted, the three concepts don't even seem to be close to being the same. What they all contain is the concept "magical nonhuman mischievous/possibly beneficent/possibly hostile being," but that appears to be where the similarity ends. And what the heck kind of definition is that? "Magical unpredictable alien?" Those three terms all add up to the same definition: "Unknown."

Then...there's the obvious drawback to IDing as Demon, being that it's a highly charged word that carries with it a lot of fear, which in itself refers back to attitudes pertaining to the unknown in this culture -- which can be otherwise seen in many forms (racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, etc). Not to say that other cultures don't have those things, but it's notable, as it is notable that I'm a product of the same milieu, and as such there is no place that is greater home to me than here. I may have Japanese ancestry, but were I to go to Japan, I would be nikkeijin (foreign-born of at least partially Japanese ancestry), not nihonjin (Japanese).

There's more I could say on the drawbacks to IDing as Demon here...but I'll let it rest for now.

From what I can tell, though -- it seems like at least until I have a good deal more information, both internally and knowledge-based, that it would be best to just treat my experiences as experiences and not worry all too much about human-based categorizations?

-- (Adrian)
2010-11-04 2:26
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Post: #5
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Sorry for not having read the beginning of this thread again...I just have to get something out.

Maybe the differences between the different types of shapeshifters are something that will be more apparent given time. Over the last couple of days, I've been thinking about the different types of plurals and how each has a different starting point and motivation.

There are those who are bigendered and start from a grounding in gender identity, and whose principal community is genderqueer. There are those who are angelic hosts and start from a grounding in spirituality, and whose principal community is spiritual. There are those who are trauma-splits and start from a grounding in trauma, whose principal focus is psychological, and who may not lose time. There are those who accept the DID/MPD model, and do lose time; who believe that psychiatry is correct, and whose focus is psychiatric. There are those who subscribe to the "healthy multiplicity" model and reject the present psychiatric model, while still believing their plurality to be possibly psychological. There are those who subscribe to the "healthy multiplicity" model and believe that the others they experience come from outside themselves, due to actions of spirit or memory. There are those who believe all their others must be human because their body is human and this is taken for granted. There are those who believe their others aren't necessarily human, and whose principal community is otherkin. There are those who may source their identity from fiction, whose network is majorly fed into by soulbonders. There are those who, on the other hand, have few or no fictives. There are those who experience others in their mind but believe those others to be Deities, whose principal community is Pagan. There are those who believe themselves to be psychic, who reject the Deity hypothesis and attribute their others' input to the actions of lower spirits.

What all these groups have in common is the perception or action of more than one locus of 'personality' in the mind. But how they got there and how they understand themselves are different, at times drastically different, from one another. The motivation of a bigender-type who focuses intensely on gender identity as the locus of difference, is different from the motivation of a trauma-split type who focuses intensely on trauma (real or imagined) as the reason for their plurality, which is different from the Pagan type who focuses intensely on devotion and in no way sees their Deity to be the same as themselves.

(EDIT: As a note, I should add that these categories are mostly not mutually-exclusive.)

I wouldn't have been able to give a rundown of that list unless I'd been hanging around plural groups and other groups where people who experience "others," gather, for a long, long time. Maybe the difference between fae and demon is similar, and I just have to hang out for a while to see the differences?
2011-05-05 0:24
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Post: #6
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
My 2-hour-long structures/woods class is about to start, so I'm typing in a rush. Sorry for lack of quoteformatting.

"My specific idea of fae as applies to Kage/Fiore is one where the empathy isn't as fully developed as it would ideally be, and so he does things "for fun" without realizing how it will affect the other person. Kind of like a kid, that way. And it isn't that he's hostile (in the sense of intending harm), it's just that he isn't thinking -- in the sense of being oblivious to the idea that he could be seen as intending harm. And on his end, he knows that he isn't intending harm, but the other person doesn't know that."

^This^ is absolutely precisely how 'Fae' (I don't have any other word for 'em, and that's what they appear to like me to call them) behave, in my experience/UPG. To all outward appearance, it's either
a)a complete lack of conscience in the sense that they regard pain and pleasure inflicted on other beings (or fear inflicted on them) as being just transfers of sensation, not anything "bad", and that their actions are chiefly based on personal self-entertainment through the use of other beings' reactions to their actions.
or
b) a complete inability to empathize, to the extent that when inflicting pain or fear, it doesn't register in their awareness that the 'victim' considers this to be a negative, aversive, taboo, or otherwise unacceptable and unpleasant action/sensation. They don't ever want to do something to somebody against the recipient's will... but they suck at realizing that we aren't joking when we say 'no', and no amount of insisting 'no' can really get it through to them, unless we find a way to cause a reciprocal aversive reaction in them, forcing them to have empathy at least briefly.

Regardless, they're definitely not 'evil' (although I don't believe in any objective standard of evil), and they don't regard their own actions as 'bad', ever.

Also, they shape-change/phase-shift, and they appear immune to personal injury on pretty much every level except direct spiritual/energy-based attacks.

Like I said, my UPG, nothing to be forced on you. Just... you call it Fae, and it sounds exactly like what I call Fae.

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2011-05-05 14:58
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Post: #7
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Hello, I see you were just on. I was hiding. XD Well, reading around in the Fae subforum, too, but still hiding. XD

Earlier today, before I had to leave, I was attempting to recall something I'd thought last night as I was trying to get to sleep, but didn't write down. Right before I left, I realized that the thought read: "It feels unnatural to be limited to (stuck in?) only one form." It was reading this thread again which got me to recall that the thought had to do with shapeshifting.

Incidentally...that branches off of one of my online acquaintance's troubles with feeling their gender is mismatched to their body, which got me to think again that I would like to change my body, which then led to the thought that *it's permanent*, you know...and that led to the thought "why can't I change it back and forth?" But then I'm human, there are repercussions to that sort of thing (at the very least it would throw my hormones into chaos), and there really isn't much room for being in between with, say, a deep voice and a full head of hair and more pronounced musculature and the lower bits I'd like...in addition to being accepted in society and being employed and all this. Let's just say it's imperfect.

I *could* go on testosterone for a short time to drop my voice and then go off of it, and modify my body through exercise (which I always say and tend not to do, because working out in a gym full of muscle men lifting 35-lb weights with their deltoids isn't necessarily the most comfortable thing, especially if you're not attracted to them and you look like a fertile young woman).

But people tend not to like that which is ambiguous, and in addition, tend to grossly misunderstand it. So it seems no matter how beautiful I become, someone's going to have a problem with it because it isn't "normal," or seek me out as a target because I'm not sending a clear message that I am what I'm not; or because they interpret my message as social permission to violate my space. If I transitioned, I wouldn't be hiding anymore, but I'd probably also be taken as an MTF crossdresser fairly often. Which...isn't really accurate, and which throws me directly into the danger zone (where I'll have to worry a lot more about violence directed at me).

So we've established that it feels as though I should be able to morph my form to suit how I'm feeling. In addition...in the past, say about six years ago, I realized that a lot of the trouble I was going through had to do with neglecting my body. Not eating, sleeping constantly (dreams were a respite from reality) or not sleeping enough (further back in college when I'd be absorbed in books), not taking care of hygiene, not feeling present...which is why I'm medicated now. It tends to pull me back onto an Earth-level reality, so that I can remember to eat, and remember to brush my teeth and shower and try and get to bed on time. And all of that has to be in place before optimal functioning can occur. Optimal functioning allows me to hold down a job, which will eventually lead to my being able to support myself.

Anyway, I'm talking about this because maybe it can give some clues as to the type of being I am. It seems that in my natural state (that is, unmedicated), my mind is somewhere else...preferring dreams. Though I suppose we can debate what is "natural" and what is not for a while, given that my "natural" state is classified as an illness, and given that the state of preferring dreams went along with not wanting to live. Not specifically wanting to die, but *not* wanting to live.

I'm not sure if I mentioned, I'm toward the end of decreasing a medication dosage to try and eliminate some side effects. So...my mind is a bit more fragmented (in the "disjointed" sense) than it has been, and the antidepressant medication is probably not working as well (the medication I'm decreasing enhances the effect of the antidepressant). Sorry...

Estelore Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:My specific idea of fae as applies to Kage/Fiore is one where the empathy isn't as fully developed as it would ideally be, and so he does things "for fun" without realizing how it will affect the other person. Kind of like a kid, that way. And it isn't that he's hostile (in the sense of intending harm), it's just that he isn't thinking -- in the sense of being oblivious to the idea that he could be seen as intending harm. And on his end, he knows that he isn't intending harm, but the other person doesn't know that.
^This^ is absolutely precisely how 'Fae' (I don't have any other word for 'em, and that's what they appear to like me to call them) behave, in my experience/UPG.
It's funny that you should quote that section. I mentioned sometime in November of last year that there was a system reorganization underway. As things stand now...at least when I was steadily midway between the med dosage that was fully effective but causing spasms, and the one I had been at before, which was less effective but took the edge off of things...we had been feeling that Kagerou and/or Fiore had likely been absorbed by Adrian. In any case, we hadn't seen much of them. Then the other night we had the vision of the bird/dragon/gryphon type thing, and it wasn't until we came back...either here or at one other site, and read about our description of Gryph...

It may be a different gryphon-type being (if Gryph was even...a gryphon? I'm unsure, now). Similar species, different energy.

Kage, Fiore, and Gryph were all very closely related, and tangentially they were all associated with "Blaze", which was Adrian's original codename. Gryph was just someone who at times we'd sense while the body was brooding; she would stalk around as a protector-type, somewhat like a big cat; silhouette-form, if one could exist in 3-D. The present gryphon-type being ...it just feels wrong to associate her with Gryph, though there is an energy about her that feels unsafe. I don't feel she intends harm, and she did extend a gesture of friendship, but it's a level of energy that we probably wouldn't have been able to deal with before, or which at least would have put us on edge before -- and that in itself would have triggered negative experiences, because our mind would not have understood, and at the same time would have gone running with it. Last time, we recognized that dealing with the orb might cause an encounter, and we went ahead with it anyway. And we're glad we did.

I do feel that it's likely this being is Fae, though why...? The shapeshifting aspect is part. What we've seen is a type of creature which lives in forest canopies, a climber, in first vision with six limbs...but it seemed almost...as though the form were being constructed as we sought it out. Which echoes what Bell told me when I was young; not to take the way a spirit looked, to be in any way indicative of its identity (even if the sight of the sun through the canopy and the feel of firmly grasping and climbing limbs from below, using one's arms to lift oneself, was a strong image -- for all I know, it could have been a parrot, whose experience with climbing parallels the use of human forearms more than it does the use of human legs).

In any case...the energies of the beings who were around before the reorganization have been shuffled around. Before coming back to read these old entries, I'd literally forgotten about Kage, Fiore, and Gryph. The two former ones are the ones which I've connected with the irritating faerylike mischievousness which seemed to wholly lack empathy. As said before, we *thought* Adrian had absorbed them (but then again; we also thought, when a child, that Blaze had fully supplanted Fiore -- wishful thinking?)

Rose, I had some memory of, because I've seen some aspects of her surfacing in Host, and had to recall the prior state in order to answer the question of why this experience felt familiar. Hm. Io was barely formed, and the others...well, we can say they were visiting. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> Or, possibly, that they're dormant, as Adrian was while Shang had taken Bell's place. (When Adrian came back into consciousness, Shang reverted to Bell, and I haven't seen Shang around much, lately.)

I'd forgotten about Shang. (This is why I keep so many records.)

Adrian mentioned something about the identification as plural being in effect a coping mechanism to try and make sense of what was going on in our mind. _That_ still holds true.

But...that doesn't explain the unnecessary "strangeness" of what's been going on here.

Gah...okay, maybe I should stop writing, now. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> This is fully two pages long...
2011-05-06 5:53
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Post: #8
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Chordal Wrote:But...that doesn't explain the unnecessary "strangeness" of what's been going on here.
By the way, I don't mean "strange" as a bad thing. I just mean that if the plurality were *just* a coping mechanism, why aren't all of the others human? I've met enough systems who don't seem to be in the otherkin community -- why otherkin?
2011-05-06 6:10
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Chordal
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Post: #9
Re: differences between specific types of shapeshifters?
Ehh. This is why I like to wait before posting <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> -- so you don't get the train-of-thought spew which grants information but not connections. I'm prone to tangential thought, not by choice; and can't always easily make the desired connections between significant ideas.

Significantly, since having read around the Fae forum a bit -- I can very much empathize with the "feeling starved if not being creative" thing. Then there's the "it feels unnatural to be stuck in one form" thing, and the "beauty being important" thing and the "hiding" (i.e. glamour) thing...ehhh. I also quite apparently have the "chaos" thing, at least if you look at all of this as psychological.

Then there's the "game the system" thing (seeing the structure of reality and trying to find a possible semi-comfortable spot), and the thing about seeing everything that *could* happen, and wondering why it doesn't...humans operate according to rules, many of them unspoken. Seeing them allows one to play the system. Seeing what's possible but doesn't happen, I suppose, could either lead to a sense of security (that most people operate within the rules); or a sense of anxiety that things could fall apart at any moment, if any actor is out of step, also gaming the system, or intentionally deciding not to play by the rules.

I suppose I should mention that in a sense it would be a relief if I found myself to be just a very creative and psychologically complicated human...because at least that means I can do something about it, and that I actually am just at core very (very, VERY) androgynous, and can move forward on the level of recognizing that...as versus being sometimes more masculine and sometimes more feminine and trying to gauge whether "masculine" means Adrian or Bell or whether "feminine" means Core or Sparrow.

In my last meeting with our head doctor (who knows about our gender issues), the doctor said that they could understand how it would be easy to hide by dressing in a feminine manner. Today...we went out dressed in a very feminine manner and were struck by how...congruent it looked. (Women's frames, silk shirt, low-cut undershirt, calf-length skirt, wedge boots, pearls, long hair, shaved face, curvy lower body, visible curves in the upper body.) This in a way could be considered glamour...I'm sure no one who saw me even had a hint about my gender issues, unless they saw the sliver of calf that was showing and that I hadn't shaved it. But that wasn't visible if you were outside of a 5-foot radius, or otherwise not looking for it.

We've also been shopping for new clothes recently...which was kind of entertaining, if only because the people in this body kept trying on feminine top after feminine top, and skirts and dresses, just because we could and they were pretty; and ended up buying a couple of mens' shirts and clothing that was otherwise androgynous. It's actually very strange to go shopping for clothes in the Women's section if you're in my position; it seems clothes designers have assumed that the vast majority of people who are in female bodies want to look feminine...when there's really no logical connection between wanting to be gendered as a feminine woman and possessing female reproductive organs which have shaped the body a certain way.

I also...because of my age, I'm looking more like a woman. Which, you know, I'm attracted to women, so it isn't all bad. But it's the social meanings that people infer from one's looking like a woman which is the thing that...I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Well. Why am I on this? Partially it's meeting so many female-assigned-at-birth people online that are different from what I've seen of people who wholly buy into hegemonic gender norms (sorry, I used a sociology term XD; "hegemony" means widely socially accepted and socially enforced) that have allowed me to feel more comfortable identifying as a woman. Thing is that a lot of this has happened within the otherkin community, and it makes sense that people who disidentified with humanity in general would not feel they had to be who other people told them they should be.

If you look at everything I've written above, it's fairly obvious that maybe part of the reason I'm here is because of the gender thing, which (combined with early instances of abuse because of the gender thing) is driving the plural thing.

If you wanted to go further, you could say that the sexual orientation thing (not feeling all right about being gay) has intensified and in a sense warped the gender thing (which was always there -- and I know why), which is driving the plural thing. I've actually been celibate for most of my life and with people I didn't love the other times, because I didn't realize I was gay, or because I was afraid of feeling. Thinking of myself as a man (which is actually an exaggeration of my natural gendered state) allows me to shift my frame of reference and see how...messed-up it is that I should be frightened or sad or ashamed because I'm attracted to women and not men...even though the vast majority of people who show interest in me are men and not women. And that in itself is also a pressure to outwardly show a male gender identity, because I want the women, not the men.

But I also like looking attractive, and I like being able to express femininity. It's just that I'm attracting people I don't want. Others being more accepting of gay people is also helping me feel all right about myself. Why should I feel sad or upset or blocked in, or feel like I'm prevented from living my life, because of the way I look? The other day I realized that I was speaking aloud about a cute girl who came near me with a tone of excitement and joy (even though I *squeed* and ran away), because the lowering of my medication is causing my sexuality and interest in others to return -- and at this point, I'll take it. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> And I didn't realize in that moment that I looked female and that I would be seen as lesbian. I really just didn't. Even though I was entirely dressed in mens' clothes. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

And basically -- it's also a bit difficult to work in outwardly transgender spaces because I am in between socially-accepted genders. I'm between what one would traditionally think of as a man and what one would traditionally think of as a woman. Being exposed to high amounts of people speaking about gender dysphoria and physically transitioning, raises empathetic feelings in me, and it's hard for me sometimes to tell those feelings apart from my own...even though at this point I'm fairly certain that my brain expects my body to be female. But my brain doesn't expect my society to treat me as they do, based on the fact that I'm female.

Which means a more genderqueer place, or a further alternative place, would probably be the best thing for me. And now that I've reached this point, maybe now I actually *can* attend groups for lesbian and bi women and not feel bad or guilty about it. I am an individual, and I have had my own learning experience, and it did take me into the territory of questioning my gender (for YEARS) -- and at this point, I seem to be in the process of confirming it. It's complex, it's off the map, but it's me.

I'm feeling pretty good about now...thanks for listening to me. Often, it helps a lot to be able to work these things out in writing...I really didn't know the above was in me until I wrote it down. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> Now, I should get some sleep...
2011-05-09 8:15
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