Sixteen years ago, I was a not-so-wee lad just starting his freshman year of high school. I had grown a foot and a half in the previous few years, and my voice had fallen down the staircase from alto to baritone. I had just come out to my mom as gay. My favorite saying, which my step-mother hated, was “sarcasm makes the world go ’round”.
And I had just found furry. That too.
Continue reading Editorial: On Irony
I’m 40 years old and I have a collection of stuffed animals.
Among furries this is pretty much par for the course. If you visit my flat I’ll probably invite you to browse my collection; if you stay overnight on my couch I’ll probably offer up one or two as sleeping companions.
I usually hide them when non-furries are visiting. Not so long ago a non-furry type visited, in an otherwise furry group. He’s furry-aware and furry friendly, but reacted with no small amount of shock and bemusement when I emerged from the bedroom with a handful of zebras to share around. Photos were taken for the amusement of others: look at this weird thing these adults are doing.
Stuffed animals, by arbitrary societal norms, are both childish and feminine.
Continue reading Editorial: On Stuffed Animals
Have you ever tried to delineate your past into phases? And not necessarily based on school. I mean, school and work do tend to serve as markers for a lot of our perception of time, and it seems almost habitual that we use them to mark out the periods in our lives. When I grew up, you went to preschool to prepare for kindergarten, which prepared you for elementary school. Fifth grade prepared you for middle school, and eighth grade for high school. Naturally, your senior year of high school prepared you for college, which prepared you for work, which helped you towards retirement, which seemed to be the best bit of all. Four years old, five, eleven, fourteen, eighteen, twenty-two, sixty-five.
When I was growing up, it all seemed right and natural. Right up until half way through my fifth-grade year, when I had just turned eleven. My parents had divorced when I was very young, and I’d spent my years up until that point living primarily with my mom. It was decided, though, once I left elementary school, that I would go live with my dad. That threw a wrench into the idyllic progression of years: where my dad lived, elementary school was kindergarten through sixth grade, not fifth, and middle school was replaced with junior high school.
If I were feeling particularly cheeky, I could blame most of this article on the turmoil caused by early recognition that, in River Tam’s words, “day” is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles, and really this was just all made up to make the paperwork easier. (I don’t, however, think that would give me a pass from the fact that I spent seven years in university, rather than four. That’s all on me.)
Continue reading Editorial: On Friends
Three years ago, on September 6th, a friend of mine passed away.
I’d not really had all that much exposure to death before that, if I’m honest. My step-adoptive-grandfather died when I was fairly young, and all I really remember out of that was the funeral, and inheriting a small medal he’d won from Colorado State University, something about soil science and geology. After that, I had dream after dream about what winning that medal must’ve been like, walking through some grand oaken hall to receive a pewter medal on a velvet pillow. That I later attended CSU, and that CSU had no oaken halls as in my dreams, always left me vaguely disappointed.
Other than that, my brush with mortality was limited to my grandmother, who passed some time later. The unfortunate part of her passing was that, for years before, she had been deep in a mire of dementia that left her a pallid shadow of her former self. From her, I remember that a lot of our final interactions were beset by confusion, frustration, and tears. “You’re [my mom]’s son, right?” she asked in the airport. She repeated the question seven or eight times, being sure, each time, to comfort herself that the person pushing her wheelchair was someone known to her.
My mom and I had flown out to see her as she got settled into a final stage of her life in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom flew out to see her one more time before she died, but, after a long talk, it was decided that I would stay home. “I can’t handle it. I can’t be in that role again,” I pleaded, and my mom let me stay with my dad while she flew out of town.
Continue reading Editorial: On Words