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
Seventeen years ago, at about this time of year, a female friend publicly accused me of hitting her.
There was a party at the house I shared with four others, and she was invited. At the end of the night she came into my bedroom. And a couple of hours later, she called a friend of mine, very upset, saying that I’d hit her. She probably told other people as well; I don’t know.
But I didn’t hit her. We didn’t even make physical contact. She was lying.
Here’s what happened next.
Continue reading Zaush, Rape Culture, and Me
In many ways I’m not a very typical fur. I’m almost fifty-three as I write this, work in a blue collar field, and have little to no interest in furry art or artists. (I’m into furry fiction to the near-exclusion of all else, fandom-wise.) I don’t have a “furry-name” or “fursona”, and my first fursuit, if I still had it, would be older than the word itself. I would never have heard of half the fandom-famous anthro-cartoon characters if it hadn’t been for the fandom itself, because I was already an adult—even in many cases middle-aged—when the programs aired and became part of the rest of the fandom’s childhood. Perhaps most tellingly, I was thirty-seven years old before I ever heard the word “furry” used in its fandom sense. In other words, I lived most of my life in the universe that existed before there was a furry fandom, and remember it well.
This world was the world of the “paleofur”. The time before any of us knew there were others like us, who shared our interests and tastes. Before the internet brought us together, in other words, the long, long era when being a fur was a terribly lonely and to some degree even shameful thing.
Continue reading Paleofurs— The Anthropomorphic Fans of the Past
And now comes the time when I have to write a very important, rather personal article. Again.
I can see you all bracing yourselves already. “Oh no, here goes Makyo…”
Continue reading Directions
When I was asked to become a regular contributor to [adjective][species], I couldn’t have been more excited. I had been following the site for quite some time, and I thought its approach to discussing the furry fandom was something interesting, unique and long overdue. Thinking about this fandom as a society, a segment of the population the same as any other, elevates the way we think about ourselves, legitimizes our little section of the Internet, encourages us to take ourselves a bit more seriously than we do. I was excited to be a part of that conversation.
So I sat down and thought up a good post that would serve as an icebreaker between us. This was right around Thanksgiving, so I thought using an anecdote I had heard about the first time the Native Americans had encountered the Europeans would work. It would segue into a rumination on perspective, and how we only find the things in the world that we look for. There were some kinks to work out, but I thought it would be a good thing to open our relationship with. With you in mind, dear reader, I opened up a new document and started writing.
Continue reading When Your Mind Betrays You
Every now and then, it’s important to take a step back and gain a little bit of perspective. It sounds cliché, of course, and there are a lot of people in my life I can imagine scoffing at the type of post I’m about to write, if not that very phrase itself. In fact, there are plenty of other posts that I have in the docket, but they can wait for another time, and I hope you’ll begrudge me a fluff post while I gain my perspective. Also, a trigger warning for some brief but frank discussion of suicide, and excessively sentimental foxes.
Continue reading Adding Structure to Life
So there I was, pretending to be a fox person (as all good stories should start), when I noticed something rather strange happening. It’s probably telling that it wasn’t me pretending to be a fox person that was the strange part, but I think by this point in my life I’ve so thoroughly integrated that aspect of myself, that avatar, that not having that at least at the back of my thoughts seems outlandish.
The something strange was twofold: first, I started noticing that the way in which I interacted with others when I was doing the fox thing, down to my speech patterns, was totally different from the way in which I interacted with just about any other part of my life. Additionally, that change in style had rather profound impact on the ways in which others interacted with me, or at least with this constructed avatar. The more I thought about it, too, the more I realized that this construction of our front-stage personalities goes further than just how formally, submissively, or whateverly we act, but all the way down into the nuances of language, the subtleties of inflection, and the smallest of gestures.
Continue reading Interpreting an Avatar
Tonight I test-drove a $40,000 pickup truck. Don’t get me wrong—I never had the slightest intention of buying the thing. As I made sure the salesman knew before I ever climbed in and turned the key, I was actually maybe, possibly interested in a baseline truck that costs about half that. My current plain-jane 4×4 is seventeen years old and has nearly 100,000 miles on it, you see, and the auto manufacturer I work for is currently offering large rebates to the general public and even larger ones to their employees to move the things more quickly, which sparked my interest. But the dealership had nothing but top-end super-fancy (read that “high margin, high profit”) stuff on their lot, so if I wanted to take a test drive it was a $40,000 truck or nothing.
Continue reading How Being Furry Saved Me Forty Grand
Did you know that I used to read tarot cards? I still have the embarrassingly large collection of decks, books, and other accessories that go along with the practice. I pull them out every now and then to remember the person that I used to be. I used to be intensely focused on the subconscious and all of the ways in which it wound itself through our waking lives. I used to daydream about spending the requisite hours necessary for a 78 card spread using every card in the standard deck, even if I only did it once, At one point, I even vowed to do one reading for myself a day for 78 days in order to write a book about the experience (an idea that crops up with just about every interest I pick up, I should note).
I’ve talked about change before, and I have even laid bare some of the changes I have gone through personally. Even though my fascination with tarot has waned, I still retain the general interest in the ways in which the subconscious works in our lives, and I can still appreciate the deep symbolism that goes along with it. I would be lying, in fact, if I were to say that there wasn’t some subconscious link tying me to the furry fandom. And, having had a few conversations on that point, I think that the same holds true for a lot of us here.
Continue reading Subconscious Aspects of the Fandom