I am writing because I am a furry with serious social anxiety and a burning desire to meet other Furries.
My whole life most people have rejected me for the littlest things, like I am, to use their words, "the 7th grade Einstein." I like Pokemon, I am horrible at sports, nor do I like them, and I am usually seriously spontaneous.
Then, three years ago, I discovered the furry fandom, and I immediately felt a burning joy inside me. My palms got sweaty, I couldn't think of anything but creating Furry characters, it was GREAT! And it was thanks to you. Yours was the site I discovered furries from. I honestly can't think of anyone but you to thank for this. I think about this site once a day at least. But I'm off topic.
I need a way to meet furries. There are, in all probability, no other furries in my hometown, Rogersville, TN. It's MADDENING. I have so many things I want to do, make a fursuit (I actually thought of a way to make fursuits appear to actually appear alive, and express emotion in every thinkable way), go to a con, sell fursuits, learn to draw my 20+ characters, and finally let all this emotion out. I am sadly restricted from this for a number of reasons. My Mom doesn't know I am a furry. My Dad does and he is totally chill with it. My sis does too, My friends do but don't know much about it, nor do they care much. People at school will think me a freak, and I honestly can't go through any more rejection, and I don't know how I would get money to make a fursuit, much less how to meet furries.
Honestly, right now all I want is to meet other furries. I feel alone.
I can't hardly go places because I am too shy to ask if I can, people don't invite me, and I am unskilled (highly) in making friends.
Papabear, honestly writing this letter alone is a great relief of stress for me. My first plan was to find a furry chatroom and meet people there, but I felt the need to ask you for help first.
Eagerly hoping you'll help,
Brozin Despin (age 13; Rogersville, TN)
* * *
I was just curious. It's unusual for someone who is not already a furry to find my advice column. How did you come about it?
Thank you. I'll write soon.
* * *
Hi! There is no word in the English language to describe how happy I am to know you got my letter, and I agree, it is a bit strange.
So I guess I need to explain.
Eight years ago, I had a large stuffed bear, which I called Big Bear. One day, I was sick, and, much to my heartbreak, I ended up puking all over it. My parents couldn't clean it, and decided to throw it away. That night (and I am deadly serious) I had a dream where I spent one last day with Big Bear. I woke up, crying. The entire day afterword, I was sad. I couldn't figure out how to deal with the emotion. Then, 3 nights later, I was still sad, and when I fell asleep, I had a dream again. I was sitting in front of a large (though it might have just been because I was little) computer. On screen was a video of me and Big Bear. He was hugging me, and I was drawing. After a while, I left the screen, and Big Bear was looking directly at the camera. Then, he spoke in a way that I couldn't hear, but FEEL. I heard him say, "Bye bye, buddy."
Then, off screen, I heard what I now recognize as my 13 year-old voice, "What do I do now?" and he said, and I am extremely fluffing serious, "Ask PapaBear." Then he stood up and walked off screen, and a thirteen-year-old me walked onscreen. He smiled, showed me a yellow journal, just like my 10-year-old drawing furries journal. He then took it off screen and said "Let the fluffy Madness begin."
Then, 5 years later, I was crying alone, late at night, after a brutal, "Make-fun-of-the-weirdoes Festival," as I now refer to them, hosted by the haters of me and my friends, I remembered that dream. I was so messed up that I didn't even consider if I should, got up, sneaked into my parents room, took my mom’s laptop, and typed in "Ask PapaBear."
I began doing this nightly, until, and I don't know when, your site popped up. It was fantastic. I started reading the letters, and your responses.
There you have it. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, unbelievable even, but that IS what happened.
* * *
That is a remarkable story, indeed.
Big Bear meant a lot to you. Who gave you Big Bear when you were little? Tell Papabear a little more about him and your time together. Also, can you tell me a little more about your family? You said your father is okay with your furriness but your Mom doesn't know. I take that to mean your parents are separated?
I'm glad you discovered furries and privileged that my column apparently is to blame. Let's talk some more and figure this all out, shall we?
I believe that Big Bear is still there. You just have to call him back, hon.
* * *
First, this is the last email I can send to you, because as I don't have wifi at home, I have to use my grandparents, and I honestly don't trust my grandma not to judge, nor my mom, so I don't want them to get suspicious.
Honestly, I don't remember much more than that I spent every single minute that I was home with BB.
My parents aren't separated, it’s just that my dad was worried about how I seemed to be a bit more paranoid than usual lately, which was because I wasn't sure if he knew what a furry actually was, or had bit into the typical furry stereotype, or if he knew about furries at all. He sat me down and, after a LONG while, got it out of me. He didn't know anything, and is having me make a written summary of what a furry is. He told me it would stay between us, which is why mom doesn't know.
Thing is.... I am okay with Big Bear being gone. At this point I like to imagine he is doing what I have always wanted to, see the world, help people, and make a difference. It’s nice to think that things that change my life can change, or fix, other lives.
As for that dream, I have a number of logical explanations ( and a few weird ones)
My favorite is the most scientifically interesting.
Since humans use only ten percent of their brains, I believe the rest is calculating variables for the future, and coming up with probable futures, in the form of dreams. My most probable future being that I find the perfect place for me, an animal-based fandom, as caused due to my favorite things always being my stuffed animals.
I considered writing a science paper on that theory, but as I don't have any proof yet, I am going to wait.
I cant send anymore emails, but feel free to send me any you think relevant.
* * *
Your story about Big Bear now reminds me of the old Disney film Pete’s Dragon in which a dragon helps an orphaned boy find a family. Once that mission is accomplished, the dragon (Elliot) goes off to help other kids in need.
There are many people in the world who believe that dreams are more than just dreams; they are connections to the spiritual world or even to other parallel worlds and realities. I was just talking about this with a friend of mine. If you are skilled and know how to, you can even control these dreams so that you can dream what you wish and even return to dreams you had earlier. Native people call this “dream walking”; others have called it “lucid dreaming.”
While your story is remarkable, I do not find it incredible. It has brought you to the fandom and to a place where you can find others like you. You need to be furry and join in on the community.
I’ve had some writers about your age come to me before looking for a way to connect to other furries. The difficulty at your age is that you can’t drive and are not very mobile without your parents’ help. I took a quick look at FurryMap.net (far from comprehensive, but a start; you can also check out the Internet Furry Proximity Locator at http://ifpl.cattech.org/) and didn’t see any furries near you. My next suggestions for you would be that you join the Tennessee Furries group at http://tnfurs.net/forum/index.php and also the Facebook page for Tennessee Furries at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tennessee-furries/136149923070666.
Also, in case you didn’t know, there is a furcon in Nashville called FangCon.
By joining these groups and chatting with the members, it is hopeful you will make some furiends with whom you can connect. You might also do some searching for groups in Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina, as they are all fairly close to you.
Another way that furries connect is through online gaming. Playing these games, you will often come into contact with other furries as you go on virtual adventures. It’s one way to make friends. The oldest online furry games are the multi-user (MU) games like FurryMUCK and FurToonia (see here https://en.wikifur.com/wiki/MU* to learn more). FurryMuck is PG-13 in content, but still, tread lightly as some older furries get a bit racy.
You can also try connecting on SecondLife, which is a virtual community that has some furry-specific areas. To play SecondLife you need a pretty fast Internet connection. SecondLife can also be a rather mature, so it would probably be better to try a MUCK first.
Finally, there are the usual places where many furries hang out, including SoFurry, Furry4Life, and FurAffinity (be careful of the porn, there!), as well as Facebook, where there are many furry Facebook groups.
The difficulty you will face in being a furry is that it is often associated with a certain type of pornography. You are 13, which is, of course, too young for that, and, anyway, I don’t think you’re interested in it, which is a good thing! Just be careful. There will be a learning curve for you until you find the clean places to go. (Oh, and on FurAffinity, click on the SFW [“Safe for Work”] link at the top right and that will block all the adult images).
I hope this helps you get started. There is a vast community out there of tens of thousands of people just like you who enjoy their furry side. It’s a great way to make friends. Here’s wishing you a wonderful experience!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.