Dear papa bear,
I am a natural-born female, but I identify as genderfluid (this means at times I'll feel female but at other times I feel like I'm a male—and should have been born one). This took some time to figure out. Now my question: As a female I'm bisexual, but as a male I'm gay. I'm open to finding a mate of either gender, but I find it a bit difficult to explain to them how I am. Keep in mind my mental gender changes time to time, day to day, but my physical gender will not be changed. How could I explain something like this to them without seeming like a person who can't pick a gender or sexuality?
This took me years to figure out about myself; it’s just explaining it to others because it would be great to find a mate (that, though, is something I'm working on myself =^^=)
Sparkplug the Fox
* * *
What’s wrong with explaining it to them the way you just explained it to me in this column? Sparkplug, you have spent literally years thinking about this and coming to conclusions about what genderfluid is and what it means to you. That makes you eminently more qualified than Papabear to explain what genderfluid is, and I think you’ve done a fine job of succinctly defining it right here.
Your problem isn’t that you don’t know how to explain genderfluidity (not sure even if that is the right word), it’s getting up the courage to talk about it in front of someone you like and might be interested in as a love interest. And the way to do that is to not apologize for who you are. And if questions are asked about that, explain how you feel honestly and bluntly. If someone can’t or won’t understand who you are, it is their problem, not yours. Never compromise yourself to try to please others for the sake of a relationship, because that will land you in a dishonest relationship.
One glorious day you will run into someone who loves you for you. When that happens, grab onto them and hold tight.
Wishing You Love,
Hello there, Papabear,
I am 27 and recently got divorced about 6 months ago in a very terrible way. Well, that isn’t the real predicament. Though after the divorce I was looking at a few non-furry dating sites like match.com, PlentyOfFish, etc. Though I have been a furry since 2009, thus after I got married I let the furry part slip away from me . Thus after the divorce I decided to return to furry section. I haven’t had much luck before I got married to find anyone. (By the way, I am hetrosexual). But yet I am back at square one before I met this person I married, now with a divorce sign hanging above my head. I didn’t have luck on the sites mentioned and was wondering if there is any other dating sites besides Pounced, Furfling, or Furry Mate. And if so is there someone out there for a divorced furry such as myself?
This part above is my question/predicament I would like to give advice to furries as well in this message letter. Before I was told of my divorce, which I didn’t see coming at all, my ex-wife and her family took me to an all-you-can-eat buffet before telling or mentioning about the divorce. No, I am not trying to be papa bear here or some love doctor, but it is better to speak of a divorce or break up sooner than later because the longer you wait the more it will hurt.... Even if you don’t know how the other person reacts or how they feel, it’s better to tell them sooner than later. Because when later comes, that’s when the other person doesn’t want anything to do with you, talk to you, or even be friends with you. This concludes my advice and question, though I don’t know if I should have shared the advice, though.
* * *
Sorry to hear about your divorce. Divorces are always painful, even the most amicable of them. I agree with you that if you know you are going to divorce (or otherwise break up with) someone, you should tell them as soon as possible because, as you say, the longer you wait, the harder it will be for the other person, and that’s just cruel. It was also very unclassy for her family to break the news at a buffet restaurant. Such things should be between the two partners and discussed in a private setting. (It’s okay to share advice here :-)
Now, about dating sites. For mundanes, there are some that are designed specifically for divorced people who are seeking love, such as http://www.divorcedpeoplemeet.com/. I think, if I were you, I would start there before looking at furry sites, which are mostly populated by young furs who have never married in the first place. At 27, you are getting close to the “greymuzzle” stage, which is generally considered to be anyone 30 and older, so you might want to go on some of the Facebook furry groups and look for older furs with more experience in the world of marriage and divorce.
Remember, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find a new partner. Let it happen naturally, and be yourself! :-)
Hi. I talked to you before. I just wanted to let you guess due to my own reasons to avoid being annoying. You probably already know who I am.
But I been thinking, it's about that relationship thing we talked about a long time ago. A long time ago, you claim that having a relationship with 'imaginary' beings was "unhealthy". Then you might of understood something and changed, but wasn't sure today when thinking back.
To be honest.. In a way, I have these “relationships” all the time and it's often based off theories that involves the “spiritual world,” “God,” “mind creates reality,” etc., etc. For example, sometimes I like to imagine a “fictional” personification creature with me whenever (spiritually?) I am laying down and sometimes not. In fact, I do this a lot >because it makes me feel better or happier.<
I do not let it control me that involves it being over my own important responsibilities though. I hope not. lol I just do this in my free time I think.
But the catch is that, I do believe it “could” be real and I do feel like a relationship anyway, but in a harmless way..
Yes, in a way, I "believe" I feel connected (which can be considered relationship). In fact, with my beliefs in fictional writing, images, games, whatever, me having some kind of “real” belief (connection) in faith like what I listed earlier is the only way for me to enjoy whatever is “fictional.”
Imagine this: If you imagine yourself at a beach and believe you are there temporarily, your brain will act exactly the same (No different) as if you were “really there” because the brain “can't tell” the difference.
I might have asked you a similar question before, but I think that was more of a different one, or just part of something (Was it something about a multiverse?).
Anyway, do you think the way I like believing is "crazy" or "unhealthy"?
Sorry for asking. But I feel very uncomfortable of when you said that having a “relationship” >it's self< was unhealthy just because it's “imaginary.”
I still sadly fear you will say it's bad since I remember you said something like "As long if you don't believe it's real" to someone once and that was AFTER I talked to you about one thing one time.
Remember, aren't there furries who has spiritual beliefs with fursonas?
* * *
Yes, there are many furries with spiritual beliefs. I’m guessing you are “G” from this letter. And that you might also be referring to my conversation with a furry about his being enamored with Tech E. Coyote. I believe that such relationships can be problematic if they interfere with your life in this world, including work, school, and relationships with other people. On the other hand, a vivid imagination can, as you say, give us much happiness and can be harmless as long as we are in control (if—worse case scenario—our “imaginary” friend starts telling us to kill people, we’ve got a serious mental problem).
That said, your letter touches on two very complex issues about which one could write entire books. But I don’t have the energy to do that here, so I will just summarize them. The first one is the idea of a multiverse/parallel universes. Many physicists and other scientists believe that this is very true. In fact, there has been recent research showing that the current distribution of matter and energy in our universe could be best explained if we hypothesize the existence of other universes that are having a physical influence on this one. There is a theory of there being many bubble universes, too, all bumping against each other in a huge omniverse, and then the idea—spawned by quantum physics and string theory (M theory)—that because of things like the Uncertainty Principle an infinite number of possible realities exist simultaneously in the same space. Therefore, as I am typing this in my office, there is a Grubbs (Kevin) who is now a zookeeper at the Detroit Zoo, another one who realized his dream of becoming a sci-fi novelist, another one who is now destitute and living on the street, another one who is a millionaire, and—getting more radical—another one who looks like a lizard because the dinosaurs never went extinct, and another one who actually looks like a bear because an evolutionary path started in which bears became highly sentient. There are, literally, infinite possibilities.
Combine this idea, now, with the notion that not all of us are disconnected/unaware of these other universes, and that, in fact, through a more evolved spirit, we are able to get in touch with these other realities, one of which might contain the “imaginary” people you interact with.
Even more powerful than this idea, however, is the belief (which I hold dear to my heart) that we are all a part of God. Everything is God and that includes us. Therefore! Since God has the power of creation, so do we, although we can be more limited in that power because of the boundaries we ourselves put on our connection to God (boundaries that include believing that what we see is the only reality or that we need religious leaders to serve as intermediaries between our souls and God, which is bull pucky).
From this, it may be concluded that there really is no difference between what is in the mind and what surrounds our “reality.” (sidenote: if you have never read it, I think you would enjoy The Neverending Story by Michael Ende; read the book before seeing the movie because they are different in some important ways).
Imagination Is Power.
It is imagination that gives us wonderful inventions and that changes the world, spiritually and politically. It is imagination that despots and religious tyrants fear most (hence, the restrictions imposed on the masses cloaked as religious “laws”) because imagination opens our eyes to the possibilities of the universe, and those possibilities usually have no need of the politically and financially powerful.
The imaginative power of the mind is essential to our psyche. A January 1, 2014, article in Scientific American noted:
The recent discovery of a network in the brain dedicated to autobiographical mental imagery is helping researchers understand the multiple purposes that daydreaming serves in our lives. They have dubbed this web of neurons “the default network” because when we are not absorbed in more focused tasks, the network fires up. The default network appears to be essential to generating our sense of self, suggesting that daydreaming plays a crucial role in who we are and how we integrate the outside world into our inner lives. Cognitive psychologists are now also examining how brain disease may impair our ability to meander mentally and what the consequences are when we just spend too much time, well, out to lunch.
I think you would find the full article fascinating: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/living-in-an-imaginary-world/.
As with any power, however, there are potential dangers. Just as Bastian in The Neverending Story found that great creative power can threaten our own goodness and ability to control our lives, this creative force within us must be dealt with cautiously and with a measure of wisdom to keep it from running away with our minds.
The above article also makes reference to a website I believe you will find very useful and inspiring: Wild Minds at http://wildminds.ning.com/. Isn’t the Internet wonderful? So many resources! And this one is just for you—all about people who daydream and imagine.
My furry friend, Papabear apologizes if my previous columns upset you. I didn’t mean to say that imagination was a bad thing; I merely was trying to urge caution because it can be a very risky thing if we do not understand it.
My recommendation to you is to do some reading on spirituality, shamanism, pantheism, physics (science and spirituality are connected), lucid dreaming, and the power of the mind. Absorb the experience and knowledge of others, learn from them, and then build on their discoveries to follow your own spiritual path.
Hi, Mr. Bear, or do I call you Papa?
My question for you is this.... I live in a state away from my mate/love, who I will only name as Akio for safety reasons. I am trying to limit this question to one for this form, but I fear that it might be a two part in the end. My main question, though, is that in preparation for meeting him sometime in the fall, I want to be ... comfortable with showing myself to him—at least, in a more private sense. So, I enlisted the help of my other friend, Grey Wolf, as I'll refer to him, and am tempted to start Skyping with Grey Wolf to get more comfortable, ah, showing myself off to other men in a more private/intimate way. Do you think that I should do this? And, if so, am I even doing this the right way?
Allen (age 17)
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One might first ask why you would feel uncomfortable showing yourself nude to your mate but you are okay showing it to Grey Wolf? I’ll answer my own question based on my intuition: because you care what Akio thinks about your body but don’t really care as much what Grey Wolf thinks, and, therefore, if Grey Wolf somehow finds you physically lacking it won’t hurt as much compared to if Akio did the same thing to you. Am I correct?
Ask yourself this: if you told Akio what you are planning to do, would he approve? Is he okay with you doing cam and yiffy role play with other people? If so, then this might be okay, but I have a gut feeling you have never asked him or broached the question at all because you are too shy. Therefore, you would be doing the Skyping in secret, knowing full well Akio might not approve. If I am right, what does your gut say about that? Are you asking for Papabear’s approval because you know it’s not really a great idea?
Given what I can surmise about your character and relationship from your brief letter, I would say that you really shouldn’t Skype naked with Grey Wolf. It’s not the right choice for you and your particular situation.
Judging by your letter, too, I suspect you are a virgin, yes? So this is all new to you (kudos for wanting your first experience to be with someone you care about). Also, I am going to assume that your parents know about your travel plans (if not, then cancel the whole idea and read this letter I just wrote).
Assuming everything else is copacetic, what we need to do, then, is help you be comfortable with your body in front of Akio.
First off, has Akio indicated to you in any way that when the two of you meet you are going to jump into bed and have naked fun time? Is he in any way pressuring you to do that? If so, that’s not cool, and I would reconsider visiting him if that is his primary motivation. Why is it that people feel they immediately must get naked and yiff when they first meet? Sheesh.
Go visit Akio in the fall (if he is not pushing you about sex), and take the pressure off yourself by removing the expectation of sex. Instead, spend time with Akio doing fun things around town, talking, seeing a movie, playing minigolf or laser tag, sightseeing, holding hands, getting to know each other, even hugging and kissing are all good. This is your first in-person meeting with Akio, yes? And, I hope, it will be for several days. Spend the first couple of days getting to know him in the real world. You might find, to your surprise, that the chemistry is just not there and that you change your mind about having sex with him (thus effectively deleting the sexual pressure completely).
On the other paw, you may fall hopelessly and deeply in love with him—the kind of love you can’t experience online. And if that happens, know what? I predict that there will be a moment when the two of you, alone in a room together, fall rapturously into each others arms; the clothes come off (the condoms, hopefully, go on, says Critter), and your two bodies merge as one without any feelings of self-consciousness at all. Because, hon, it’s not about what your body looks like (although I suspect you have nothing to be embarrassed about) it’s about the passion you feel for one another that makes sex wonderful. Too, if Akio really loves you and is a good guy, he won’t care about or even notice anything about your body that you might find less than perfect.
In summary, no, I don’t think that Skyping naked with Grey Wolf will do you any good (for another thing, you might get comfy with Grey Wolf, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into other situations). Go see Akio for the right reasons (sex should not be one of them), and if the moment is right, and Akio is the right guy, then the sex will come naturally, organically.
First, I'd like to say thank you reading this, I've always received help on your advice. I'm going to make this to the point: for a while I've been planning a trip to St. Louis in the summer to see my mate. Now I have the money required and a place to stay, but the thing is my parents don't know that I have been planning this or that I'm a furry. I don't know how to ask my parents if I can go or not due to them always being overprotective. I truly want to see him, so I guess my question is, what's the best way to convince them to let me go? Thank you in advance, sir.
-Rune (age 17)
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Since you are still 17, you realize, of course, that you can’t go traveling without your parents’ permission to do so, unless you want to be considered a runaway (or if you go through the rather difficult process of declaring yourself independent of your parents—that is, legal emancipation, which is uncalled for in this case). And you’re not going to get their permission to go visit some person they don’t know and have never, apparently, met.
Really, your being a furry has nothing to do with your dilemma. But I suspect what is important here is that you’re gay. If you’re parents don’t know that, then you should really work on that confession before you go running off to have fun with your boyfriend.
Let’s say that they do know you’re gay. Great! You still have the sticky issue that they don’t know you have a boyfriend and who that person is. From your letter, I read between the lines and interpret your situation to be thus: you’re a gay furry with conservative parents and you have not told them anything about who you really are. If this is the case, then there is no way you’re going to be able to convince them to allow you to travel to another city by yourself to meet someone they have never met. They, as your parents, are responsible for your welfare and have every right to know where you are, what you are doing, and with whom.
Now, you could wait until you are 18, move out of the home, find a job to support yourself, and THEN, as a responsible adult, go and see your friend in St. Louis. Or, you could tell them what’s really going on, have them meet this potential love of your life, and, if all goes well and they like him and understand what’s going on, ask for their permission to visit him by yourself in St. Louis.
The only way you’ll be able to convince your parents of anything is if you are honest with them. Any other alternative involves lying through your teeth, feeding them a bunch of bullcrap, and sneaking off to St. Louis, a plan that is very likely to backfire in your face. (My bear sense was telling me that by “convince” you meant “persuade through deception and half-truths,” but I could be wrong).
Please write again if the above was not helpful.
Well.... This is going to be a bit of an odd question.
I feel like I can't be a kid. Yeah, that's going to need a little explaining...
Ever since I was a young pup, I've always been a bit more serious and analytical. I would make complicated plans to get out of things, ponder things young people aren't really supposed to ponder.
Now that I'm older, some medical issues and very dark things in my life have made me even more mature, and it's beginning to become a problem. While most teenagers are out having fun, I'm pondering about if there's a God or not, my future (that's a big one), and other things. All this over thinking has really made me a bit more bitter and cynical.
Lately, my mom spoke to me about this. She said I acted way too old for my age, and that I should start acting my own age. But... how? I can't just push these nagging thoughts aside, my brain just won't stop! I want to go out and live a wild party life like the others; I want to be a high schooler.
Then, there's another part of me saying that this is normal for someone my age, and another part saying I should just stop trying, my innocence is long gone.
This may sound like a silly problem, but I feel like I'm not going to have a childhood to remember. I never really acted like a kid, and I don't know where to start. I don't even know if this all makes sense, to be frank. Thank you for reading. I'm a huge fan of what you do, and this will be my first letter to you.
Your confused canine,
Pixel (age 14)
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Yours is not a silly question at all, and thanks for asking it. There are a couple possibilities as to why you are more mature-acting than your tender years would indicate. For one, you mention having gone through some “dark things” in your life. If, in your early years, you faced a lot of tragedy and/or a lot of responsibilities being heaped on your shoulders, this can age you very quickly. I’ve known people, for example, who are the oldest child of several siblings and their parent had to work (the other parent being absent), so they were saddled with raising their younger brothers and sisters, assuming the role of parent as a teenager. Being asked to shoulder adult-sized responsibilities can definitely age you. If anything like that has happened to you, it is certainly understandable that you have lost your childhood and have been forced to grow up far too quickly.
There is another possibility, though, and that is that you possess an old soul. Whether you believe what I’m about to tell you or not, that is up to you, but I have been told that I have an old soul. As a kid, my older sister used to say I behaved like a grandpa. She wasn’t far wrong. I wasn’t much for playing, although I did some. I much preferred time alone. I liked to read and listen to classical music.
I believe that our spirits can go through life on Earth (or, possibly, elsewhere) more than once, and that some of us have been doing so longer than others—not necessarily as humans, either. Most of us don’t remember what happened previous to our current lives, yet much of that experience and wisdom can be ingrained in our spirits and carries over to the current life.
If this is true for you, then you really haven’t been robbed of your childhood—you already had one or several, you just don’t recall them.
But just because you aren’t experiencing a childlike period in this life doesn’t mean you can’t have a childlike wonder in your life. Case in point: you’re a furry who has a canine fursona named Pixel. That is not something that a jaded, world-weary adult would do. Therefore, you still have that childlike (note: not childish but childlike) imagination that is so vital to keeping us young and full of hope for the future.
Instead of mourning the loss of childishness, be appreciative that you still harbor this childlike quality, and are way ahead of the game when it comes to maturity and, I suspect, some wisdom as well. These qualities will serve you well if you embrace them; they can help you avoid making a lot of stupid mistakes, such as partying too hard, getting drunk or high or both and doing something incredibly stupid (car accident, pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.). There are many many many things you can do that are enjoyable that have nothing to do with acting like a drunken idiot.
Innocence can be overrated. It leaves you vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Instead of being innocent, fill your heart with wonder, love, and kindness. These are all superior qualities to mere innocence.
Your Fellow Old Soul,
I've been a long time lurker of this site, and I'm very glad that there is an advice column specifically for Furries. It's difficult explaining certain problems to people who are not part of the fandom, so I am very grateful :)
My question is a sexuality issue. But before we get to it, I must provide some background.
Since I was about 12, I realized that I was aroused by the feel of plush and fur. It sort of evolved from there to getting aroused by mild “fat fur” artwork. I would watch a cartoon, and anytime there was a furry character with a stuffed stomach, I would get aroused. This continued well into the present day, and the arousal evolved so that I now feel arousal from related sources (furry vore, overfed feral animals and in extremely few cases, humans who would overeat, etc.)
The strange thing is, even though I would get aroused, the thought of having sex with these characters in unappealing. I may be mildly interested in very few sexual situations in general but the desire to have sex is not there. I've been reading about asexuality and I seem to fit that bill. Here comes my concern:
You see, I've been masturbating to these various sources of arousal for all these years. It averages out to at least 5-8 times a week. I know when I was 12, I would “have sex” with the pillow or plush, but it wasn't a desire to sexually penetrate the object. It was just stimulation.
My question is, did my masturbation to those paraphilia kill my sex drive? Did I somehow cause myself to be asexual by too much stimulation from fantasy media? I accept my asexuality and I do not feel ashamed of it, but I am curious as to why I'm this way.
My mom suggested that I just haven’t grown up and/or I’m too shy and introverted when it comes to girls and socializing. Another theory is that I'm just simply this way because that's the way it is. Although, if there's any truth to my concerns, it would be rather disappointing to know that I did this to myself, and that I could've had a different sexual insight, if that makes any sense.
Thank you so much for any information you can provide. Once more, I'm extremely grateful that a service like this in the fandom exists :)
* * *
This is one of the more complicated letters I’ve received about sexuality. An asexual person, as you know, is someone who is uninterested in sex, yet you are sexually stimulated by your interest in plushies, fur, and feeding. Yes, you aren’t interested in actual intercourse with people (or things), but there is still arousal nevertheless; therefore, you are not completely asexual.
You ask whether your fetish killed your sex drive. For that to be true, there would have to have been a desire for coitus in the first place, but you do not indicate ever having an interest in indulging in sexual intercourse with another person. So, no, your fetish didn’t put an end to what never existed.
I would go with the hypothesis that you are the way you are because that’s the way it is. We are all wired differently when it comes to sexuality, and most of us fall somewhere among the fifty shades of grey.
There is nothing wrong with your particular brand of sexuality; it is just one of many variants that are out there. As I always say (and Wiccans say), if you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want to do.
The only problem I can foresee here has to do with the possibility, in the future, of you finding someone you really love and want to be with for the rest of your life and that she (or he) wants to have sex with you but you aren’t interested. You could, perhaps, find an asexual partner or, a bit more difficult, find someone who enjoys the same the same things you do. Even shy and introverted people can find love, so this is something you should consider. And the first step to finding love is to accept yourself as yourself, remembering, too, that your sexuality is only one aspect of a much larger you.
As Papabear always says, time to be more of a bear. Relax, don’t obsess, and don’t work too hard.
Hope that helps!
Hey Papabear! You might remember me from a bit back (about a month or so). And thanks for your help, I made like 3 furiends!!!!
So my question now is this: I am bisexual, and on my gay side I like furry. I need to tell my parents this, but they are very, very conservative Christians. So I should elaborate on them I guess...
So my dad already knows I am a furry, which he doesn't know much about, though he is aware of the sexual aspect of the fandom, and currently believes I am completely uninterested in it. He will most certainly not take me being bi well at all. He is VERY close-minded.
My mom doesn't know that I am a furry, nor is she, to my knowledge, aware of the existence of the fandom. She will also definitely freak out about me being bi. She, too, is close-minded.
My parents are still together, though about my dad knowing I am a furry and my mom not ... that is because my dad just didn't really think my mom needed to know, which now that I think about it feels kinda ... wrong.
My older sister is probably the only one who won't be bothered. She listens when things matter, and doesn't hold people to past actions. Though when something isn't important she can be VERY mean.
My little brother is 10 and really doesn't need to know about this stuff, so I only mention him for full clarity of the situation.
So in my family the most open minded people are my sister and me.
Brozin Flamepelt (age 13)
* * *
Hi, Brozin, and welcome back :3 I’m glad the previous letter helped you connect with some new furiends!
So, two things here: being bi and being furry. On the first subject, I would suggest you slow down a bit. I am not saying you are not bisexual, but at the tender age of 13 you are still going through a lot of changes—physically, mentally, emotionally—and things might change for you. This is because the years or puberty are very confusing ones. It is not unknown for someone to think they are bi or gay and later figure out that they really aren’t, or, as in my case, believe they are straight and later discover (much later! in my case) that they are really gay. Therefore, before you go telling any friends or family members you are bi, please take some time to really work on discovering yourself and who you are.
Make yourself 100% sure of your sexuality before you go confessing anything. And don’t rush it; it might take a few years. You might, eventually, years from now, please, have a sexual encounter with a man or a woman and discover you don’t really enjoy it ... or you do. Again, please hold off on this particular confession. You are 13, and it is rather early for you to be worrying about such adult things. Please take a few more years and enjoy being a kid. We are in much too much of a hurry in American society to push our youth into adulthood.
About being furry: Papabear’s written about this extensively in the past. Please look at the Coming Out Furry category on the Letters page. In short, the best approach, especially with conservative parents, is to: 1) not make a big deal about being a furry—explain it as a fun and harmless hobby, 2) be completely open with your furry activities and make it clear to your parents that they can look at your computer files at any time (hide nothing; this builds trust), and 3) see if you can’t get them to take you to a furry convention so they can see, first-hand, that there is nothing to be anxious or fretful about.
(Note: I am researching and writing The Furry Book and am working very hard to complete it by the end of this year; it will contain, among many many other things, advice on this particular topic).
Again: hold off on confessing about being bi until you are absolutely certain about it; then write to me again; and take a laid-back approach about being a furry. I know this is kind of a mixed message (be quiet about being bi, but open about being furry), but your age in this case makes this approach relevant for you right now. Things will change as you get older.
Our childhood is gone in a flash. We all need to take the time to slow down and enjoy life. Kids should enjoy being kids, and parents and society need to stop pressuring our youth to grow up before they are ready to do so.
P.S. Your instinct is correct that your father not talking to your mom about your being furry is “kinda wrong.” Sounds like they have some communication issues of their own. You note that your parents are “still” together; my bear instincts tell me they are having some marital issues, no? I hope they can patch things up. Hugs.
Hello, Papabear. Thanks for reading my letter, I think the work you do with this website is really amazing.
So here’s the thing: I been feeling bad or nothing at all, I don't get excited about anything anymore. I don't want to do anything, so I do nothing all day. I have books I wanted to read but I lack the will to start. I stay at my pc waiting for someone to talk to me on skype, looking at random stuff at internet, fapping, doing all kinds of useless things. Sometimes I try to draw but I always stop after 10 minutes or so. Sometimes I feel a strong desire to be part of something, a group or a fandom so I'll have someone to talk to, and I don't know why I don't join something. Talking to furries most of the time don't result in good conversations. I find myself trying to draw stuff to please people hoping I can make friends, it kinda works but not the relationship I would like. My real life friends are scarce and they don't really have much in common with me or don't talk to me much.
I know I have to change something, but I don't know what to change or where to start. I'm going to start Tai Chi classes next week so hopefully that helps, but I feel like its not going to be enough. Not even playing games get me excited anymore, I'm tired of listening to the music I have and I feel really angry when I go on the internet to look for more for some reason.
I wanted to never log in skype anymore, but I feel addicted to it, the hope that someone will want to talk to me and I wont be there, which never happens anyway. And feeling like this isn't good for me since I feel physical pain when I'm stressed or feeling anxious. Which is one of the reasons my life been really hard for several years now.
I guess I'm just another lonely person seeking for attention. That feeling that my existence doesn't matter at all. And really sucks to admit that being old as I am. Maybe I even deserve to feel like this considering all the friendships I neglected on the past, it took me quite a while to realize what an asshole I was to everyone, now that I changed, there isn't anyone here to see anymore.
I guess what I want is a legitimate reason to do something since I feel I'm never going to be happy at all. What could I possibly seek that would change how I feel about things, how I feel about my future? I can't even look forward into buying stuff, I bought enough stuff to realize that materials only make me happy for a brief moment. The worst part is that I'm in college for a year now and I didn't made any friends. So I'm stuck in a senseless quest for a senseless job, to get senseless money, to buy senseless shit, to live a senseless life.
Spike (age 21)
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You’ve come to the right place for a sympathetic ear: I know EXACTLY what you mean, having gone through what you are going through several times before. Before we continue, have you seen a counselor or psychotherapist?
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A few months ago I gone to a psychiatrist, we didn't talked much and he gave me some anti anxiety meds which made me start to have anxiety attacks every night so I stopped taking them. I was in his office for 20 minutes, and 10 of this 20 minutes he was on the phone with someone, so I guess he wasn't very good at his job. I actually only asked him for help about my irritable bowel syndrome, which makes my belly hurt like hell whenever I'm stressed or anxious.
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I hear you. I went to a psychologist for several months and was not very happy with him. I often recommend professional therapists to my readers because I am not one and it is not right for me to offer advice on psychological issues without at least giving people a heads up that the other option is available. Some people are lucky and find good therapists; others, like you and me, get lemons.
Before you give up on psychotherapy, however, I would suggest you try another psychologist or psychiatrist (and ask him or her about something else besides your bowels). The reason is that there is a possibility your problems might be caused by biological factors, such as hormone or other imbalances. It is important to have that checked by a doctor. In fact, you might consult with a regular physician for advice on this.
Okay, enough with the doctors and psychologists. Let’s tackle your letter piece by piece.
First off, part of your problem is that, in an attempt to make friends and gain attention, you are doing things to please other people rather than yourself. A lesson that I am still learning in my life (giving you three decades’ heads up here that will hopefully save you time and grief I was not spared) is that when you are a people pleaser you rarely please yourself. In your case, drawing art to please others sucks the fun out of art because you aren’t drawing what YOU like; therefore, what fun is it? In a sort of related example from my own life, I enjoy history and learning about it through books and online and from TV documentaries. In high school, I loathed history courses because the teachers made it godawful boring. Nothing but names and numbers and dates. I learned history for the test; I read books to write papers to get good grades. By the time I was done with the course, I thought that history was boring. It wasn’t until I stumbled on some excellent documentaries that a new spark came alive in me and now I love to learn about history.
Therefore, step one is to answer yourself honestly this question: why am I drawing art, reading these particular books, studying these particular subjects, etc.? If you are doing so to please others or because “it’s good for me” or any other reason than “because I want to for my own enjoyment and enrichment,” then you are doing it for the wrong reason. Refocus your motivation to center on yourself. Tai chi might actually be a good way to assist you with this, as well as your anxiety issues, as it helps you with focus and helps to calm you.
Next, reexamine your friendships. Sounds like a lot of your nonfurry friends have little in common with you and don’t even converse with you much. Why are they your friends? They aren’t, really. Are you seeking friendships with the sole motivation of being afraid to be alone? Then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I’ve tried this, too. When I moved out to the Coachella Valley, I wanted to meet local bears and be friends with them. Turns out, well, a lot of the local bears are douchebags. I was trying to pick friends for the wrong reasons. Fortunately, I found some friends who are real friends and care about me.
Tired of games and music? Yeah, been there, too. At first glance, many people would say this is a sign of clinical depression—when the things that used to bring you pleasure no longer do so. This can be true sometimes, but there could be another reason: you need to break out of your comfort zone and old habits. For example, as a young bear, I used to only listen to pop music. I didn’t try anything else; I also shunned “old people music” like what my parents listened to. But, as I got older, I started listening to music less. It started to sound like the same ol’, same ol’. My wife at the time introduced me to country music, and I got over my preconception that it was all “Cryin’, Dyin’ an’ Drinkin’” stuff. Garth Brooks is awesome. More recently, I’ve really gotten into “grampa music” such as Frank Sinatra. His stuff still holds up. And listening to music like this has reinvigorated my appreciation of old favorites of mine such as The Beatles. In addition, I started taking piano lessons and am totally into jazz now. For fun, I also enjoy listening to reggae, and my sister-in-law, believe it or not, bought me a CD or yodeling music when she was in Europe. LOL! Hey, it’s fun when you’re in the mood. There is a whole world of music out there. Try new stuff!
Games? Yes, after a time, gaming can get dull, too. Especially if you get into a rut with games that are all, say, first-person shooters. I kinda went through this when I got into SecondLife. At first, I was completely intrigued, but, after a couple years, felt I was wasting my FirstLife and quit. I really don’t have time for games or virtual reality stuff right now, but if I did, I would mix things up. Try games that exercise your mind more, such as “Myst” or “Civilization.” If that doesn’t work, well, just take a break from gaming and try something in the real world.
And that brings us to our next topic: breaking out of all the stuff you’re doing now and completely shake up your life. I suspect, in your case, that too many of the things you are trying—gaming, music, reading, drawing, buying stuff you don’t really need—are things you do by yourself. And while you are trying to socialize, much of it seems to be online, when you are, physically, also alone.
Go out into the Real World! My best suggestion: do some volunteer work for a worthy cause. Part of your problem may very well be that you intuitively feel like you are not making a difference in the world through your current activities. You may be surprised how soul-nourishing helping others can be. And you can combine this with your furry interests, too, if you like. For instance, I was just reading about the Atlanimals group, which does charitable work while in fursuit. My buddy Tycho Aussie does this on an individual basis. It’s something I’d really like to get into, too, with my fursuit.
Yes, it might be that you made mistakes in the past and have alienated some people. It might even be that you will never get those friendships back (have you tried contacting people and giving them a heartfelt apology?), but none of that means you can’t start fresh. At 21, you are still at the beginning of what will hopefully be a long life, and there is plenty of time to make a fresh start—or even two or three fresh starts.
My advice, in summary: break out of old ruts to try new things, make those new things stuff that involves interacting with people in the real world, and remember that, while it’s nice to help others, being a people-pleaser is not a good strategy. It’s not selfish to please yourself first, as long as you are kind and considerate to others, because when you’re happy that happiness will rub off on others and make your whole world brighter.
I'm a young gay male in quite the predicament.
I've always had an affinity for older men, I have to admit that, but normally it's just surface level. However, I've met this guy online that I met up recently and we connected on an unexpected level.
I will admit that I first just assumed it to be some form of casual hookup, and I'll admit we did do things, but it took a rather unexpected turn once we started actually...talking. It was riveting—his mind was beautiful. We talked about everything from religion, to Hemmingway, to the Harlem Renaissance, to classical composers. It was so stimulating.
He was incredibly intimate with me; his body was in sync with mine; it was a magical experience, almost addicting.
However, the problem arises from the fact that, though I do have quite strong feelings for him, he's twenty four, and I'm sixteen. I made sure that it was legal for us to engage in sexual acts where I'm from, made sure we used proper protection, but even though it's legal for us to be together, it's still difficult to come to terms with because he's still eight years older than I am.
Would you recommend that I pursue my feelings, or just dismiss them? I do feel like I could be happy with him, just the maturity gap between us, and the social stigma might be too much for either of us.
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It sounds like you are doing all the right things concerning the legality of what you have done, as well as using protection. Good for you!
Okay, there is an eight-year difference in your ages. This, of course, is a little bigger deal when one person in the relationship is still a teenager (would be even MORE significant if, say, you were 12 years old). But this isn’t an insurmountable difference. If you look ahead in years, such age gaps become less and less important. For example, my bear hubby Yogi is nine years older than I am, which is a year more than the two of you, and we certainly get along great. Another example: the other night I was watching a biography of George Takei (Sulu from the original “Star Trek”), who is married to Brad Altman, a man 17 years his junior. The intense love these two have for each other is beautiful and made me tear up a couple times.
Is an age gap a problem? It can be sometimes, especially if there are large cultural differences or health issues. The other thing that can be difficult is when family disapproves. I’m guessing that is what you are worried about. But it sounds like this is a very special guy, and if he is genuine (not deceiving you for sex, which I hope he isn’t) then it sounds like this could be the beginning of a beautiful romance. And by the time you are in your twenties, his being eight years older will hardly matter at all.
If you love him, go for it, and screw the “social stigma.”
Wishing you love!
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