I just had one hard question: every time I draw and post art online other furries hate it. Although I’m making a project for a comic book, they hated it and sometimes they report me for hate. I don’t hate furries, but all I did is draw humans the good guys and they’re Mexican soldiers fighting anthros, saving the world from evil creatures. Every time I post them, furries blocked me and some are cool with it. This has to do with my Christian religion and I always thought that furries are open minded but I believe they’re open minded but limited to things. Furries I talk to are aholes sometimes and I meet new friends on the fandom. And I meet Christian furries that do understand me.
Ronnie Alvarez (age 28)
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This is not a “hard question” at all. You are drawing art in which anthros (portrayed as evil) are being attacked and hated by human soldiers, apparently. Now, look at it from the other side, which you actually do in your letter. Don’t you hate it when people don’t like your art because it is homophilic (favors humans)? Don’t you feel persecuted for your Christian beliefs by feeling that the furries aren’t tolerant of what you are doing? Can you seriously not understand that furries would feel the same way about your art?
Complaining that furries aren’t open minded enough to accept your art is to misunderstand what it means to be open minded. Open minded doesn’t mean accepting hatred. Furries don’t dislike you because you are Christian (as you noted, there are Christian furries in the fandom), they dislike your art because it inflames their sensitivities of already being persecuted.
Your question is like asking why black people wouldn’t appreciate hooded KKK members marching down a street in Savannah, Georgia. KKK members espouse Christianity, too, you know. Doesn’t mean blacks don’t like Christians (many many African Americans are Christians); it means they don’t like hatred.
You can say "I don't hate furries" all you like, but actions speak louder than words.
My suggestion: either seek another (non-furry) audience for your art or draw art that furries will enjoy. Continuing to do what you are doing just deliberately stokes the fire of hatred.
Hello Papa Bear!
First of all i want to apologize about the last letter i sent you and i couldn't reply due personal problems and many things to do. I have a problem that has been haunting me for a long time. I know, i'm a bit old for this kind of stuff, but i'm tired of have the same problem when i meet someone, and i think you're professional with this kind of problems: this is an example what's happening, but this is a bit more important, and it's one of the most bigger problems I have I got two friends: one from San Diego and another from South Africa, I met the first one when a year after I started in FurAffinity, and we became best friends some months later, and the another one, I saw his profile in FA thanks to a friend, but at first I thought he was someone egotistical, but when the San Diego started a role play group on Skype, with me and another 5 guys I changed my mind about him, It was the opposite of what I thought at first, so later we became friends, the first group only it lasted until August 2015 due we had various problems with one of the members and we started another one with just the only four members.
But during May or June 2015 I started to get many anxiety problems, at first I thought I could control that, but it wasn't, and to date I still have these problems but knowing why it happened, but over time he began to generate problems of depression, and I began to reflect on the RP group, I got into trouble within the group, and I got to leave the group on several occasions, but the last was a reason that bothered me from the beginning of the first group, the guy from San Diego always helped me when I left the group for several occasions, so the last time I left the group I said I was sick of not put me attention as others, there was some favoritism between them and it seemed like I was not important to them, and made their own stories without will include me in them, he tried to see a way to help, but did not seem to be helpful, and indeed, there came a time I spoke to the boy of South Africa for the gradually began to behave very sharp me both RP and chat, send a letter asking him what was wrong, that was not the first time I did that, the first time, when our friendship was much closer, he apologized to me and told me that no happen again, but this time was much different, let me in them, just she told me to do something to change, but at that time, I did my best to be treated like others, but all were in vain. Finally the boy from San Diego came up with something to help taking advantage of Halloween approached, he had a character not used for a long time and started to do a story involving my character and where we were all going to participate, everything was very well planned, but everything gets worse after we began the story within the group, I had the stupid idea that one of my characters commit suicide to fix the main problem of the story, I doubted that but just when I wanted to fix it was too late, and one member who was present quickly left the group, the guy from South Africa, just sent a message saying "WTF?!" and also he left the group. Quickly me and the guy from San Diego I wonder what was wrong with me, I told him I had never been my intention, and try to talk to the two who had left the group, but the guy from South Africa was very angry, and the girl He would not return to know the group, I did not know what to do, and burst into tears explaining everything that had happened to me and intimating my reasons that had left the group several times.
Finally he understood everything, and said that would not give up for helping restore friendship boy from South Africa and after a week, after she asked him to ask him to send a letter via skype apologizing and explaining everything that happened, the guy from South Africa sent me a private message forgiving me and I finally understood why he had been so curt with me I was going through family problems related to his father and did not want to embarrass him with my role plays depressants, and asked me to promise not to return to that sort of thing, and with everything that happened I did not want that to happen again that and I promised, then said he would have to spend a good time to come back to the group, I said no problem, but apparently he was mad at me, and there were times I had to ask the guy from San Diego on how I was the guy from South Africa, he came to me to show several chats boy from South Africa saying he knew that it was never my intention to hurt him, but still remained uncertain until finally in December of that same year the boy from San Diego said we were going to return all in a Christmas role play, but anyway I was very unsure about that, and personally wrote a letter via skype the boy from South Africa, explaining everything and apologetically as I never had, it took two days to answer, the apparently he was annoyed to hear the same story, but he told me not to worry about that, because he had forgiven me for several months, and I was more than relieved when I sent that message.
before it was Christmas I sent them to draw a picture for the boy from San Diego, but just a day before told the artist that will fix the mistakes he had and took a lot more than I expected, I warned him that I would take to reach you, and I said no problem, if I'm not wrong was around that time that the following happened: also because of my anxiety problems I suffer, I tend to be jealous, but before I suffer these problems was not jealous.
I think it was a few days before Christmas, the guy from South Africa made a vore comic character boy from San Diego (I feel like I get in trouble for this but here I leave the link of the comic: also because of my anxiety problems I suffer, I tend to be jealous, but before I suffer these problems was not jealous.
I think it was a few days before Christmas, the guy from South Africa made a vore comic character boy from San Diego (I feel like I get in trouble for this but here I leave to you the link of the comic: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/18524978/)in a way I felt jealous, in fact there was a time that I refrained from entering FurAffinity by the comic, but in my mind told me "will come your day ... he will do something for you" and otherwise felt guilty ... very guilty, I felt I did something wrong to not deserve his respect, felt I was not friendly enough and I should do something to deserve their respect, after a while I forced myself to see the comic and tell me myself "will get your day ... he will do something for you, and if he doesn't you do not mind, he do not need to make you a picture to show you you're his friend" and for a while I said that and I forget it, had passed the Role Christmas Play and everything returned to normal, my friendship with the two became much narrower, and only three of us create our own group Role Play, referring to the game Assassin's Creed, but before that, in early February I got the picture that would give gift to man from San Diego (http://www.furaffinity.net/view/18922338/) I apologized to him, and he did not care how long it takes, the intention was the which had, when I showed, I think something did not like, I asked if he liked, but apparently not reflected, and told him that if he did not like he could do anything for him, he said it was not necessary, He said he liked a lot, but I knew not, and in fact I told him that if he wanted he could raise his profile, I felt bad because I felt it was not the best thing I did, later seeing the two of them had better than me, during Valentine's day I sent a letter explaining better what happened to me, I apologized for not being a good friend, he understood everything and said he has always been to help me, but my problem is that I feel impotence, because the two of them usually wear well and gifts between them are made, and my helplessness I can not do something for them, and I really do not know if I'm not doing something right or do not consider me as a good friend.
I do not know what to do, I do not have a credit card much less money to do something for them two, have perhaps been a bad friend? I can not speak more, because I have already done several letters explaining everything, what I can do? I am doing something wrong? Is there something I'm forgetting? are not the only ones with which this happening to me, just with some friends I feel like it was not someone important to them, please Papa Bear, help me, I am very confused and worried, I do not know to do. Thanks a lot for your time, and I’ll wait the time you need for reply, I’ll be grateful if you can help me in this situation. Needless to say I appreciate all
Guilmon 1998 a.k.a Jake The Flamedramon/ Drake Daigo (age 25, Mexico)
P.S: all of them I know personally
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Yours was a long and kind of confusing letter, but here is my reaction to what I understand of it:
The RP thing where you have a character commit suicide: the people who promptly left probably overreacted (unless you did it in a graphic, tasteless way, which I doubt). This is a bit of a case of dramaqueenitis. People need to get a grip; this is fiction, role play, get over yourselves. Sheesh.
As for the friendships: remember, friendship is not about giving gifts or giving money. And true friends who do give gifts should never expect something in return. If you are only giving something to a friend because you want something back, then that is not a sign of generosity.
True friends do not care if you are rich or poor. They care about you for who you are, including your flaws. How do you repay them, then, for their kindnesses? By being kind, respectful, and helpful in return. By giving them someone to talk to who offers sympathy and empathy.
Jealousy results from lack of confidence. When we are not confident in ourselves, we fear that people we want to like us will not see us as worthy and turn to other people for affection. Therefore, self-confidence is a key to happiness. You say you suffer from anxiety. Not sure if this is a medical condition or something that is self-inflicted. If it is medical, see a doctor; if it is self-inflicted, then the best way to relieve anxiety (and stress) is a thorough routine of meditation, exercise, sleep, and eating correctly. It will do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Finally, don't play games with people. For example, don't use furry art as a manipulative tool to gain friends or hurt people. Be sincere. Say what you mean and when you make a promise, keep it. When you are honorable and true to yourself and others, you will find that contentment follows, neither will you ever find an occasion when you need to apologize for your actions.
Hi there, Papa!
Before we'd begin, I'd like to apologize in advance if someone before me has already asked this question: as a furry, how do I go about making friends in a society that is presumably intolerable to my hobby?
I am about to go to high school, one that's religious and strict and uniformed. There's no way out of it. My parents have made up their minds. They figure that since my older sister (who attended there previously) took a liking to the school, that I would as well. But frankly, I'm the opposite of my sister. Analytical, logical, judging, academically intelligent? No. Think imaginative, idealistic, perceptive, emotionally in-tune. Ballet, AP classes, student leadership with friends? Nah. Try art, meditation, and hiking through nature alone. We have the super intelligent, friendly, and funny computer science nerd, and the overly-artistic and weirdly antisocial "hippie" furry girl. And this girl's being sent to a strict, dare I say it, posh Catholic school with high expectations and low tolerance for anything that is considered "weird."
I know that people aren't always going to be as accepting and open-minded as I am, but I am currently being plunged into a strict world with strict, uptight, unaccepting people. I remember once bringing up a conversation with one of my potential future classmates and sprinkling in some of my hobbies and interests (excluding furry). And just from that, they were appalled. As were the other students I tried to connect with. They didn't even have to speak necessarily; I could tell from their body language and facial expressions that they were very uncomfortable, maybe even freaked out that I do things like meditate instead of shop at the mall, and draw and write stories instead of doing sports or extra academic classes. Granted, these were not art students. But then even when I spoke with more artsy students like me, they thought my ideas were far too weird, and that my creative and pondering imagination had no off-switch. I suppose that's true, but I never really wanted to hit an off-switch. I like my imagination. And yes, I tried very hard to appeal to their better nature and to make a connection, but nothing really worked. Either I'm too weird for them, or they're too sophisticated for me. I don't know.
Needless to say, I didn't dare bring up furry.
So I was wondering if you had any tips or pointers to reaching out to these frankly intimidating people. Usually I'm able to connect with most people in an instant, whether or not they like me. I have this weird ability to tell what people are like when I meet them from the way they move, talk, behave, etc. I get vibes from them. I call it my "Spidey-Sense." But I am embarrassed to admit that I was unable to connect with any of these people. When I spoke to them, all I could see and hear and feel was pretty generic. I couldn't really detect much personality in these people, no offense to them. They just didn't seem to really care, you know?
I apologize. I sometimes have trouble describing what I mean. It would be so much easier for me to communicate if my heart and mind would speak for my mouth.
Anyways, I'm just not sure what to do. I'm already a weird person, with or without the furry hobby. I had so much trouble just speaking with these students and staff, I have no idea how I'm going to try to make friends. Please, if you have any tips or pointers or suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. I'm open to any ideas.
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Let’s set aside the whole furry thing for a moment because what we are talking about here is bigger than just your interest in things furry: it is about the conflict between our need to be accepted by others and our need to be our true selves.
A wise man named Henry David Thoreau said, “Be yourself—not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.” Human beings strive to assimilate because they are social creatures who find strength and comfort from being part of a group. Unfortunately, when that group’s standards differ from one’s own, an inner conflict arises—a dissonance in the soul that makes us deeply unhappy. This is what you are going through right now.
The problem starts because your parents are treating you like your sister, even though the two of you are very different individuals. A good place to start, then, would be to approach your parents and ask them if they would consider sending you to a different school. Explain to them that you feel your sister’s school, while it might be quite excellent academically, is more designed toward mathy, sciency types, but you are more artistic and would like to go to a school that is more geared toward the arts. I don’t know how open your parents are to talking to their children, but I’m wondering if you have even considered letting them know how you feel about this school? Perhaps, if they are open minded, they will listen and, not knowing before how you felt, will try and find something else for you. If so, then perhaps problem solved.
If not, and they make you go to this school anyway, then I suggest you look at the broad picture: it is more important to be who you are than it is to assimilate (unless you are a Borg, who are such charming people, yes?), even if that means you will be friendless. Going back to Thoreau, he once said he would rather sit alone on a pumpkin than sit with a lot of people on a velvet cushion. It’s better to reject the materialistic trappings of society and be an individual.
The number one reason I hear from furries as to why they are unhappy is that they are not allowed to be themselves. Being a furry is just one facet of your unique personality. Ultimately, however, the only person who can make you be or not be yourself is … you. When you think of it, who are the people considered most admirable in our world? It’s people like Benjamin Franklin, Rosa Parks, Nikola Tesla, Allen Ginsburg, Jackson Pollock, people who went against the norm and fiercely, courageously insisted on themselves. And the people who epitomize what society supposedly wants? The rich and famous like movie, music, and sports stars? Have you ever noticed how much American society likes to trash these people? And when you ask them, they often say that they were at their most unhappy when they were the richest and most famous (great example is the Beatles).
We only have one life. How many of us lead lives of “quiet desperation” (Thoreau again). People frantically try to gain approval and worry about obtaining things that society deems valuable (houses, cars, money) and die having wasted their talent, their hearts, their souls.
Turquoise, thank you for writing ol’ Papabear and giving me this opportunity to address youngsters like yourself who are standing on that precipice in their teens years. You have a choice here of accepting what others say you should be and do, stepping forward, and falling into the abyss—OR! You can give yourself the power to grow wings and fly safely above the expanse.
Keep it in perspective, hon. We are here to find ourselves, to grow, and to love. All else is vanity. That is my advice to you.
Hey Papa Bear! I've written to you a couple times when I was younger and I've gotten good advice from you that has helped me get through some things in life. Thank you very much for what you've been doing in the community.
It's been a good 5 years since I last wrote you, and I can gladly say that my life has been going in the direction I've always wanted it to and I'm pursuing a dream I've had since I was in 7th grade. I got admitted into my a college at the end of my senior year in high school and I've been a student at Purdue University since August so I can study to become a Materials (Science) Engineer. I also have a boyfriend who I met through a mutual friend of ours (we were actually set up by said friend, who is more than overjoyed that we're together. It was a funny realization that he went through all that trouble for us.)
But just because my life is all and well doesn't mean it's that way for everyone. Before I met my current boyfriend, I was with a different guy. I'm going to call him "Jamie" for the sake of his privacy instead of his real name. When I was 16, I met him, we became friends and we started dating. I met him through the fandom and was kind, respectful and loving to me. At the time, it was like a dream come true since the last few boyfriends I've had weren't so great and I ended up with a broken heart and with more than a few tears being shed. So, back to Jamie. He fell as hard for me as I did for him. Everything seemed fine; we went about our lives in relative happiness despite the 5 year age gap between us and his social and economic situation in his life. Even though the guy went through hell and remained a stable, kind person, we weren't really right for each other. The first red flag came to me two months after we started dating. After only 2 months, he asked me to marry him. Being young and stupid as well as love drunk, I said yes. Jamie was happy at my answer and we stayed together. I didn't tell my parents, obviously. I did tell some friends o mine and they said that it was too early, and that the age gap was concerning and that my parents would flip their shit if they found out. I ignored them because I truly loved Jamie and I believed we could have a future together. When I was admitted into college and began to plan for my future career, I began to realize how difficult it would be for us to be together. His "history" would make it extremely hard for him to find a job, leaving all the pressure on me to pay bills and taxes and what not. Even though engineers get a pretty good pay and that I was going to be C-OP'ing later in college, I wasn't going to be rich and I'd have to work a lot. Also, I was having mental issues since I had depression and I knew it would strain us because of the pain it would cause me and Jamie would be powerless to help me significantly.
Jamie and I sort of broke off while I was still in high school but the relationship never officially ended until my first semester in college.
Ever since I broke off completely from him, he's been a wreck. I can see it in the way he talks to me and in the FA journals he posts. He's in a deep depression along with trying to find a job to support himself and his mother (who is handicapped, I'm not sure how, I just know that she is. I never asked about it.) It hurts me to see him suffering and I know I can't help him. I don't have a whole lot of money to my name that is truly mine. My parents have paid for my college fees and I've paid for text books and other necessary things myself. I can't send him money. I also can't get back together with him. I broke up with him already and I fear for unhappiness for both of us if I stayed with him and I'm very happy with my current boyfriend. I have no clue how I can help him, let alone talk to him without seeing his heart break right before my eyes. Seeing it threatens triggering a depression relapse for me, which has happened twice already and I really want my mental health to be stable, at least for a while. (I've always had a hard time dealing others' emotions because if I could perceive them, I felt them too.)
I'm not sure how to help him or if I should. At this point I'm not sure what to even say to him. It also doesn't help that I'm in a different state currently because of college. I'm just struggling to decide if I should just cut off from him completely or if I should try harder to help him or make him happy. I still do love Jamie, just not in the same way that I did when I was 16. It's hard not to care for him still.
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I’m so happy for you! Finding a great guy in your life and pursuing your education at a prestigious university! Kudos!
But Papabear understands your feelings and wanting to help Jamie, and although that is a noble sentiment, it is a misguided one.
We cannot help everyone on the planet who needs help. Imagine for a moment that you and Jamie didn’t have this history together and he was just a passing acquaintance. Would you contemplate giving him money and spending days or months or years emotionally supporting him? Probably not.
There are, literally, billions of people on this planet who are having some kind of struggle in their lives. While they can, and should, find people in their lives they can hold on to for support, ultimately the only person who is responsible for their lives and happiness is themselves. (You’re not too specific about his past, but I’m guessing he might have gotten into some trouble with the law?)
You and Jamie didn’t work out for logical reasons, and you’ve found that by leaving him you were able to find a new person in your life who was better for you, which really proves you made the right decision for you. There’s nothing stopping Jamie from doing something similar and finding a new girlfriend, which would certainly be a healthier pursuit than trying to get back together with you. He needs to move on and you need to stop looking backward and feeling guilty about his life when it’s not your responsibility.
Saying that, it doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk or cut him out completely. You can be friends and listen when he wants to talk, even offer advice (NOT money!) if you can, but just be sure that it’s clear that the two of you will never be a couple in a romantic sense. Again, his life, his choices, and his troubles are not your responsibility. You have enough on your plate with school and being a good girlfriend—oh! and don’t feel guilty that you are happy! That’s a good thing!
My mother always told me, “Guilt is the most worthless of emotions.” She’s wise.
Be happy. Live your life. Be kind, but don’t be a tool or someone’s rug to step on.
Apologies in advance for the inevitable disorder of this letter, I struggle to get my thoughts onto paper in a well-structured way. Here goes...
I'm, apparently, a wonderful person, according to a few people. I wouldn't categorize myself anywhere near that because I am in fact distant and a little hostile in most situations. I'm told I'm a great listener, and I give great advice, and I have many traits of an empath (that's one thing I can agree on). Since getting involved in the fandom these things have been made very apparent through my interactions with the people I've met.
Sometimes I just ... have to help. Often it doesn't even feel like it's me doing it. I'd compare it to a deep spiritual urge. For quite a long time now I've been the shoulder to cry on, the adviser, the helper etc. etc. Which is fine, I guess. But if that is who I am, why does it feel like something that's been forced on me?
This is hard for me to admit, even with anonymity, but this urge to help has cost me over £3000 of my own money, from helping a total of 5 furs who were in dire situations. On top of that are many hours of advice, counseling, emotional support, and being on hand almost 24/7 in case emergencies arose. I should add that these people were complete strangers to me when I first assisted them.
So, I've established my compulsion has cost me a lot of money, but considering that one of these people erased all trace of their situation after receiving my help (presumably to cover the whole thing up), one of them proceeded to credit two of their friends with a big sentimental journal, while staying deathly quiet about my many contributions, and one of them managed to indirectly tank my relationship, then lead me on as a dating backup afterwards, I've also lost a lot of time, happiness, and emotional well-being. I daresay I've even lost emotional stability. It all messed me up pretty good.
Nonetheless, after all these things passed I continued to do my thing, albeit not on such a grand scale. A helping hand here and there, slightly stressful but manageable.
But lately, I've been experiencing a shift in perspective, and it frightens me. Reflecting on all these things I've done, and what people have come to know me for, I began to observe the way a lot of my friends interacted with me, and the way I interacted with them.
And I realized, things are very one-sided. Not just with one or two people...I'm talking about most of them. I can see that a lot of my friends don’t love me, they love what I do/did. I notice I'm the one they come to when there’s a problem, but not the one to enjoy everyday fun with. People start conversations with me to launch straight into tirades about their problems, people hint at their financial worries hoping my empathy will kick in and I'll be forced to help them, they talk extensively about their passions and interests and who they are but you know what? Not one of them know the same things about me, because they never ask, and they never care. It has become apparent they just need a dumping ground for their mental and spiritual detritus, and clearly I am that dumping ground. Nobody knows or cares what I am outside of the benevolence that they benefit from. Nobody looks into me how I look into them.
When I'm vulnerable I get to thinking of all I've done, and how nobody will do the same for me should I ever need it. And it scares me. Don't get me wrong, I don’t give with the expectation of return. What scares me is how unknowingly willing I've been to put myself at risk for the sake of others. Literally this whole thing is a hole I've dug myself into.
So, I guess the rambling has to end and it's time for the questions.
Is unbridled generosity good? Is benevolence necessarily a good thing? Did I do good things, or misguided things? Would it be wrong to blow these people off? To hurt them even?
I'm sorry if it's difficult to make sense of this, like I said I struggle to get my thoughts onto paper, and there is a LOT here I had to leave out for the sake of length. Feel free to bin this one if its a bit too tricky, just a shot in the dark really. An outside perspective may be all I need.
-Manul (age 23, UK)
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If you’re looking for “an outside perspective” you’ve come to the wrong place because this bear has been EXACTLY where you are—in spades. We are both empaths and we are both people pleasers. I, too, have lost many thousands of dollars helping people. All told, I would say we’re talking $35,000 to $40,000. During that time, I have been used, insulted, and even had a lawyer sic’d on me with possibilities of a lawsuit, and one furry accused me of being a secret police officer who was trying to get him locked up in a nuthouse. Seriously. Sometimes, apparently, such people don’t even realize they are being butt munches. I recently had a writer tell me that my belief that I was an empath was “silly” and he had no clue he had just insulted me. All this for trying to help people. As they say, “No good deed goes unpunished,” right?
So, I guess ol’ Papabear beats you when it comes to feeling like a fool. But, really, it is a matter of learning how to control your empathic abilities and also to learn how not to be a tool while still enjoying helping others. Actually, one powerful device I use is this column. Here, I am free to help and give advice, and because I don’t know the people who write to me, I do not expect their friendship, compensation, or even gratitude (although it’s wonderful to get a thank you letter), and I don’t feel compelled to help them with money or other material assistance. It is, so to speak, a buffer. I get amazing satisfaction from writing “Ask Papabear.” Not sure how you might feel about it, but hey, you could try writing a column or blog, too. Since you’re in the UK, you could have a more British/European perspective that would make your column unique.
Be that as it may, another thing you need to learn is when to say “no” and that it is okay to decline helping someone--especially when that involves someone asking you for money or other material gains at your expense. That’s pretty challenging for people like you and me to do because we want to help others, but the first rule of helping others is that you have to be healthy and happy yourself, and that means being kind to yourself before you are kind to others. For example, you may have noticed I haven’t been writing this column as much lately, and the reason for that is because I only write it when I am not feeling under the weather from my grief over losing Jim. Some days, like today, are good, some are bad and I don’t write on those days.
Here is some good advice on being an empath that includes learning how to shield yourself and cleanse yourself: http://paganandproudofit.com/empath.html.
The other thing to learn is which people are friends and which are not. Don’t expect everyone who asks for your advice to become your friend and, therefore, don’t be disappointed when you learn they just wanted your advice. I dearly hope that at least a few people you know are true friends. A true friend is someone who is there for you as much as you are there for them.
If you learn to do these things in your twenties, you will be about twenty years ahead of yours truly and will be blessed. Being an empath is a gift, and if you learn to be one properly you will no longer resent it (like you’re kind of doing now) and learn to realize that this makes you a special person who is a rarity among human beings, most of whom suffer from tunnel vision and selfishness.
I hope this helps.
I’m having trouble accepting my significant other's possible sexuality. You can refer to my boyfriend as Skittles, his fursona name. We're actually engaged but I’d rather call him my boyfriend until we're married. Anyway, just the other day I found out he thinks he may be asexual. He was homosexual before, and I myself am bisexual with a preference for men, but I consider myself homosexual. I love him more than anything and vice versa, and do not really care what his sexuality is, but I feel like he's more confused than anything. I don't know what has caused this seemingly sudden change. and as much as I don't like mentioning it, we ourselves have “explored our sexuality” one time before. With everything I know about him, it just doesn't make sense. Don't get me wrong, I want to support him, but I don't think that's the right thing to do in this case.
Unfortunately, I'm all he has to really talk to. He has a dark past. Both of his parents are dead, and his mom was very abusive, an alcoholic, and a literal whore. He currently lives with his grandparents, who he simply just doesn't trust. I can't go to my parents for guidance about the situation because they don't like him ever since they found out about that one time when we "explored our sexuality.” They don't know we're together, or that I proposed to him. We've been secretly communicating through email for the past several months. However, they do accept me for who I am and have nothing against homosexuality. I fear that both his past and lack of guidance may be interfering with him.
Kaleb Fox (age 17)
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Okay, first let me point out a contradiction here: you say your parents “have nothing against homosexuality” on one paw, but that they don’t like your boyfriend because you “experimented” with sexuality (meaning, I gather, had homosexual intercourse). So, they can’t have it both ways, and I’m guessing they actually don’t like homosexuals, though it’s nice they seem to be trying to be supportive of you.
While you might be wrong on the above point, I think you’re likely correct about your suspicion that Skittles is confused. He has had a rough life so far, and he is no doubt struggling with his sexual identity. (I’m one person who can certainly vouch for the fact that we sometimes don’t figure out our sexuality as teenagers.) Perhaps he is asexual, but this bear’s instincts tell him that Skittles is just going through some phases as he tries to figure himself out.
Therefore, the best thing for you to do is to be patient with him and don’t push him in any direction when it comes to sex; let him work on it himself. There are many many many other aspects of a relationship that you can explore and share in the meantime. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn’t even broach the subject of sex unless Skittles does first. If he does, let him talk, just listen, and bite your tongue to prevent any reflexive verbal reactions. Think carefully before you speak.
More important than sex right now is your relationship as a whole. You need to work on not having a secret relationship, which might not fully happen until you are both of legal age, but if your parents are understanding, as you say, it might work for that half of the family. His half, however, sounds like they will be more difficult to deal with.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
I have a few friends at school and on FurAffinity. They like me and I like them. School is mildly hard, but my parents help me through it and push. My parents are getting a divorce, but for some reason I have not been affected by this very much. I love them both and they each help me in their own ways.
But there is one other thing that I struggle with. I always feel as if I have to keep pushing myself, always, and I have to let go of some things that I value such as kindness in order to "man up" for the real world, and if I don't do it right now I will never be completely successful. But if I do keep pushing myself and going through life that is always moderately challenging, I will lose some kindness. Is this normal? And what should I do? Thank you, "high paws."
NickHusky (age 19)
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You speak in generalities, so I will as well. You are at a critical time in your life that will, indeed, do a lot for molding who you will become as an adult. And you are undergoing the kind of family and social pressures that our society deems fit for a male; that is, you should be “tough,” “man up,” hide your emotions, be strong, etc. etc. In other words, as with almost everyone else in the mundane world, you are being asked to put that mask on and hide who you really are inside. The threat here is that if you don’t do this you will be, as you say, unsuccessful, which means things like have a high-paying job, acquire lots of material possessions, breed, pay taxes, and die quietly without troubling society or rocking the boat.
Papabear says, “Poppycock.” The brave man (or woman) isn’t the one who hides emotions but the one who is emotionally honest, who cares about the world and feels compassion for others. Success--real success—in life is not about wealth, fame, or power. These are the things that give mundanes (pardon me for saying this) boners because the majority of people are shallow, self-centered, and materialistic.
And you know what else they are? Unhappy!
This skewed viewpoint causes people (and you are in danger of this right now) to do things for the wrong reasons. They get college degrees because they want a high-paying job. They select a career because they want to make a lot of money doing it. They even choose a spouse because they are “the right people.”
Here’s my challenge to you: go to school because you love learning; get a job because it is something you love to do (if you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life, as they say, because your job will be fun and fulfilling); choose a mate—whether it is someone similar to you or not—because you see into their heart and fall in love.
You love your parents and they are trying to help you. That’s a wonderful thing. Although I don’t know your parents, I suspect they are like most parents: they are scared for you, they don’t want you to be poor, and they want you to be accepted by society. But Papabear can tell you something here: he gets more letters from unhappy people because they are too busy trying to please their parents or someone else instead of themselves. Consequently, they don’t learn who they really are, and so they go through the motions of life without really living.
Let you in on a very secret secret, Nick: the truly happy person doesn’t define success by money and material things but, rather, by his or her ability to discover who they truly are as a person and to search for, and even discover, what life is really about for them. Each person must find his or her own path. While I can’t define that path for you because it is a personal journey, I can tell you that if you seek a pot of gold at the end of the journey you will have wasted your life.
Your job, Nick, is not to “grow up,” or “man up,” but to discover who you are. I have high hopes for you because I can see you value kindness. Please, I beg you, don’t sacrifice your heart just to be part of the swarms of mundane society. Be a kind person and you will find more happiness than you ever imagined.
Thank you for your letter.
First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss. It hurts a lot to lose someone you love (trust me, I know). Please accept my deepest condolences.
So here it goes…..
I have recently discovered the fandom, and it looks awesome! I see a lot of things that I would like to become involved with (fursuiting, volunteering, making new friends, etc.), within the fandom. However, I am a little unsure if I would fit in with all of it though, due to my age (I’m 36). Is there in age limit on this? What is the furry view of age within the fandom? Would I be the oldest guy at Anthrocon?!?! Any advice you give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Dear Spirit Bear,
Thank you for your well wishes. As to your question, no, there is no limit on age. While it’s true that the majority of furries are in their teens and twenties, there are quite a few of us (including yours truly who is 50) who are older.
At 36, you’re what is known as a “greymuzzle,” or, as some of the overly sensitive types prefer, “elder fur.” Because the fandom tends to be so chronologically challenged, anyone 30 and over is considered “mature” by furry standards. I like greymuzzle because I have grey on my muzzle and because I believe it makes me look distinguished and shows that I’ve been around the block a few times.
Anyway, I founded a group on Facebook for greymuzzles that you are most welcome to join. I believe that people who are greymuzzles are hardcore furries. Many young furries are joiners and posers. They join the fandom because they think it’s outrageous and cool (which it is), but then when they get into the “real world,” finish school, get a job, etc., they consider furries childish and drop out of doing furry stuff. These are the “furry lights.” They don’t have true furry hearts. If you are a real furry, you are ALWAYS a furry until the day you die, is what this bear says!
So, welcome welcome, Spirit Bear! Love having another bear in the fandom! And your name says to me you see furry as something deeper than the fur. Good for you!
My advice: have fun with it. Avoid drama, whenever possible. Also, if you are financially secure, watch out for moochers and users (there are some of these around, sad to say). Attend furmeets and furcons (you will NOT be the oldest fur at Anthrocon, believe me), get involved with any special interest groups within the fandom (e.g., I also have a FB group just for bears), And just enjoy it as much as possible.
Life is waaaaay too short not to be enjoyed. Remember, the only real time you have is right now, so make the most of it.
I'm having a bit trouble figuring out what I should do. I have never been in a situation like this before so it would be helpful to hear what others think.
My mate and I have been going out for about 6 months now. A couple weeks ago someone(male) asked him to be a pet and he agreed. The same person asked me as well and I agreed. Now, I'm not really into the master/pet thing, I just wanted to try it out. Probably because I was really scared of loosing my mate. Right now I'm still having reservations about it. I'm the type who can give myself only to one person at a time.
He actually only lives about 2 hours away so we can meet him in person and master does want to do "those things" with us. My mate is sorta curious about getting done in the backside. Which by itself is no issue to me, but he wants to try it with master and if he likes it . . . he was wondering if I'd be ok with them doing that on the side. My mate did what he could to reassure me that nothing would change with us, that I would always come first, and there is no way he'd leave me for master. Especially since my mate is straight and master has a fiancé. I really don't like/want my mate to do this, but I want him to be happy. He said it's fine if I say "no", but I still really don't wanna ruin his fun and happiness even if it means I have to be hurting a bit from it. I tried doing a "pros and cons list", also thinking it might help to meet master first (which I will be next weekend), and possibly my mate might not like getting in the backside as well as get tired of this whole thing at some point. I just don't anymore. So if someone can tell me what they think and help give me something else to think about . . . it would be extremely helpful. Please feel free to ask me for more specifically details if you need them.
Thanks so much!
Anonymous (age 26)
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It’s nice that you are being open minded about this, but there are a few things here you might want to think about. First of all, if your mate decides he enjoys receiving guests at the back door, then he can’t really say he’s entirely straight. Secondly, my understanding of furry master/pet relationships is that the healthy ones are not about sex. Most master/pet relationships in the fandom are about a more father/son or mother/daughter or teacher/apprentice dynamic. There are many greymuzzles (or not even greymuzzles but simply more experienced and wiser furs who could still be in their twenties) who have big hearts and like to mentor young furs who need guidance. Those who wish to be pets are looking for a parent figure—either because they have no parents or because they have poor relationships with their parents. That’s why when I hear what you are describing, I am more inclined to call it a master/sex slave relationship. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because, despite the terminology, there can be a mutual respect here in which neither party is trying to hurt the other one but, rather, they get a sexual high out of this type of role playing.
So, first of all, recognize what your mate is proposing for what it really is. If you were comfortable with that, though, you would not be writing Papabear, would you? I’m sorry to say that by the time I got to your letter, you probably have already met this “master,” so perhaps you can write back and let me know how it went. I understand, too, how you might agree to be this master’s sex toy, but doing so out of fear of losing your mate is not the best of reasons. If you aren’t doing it because you enjoy it, then you shouldn’t do it.
I will praise both you and your mate for having open communication about this rather than his going off on the sly and having sex with master. Good for him! Good for you for not immediately dismissing it and for being willing to entertain the possibilities here! It might be that, after meeting this master and having a bit of fun and experimentation, you could decide it’s okay and even enjoyable. On the other paw, if you try it and decide it’s not for you, and your mate decides he loves it and wants to continue it, then you will need to reevaluate your relationship and decide if the two of you are as compatible as you thought.
As with Schrödinger’s Cat, the only way you will find out for sure is if you open the box. I’m very proud of you for being brave enough to do this, but do not forget that your feelings matter, too, and should be respected for the relationship to work.
My parents are highly against me being a furry. They have searched furry and all they got was furporn. I did not witness the search, so I'm not quite sure what they searched, but they are highly against it. I have a head of my own that I made, and I have many furry friends that go to school with me. Although, they still disprove of the fandom, they conform to the stereotypes that we all are into kinky, fetish, bestiality, having sex in suit stuff. I tried showing them Majira Strawberry's video about it, explaining that that is less than 30% of the fandom, but they won't have it. Each time they find a rogue angel dragon drawing or head base, they trash it without a second thought. I recently went through a major problem that got me and my boyfriend in severe trouble, and now we are restricted from communicating. He's 19 and is a furry, and I think that they associate our childish mistake with wanting to engage in kinky activities. Although, that was not our intention, we were just being dumb. But, I'm not sure how to tell them that I don't. I'm scared because they only like me to conform to their views of right and wrong. I don't know what to do.
Bloodlust (age 13)
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Hmm, well, first of all, if your parents know your furry name this is doing you no big favors. Second, and you will probably not like me for this, 13 is too young to be having a 19-year-old boyfriend, and if I were your dad I would be pretty darn nervous about that little development. Third, I would ask that you try to see things from your parents’ point of view for a little while and understand that they are trying to protect their baby girl. They are not trying to hurt you or impose insensitive rules on you or control your life. They simply care about your well-being. And, yes, that means they would like to see you “conform” to what they feel is right. After all, the only thing people can hold onto is their own sense of morality.
Ask yourself this: are your parents good people? Are they kind, and caring, and loving? Do they care about your life and whether or not you do well and are happy? If so, count yourself fortunate, for there are many children in the world who are not as lucky as you are.
What I’m trying to do in this reply, in case you don’t see it, is have you look at this situation from your parents’ viewpoint so that you won’t just think they are trying to be controlling and restrictive just to be mean to you.
There are many ways to be furry without getting anywhere near the kinky pervy side of it. For example, I would hope that your parents would not object to your seeing a movie like Zootopia. When I was your age, my Zootopia was Disney’s The Jungle Book and Robin Hood. I loved these animated features and watched them multiple times.
Bloodlust, let me tell you something here. As much as Papabear loves the fandom and knows that the majority of it has nothing to do with sex, the simple fact is this: the Furry Fandom is a fandom for adults and you, at 13, are not an adult. You might think you are, but you’re not. You’ll get there soon enough, though.
Therefore, my suggestion to you is to find ways to indulge your love of anthros that have nothing to do with the furry fandom until you are 18 years old (if your furry friends are into kinky stuff, it would actually be a good idea not to hang out with that crowd—you are too young). That might sound like a long time, but it will fly by. In the meantime! There are many things you can do such as watch furry movies, read comic books (G rated, please), watch TV cartoons, go on a Disneyworld vacation, and even be creative and learn how to draw or write stories.
So, Papabear is not going to give you advice on “how to convince my parents to let me be involved in the furry fandom.” The truth is, that ain’t gonna happen. Your parents are in charge of you until you come of age (and, frankly, sometimes beyond that). That is their right as parents. They recognize that the furry fandom is a fandom for sexually adult people (even though many furries themselves do not seem to recognize this). That is the simple fact.
Let me put it another way. Imagine there were a movie theater in which ticket buyers do not go into separate rooms where there is just one screen. Instead, there is just one huge room with multiple screens and they are all showing movies. Say 70% of these movies are clean, family-friendly movies, but the other 30% are X-rated films that leave nothing to the imagination. Would you want to go in there? Do your parents have the right to tell you not to go in there? The furry fandom—especially the online fandom—has almost no filters protecting the young from pornography.
Many young people believe that they can separate the porn from the G-rated furry stuff. Truth is, you cannot. The fandom has made it all too clear that porn is going to be in your face if you go to furry sites. Oh, sure, you can go to FurAffinity and click the SFW (safe for work) button, and you might even be able to avoid the kinky stuff for a while with some effort, but eventually, inevitably, someone is going to show you a picture of furries having sex.
Too many kids in American society are not allowed to just be kids. It’s become incredibly hard since I was your age to avoid images of sex and violence. Papabear does not believe this is healthy for those who are not yet sexually mature. Young people should enjoy some innocent pleasures for a while before they get mixed up in that stuff.
After reading the above, you might think Papabear has changed his mind about sex from earlier letters. No, I haven’t. I believe sex is a great thing and that imaginative and playful sex is fun and fulfilling ... for adults, and, I must emphasize, consenting adults.
Hon, give yourself a few years to enjoy the innocence of childhood. It goes far too quickly. Don’t rush. And don’t fool yourself into believing that you can avoid sexual imagery in the furry fandom. Finally, be grateful that you have parents who care about and love you enough to be involved in your life.
P.S. Give your parents a hug now and then and tell them you love them. :)
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.