First of all, I apologize if you have answered this already, but I am curious about something.
I am wondering what happens to someone's fursona after he/she passes away. Does it become up for grabs, does it stay with the deceased person, or does it just "die" as well?
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For most furries a fursona is something that is very personal, a part of them. Therefore, in most cases, I would surmise that when the furry dies so does his or her fursona. But, that’s probably not a hard-and-fast rule. For instance, many times a furry will leave his/her fursuit to someone else after they pass, or, quite often, even sell the fursuit long before their demise (because they need the money or are tired with that particular fursuit character). I guess it depends upon how strongly attached that person is to the fursona and how much that fursona reflects who they are. When I go, for example, Grubbs goes with me because he IS me. My fursuit (if it is still in one piece by that time) will be inherited, but at that point it just becomes furry fabric and paw pads and claws, a souvenir.
That’s just fursuits, of course. Many furries don’t own one, and their fursona lives in illustrations or in written fiction. In that case, I reckon it would be even easier to keep a popular furry character alive as others draw fan art or write fan fiction, sort of like how James Bond keeps appearing in movies even though Ian Fleming died a year before I was born. As with our memories of a loved one, a fursona of someone we dearly loved can live on, even after its creator has shed the mortal coil.
Thanks for your question,
Me again. :P
So if you recall my issue from my last letter which is resolved, I have a female fursona named Cassidy. And that's the problem. Female.
I'm a born male in a Catholic house with a highly religious mother and to-scared-to-do-anything-but-more-open-minded father. I don't feel like I need to run around in a dress or pretend I have lady parts or anything, but I do have female thoughts and tendencies. And I reflect them onto Cassidy.
Cassidy emerged as a representation of my female self. That part of myself was created in the era I grew up, 1996-2008 mostly where the influence came from. Music Videos especially played a big part. The dancing! Britney Spears, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, and many other singers from that era and their videos got to me and I felt a strong connection.
I feel alive when I dance like them, just provocative hip moments and dropping it low. It's not, nor has ever been about sex but just having fun...teasing I guess. I don't know, it's hard to explain. How versed are you on 2000s Music Videos with Pop Divas? XD
My Dad is a DJ so I've been around music my whole life. All kinds. So it's very important to me and has had a huge impact on my life. I can't go a day without it!
I have some pictures of Cassidy I've had commissioned and some I've drawn myself that are female, but none NSFW or whatever. Just female in provocative and slightly revealing clothes (another 2000s reference. Mostly the art is of the shirt from the Ciara - Goodies video and the pants from Christina Aguilera - Dirrty) and that's how I like it. Just how I imagine myself in it. Sometimes my parents ask questions. I just say it's a character and since the page I'm drawing on and my room are so covered in random other characters and doodles I don't think they've picked up on the 1 character who is consistently every where.
Body image is also a big part. I'm not super skinny, but I'm not big. I'm kinda average I suppose, some extra fat and some man boobs. I've been working out in an effort to lose the belly fat but the boobs...I kinda like. I've had them forever and my mom says they'll go away but I kinda don't want them to.
Next issue; parents. The religion plays a big factor but mostly just acceptance from the norm is the struggle. I decided to shave my legs and was immediately ostracized for it. And when I was little, way young, like 6 and I saw those music videos I did the dancing and my parents told me to never do it again. They said it was only for females to do, same when I sang women songs (Do It To It - Cherish and Me & You - Cassie come to mind.) so there's always been a gender barrier. I think they might know...or at least guess. I played with Barbies and Polly Pockets when I was little, never whatever boys played with. I always played the girls. They seem to have faith though, they ask about girls and stuff. I get hit on A LOT, maybe a dozen times each year at my school. And not even subtly. I don't exactly come off like Cassidy to people, which is a good thing I suppose so I don't get bullied like crazy at school. I do make my opinions and love for music known at school however. My song choices are also signs but nobody cares. Body language is huge as well. I position my hands and legs kinda like a gay person when I sit. Not to be offensive but just, not manly if that makes sense. Cause I'm not manly, nor am I gay.
And on an interesting note, a few weeks ago my Dad off handedly called me 'furry' which caught me way off guard and my heart stopped. I've been making my own Halloween costumes for 3 years and last year I did Rocket Raccoon with a full on fursuit head which was awesome but I never mentioned furry...and yes, they did watch CSI while it was on. Oh boy. But they tend to forget things so I don't think they know about the sex as the first thing they think of when they think furry. But I've never asked so I'm not sure.
I know there will never be a day when I can wake up and suddenly look like a mid 20s female pop singer furry, but even just reflecting a bit of who I am would be nice. But that's strictly prohibited in my house.
It becomes even harder when you learn that I have a brother who is the most masculine thing ever. He works out, does ALL the martial arts, has the temper of a bull and isn't afraid to hit anyone, family or not, and all the girls love him also. That last bit is the only similarity between us and my parents go to town with it. He's younger than me but a force to be reckoned with. I've tried to just have a chat with him about my thoughts but he's like a brick wall. I don't even know if he has emotions other than rage and not rage.
I'm very musical and the songs I like to write and sing are also female which sucks because then I can't sing them! I have hundreds of songs I'm holding on to until maybe one day I can sell them to a record label or something. I try play up the masculine thing though for my YouTube, so that if there's a chance a big label sees it, they think I'm an exploitable teen idol rather than some gender confused f*ckwit who sings.
When I was little I also was told my brain did more than normal. More thinking, more processing, whatever. I look to much into things and let bad things hold me for a long time. Take that information as you will.
My Dad tries to get me into cars, talks about women, sports, all that. But I just don't care. Even rock music or metal is not my thing. I don't do any typical man things (referring to the M word here.) and I love long hair and hate dirt. And with all these thoughts, and this is just my stupid brain here, I think I have legit extra female hormones in me. I don't have ANY body hair. Any where visible when wearing underwear. And whatever shows up is short, fine, light in color, and I remove it immediately. Which is even crazier when you ALSO learn I'm half Mexican and Italian. A MEXICAN ITALIAN WITHOUT BODY HAIR?! Madness.
My nails are not even comparable to other guys, they're well kept and perfect without any products used. Even women are envious of my finger nails which is weird for a guy to say, but then again, I'm not really a guy. I've got full lips, a...big butt. Nothing guys normally have. Which makes sense but not in the perfect male image my parents are trying to force onto me.
So all my female qualities, or desired female qualities, are placed onto Cassidy, my female civet fursona. And I've been taking more steps into becoming a furry artist for the fandom which might be even harder to hide.
My question is, how do I explain this to my parents? Not that I need a sex change or binders or anything, but just that I want to be allowed to express female tendencies. I'm asexual, uninterested in relationships which will also not be good for them to hear. A fursuit would help, Vancofur is so close!! But parents again. And the lack of said suit. Should I just wait it out? Do I even NEED to tell them? What if they find out? Paranoia is a horrible thing.
My parents don't believe in psychological help or anything which is good and bad. Good in that there won't be a pill to take every morning because I'm clinically whatever and I can work myself out of slumps without knowing I'll always have them. But bad because God is the answer. If they find out I'll get the furry exorcised out of me.
Even in this letter to get help I'm rethinking everything I type. Don't dare speak to me, I ramble way worse than I type.
Feel free to ask me questions if my ramblings are not making sense, or if you need some good 2000s music recommended. Cause you wouldn't be the first. ;3
Thank you so much for listening!!! ^w^
~Luv from Cassidy
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Sexual preference and “feminine” vs. “masculine” behaviors are complete different things. Just because you like music performed by women, like to dance like one, and exhibit what would now be considered effeminate behavior doesn’t make you gay. What you are struggling against, then, is not an issue with your sexuality but, rather, an issue with social standards, and social standards are something that changes over time.
For example, did you know that in Roman times it was considered effeminate to sport a goatee? Did you know that the color pink was not considered a girl’s color until the 1950s? Did you know that little boys used to be dressed in cute little dresses back in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries?
Feminine and masculine standards are in flux. Another example would be the fairly recent phenomenon of “metrosexual” dress and hygiene care adopted by many men; and, in Europe, male attire can often be much more effeminate than here in this country (you’d never catch an urban Frenchman in overalls or a plaid shirt and cowboy boots.)
You don’t need psychiatric help. There is nothing wrong with you. Just because you don’t match today’s standards of masculinity doesn’t mean you have a mental problem. It just means you are in a different place than most of society. And society always considers anyone abnormal who doesn’t conform to the currently accepted behavior, even if that “acceptable” behavior standard is mutable over the generations.
On the other side of the coin, it has become acceptable—especially since the 1960s (but the WWII era, when women stepped up to the plate at home, building the war machine and filling the gap left by men at war, was really the spark, I think)—for women to behave in more masculine ways. Women wearing pants, getting jobs, playing sports like baseball and even football would have been out of the question not very long ago.
Just as ideas of femininity have changed, so, too, has masculinity in this country. This, again, has to do with a changing society and changing role models. The gangsta culture you see, for example (and that your brother is rather adopting) is the result of overcompensation for the lack of strong male figures (which is why it originated in poor urban areas where fathers are often absent). We are lacking strong male models of the traditional sort because our country has changed. In our country the wilderness has been tamed, the country settled and civilized. The old models of rugged frontiersman, cowboy, explorer, hunter, prairie settler, gold prospector, etc. are gone. In their place, we have bankers, stock brokers, lawyers, politicians, movie moguls, pop stars, actors, and pro and college athletes battling it out in controlled environments. If a football player gets a boo boo, he is rushed to medical attention because he’s a financial investment vs. the Roman gladiator who toughed it out, fighting lions while his leg was broken (although I’ll give a nod to hockey players whom I’ve seen play long periods with broken ankles and concussions).
The masculine model for many, therefore, is a guy in an expensive suit sitting behind a desk and drinking Earl Gray from a porcelain teacup.
You and your brother are interesting reactions to the same situation: your brother went hypermasculine, and you went “feminine.” Both are because you are struggling with the idea of what it means to be a man because of the hole left by the loss of old stereotypes.
You remind me of one of my favorite characters on TV: Raj from “The Big Bang Theory.” He has many qualities considered feminine, but it’s made clear that he is heterosexual. You could give that as one example to your parents, if you like.
In short, just tell your parents you’re not gay; you just aren’t as masculine as your younger brother. You don’t need therapy; you’re fine just as you are. There’s really nothing to apologize for, explain, or fix.
Just be you.
I have been facing almost 20 years of hate, flaming, insults, and injuries since pre-k because I have autism (specifically, Asperger’s Syndrome), as well as being Bipolar 1. I have been called every insult in the book, injured many times and was emotionally abused by all my peers. In the end I was left wearing a “mask,” I guess you can call it, so I can try hiding my pain, but in the end, even now at 19 going on 20, I cry myself to sleep because their words and actions echo constantly.
My family acts like they're there for me, but it feels like because I'm a furry they're pushing me away. They audibly say I'm an embarrassment to the family. But I can't move out yet because I have been unable to find a job. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope with this emotional agony I'm facing every day. Therapy doesn't help much and makes me feel more like an animal that they're trying to train to think or act differently. Can you please help or at least give me advice on what I can do?
I'm sorry this is such a long one, but I needed to let this off my chest. Thank you.
Terra (North Carolina)
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I’d like to give you a big bear hug right now and comfort you, you poor dear. That you are being abused for being autistic is an absolute crime. Unforgiveable because it’s not your fault. That your family adds to the emotional pain is even more sad, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m glad you tried therapy, but disappointed—as you are—that you didn’t get quality help.
The fundamental problem here is this: mundanes, whether they are family, friends, peers, or even professional therapists (scientific or religious), are often under the mistaken belief that if something isn’t “normal” then it is automatically wrong and should be “adjusted” or “cured.” Such people who want to change you fail to look at their own flaws and hypocrisy. For example, many people call furries furverts because of the sexual aspect, yet one of the most popular movies and books of recent days was 50 Shades of Grey, which is about two lovers experimenting with sexual bondage and other kinks (by the way, both literary and movie critics panned the book and movie as being low quality, but it sold well because it’s about kinky sex). That’s okay with mundanes, but getting a bit turned on by a naked furry isn’t? Hmm. And even with the sexual side disregarded (and many many many many furries are not interested in it), it is still considered strange to like anthropomorphized animal characters. And yet! One of the most popular films of recent times was Disney’s The Lion King, which, on stage, won a freakin’ Tony Award for best costumes! You know what those costumes were? FURSUITS dammit! and furry puppets! Talking, anthropomorphized animals everywhere. Sheesh.
One thing you could do, then, is point out how misguided everyone is about furries, and what utter hypocrites they are about it.
Concerning your Asperger’s. While you mentioned therapy, you don’t say anything about doing research on autism or getting help anywhere else. Did you know there are all kinds of organizations out there eager to help you? They can even help educate your family and assist them in coping with this situation. In your home state, please visit the Autism Society of North Carolina, and don’t be afraid to pick their brains for resources.
You also need help on your job search. For this, I recommend two sites you should check out: the Asperger Syndrome Training and Employment Partnership (ASTEP) and the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Both should be able to do a lot to assist you on finding work and becoming independent.
And while you are working on the above, remember this: you have a network of friends out there who can support you and understand you: furries. Many of them know what you are going through because they have Asperger’s, too (just type Asperger’s in my search box on the home page of “Ask Papabear” and see the results). Reach out to them, as you did to Papabear (and I’m glad you did!)
I hope this can help you in some way, Terra. If not, please write again.
I have this friend that I met weeks ago, and we really hit it off.... We talked, joked, played around, and had fun.
Well, today, he mentioned that he has cancer and 1 year to live. He said that he'd stop talking to me so that I wouldn't get attached, and it hurt.
Now he's not talking to me. I'm depressed and scared.... What do I do??
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This might sound rather cynical, but my first reaction to your situation has to do with a couple of experiences I have had. On not one but two occasions, I have had furries tell me they were dying or near death and it turned out to be a lie because, for some reason, they wished to break off communication with me and didn’t have the guts to just tell me. One of them even texted me, pretending to be his father and telling me his son was dead (good gravy). I also had a non-furry once call me and say he was in the hospital about to get a quadruple bypass and that he might die on the table—only to find out a few hours later it was all a lie to get sympathy from me.
The first thing I would do, if I were you, is try to confirm the story. Try to contact other friends of his and check out what’s going on. If it’s all a lie because this guy no longer wants to talk to you, grant him his wish and shut the door, nay, slam the door. I’m sorry if this sounds horrible of me, but the whole “I have one year to live” thing rings like cliché to my ears. I would bet you $100 right now that it’s bullpucky. Why? Because you just met him a few weeks ago; he was joking around, happy, care-free, feeling fine. All of a sudden he’s going to die in a year? Alarm bells are ringing here, and if untrue, then you have a right to be angry about his emotionally manipulating you.
But! I could be wrong; wouldn’t be the first time. If confirmed (and I am serious that you should check out his story and not just take his word for it) and he really is terminal with cancer, then he needs a friend. Emotional support and encouragement are some of the best medicines for a person who is ill. You don’t have to offer solutions; just your mere presence can help immensely. No one wants to die alone and friendless. I’m hoping that this friend is somewhere close so you could actually visit him, but if that’s impossible, use the phone or Skype (texting is not sufficient) so that he can hear your voice and/or your face.
If you are having trouble contacting him, employ the same strategy as above and try to contact his friends and family. He and they need to know you’re a real friend who wishes to be supportive in this difficult time.
As my regular readers know, Papabear receives many letters from furries about "coming out" to parents and friends or being teased and bullied at school. These letters make this bear so sad. As a community, we are, many of us, ashamed or embarrassed about being furries, mostly because of the sexual stigma often attached to our interest. When a minor, therefore, tries to talk to his or her parents about being a furry, one of the first things (most) parents do is look on the Internet to find out what the heck it is, and then they, inevitably, find furporn and then forbid their kids to be furries.
Some who read this may disagree, but I wish to unequivocally state here, once and for all, that being a furry is NOT about sex; it is NOT fundamentally a sexual fetish. Even though there is that aspect of it, and you can't deny that, the essence of furry is escapism.
Escapism is why the fandom started, when a few science fiction fans got together to share their interest in anthros within the genre. Escapism is why we create fursonas. Escapism is why we fursuit. Escapism is why we draw art, create graphic novels and comic books, and get together at furcons and furmeets to meet others like ourselves. (And, too, yes, escapism is why we have sexual fantasies).
Why do we need escapism? Gee, I dunno. Perhaps it's because humanity is in a state of constant war. Perhaps because there are terrorists who, at any moment, might kill us for no reason other than we don't share their beliefs. Perhaps it is because the news media constantly tells us to be afraid of EVERYTHING so that they will gain viewers to see the latest report as to why (seriously) we can't let our dog lick our face or that multivitamins will give us cancer or that foods we once thought were healthy will actually make us sick. Perhaps it is because people cannot accept us for who we are. Perhaps it is because people who have taken over this world insist on destroying society and the environment, making our water undrinkable, our air unbreathable, and our food inedible. Perhaps it is because religious people fight and kill each other over petty differences when we all supposedly worship the same God. Perhaps it is because we don't feel safe in our schools and the police are as likely to beat or shoot us as they are to issue a ticket. Perhaps it is because rampant greed has made it nearly impossible to find a decent-paying job and, when we finish college, we are tens of thousands of dollars in debt and all we can find in terms of employment is stocking shelves at Walmart.
So, when we go to our parents and tell them we are furries, and they turn around and tell us we are forbidden to be furries because furries are sex freaks, they slam the door on the one escape route we have to save our sanity.
Is it any wonder many of us have become neurotic?
Many people might see escapism as unhealthy, but, actually, it is a form of play (just like videogaming). Play and leisure time are an important part of mental health. It is only unhealthy when you become disconnected from "reality" to the extent where you are no longer able to perceive what is real and function in your life. This is not the case with the healthy furry, who either sees furriness as a hobby or as a part of who he or she is. I recently conducted an informal survey about whether furries saw being furry as part of who they are or just a hobby, and the overwhelming majority (97%) saw it as part of who they are. It is the same, really, as identifying oneself by sexual orientation, race, or religion. It is simply a part of you. Nothing wrong with that.
To all those that say we are freaks: yeah, we are freaks, if by being a "freak" you mean we do not conform to "normal" society. You have made us freaks. And we'd rather be freaks than be like you.
I'd rather be a furry than a soulless monster like Charles or David Koch. I'd rather be a furry than someone who spouts hatred and fear so that they can get elected to public office. I'd rather be furry than be a preacher who shouts that gay people are going to hell and that the LGBT community is why we have natural disasters. I'd rather be a furry than a cop who kills people because they are afraid of the color of their skin. I'd rather be a furry than a parent who kicks his own son out of the house to be homeless because he is gay. I'd rather be a furry than work for Monsanto or Halliburton, participating in wholesale environmental destruction.
Embrace the freaky community. Those who wish to control us can take everything away except one thing: our true identity, our souls.
Stay furry, my furiends.
I was circumcised for, if I remember correctly, medical/hygienic reasons. I was fine with the way I looked "down there" until I read several Psychology Today articles saying that circumcision had several negative neurological and psychological effects, such as increasing sensitivity to future pain, causing bottling in of emotions, etc. (the articles can be found here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201109/myths-about-circumcision-you-likely-believe, https://cdn.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201501/circumcision-s-psychological-damage). Other than "bottling in emotions" and maybe something else*, my symptoms occurred after reading the articles describing them, as far as I can tell. Is there any way to know for sure if the symptoms are simply the result of being told "if you are circumcised, you have these symptoms" or not?
*I had to get surgery once. For some reason, I had to have an empty bladder prior to the operation, but I couldn't go while being in the same room as the doctor. Listening to running water didn't help, so I had to have a catheter. I cried from the pain of the insertion, and briefly entertained thoughts of torturing the doctor who'd put the catheter in as revenge (although I know that torture is unethical). I'm not sure if this is related to being circumcised or not.
Alec (age 20)
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An interesting topic, and thanks for bringing it up. The jury is still largely out on whether or not circumcision is a good idea for males (to distinguish it from circumcision of females, which is definitely not a good idea). Historically, circumcision goes back to ancient Jewish tradition. Genesis 17:10–14 states:
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Among Jews, it is a religious rite called the brit milah. Christians do it, too, since they come from that tradition, although without the ceremony and in a doctor’s office, rather than at home performed by a rabbi (and, of course, not to say all Jews have a rabbi do it). As with some other commandments in the Bible, such as not eating ham with milk, the practice probably came into being for health reasons. Antibiotics had yet to be invented, and infections could easily be a death sentence. Today, being uncircumcised can still be problematic, and the Centers for Disease Control still recommend the procedure, saying that it can help prevent everything from urinary tract infections to cancer and HIV. This recommendation, made in 2014, reinforced a 1999 recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There is also a growing movement, however, away from the practice. My own mother did not believe in it, saying that circumcision was unnecessary mutilation. As a young kid who had to shower with the other boys after gym class, I used to curse her because I was so embarrassed to be the only one in the shower with a foreskin (indeed, a huge reason many parents in the past circumcised boys was they were fearful their kids would be teased in the showers at school). Today, I am thankful she left my penis alone.... More on that below.
I have never heard of the author of the article in Psychology Today that you have here, so I looked up this Lilli Cannon on the Internet, finding her blog, www.moralogous.com, and the bio in it that states she is a “parent, wife, entrepreneur, thinker, armchair psychologist, amateur anthropologist.” None of these things makes her a physician or psychologist, so I would definitely take her advice with a big grain of salt. In fact, I’m surprised her article was published in Psychology Today. She’s an amateur, as am I, which is why my website clearly states I’m not a doctor or trained counselor. I also note that in her article she provides no links to scientific studies, only, bizarrely, links concerning animal welfare.
In recent years in the United States have seen a downward trend because there have also been studies saying there are really no benefits and that it is, really, mutilation. An entire organization—Intact America—has been established to educate people about what it feels are myths about circumcision.
Am I confusing you yet? Well, that’s because the medical community can often contradict itself. Here, briefly, is what I think about circumcision: 1) it is largely continued today because of religious and social reasons, not health reasons; 2) it is a simple way for a doctor to make a quick buck, charging $200 to $800 for the procedure in the United States; 3) yes, it is extremely painful to the infant and often done without anesthetic, doctors even once believing that newborns didn’t experience pain as much as adults do (that screaming didn’t indicate pain?); 4) while it is true that bacteria can grow under the foreskin, this is easily resolved with good hygiene practices. The reason you see higher rates of infections in places like rural Africa is because hygiene is more problematic there. Men with foreskins can greatly reduce their risk to be about the same as circumcised men by thoroughly cleaning the head of the penis daily, and also doing so immediately after sexual intercourse (if done without protection) or by simply wearing a condom (always a good idea, says my buddy Critter *tip o’ the hat*).
Even though I don’t respect Cannon much because that article in Psychology Today was poorly done, it actually might be true, according to research I found (hey, Cannon, why didn’t you support your claims? sheesh). According to this study http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/taddio2/ circumcision can, indeed, cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, leading to depression, anger, and even suicide in later years. On a less-significant, but still important, level, the removal of the foreskin lowers the sensitivity of the penis and, hence, makes sex less pleasurable (thanks, Mom).
Now, does Papabear believe that your circumcision led to your emotional issues? This is questionable for the reason that you state you didn’t have any problems until after you read the article by Cannon. It sounds like what hypochondriacs do, believing they have a disease only when they learn about it. If everyone who was circumcised became emotionally impaired, the world would be an utter disaster. Perhaps it increases such risks, but does not necessarily lead to them. As for your doctor visit, that could be attributed to anxiety—also, very odd that the doctor insisted on being in the same room because usually they hand you a cup and tell you to fill it in the bathroom.
To answer your question, then, no, it is not possible to state for an absolute certainty whether or not being circumcised has affected you in some way. My advice would be to stop obsessing about it, because that will just create a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more you worry, the more it will disturb you, the greater the risk of you actually becoming emotionally impaired. Don’t blame your “bottling in” of emotions on your surgery. Instead, look for ways to calm yourself, enjoy your current life as you are, and count your blessings. Look for the good in life and stop focusing on the bad, whether real or imaginary, and you’ll be much better off.
P.S. Circumcision can actually be reversed through surgery or, with the use of weights or elastic straps, nonsurgical procedures. Consult your physician if you wish to consider your options.
UPDATE April 23, 2015
Here is a GREAT article provided by my buddy Furisky about the foreskin and the U.S. medical community. A must-read: http://madsciencewriter.blogspot.in/2013/05/the-foreskin-why-is-it-such-secret-in.html?m=1
Before I start this letter, let me just say that I happen to be very picky when it comes to having crushes, which makes it very rare for me to like people this much.
A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to someone by my friend. He was very very sweet, and we shared so many things in common (including being in the furry fandom, and there aren't many furries in my school.) He just seemed like the perfect guy. And he still does. He's more than perfect to me. He's the first guy that I can see in a relationship with me. I could never see myself in a relationship with anyone before. Little did I know, the he, out of all of the people in my school, is gay. I'm all for LGBT rights (I'm pansexual myself, but I don't like saying it because, in my opinion, I’m too young to come to conclusion about my sexuality just yet.) If he likes guys, than he likes guys, and I have no problem with that. It’s not really his fault, because its not really a choice.
But I still really like him. I don't think it'd be a good idea to try to make him straight or anything, because I wouldn't react well to anyone if they asked me to be straight. I don't think anyone would like to be asked to change their sexuality. I don't want to just ignore the fact that he likes guys and tell him, because I don't want him to feel bad, or be pressured to say that he likes me back (I know that it doesn't seem like anything that someone would do, but he actually told me a story about how he was asked out by a girl that was a friend of his a long time ago, and he was really stressed out because she was a very good friend of his, and he said yes and ended up doing the right thing and telling her that he likes guys and now everything's awkward between them, so they don't talk anymore, etc.).
And even if we don't end up together, I'd still want to be friends with him. I'd never want to lose a good friend by doing something that'd make him feel awkward around me. I have no idea what to do in this situation. Can you help??
Kachebe the Shiba-inu (age 12)
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Welcome back, Kachebe :-3
My goodness, you’re only 12 and actively dating, and you also have a very mature attitude about LGBT people, realizing, unlike many adults, that this is how people are born; it’s not a choice. Good for you. Forgive Papabear for saying that he is still a bit disoriented by the fact that he is getting letters these days from 11, 12, and 13 year olds who are having romantic relationships. In his day, people that age were still kids, playing with dolls, plastic horses, army men, and Matchbox® cars. Ah, well, a topic for another day....
You don’t mention the age of the boy, so I’ll assume he is your age or very close. You might know this (or not), but boys tend to mature a bit later than girls, so he might be behind you a bit on figuring out his sexuality. Also—and no one knows this better than I—one can be very confused, even misguided, as to his or her sexuality until much later in life (you might have read in previous columns that I didn’t realize I was gay until I was 40, for a number of reasons I won’t go into here). So, one possibility is that your friend might not have settled into where he really is in life. Of course, the other possibility is that he is very sure of his sexual orientation, which is a good thing for one’s sanity to know who you are at such an early age.
In either case, as you already know, too, it is never wise to try and influence someone in this area—especially for selfish reasons. In your case, you would prefer him to like girls so that the two of you could have a romantic relationship that would someday include sex.
This is another one of those letters Papabear gets in which the writer already knows the answer but just wants some verification. That answer is that you should not try to push him in any direction. One of the biggest mistakes a woman can make in a relationship can be summed up in one quote: “I can change him.” Nuh-uh. While he certainly could change, if he does, he changes of his own free will. Forcing the change will just foster bitterness and resentment.
What you do is this: be his friend! And, at your age, honey, you should not be thinking about sex, anyway. Good grief! You’re too young! And, believe me, you do NOT want to have a baby at your age! Or, God forbid, an STD. At this point in your life, you should be practicing aspirin therapy: take an aspirin, hold it between your knees, and keep it there.
With sex off the table, there is no reason you can’t have a beautiful friendship with this boy, and one that even includes a lot of affection. Gay guys love to kiss and hug, even kissing and hugging women.
My advice to you is to keep it at a friendly level. And be patient. Who knows what might transpire years from now, but for now, live in the moment and treasure having someone in your life who shares your interests and with whom you love spending time.
For a while I have always had 2 personalities. I am positive to people always but deep down I am struggling to stay alive. I am always getting bullied and made fun of because of being gay and a furry. How can I get through tough times and be positive?
Raoul (age 13, Georgia)
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My Dear Raoul,
Looks like you’re becoming familiar with one of the most difficult aspects of living within human society: trying to fit in on the outside, while becoming familiar with who you really are on the inside. Society wants us all to be the same: heterosexual, sociable, hard-working, productive citizens who produce useful goods and services to the state. On the inside, only a minority actually fit the desired stereotype. However, evolution has made humans so that they crave acceptance within society, and, once acceptance is achieved, we feel more secure because there is strength in numbers. Therefore, when our insides don’t match what is desired on the outside, we create masks, as you have done, in order to adapt.
Such personality conflicts are typical of minorities, such as LGBT people and furries. A couple things you can do here. First of all, you need to find fellow furries and/or gay people with whom you can create a social circle of support. It is important that you don’t feel alone and isolated. Secondly, you will need to learn to defend yourself. One way to do that is to report incidents of bullying to your school, whether they involve real-life or cyberbullying encounters. Georgia law is very clear that bullying is not tolerated in schools (and the state will deny funding to schools not in compliance), so your school administrators should be motivated to help you. You can also talk to a school counselor about what is happening and get some advice from him or her. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help, including your family.
Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to learn a bit of physical self-defense. With the caveat that you should never hit or kick someone unless absolutely necessary, it would not be a bad idea to take a self-defense class, such as martial arts.
The reality of life, Raoul, is that both you and I, being gay and furry, are likely to be persecuted in one way or another for the rest of our days. The key is to realize that this is not your fault; you are a good person, a valuable person, and it is okay for you to be gay and furry. Those who cannot accept you for being different are simply less evolved as human beings, sadly. But, in your life, you will run across people who are much more open-minded and accepting of you for you. When you find such people, cling to them and never let them out of your sight. You will learn this in the years to come. Have patience, and don’t get down on yourself. You’ll be okay as long as you refuse to believe the hateful remarks thrown at you by the ignorant and the stupid.
I've been loosing some of my friends in real life, because they are either moving or are blowing me off for being a furry. My last friend in my neighborhood has told me he got his girlfriend pregnant. (He is only 13) I don't know how to deal with this well. I don't really want to be friends with him as he also told me he was having sex with her for a while. If you could give me any advice, it would help a lot. Thank you.
- FireWolfTheFury (age 13, Tennessee)
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It’s a shame about your friend getting a girl pregnant. I understand your apparent revulsion, but isn’t this the time when true friends step up and are supportive when their buddies make a mistake, no matter how large? This depends a lot on the situation, of course, but if your friend is asking you to stick by him when he needs someone on his side, I wouldn’t brush him off, especially if he admits he has made a huge mistake and wants to turn his life around.
As for your other friends, this sort of thing happens a lot in life, especially as we transition from childhood to teen years, or from teens to adulthood, or single life to married life, etc. etc. Transitional periods of our lives are often coupled with transitions in the kinds of people we hang out with.
As we grow up, our interests change and that can cause us to lose touch with those who have not changed or have changed in ways different from ourselves. In your case, you have become involved in the furry fandom, while a number of your friends have not and now are blowing you off, as you say.
What you need to do, then, is find people who share your interests. Let the old friends go, if that’s what they wish, and get new ones—preferably, to start off with, anyway, fellow furries. I recommend you start with the Tennessee Furs group and try and make some connections there.
Good luck to you! And to your troubled friend.
My mother and father got divorced when I was very young, I can vaguely remember it. I have always swapped houses between my mother and my father during each week. I had a therapist for a while until I could fully deal with the divorce (This was a while back). After that, for seven years I was happy with both my parents. My mother got re-married a few years ago while my father just recently got re-married in September.
Then, something happened around Christmas; my mother and stepfather started to treat me in a way they never have. They ignored me, yelled at me for no apparent reason, and caused arguments blown way out of proportion. I didn't understand, because I've always been nice to them, always did what I was told, and no apparent reason, and caused arguments blown way out of proportion. I didn't understand, because I've always been nice to them, always did what I was told, and always loved them dearly. My mother gave my barely younger sister a get out of jail free card for every situation. One day, I was doing homework while my sister was being very rude and mean towards me and my mother. My mother didn't react to her, she didn't tell her to stop. I was quiet until I angrily slammed my books on the counter and moved to a different room. What does she do? She follows me and yells at me for slamming my books instead of simply dealing with the reason why I did it.
I've been a good kid so I don't get it. Due to things like this happening, I went to seek help from my therapist who I haven't talked to in a very long time. We sat down and discussed why this was going on, but to no avail did we find an answer. I then told my mother I was depressed due to how she was handling situations and treating me. Instead of even acknowledging it, she simply said, "I'm the parent, you're the child, I make decisions, and it really hurts that you would question my parenting." She made me feel guilt for expressing myself ... and it was too much. It keeps going on today, the same thing every other day.
It just keeps getting worse and worse with them calling me immature, selfish, ungrateful, and a jerk for explaining the reasons why I'm sad all the time. Thoughts of dark and very haunting things have made me sick. All of this is brought up now because I have reached a point where I have to make a decision: Do I stay with my mom and keep her happy, or live entirely with my father? If I go with staying with my mother and stepfather, I will loose control of myself eventually, but this will mean they will be happy that I'm there. On the other end, if I leave to my father's, I will be happy while my mother is heartbroken, and she will try to get money out of my father in order to cope with everything. This is where I stand at this exact moment.
Vex (age 15)
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Favortism in parents can be a difficult thing to be sure. I want to first give you a link to a useful Psychology Today article on the subject. In the article, I feel the point that might apply to you has to do with parental stress. The article notes that parents might suddenly exhibit favoritism between children when something particularly stressful has occurred in their lives (probably to do with finances or their relationship). Do you think that might be what’s going on? If they could resolve whatever is affecting them (if that’s the case), it would probably change their behavior toward you. What’s most important is that you acknowledge to yourself that this is NOT your fault, but, rather, your mom and stepdad’s problem.
That said, the next step Papabear would recommend is that you talk to your biological father. Tell him what is going on and tell him that—until things change—you want to live with him. It is important that you take care of yourself and NOT feel guilty about it.
Concerning your fear that your mom will ask your dad for more money. Don’t worry about it. In the divorce papers, there will be specific language as to any alimony and your father is not obliged to pay her more. She can ask all she wants, and your dad can say no.
Concerning your worries that moving in with Dad will make Mom unhappy. Hey, she’s the one making YOU miserable to the point that you fear you will “lose control.” Too bad if moving out makes her sad. She needs to take responsibility for her actions. If everything you say in your letter is true and her treatment of you is completely unjustified, then she needs to get it together and realize she’s being a bad mother.
Your mental, physical, and emotional well-being comes first, Vex. Do what you need to do so that you will be happy and healthy.
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