Thank you for reading this letter. The last time I sent you a letter you helped me a lot in picking my fursona according to my personality, and I must say that I feel accomplished now.
However, the dilemma I now face has nothing to deal with fursonas or the Furry Fandom itself (at least not directly). My newest problem is related to love.
Allow me to explain.
I obtained my degree in Translation a few months ago and am now working at an airport as a flight dispatcher trainee.
Two weeks ago, a new female employee started working at the department opposite mine (I work in the air operations control centre, and she works in the ground operations control centre).
We see each other almost daily, and I could not help but notice that she looks at me and smiles at me a lot. And I do the same. I appreciate her presence, for the look on her beautiful face is that of an angel.
Over the days I have become ever more infatuated with her. Every time I see her I wish I could tell her what I feel for her. She is beautiful, intelligent and kind, and I'd love to be by her side as more than just a colleague or a friend.
However, I do not even know how I will let her know that I like her. I have never dated anyone before, and I do not wish to scare her off. Furthermore, Seeing as we work in different departments, it would seem strange to my colleagues if I were to simply walk in and talk to her, especially because we both have too much work to take care of. Planes do not fly by themselves.
I thought about waiting for her as she comes to work or as she leaves work, but we are on different schedules, and it is therefore impossible for me to do so.
I do not plan to tell her about the Furry Fandom or anything alike, considering the possibility that it may reduce my hypothesis to have a relationship with her. But will doing so suffice?
I do not know what to do. I do not want to destroy the friendship we have, but what if she is "the one"?
Should I talk to her? If so, how?
Armand DeCrow (age 21, Lisbon, Portugal)
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I’m glad I was helpful with picking your fursona and hope I can help you a second time.
My understanding of Portuguese culture (and correct me if I am mistaken) is that it is a rather formal one. I am also unfamiliar with workplace etiquette in your country. In the United States, some companies have rules about personal relationships at the workplace. I imagine that the same might be true in Lisbon. It might be a good idea to check company policies in this case, and, of course, it is important that your personal life not interfere with your employment.
Given this, I agree with your idea that you should try to talk with this woman outside the workplace, even if it is just outside the building. Address her formally as “Senhora” (did I get that right?). I think it would be a good idea, to start, and to make things possibly less intimidating, to ask her to some kind of group event, such as a party with your friends. Something that is not one-on-one. At this function, whatever it might be, that’s when you get to know her, see if you have things in common. And, if it goes well, then you take it to the next level, which is going on a real date, one-on-one, to a restaurant or the cinema, or something like that.
To answer your question more directly—YES! You should talk to her. If you approach it the way I describe above, you should be fine even if the date doesn’t go that well. You say you are worried about destroying a friendship, but this isn’t a friendship yet. It is just smiles across a hallway, or whatever. You have to have a friendship first before you can worry about messing it up, silly man.
And don't worry about the furry stuff. You can decide about that later after you know her better.
You’re 21, and you are looooooooooooooooooooooooong overdue to start dating. So, don’t be afraid, and don’t make excuses. You like this girl, so go for it! You have nothing to lose. Go ask her out, and when you do, just be direct, and be yourself. Don’t overthink it. Tell her, straight out, that you like her and you’d like to get to know her better, and invite her to that first outing.
So my boyfriend and I have been together for a whole year now and we've gone through a lot of hard situations but now we're stuck. I'm living with him and his parents. The issue is, he doesn't have a job. He lost his job in December of last year and I've been supporting us on a part time job. Recently though, I've gotten a second job. It's a full time job. He sits at home and plays Minecraft. The issue is obvious: I'm doing all the work and he's not helping me. However, we're pretty sure he has clinical depression and can't seem to motivate himself to do anything. He knows he's hurting me, he knows our life is hard because he won't get a job, he knows 90% of my stress is because of him not helping me, and he still can't and or won't do anything about it. I don't know what to do or what to say that won't make him depressed or mad at me but instead motivate him. He won't take my help with trying to help his depression. He says he wants to do it himself without meds but he's not doing a good job and it's hindering us. If there's any advice... Anything you can give me, it would be greatly appreciated :c thank you so much for your time.
Nature (age 19)
* * *
Being in a relationship with someone who is severely depressed is no picnic. And waiting for them to resolve to “make themselves feel better” is an exercise in futility. You are just empowering them to not do anything and remain depressed. This is because the person may not really understand what is going on with him and therefore cannot help himself, in addition to the fact that being severely depressed sucks all the energy and motivation out of your body. I know, believe me.
So, if you care about him, and it seems you do, it is up to you and any friends and family you can find who are willing to help to pull him out of his deep, dark hole.
To fight depression, you must first understand the cause. With your boyfriend, as with anyone, the cause could be anything from genetic to hormonal to psychological. His losing his job in December was just the trigger that set off a catastrophic reaction. The actual cause of his depression isn’t losing the job (therefore, recommending he get a new job will not help), but, rather, something else within him.
The only way to do that is to get him some help from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or, at least, a local support group. For a lot of people, sadly, money is a factor, and insurance often does not cover mental health, or provides only minimal coverage, so finding a support group may be the best option. You can visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to find a local support group and read educational materials about depression. Another good organization is Mental Health America or even go to MeetUp and see if there is a group near you.
(You don’t say this, but if he is suicidal, you need to call for help write away. Assistance is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.)
Collect some information on depression and have a talk with him about it, expressing all the while your concern and love for him. Suggest that he go to one of these groups and that you will go with him for support. See if you can get one or more of his family members to also support him in this. If he absolutely refuses, then the next strategy is to be a liaison for him. That is, go to the meetings yourself, talking to the people there and picking their brains. They might even be willing to come to your home and hold a meeting there. You might also try to locate a doctor or clergy member to visit your home and give him guidance.
Another strategy: food and exercise.
Many people don’t realize it, but diet has a profound effect on our mood. Obviously, if you are depressed, you need to avoid alcohol (by definition, a depressant), and you should also not be taking any illicit drugs.
Other foods to avoid:
Foods that HELP you fight depression:
Fun Recipe: Green Tea Ice Cream with Healthy Chocolate Sauce
Ingredients for Ice Cream
Break up 2 ounces of bakers chocolate and place in pyrex measuring cup. Microwave on low power (3 out of 10) for 6 minutes. Remove softened chocolate and stir. It will look like a chocolate paste. Add 2 teaspoons of Truvia® and stir. Then add milk or cream a few tablespoons at a time and stir. Add the milk until the sauce is the consistency you like. You may add more sweetener if desired, too.
Start making him “treats” for his meals using ingredients like the above.
Next, start taking him out of the house. Go on walks together. During these walks, don’t talk or preach to him. If you do that, he’ll want to avoid the walks like the plague. No, instead, just go for a walk. Enjoy the outdoors (hopefully you don’t live in a bad area, but if you do drive out a little way and find a nice park) and just be with each other. Don’t talk about anything serious, like work or money. This should be an enjoyable time for him that he looks forward to. You have to get him away from non-stop game play. It’s not healthy, as you know.
I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes.
Is my mind telling me I'm transgender?
For the past 2 weeks I have been having serious thoughts on whether or not I'm a male in a female body. I haven't told anyone about my feelings yet, but I plan on telling my therapist next month. He's very open minded.
For one, I'm not like most girls at all: I hate wearing dresses/skirts, but I do wear them when I have to. I dislike how my body looks and feels to me. I'm not nearly as attractive as other women my age either. I wear men size clothes and my voice is oddly similar to my brother's before he hit puberty.
My family is LDS [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Mormons], so just questioning my gender makes me more of freak in their eyes. I don't know if I would be more happy living as a man, making those changes and such. I'm completely lost and scared.
Shinopa (age 21)
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First of all, we need to understand the terminology here. Being transgender has to do with how you mentally identify with your gender, while being transexual has to do with how you physically identify with your gender. While you can be both, you don’t have to be. Some people desire to change their bodies physically, while still being happy mentally with a gender that doesn’t match their anatomy. Other people don’t want to change their appearance and physical attributes, but wish to be treated like and live like the other gender.
Before you conclude that you are transgender or transexual, let’s take another look. You say you don’t like wearing dresses and feminine clothing. Well, nothing wrong with a woman wearing jeans and even suits. It’s actually easier for women to do that than for men to wear dresses. Speaking of which, a man who likes to dress as a woman but wishes neither to be transgender or transexual is simply a cross dresser. Then, you also have the “metrosexual” crowd, which is men who are not gay or bi or trans but simply like things like hair products and dressing in—how would one say?—less than masculine clothing. If men can be like that, then certainly women can be, too.
Now, about your appearance. So, you’re not conventionally pretty, so what? So your voice might be a little lower than other women’s. Big deal. That in itself certainly does not mean you are trans in any way.
You might be leaving out some essential details in your letter, but from just what you say here I would hesitate to say that you have either transexual or transgender tendencies. I mean, do you feel in any way that you are a man trapped in a woman’s body? Do you feel severely uncomfortable with your sex organs, breasts, etc.? In short, do you have genital dysphoria or gender dysphoria—meaning you simply cannot tolerate having women parts or that you simply cannot tolerate identifying as female emotionally and mentally?
These are things you can certainly discuss with your therapist (and all good therapists should be open-minded, indeed). Before you go telling your parents about this—and definitely before you even consider the possibility of sex reassignment surgery—you need to be 100% sure of where you are going with this and who you are.
Being transexual or transgender is about more than the clothes you prefer or whether or not you like the way you look or prefer football over ice skating. Remember, Society tries very hard to tell us what is right and wrong behavior for a male or female. Don’t listen to that crap. You have to learn to be you, and it’s okay if being you means exhibiting what some might consider masculine traits. You can be a tomboy if you like and still enjoy other aspects of being a woman.
The main point I’m trying to make is this: don’t freak out and don’t make any rash decisions, and certainly don’t tell your family about this until you are more sure about where you stand. I think it’s great you’re talking to a professional about this. They can help you sort out your emotions. Right now, you are very unsure of the whole thing and my very strong suspicion at the moment is that it is Society that is getting you confused more than your confusion about your gender or sexual identity.
I hope that helps some! Good luck with your therapist!
Hello, Papa Bear.
I'm impressed that someone from this subculture has taken up such a supportive role in the community.
My question is one of public display of our art, and of my own appearance. Firstly, in the legality of the matter, and secondly, one of tact.
Firstly, I carry a notebook with print-outs of art from certain furry artists I'm fond of, in the covers. These are not commissions, just works I've liked that I display on printer or photo paper. Call it a bit of security blanket.
While I'm not distributing these images, or doing anything deliberately criminal, I'm a little nervous about representing myself as a furry with other people's art. However, I have a bad past with art, and never learned to draw, myself. I'm not trying to be an art thief, and I understand that's a problem in the community. Is what I'm doing ... okay?
Secondly, I am experimenting in theater makeup, and am deliberating on a drag-analogy to fursuiting (latex prosthetics/makeup, with regular human clothing).
My question, if you can answer, would be; is this something I can do on a casual basis, without repercussions from school authority, for being disruptive? What about wearing such disguises in a public place (Wal-Mart, Gas Stations, Drive-Thru's, etc.)?
KimonoBoxFox (age 27, North Carolina)
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Please note that I do ask people to limit their letters to one question. However, I’ll make this fairly brief to save time.
First answer: It’s fine what you’re doing with the art. As long as you’re not representing the art as your own, and as long as you are not selling it or otherwise profiting from it, you’re okay legally. Even better if you make sure the artists’ names are clearly seen on the art. So, don’t worry about it. But, if you really wish to ease your mind, write to the artists and ask if it’s okay. They’ll probably say it is, given the circumstances, and it is very common for furries to print out art by their favorite artists, or to display it on their computers.
Second answer: You would have to check with your school about dress codes, but I highly doubt such fashion would be smiled upon by your school administrators. As for other public places, especially given that you’re in North Carolina, a rather conservative part of the country, I would be careful. It wouldn’t be illegal (as long as your face is not covered), but I think you would get a lot of disapproving looks; you might even get beat up. Although, not sure about Walmart, since I’ve seen pictures of some awfully funky outfits there. Try Walmart first LOL.
But, seriously, in your state of North Carolina, anti-mask laws were developed as a reaction to the KKK. However, they are still on the books and have been used in other cases. The laws state:
§14-12.7. Wearing of masks, hoods, etc., on public ways.
So be cautious in this area. And, again, you get a lot of derps out there just looking for an excuse to beat up people who are “different,” so don’t set yourself up for such a possibility unless you are well-prepared to defend yourself.
She Could Resolve His Need for Online Role Playing by Indulging His Fantasies in Real Life (Followed by a Reversal)
Hello Papa Bear,
I have a problem I'm not sure if it is common or not. I've been with my significant other for almost two years, and we live together. But, I get nervous with them contacting other people and making friends, and my biggest worry is online role playing. Both he and I enjoy it, and while I hardly do it now, I don't use my fursonas. None of my furry characters, to be honest. It was agreed upon between us both not to use them, and now that we live together, it's weird role playing in the same house at times, and he recently asked to use the characters. The thing is, I'm not worried he'll cheat. Not once has that crossed my mind. I know he loves me, and he knows I love him. That's why it's so confusing for these emotions. I get worried, but not in the sense that others usually do. Just, the idea of his character interacting with someone else, and possibly having sexual interactions happening bothers me. We both agreed art is not acceptable with anyone else unless agreed upon prior and only with certain characters, and that all RP's excluding our own will be in non canon. But that doesn't make me feel better.
I have suffered from abuse and extreme abandonment to the point of being traumatized. Friends no longer wanting to be friends hurts me more than I can explain, and I've been yelled at, been locked inside rooms, and when expressing my emotions, I have been threatened by my own parents. And if that wasn't the worst part, not only did my father abandon me, but the entire side of that family wants nothing to do with my existence after accepting me with open arms and making me feel like part of the family. I highly think that this has something to do with why I'm worried about him RPing with others, but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure what to do about fixing it, or healing in the least. I'm thinking about seeking a councilor, but they're too expensive at this time.
I'm really not sure what to do. Please help.
Conflicted Person (age 21)
* * *
Papabear’s very sorry to hear that you suffered from so much abuse by the hands of your parents and others. I think you are correct that this troubled past is affecting your present situation. That was a very insightful observation on your part.
When it comes to fursonas, you clearly equate fursonas with the real person; therefore, when you or your boyfriend fool around online using a fursona, it is “cheating.” You say that it doesn’t make you think he’ll cheat when he does sexual RP, but obviously it does bother you. That’s because even though consciously you are okay with it, subconsciously you are not okay with it.
So, my question is how is your real-life sex life? If it is fulfilling, why is there a need to role play online? If it is not fulfilling, that would explain the online games and, I assume, masturbation to computer images. Either way, my suggestion would be to spice up your real-life sexual activities. Transfer your fantasy role playing to the real bedroom. Do you have a fursuit? Does he? You might try wearing them in bed. Here are some other tips for role playing in real life:
By working on your real sex life, you will achieve two things: 1) both of you will likely see less reason to play online because you’re having so much fun in your own bedroom, and 2) it will bring the two of you closer together; you will trust each other more because you have opened up more, which will lead to a stronger bond, and, with that, it should alleviate your anxieties that stem from your childhood abuse.
Part of the tragedy of Modern America is that the young generation is being brainwashed into believing that the virtual world is the place to be. In my (thus far) two years as an advice columnist, I see this as one of the biggest tragedies of today: a world of "communication" where no one is communicating, including in the bedroom. You have a boyfriend and you love each other. One of the joys of a loving relationship is real-life sex! Why would you pass that up for a computer? Do it! Have lots of it! It's good for you!
* * *
I wanted to clear up that in my last message, I stated I have been with my significant other for two years, which confuses me as to why I would write that (dyslexia runs in the family so I think I have some mild form of it) but I've actually been with him for almost four years.
When it comes to our sex life, we are both very sexually driven. We are both very passionate lovers and are both very open to each other about our desires and fetishes. We have heavy amounts of fourplay before, and even at times where sex doesn't follow, and we have roleplayed our characters from time to time, but haven't tried the porn-mocking mailboy or poolboy scenario's yet, which I want to, and he has agreed to try for me. We talk dirty, and we talk loving, throughout the entire process.
Personally, I am a very Straight Demi-Sexual Monogamous person. I have to be with one person and one person only, and looks are almost not that big to me. I don't look around when I'm walking down the street or at a store. Friends and even family will point out someone they think is attractive, and I hadn't even noticed the persons existence. I'm not sexually or romantically attracted to anyone other than my boyfriend or people that resemble him in some way or another.
When it comes down to roleplaying, I don't mean sexual roleplays, although they can happen. I mean, him and I both enjoy story driven scenareos. We enjoy roleplaying in a setting with reasons. That's why I, and I'm pretty sure, him, are not really interested in roleplaying with someone who wants sex and sex only. The thing is, I understand that when roleplaying with someone, characters can interact and relationships can develop. I'm not sure, but it's all just so scary. And I'm angry that I know that he isn't looking for an outlit for his sexuality. I feel like I shouldn't be bothered and I'm just hurting him, and I enjoy roleplaying too, but I actually never use any of my furry characters. I've always had a set of non-furry characters.
Something, though, is that in our first year together my mom found when she went on my computer without me knowing and onto my Facebook, saw I was roleplaying with one of my longest (ex) best friends. She told me that it was bad, that it was cheating, that my boyfriend couldn't trust me. I'm not sure if her words have stuck or not. Him and this same ex best friend started roleplaying, though. And like I said before, it wasn't for sex. It was an outlet for creativity. But, it turned into romance, which turned into sex, with all of his furry characters along with hers, and at one point she even drew art of one of her characters with his, which really destroyed me. She began to become obsessed with him. She would mockingly tell me things about /my/ boyfriend, as if I didn't know, or maybe even things I didn't know at the time. I think she developed a crush on him because she always wanted to roleplay and talk with him and it was just hard watching it unfold. This is what eventually destroyed our friendship and it's been about twoish years since her and I last talked, and same with him and her.
I'm sorry for rambling. I'm hoping that this helps bring light into the entire situation.
* * *
Hi, again, Conflicted,
This is a totally different ball of wax from what you described in your first letter. The new letter explains well that your sexual relationship with your boyfriend is a good one, and also points out I was wrong in assuming the online role play was disturbing to you because it was sexual--it wasn't.
So the two key points of your new letter are the online relationship your boyfriend had with your now-ex girl friend and the fact that you mother snooped on your computer and told you that your role playing (even innocently) was cheating.
You noted in your first letter that the relationship with your father and his side of the family was horrible. How about your mother and her side? I, for one, wonder why a mother is spying on her 21-year-old daughter. You're a grown woman and what you're doing online is none of her business. I'd be pretty pissed off at her if I were you.
So, then your mother says what you were doing was "cheating." Um, no, it wasn't, especially when you and your boyfriend have agreed it's fine to do some nonsexual roleplay with others online. But now you have it stuck in your head that what your boyfriend was doing was cheating all because of your mother's unwise remark.
Do yourself a favor: ignore your mother's opinion, realize that you can have a little online RPG fun with other people and that it is not cheating. Give yourself and your boyfriend a break. Neither one of you is guilty of anything bad. You love each other, you have a good relationship, you have a good sex life, you have both agreed on certain do's and don't's when it comes to what you do online. In my opinion, you guys have it under control. You've been in a happy relationship for four years now, so why screw it up with insecurities that are not justified?
At this point, I would wonder if perhaps what is sneaking in here is that you feel very happy with your boyfriend but, on some very deep level because of the abuse you received, you feel unworthy of happiness, so now you are looking for a way to sabotage it, destroying the relationship and saying to yourself, "See? I didn't deserve happiness."
Knock it off.
Be happy! You deserve it! Stop overthinking and enjoy your couplehood. The only one making yourself miserable is YOU! Recognize that and realize that this guy loves you for a reason--because you must be pretty cool. Therefore, enjoy the happiness.
I don't usually post stuff like this, but I felt this particular email I received from a friend was very relevant to what I do here at Ask Papabear.
Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules:
The set of rules:
1. Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,“Game Over!". It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.
What would you personally do?
You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don't know, because you couldn't possibly spend it all on yourself, right?
You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?
ACTUALLY, This GAME is REAL ...
Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE* . We just can't seem to see it.
The PRIZE is *TIME*
1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
3. What we haven't used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING...
SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?
Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.
So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!
Here's wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending”....
I have a friend who sparked my interest in Furries in the first place, and much of the credit to who I am now goes to him. We were very good friends and eventually became long distance friends but emailed often up until I started college three years ago, when our letters became more sparse. I now live in Minnesota, close enough to visit him now though. Just recently Mr. Orca I'll call him, had just told me something that has both shattered me, and causes me to worry about him. Mr. Orca revealed that he had stopped believing in God, and on further inquiry I had found Mr. Orca a porn and alcohol addict, starting from about before I left for college. He had fought them for years until he gave in. The way he talks it feels like he knows that God is still true, but he doesn't want to face it because of who he is now. I was shattered as it was faith which largely brought us together as friends in the first place, and now I worry I won't see him make it to heaven. I'm also super depressed. I can't draw or write. I can hardly eat for these past two weeks. I can't stand the thought of loosing a friend forever. It's like he's still here, I can tell his heart is still good, but when I talk to him, it's a different orca. I need help getting myself back to normal, and I need advice to help my friend. He had joy and meaning before all of this, now he's caught up in pleasure and is unhappy all the time. He never seems happy like he used to be. I want to help him rekindle his faith again and walk out on these addictions, because I want him to be happy too, but I also know it is something he has to do for himself, I can ask, but not force him. I have already told him how I feel, and we agreed to continue as friends. Please help us. I don't know what to do besides pray. He may have changed, but Orca is still my friend, and I want him back.
J.D. Grimes the Otter
* * *
Could you tell me more about your friend? Under what circumstances did he start using drugs and alcohol? Does he have a troubled past? Is he or are you seeking therapy? As a religious person, have you sought out the advice of your pastor and, perhaps, how you can get your friend back to God?
* * *
My friend was once a strong example of faith and restraint. Orca got me interested in furry art and characters years ago and he encouraged me to draw and write. I enjoyed it so I chose to continue. That was about nine years ago. He never told me he was having struggles with furry porn. In fact I did to, but I got over it after much diligence and the thought of my friend. We both never knew about each others struggles until now. Orca said started with the porn three years ago but I don't know when the alcohol started but it came after the porn. I hope he is not using any other drugs, but he might. His problem seems to be related to escapism of some sort, wanting to be his fursona more than anything else in life. He struggled with his problems and stopped coming to church. I'm in a different congregation but of the same sect, so I had no idea he stopped going either. We kept in contact this whole time and I feel guilty I never told him of my struggles because perhaps things would be different now, or I could have helped him. The last straw for him was running into a group which smashed his intellectual conviction that God exists.
As far as I know he never sought help or therapy and he doesn't want it right now. I feel like he said he stopped believing because he doesn't want to face the guilt, but I can tell he still hurts. He jokes about it but it's like he grimaces over what he's done. I forgive him already, but he's running away from God at the very moment he should be praying if he is real and for help. He has moments of pleasure, but no joy or lasting happiness anymore. It hurts to see him like this or that he will choose not to get to heaven.
My support has been my pastor and a few other choice friends. He told me to find moments where it would be appropriate to tell my friend that God loves him. I'm trying, but I think I need to do more, I'm just lost.
* * *
Your friend is displaying classic signs of addiction—in this case, porn addiction, and perhaps alcoholism. Because of his (and your) backgrounds in Faith, I can't think of a better organization than Alcoholics Anonymous for his alcohol problem, and there is a complementary organization called Sexaholics Anonymous for his sex addiction. As you might know, these organizations, while they don't put religion up front and in your face, are grounded in Christianity. You can use the websites to find meetings near you. Also, I noticed that SA helps not only with in-person meetings but also meetings via email and VoIP, which might make it a little easier for him.
I know he's resistant to treatment. Getting him to agree will take a lot of patience on your part. This page offers tips.
Talk more with your pastor to explore ways you can continue to encourage him to seek therapy. The above are good options for you, too, since you seem stressed about this, as well. Offering to be Orca's companion in this journey can help him a lot. If you go through it together, you can support each other, and call each other when you have weak moments.
Hope that helps!
Hello, I am 32 from Elmira, NY and I have been in the fandom for almost 20 years in one way or another.. recently I attended my first con which was Anthrocon, and since then I have been feeling lonely in the fandom. I think it might have been that I actually got to see how many furs are actually out there. anyways my town is medium in size and I have been trying to find other furs in my area but has come to nothing, I have tried all avenues I could think of putting a post on different local boards, Craigslist and the such. I have met other furs in surrounding areas online but with no way for me to get around there is really no way to actually get together with these furs. Anyways my question is, “Could you suggest any other way I might be able to reach out and find other ways to find furs in my area?”
A NY Fur (age 32)
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I get this question quite a lot, actually: how does a furry connect with other furries when they live in an isolated berg with no one else around? I can sympathize a little bit in that there is only one other furry in my neck of the woods—the Coachella Valley—and I have to travel to Riverside or San Diego or Garden Grove to meet with furries. Helps to have a car, of course, and if you have no means of transportation you’re kind of screwed.
If there aren’t any close-by furries and you have no transportation to meet those farther away, and no one is willing to come to you, then the only remaining option (until someone invents a Star Trek transporter) is the virtual world. Have you tried SecondLife? Many furries are on SL and there are entire areas of SL devoted to furries as hang out places. SecondLife is still very popular with furries, although the enthusiasm seems to be dying down a bit, according to articles like this one. There are some other virtual games, such as InWorldz and OnVerse but I don’t really know much about them.
The next question is this: how necessary is it for you to stay in Small Isolated Town? If you have to stay there for financial reasons, then, again, you’re pretty much stuck. However, if moving is a possibility, and if it’s important for you to get social interaction with furries, then how about moving as an option? Sometimes, we get really set in our ways and it doesn’t even occur to us that we can get off our duffs and move to another city.
Before I start I want to thank you for doing this. At the moment I don’t have anybody I can talk to but I really need to get this off my chest and hope it somehow helps. Also, I tried to send you this letter a few days ago but your note saying you are out of letters made me think my Internet somehow failed.
A few weeks ago I was in 12th grade; in a few weeks I’m going to be in 13th grade – at the moment I try to enjoy summer holidays. The 12th and 13th grade are what we call “Oberstufe” which is, I think, an equivalent to high school [in the U.S.].
In my physics class are, next to me, 15 other students. I get along well with most of them; some of them I consider as close friends. As you probably can imagine, only two girls chose physics as advanced class. One of these girls – let’s just call her Aria – is, as I would have described her about two months ago, quite cute. However, two months are a long time.
Seven weeks or so ago, the 12th grade had been on a “study trip” which was to be our last trip together as students. It was in Croatia when we were visiting Baska (a city) where we had about two hours free time. This next part might seem a little weird but I guess…. I’m just a little weird.
When we met at the bus again, I had some Croatian rissole [a pastry often filled with minced meat and fried] with me. Aria and a friend of her were standing right next to me and, even though I knew both of them are vegetarians, I somehow failed to realize that. However, I pissed off Aria’s friend because of the rissole’s smell. I didn’t really get Aria’s reaction because I was just backing off at that moment. In the end I just threw my food into the next dustbin and felt extremely shitty. For some reason I was extremely sorry for what had happened.
To be honest, my first thought was about what Aria might think of me right now. I didn’t really care about what her friend thought, although she was the one who told me to go away. I wasn’t proud of this and once I found Aria alone two days later, I felt like a whining dog when apologizing for disturbing the good atmosphere a few days ago. Little did it surprise me (because I knew she is a very forgiving person) when she said it doesn’t matter to her, but it still was a huge relief for me.
This need to say I’m sorry, the fact that since then I didn’t eat any meat – not because I don’t want to but because I simply can’t – and my mind being fixed on nothing but her gave me a clear sign that I feel more for her than just the cute girl in my physics class. During that trip I saw her laughing, relaxing, thinking and having fun. This feeling grew stronger every day and soon she was the most beautiful, friendly, tolerant, patient, elegant, precious, adorable and simply the most perfect girl – or should I say young lady? – I have ever seen and it feels like I deeply fell in love with her.
And that’s where the problems begin for me. I know that it doesn’t hurt talking to somebody, and for some time I was even confident to just start that casual conversation and then ask her whether she got some time left for me during the holidays. I know that even if she had refused it, she wouldn’t have told everybody about it or just ignored me. In the end I didn’t ask her– sometimes I was just too afraid, and sometimes I wanted to ask her but her friends were around.
Hands down, I’m an antisocial being with no experience in social life. When I told her that I’m sorry, she said that I’m more of a social person than what I look like. I seem like a worm-eaten, semi-good looking creep, having long hair, always clad in black and band merchandise. Leper, outcast, weirdo, misfit. Just unclean. Whenever a teacher is too authoritarian and/or thinks his methods are the best, I tend to argue with him, which again leads to me just saying what I think which rarely is something nice. I guess that’s why I seem like a bastard to strangers.
But I really am not. I can be a kind, loving and peaceful person. I actually care about people that are close to me. And I want to show Aria that I care about her more than about anybody else.
You may wonder why I am afraid. That’s easily explained. To keep it short, for some of my childhood I got harassed by other kids because I was “the stranger” (my family moved to where we live now when I was 8). This pretty much crippled me inside because I was quite young and had never experienced anything like that. From 9th grade onward, things got better. I found friends who stick with me until today. But even though fear and hate vanished, they are still there, somewhere deep inside of me. And this fear makes me lose any courage.
Papabear, I don’t expect you or anybody else to have the one solution for me (but if you do have it, let me know). In about three weeks I will go to school again and then I will see her again. I don’t know whether I will find any courage, but I hope I will. Whenever I see her, it feels like my heart is going to explode, when she’s just asking me for something I love to help her but also feel so goddamn weak and fear acting like an idiot. All I want to do is take her hand and together walk this land.
Not to put the blame on someone else – it clearly is my fault –, my friends make things not better sometimes. Since I told some of them what I feel (hell, I was drunk) they often say things that feel like needles piercing my skin. But, again, they wouldn’t do that if I had the courage to actually do something. And until I have that courage I will probably continue writing a thousand love letters she will never read.
Thank you for being so patient and reading my long letter. I know that this is all messed up, but at least I could tell somebody what is going on inside of me. Maybe you have an advice for me, what I could do to find some courage. Or you could just kick my butt, that might help as well. I don’t really know what to expect right now. I just feel better, now that I told somebody what I feel.
Love, Stefan (Germany, age 18)
(Also, I’m sorry for the song references that might read a little weird)
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I apologize if somehow I missed your letter. I’ll try to make up for that now.
I was half tempted to edit out the rissole episode because I was thinking it’s not very relevant, but I do have a policy of not cutting letters and only editing them (slightly, and not always completely because I don’t wish to alter the writer’s style) for grammar. So, let me just say this about that: you have a perfect right to eat a food item with meat in it in a public place, and if some vegetarian gets her panties in a bunch because of the smell, then she can move her butt elsewhere and stop being a twit about it. This would be different if, say, you were in her home and brought a pot roast, knowing she was a vegetarian; that would be rude. But, in this case, you did nothing wrong, and Aria, who is also a vegetarian, said she was fine with it. So, it’s not your fault. The other young lady was being a sanctimonious snoot about it and needs to get a grip.
But let’s move on to the important point here: Aria and your love for her. Actually, I take my above comment back: the rissole anecdote IS relevant in that it illustrates that Aria is pretty cool. She’s a vegetarian, but unlike her companion, she’s not someone who insists on making other people feel bad about their personal choices. Big point for her side. She also sounds like she’s intelligent and pretty. No wonder you’re smitten.
And, you already know what the problem here is. Your severe lack of self-confidence—exacerbated, if not caused by your being harassed as a child is holding you back. It’s interesting to me that in one breath you call yourself a “worm-eaten ... creep” who is a “weirdo, misfit,” but in the next breath you describe yourself as “a kind, loving and peaceful person.”
There are two voices in your head. That first, negative voice comes from the kids who were judging you badly because of the way you dress etc.; the second voice is your own, which recognizes that you are actually a good, loving person. Clearly what needs to be done here is to silence the nasty voices and allow the real you to come out.
So, how do you do that?
Take notice whenever those voices start saying bad things about you. As soon as you notice them, stop yourself.... And counter what you just said with something positive. For example, say the voice says “you’re ugly.” Stop right there. You know you’re not. You said so in your letter. So, argue with yourself right there: “No, I’m not ugly. Maybe I’m not perfect looking, but I am certainly not ugly. In fact, I’m kinda handsome in my own way” or something to that effect. “You’re unclean!” Stop. “Aw, c’mon, I took a shower this morning and I’m wearing freshly laundered clothes. My hair’s a little long, so what? Jesus had long hair, too.” Well, you get the idea.
As for being “weird”? That’s not a negative thing! That’s a great thing! Sheeple are normal. Dull people are normal. Unoriginal, lazy people are normal. Be weird! Be unique! Stand out from the crowd! Remember, it is the wealthy elite in this country who hate “weirdoes” like you because they can think for themselves. And it’s okay not to agree with your teacher, but kind of pointless to argue with him or her in class. The law says you have to go to class, but you don’t have to agree with your teacher, and you are encouraged by yours truly to read independently of the school curriculum and think for yourself.
So, now here’s my question: if you can give a teacher back talk in a classroom, thus challenging the teacher’s authority, why can’t you take that same bravery and go up to Aria and tell her you like her? I’ll answer that for you: because you respect and admire Aria more than the teacher and, therefore, fear her rejection more than the teacher’s, or, as you put it, “fear acting like an idiot.”
Once you get those negative voices out of your head, take that authority-defying courage you’ve got in your belly and talk to Aria. Embrace your weirdness and be you. Walk up to her and say, “Aria, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re cool. Thanks for not freaking about the rissole thing. I’m trying to eat less meat, actually. Can you recommend a good vegetarian place?” And if she does, say, “Could I take you there for dinner?”
What’s the absolute worst that could happen? She could say “no, thanks,” in which case you’re no worse off than you are now. Actually, maybe a bit better off because your friends will have to admit you’re not too shy to ask a girl out. And, if she does say no, say, “Well, okay, let me know if you change your mind, because I haven’t changed mine.”
And, of course, maybe she’ll say yes. In which case, you’re golden.
Stefan, you already know the answer to your question. You just have to get out of your own way.
Hello there, I'm so happy to find this website. Its a bliss!
So my problem is I have a close guy friend and he told me not too long ago that he has a crush on a mutual friend we both have. But there was a problem. She's still in love with her ex, so my guy friend decided to move on. Just about yesterday he confessed to ME that he has feelings and he those feelings were always towards me and he wants me. But then I didn't reject him but I didn't accept either. RIGHT AFTER confessing to me and me not giving him a straight answer he asked the girl that I had mentioned before up there ↑ to be his girlfriend. That was shocking. She accepted and admitted that she has feelings for him too blah blah. The thing is that HE HIMSELF told me about this. 5 mins after confessing to ME!
I'm sorry if that was long.. My question is.... I think I should tell the girl of what happened but then again he told me not to tell anyone that they're together.. At least not for now and if I told her she'll know that he told me. And I don't want to lose his trust. So please help me here!
What should I do? I know he's a good person but with conflicted emotions.
Misère (age 17, Kuwait)
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Ah, the teen years, and young love.... A complex, emotional time when your raging hormones, inexperience, anxiousness about the world, idealism about love, and the ins and outs of social life all smoosh together into one giant undigested meatball in your stomach to give you a big bellyache.
Allow Papabear to lend you some perspective on this situation.
Even if this guy and that girl get together, chances are a few months from now they will have broken up to see other people. Chances are you will all leave school in a year and go on with your lives. And five years from now you will have completely forgotten about all of this and won’t even be talking to these people because you’ll have new friends and adventures in your life.
You said the guy is emotionally confused. I believe you. Do you really want a guy for a boyfriend who’s so bonkers in the head that he asks one girl to go out with him and then turns around and five minutes later asks another girl? If you’re smart, your answer will be “No.”
Let him have the girl. Don’t tell her he hit on you first. The only purpose of doing that would be because you’re upset and want to break them up by getting her ticked off at him. And then he will get ticked off at you and all three of you will be alone and hurt. If he’s a good person, as you said, why would you want to hurt him?
Let it be, hon.
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.