I am gay (although I don't tell people) and I met a guy a few years ago, who I suspect might be hiding his sexuality. We met through a mutual friend and we very quickly became friends. He is a foreign student who was studying in Scotland and was leaving to go home for the summer only a few months after we met.
He suggested that I could go and meet him in his home country over the summer, which I was delighted about. I though maybe he liked me. We spent a couple of weeks together and just became better friends. Nothing happened.
After the summer he returned to continue studying and we spent more time together. We would walk home from his work each week which took about an hour and we would just talk and talk.
A few months passed, and one night, out of the blue he asked me if I was gay. I was very surprised by this as because I think I am fairly straight acting. So I was honest and said that I am. He then asked me if I liked him. I thought maybe he was wanting to come out to me, and I told him that I do like him. At this point he told me that he was straight, which was pretty disappointing.
The next day, he deleted me as a friend on Facebook, and wouldn't reply to any texts or emails. We didn't speak for 8 months.
So one day, out of the blue around the time he was planning to return to the country to study (after the summer) he added me as a friend again and said we "could talk". Over the next month or two we saw each other a few times. We made polite small talk although things felt pretty awkward. He went away home again (for Christmas this time) and when he came back he asked if he could stay on my couch (he had done this occasionally at first after I'd spent time with him over the previous summer). So he slept on my couch most weekends over the course of four months, and then or a prolonged period of 7 weeks when his lease ran out on his flat - but he was leaving for the summer again so didn't want to renew it. By the time he was leaving to go home, we had become really close agian. Maybe even close than before because I often felt he flirted with me.
On two occasions he described something I said or did as "cute." He was always singing and substituting my name into the lyrics. I started going to the gym and he would comment that I was looking good. Just little things like that.
He would also watch football and rugby matches with me and comment on how muscular some of the players looked.
He has now moved to London, and having not seen him for 3 months, he invited me to go to visit. During the course of my visit, he said several things that I don't know if he meant as flirting. We were walking along and he bought some peanuts. After eating them he said that the peanuts had made him "horny."
I had claimed that the break away to London felt like a mini-holiday. Towards the end of the holiday he said that usually on holiday he would "make-out" with someone. He was looking for something in his backpack and he said "it won't be in this section, that's where I keep my condoms." He constantly asked me about my sexuality, and any time he saw a gay couple holding hands, he would point it out to me and say something like "if you had a boyfriend that could be you." If he saw a gay bar he would say that if I wanted to go in he wouldn't mind and would come with me. Like I said earlier, I am quite straight acting so I don't go into gay bars.
All of these little things just have me wondering if he is confused about his own sexuality. I am older than him. I'm 34 and he is only 22. When he was asking about my sexuality I told him that when I was 23 I had a girlfriend.
The most confusing part of this whole situation, is that over the course of this summer (the period after he left my flat and meeting him in London) he got a girlfriend. She lives abroad so he doesn't get to see and spend time with her.
In between saying the things I mentioned before (which may or may not be flirting), he never stops talking about her, and what they did over the summer. He was quite detailed in telling me about their sexual encounters. He's constantly taking pictures so he can send them to her. He seems to be happy when talking about her, but I wonder if it's possible he is overcompensating by being ultra-macho. His flirting has definitely gotten stronger sine he got a girlfriend, but is talking about his girlfriend him trying to reassure me that he is off-limits? Is he flirting with me just because he is sexually frustrated?
I have never repeated to him that I like him. I love him as a friend. He's an amazing and funny guy... but I'd like there to be more. However, I don't want to lose his friendship again.
What do you think? What should I do?
Confused and Frustrated
* * *
You don't say what country he is from, but I'm wondering if he is from a culture that is extremely anti-gay (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Korea....), which would result in his being very very nervous and uptight about coming out. Another issue here is that he is very young and probably still struggling with his sexual identity. These two added together, along with all the mixed messages, tell me that you are walking into a big ol' mess of a relationship if you try to push the issue.
My advice? Do not initiate an intimate relationship before he gets his head together about who he is. To do otherwise will lead to much misery on your part.
How are you? Last year my brother tried to commit suicide. He was getting bullied in school. We have issues with our dad, and he was getting called names. I walked in on him hanging from his bed, and I nearly had a heart attack. It's been roughly a year since it happened, but I am still very nervous about leaving him by himself because I am worried that if it happens again I will not be there to save him again. I am sorry for coming to you with this because this isn't your problem [Papabear note to readers: this is why I am here! Please never apologize for “bothering” me because writing to me with your problems is what I do!], but how do I get over my fears of this happening again? I honestly cannot walk in on my brother like that again because I feel like I just might go insane. Also, is depression a hereditary problem? Because I do not want my family to go through that again.
Austin (age 17)
* * *
Please forgive the slow reply. I am behind on letters still.
Very sorry to hear about your troubles. I need to know a little more about this, please. Have you sought help for him? Have you checked out the government site for information and help? http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/ Is the bullying still going on or has that been stopped? Is he seeing a therapist?
Let me know about the above and I promise to reply promptly next time.
* * *
He is seeing a therapist, and is on antidepressants. The bullying has stopped because he moved to a different school. And it is OK for the slow response because I understand that you get likely thousands of letters a day and you are writing a new book, too.
* * *
I’m glad that the bullying has stopped and that your brother is getting help. I cannot imagine the horror you felt seeing your brother trying to kill himself, and I wish I could give you a big, consoling bear hug right now.
Your brother is not the only one suffering in your family, clearly. Have you considered finding a therapist for yourself? This would be to help you deal with what you saw and the anxiety you must be feeling about both your brother and, apparently, your father. Perhaps start with a school counselor. People who are helpful and caring, such as yourself, often forget that their hearts need mending, too.
You don’t mention your brother’s age, but I’m guessing he’s younger and perhaps a teen? The teenage years are extremely difficult ones, with those in their teens and twenties attempting suicide more than most (the exception being people 65 and older), and males are five times more likely to do it than females. Bullying definitely can exacerbate the chances of suicide (though it is only one of many factors). There has also been evidence for a genetic predisposition for suicide (my second cousin and grandmother both attempted suicide). Scientists learned a few years ago that there is a gene that can increase the risk of suicide; furthermore, Johns Hopkins University scientists are working to perfect a blood test to see whether people are at risk. You don’t mention whether other family members have committed suicide or not, but if there is a lot of that in your family it is something to consider seriously. Genetics are not the only reason for suicide, but they can, indeed, be part of the problem.
So, without trying to oversimplify things, there are three potential factors here with your brother: his age, his genetic heritage, and the bullying. You have removed the bullying factor, and he will grow out of his teen years, so that effectively gets rid of two factors, which is good news. In addition, he is getting help, which also lowers the risk. While no one can guarantee that your brother won’t attempt it again, it is also often the case that people do not repeat the act. They learn their lesson and move on, as in my case.
Oh, and make sure he stays away from drugs and alcohol!
Okay, so, what now? One thing is to be aware of the signs that he might be suicidal again. According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), these are things to look for:
If these warning signs are cropping up, then you need to make sure your brother is still attending his sessions, taking his meds, and so on. You can’t keep tabs on him all the time, but you can certainly be involved in his life and give him lots of love and encouragement to comfort him. Make sure he is involved in social activities, has friends, has goals and aspirations in life. Obviously, the happier he is in his social life and the more hope he has for the future, the less likely he will be to do this again.
The factor that is still a question mark for me is your dad. You don’t specify what the problem is with dad—is that something that is contributing to your brother’s state of mind? If so, you definitely need to address that, as well.
By doing the above, you can considerably lower or even eliminate the potential for another tragedy.
Back to you: the things you can do to help yourself include, as mentioned earlier, seeking some counseling yourself, knowing that you are doing all you can to prevent this from happening again, and, finally, understanding that you should never blame yourself if something bad happens. You can only do so much.
I’d like to recommend an organization: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They have chapters all over the country that offer counseling, not just for those who are struggling with suicide but also for their families who are trying to understand what is going on and how to cope with it. If there is not a chapter in your area, you can do some research to find a group or contact your local hospital’s mental health department for assistance.
Good luck!!! HUGS!!
* * *
Basically the problem with dad is that he is an abusive ass, excuse my language. He tried to hit my mother, he tried to hit my cousin, he hit me multiple times; once, when I was ten, he left a black eye. He scratched me when I was 14, he tried choking me when I was 16, and just recently he punched me in the face and nearly broke my nose. I tried pressing charges each time, but every time my mother said I deserved it. My father also would fight and scream at the younger kids too, but he would never hit them. I think that this probably made my brother upset and stressed out, and after 11 years that is a lot of stress. I was adopted when I was 6 and he was 5.
* * *
I’m sorry to hear this. If all you say is true, then it doesn’t matter at all if your mother defends your adopted father’s actions. I’m not sure what you mean by “I tried pressing charges.” Did you actually contact the police? Did they come over and then listen to your mother instead of you? That makes no sense to me. The authorities take child abuse very seriously.
Okay, what I recommend is two things: 1) contact your local Child Protective Services office and tell them what is going on. You and your brother are being physically and mentally abused by your father. A serious charge. 2) Contact Boys Town, a very helpful organization designed to help troubled youth like you and your brother, and their families.
You may be correct that the abuse contributed to what your brother did. Very understandable. It needs to be stopped. Can you be brave for Papabear and contact the people above? Don’t let your parents know. Your father is the abuser and your mother is on his side; telling them will prevent you from helping your brother and yourself.
Austin, I now suspect we've found the real cause here of your brother's suicide attempt. Your father's abuse probably led to depression for your brother; then, at school, kids can pick up on this; bullies spot troubled kids and target them as their victims. The combination of your father's physical abuse and your brother's peers' taunting were too much for him, and he tried to kill himself. This needs to stop.
Please keep me posted.
I struggle with depression and am receiving help for it but wanted to ask you for advice about trying to change my increasingly pessimistic outlook in general.
While I've been aware of this thought process I possess for a long time now, I've struggled to change it in vain and still find myself naturally biased or focused to the negative. I think this really contributes to my mood often and has been making it harder to get motivated to do things, to feel good about myself, to trust others, and view the world in a positive way.
I would really appreciate any advice or help.
Dyrk Prowler (age 20, Australia)
* * *
Thank you for your letter and sorry for the delay in my reply. It would be helpful to me if you could give me a little personal history, especially if you have experienced tragedy, illness, death, or other events that may have led to your depression.
* * *
Thank you for getting back to me, Papabear.
As for some history, I've been struggling with depression since about halfway through high school, since about age 14-15. Though it had been rather tidal experiencing ebbs and flows, events over the past few years influenced me to seek professional help; my grandfather's death, my once-best friend basically cutting me out of his life, a year of university which was not very good (I've dropped out), struggled and am still struggling to find steady employment, and being online friends with people I, upon reflection, should not have as they dropped and I don't know why they did.
Though I am not friendless (I do have friends good friends who’ve stood by me and supported me), and my family continues to support and care for me. I just can't seem to escape the negative thoughts that seem to be nagging at the back of my mind. As for the help I've received, it has been a year of seeing a psychologist, following their instructions, and have been on anti-depressants for about 9-10 months.
Hopefully this what you were looking for.
* * *
This is helpful, thanks. If you feel comfortable with telling me, could you relate to me some of the things your psychologist has asked you to do? This will help me to not recommend something that's already been suggested.
* * *
Okay, we've mainly focused on the relationship of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. We have on done some thought analysis to try and identify the unfounded negative thoughts. So mainly general perspective things.
This is the main things I remember.
* * *
Thanks for all the additional information. Negative thoughts and depression, while not the same thing, are often related, as in your case. If your therapist is saying your negative thoughts are “unfounded,” I think I see some problem with their not validating your emotions. That “unfounded” comment fails to recognize that there is always a cause for your feelings. That cause could be anything from biological imbalances to emotional and psychological issues to just having problems dealing with the tragedies and stresses of normal life.
When it comes to depression, you’ve come to the right place. From my attempted suicide at 18 to my divorce to the recent loss of my mate, I know what it is like to experience deep depression, sadness, and loss. I have read books, sought professional counseling, talked with friends who have experienced similar losses, and taken the antidepressants. I know about the five stages of grieving, and have discovered a couple others no one told me about.
Not to make light of your experiences of losing a grandfather, a friend, college life, and so on, but there are far worse things people endure in life and manage to survive. Naturally, these things that have happened to you can be depressing, but what you need now is to learn to keep things in perspective and to broaden that perspective.
Before I continue, I would like to note some things you can do to help yourself using diet and exercise because, when you think of it, depression and cynicism can be a physiological response to one’s environment. Here are some things that really help me and can help you as well:
So, those things help the physiological side of depression and a sour attitude. Now let’s look at the more mental side of it.
Everyone faces challenges in their lives. Unless you die at a very young age (a tragedy in itself) you’re going to face loss, pain, and hardships in your life. This cannot be avoided. The key here is how you deal with bad events in your life after they have happened. This is not easy, and I will be the first person to tell you that. After about 10 months I am just getting to the point, after losing Jim, where I can console my heart by honestly saying how lucky I was to have him in my life at all, and I am grateful for the things he taught me and how he enriched my life. Yes, I would have loved it if he had stayed on Earth longer, but if he had to die young I am truly grateful that he spent those last years with me. I am a better person for his being in my life.
All clouds, as they say, can have a silver lining. You lost your grandfather, and that’s sad, but some people never get to meet their grandfathers, for one reason or another. His loss obviously hurt you, which means that you cared about him and will miss him. Think, then, of the blessing he was in your life.
Your friend abandoned you. Well, maybe he wasn’t such a good friend after all, then. You have noted that you have other friends who are still with you. Take this opportunity to appreciate their friendship, and let them know that you are happy you are friends; do something nice for them on occasion. And learn from what happened with the other guy. Think back on it; were their signs about how he acted that, in retrospect, were cues he wasn’t a worthy of friend? Make note of them and learn from that. The more you learn from friendships, both successful and not, the better friend you will be to others.
As for online friends, that’s a whole nuther kettle of fish. Most online friends would fall under what I categorize as “mere acquaintances.” It’s nice to chat with them and learn about them, but they don’t fall under true friend categories. Some do, of course. And those will usually be the ones with whom you hit it off so well that you will make the effort to meet them in person and strike up a more solid relationship.
In life, you will make friends, lose friends, make other new friends. That’s what happens. As the goombah would say, fuhgetabowdit.
Okay, on to your college efforts. After a year, you dropped out. Were you attending a four-year school? Maybe that’s just not for you. You don’t have to attend university to get some further education that can be useful in a job. Take a step back and think about what you would really like to do with your life. Perhaps it is something where you can go to a technical school or a two-year college, or become an apprentice to a tradesman of some kind, and afterwards find perfectly good employment. Many people go to a four-year school because they feel it is expected of them. They spend two or more years just taking classes that don’t interest them, fulfilling core requirements, not really getting inspired.
Instead of worrying about school, take some time to think harder about what you really enjoy doing, then make your plans accordingly. They may or may not involve a bachelor’s or graduate degree, and that doesn’t matter. What does matter is finding your passion. There are many successful people out there who don’t have a college diploma.
By always focusing on the negative in life, you create a feedback loop that worsens the problem. It is like rolling a pea down a snowy hill and creating a massive snowball capable of leveling a town. The way to stop that is to not place the pea on the hill at all. Start counting your blessings and thinking about what is good in your life and try to make that your feedback loop. One way to help with this is to stop watching TV news (if you do so) because it is designed to make you feel scared so that you will watch more TV news, including the ads.
Another thing to note: don’t worry about the things you can’t change and focus on only those things you can. And don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking of all the things you need to do at one time. Tackle one problem at a time. Live in the present. Depressed people often live too much in the past; anxious people worry too much about the future. The present is the only certainty we have. Live for now.
Okay, hope none of that was too cliché for you and helped some. And, if it didn’t, at least you didn’t have to pay me :-)
Write again if you need to. If not, I hope my words helped you some and I wish you well.
I'm a 14-year-old boy that is a major furry. I love the whole fandom. I was worried to tell my friends; when I told them they were okay with it, but they didn't get it. When I was riding with one of my friends in her car, I told her about being a furry. This was the first thing she asked me: "Are u gonna yiff when you get older?" I told her no.
When I told my mom, she knew the bad stuff about the fandom. My dad didn't know what furries are, and he is gonna research it. My question is, "What should I do to help them get the furry community?"
With Many Love,
Just turned 14
* * *
I've explained furries many times on my website, of course. Sometimes, though, pictures work better than words. Here are some furry videos that really show the heart of furry. Feel free to share; perhaps they will help:
The above emphasize fursuiting too much, of course. There is a LOT more about furries than that, including art, writing, and music:
The problem with mundanes is that they only have one view of the fandom. Try and give them a more well-rounded perspective of what we are about and feel free to share these links and others with them.
I live with my 24-year-old brother, and my 78-year-old grandfather. My grandfather and my brother pay for the rent and food, more or less, they pay for everything. I contribute to the household by helping my granddad remember to take his medication, helping him cook dinner and clean the house, and making sure he doesn't fall asleep why baking or cooking, which has happened before. My brother and I agreed to this arrangement together and I don't want to get a job, I like the arrangement. Lately, after my brother gets off work, I have been leaving social media to bring him his dinner, and rub pain relieving gel on his joints because he's had arthritis since he was five. My friends hate it even though I have explained in detail that I like our arrangement and why, and they have recently began asking why he can't do things for himself and why he can't act like a grown man. They treat me helping him do things as something that is weird or gross and one went so far as to say I need to get a job and help pay bills because women have equal rights. What is a nice way to ask them to mind their own business?
Rosie (age 21)
* * *
I’ve always been of the mindset that whatever works for you is what you should do, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone (including yourself). Taking care of your grandfather and brother, as well as the house, including cooking and so on, is what you enjoy doing, and Papabear thinks that’s fine. Not that long ago, we used to call people like that “homemakers” or the less PC “housewives.” Being a homemaker was considered an honorable and helpful thing to do with one’s life. There was no shame in it.
Today, as you’ve experienced, Americans expect both men and women to be career-driven; they should “want to do something with their lives.” Well, who says taking caring for one’s family isn’t doing something? (Note: this doesn’t apply to just women; men make perfectly good homemakers and, in fact, many do so). Papabear agrees with you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing with your life so long as you enjoy it and find it fulfilling.
That said, you should not be entirely closed-minded to your friends’ advice, not because you need their approval or anything like that, but rather for self-preservation. Let me tell you a short story. My mother was a professional dietician when she met and married my father, and they agreed that when children came along she would quit work, stay at home, and raise me and my sister. All well and good. She didn’t work for decades, and then when the marriage fell apart she ended up with no job prospects because she hadn’t worked for so many years. She had to live with my grandfather, who treated her like a slave until he died (fortunately, she inherited enough from him to survive afterwards). The point is this: had she had a job to fall back on, she wouldn’t have been placed into such awful circumstances for many years. In other words, be prepared.
What happens to you on that sad day after your grandfather dies? And then, say, your brother gets married and doesn’t need you rubbing his joints any longer because his wife helps him? You need to think of such things because what works well now could be gone tomorrow.
Always have a Plan B.
One suggestion I have for you, since you enjoy taking care of others, is a career as—get this—a caregiver. This is a growing business, especially with the soaring number of senior citizens in this country as the Baby Boomers reach retirement. Here is a concise and helpful article about becoming a professional in the field: https://www.caring.com/articles/how-to-become-a-professional-caregiver. You can find employment from businesses that require little or even no previous experience or education, but you will likely do better salary-wise if you get some extra training.
Of course, you don’t have to become a caregiver; you could find another job that strikes your fancy, but that is a suggestion from Papabear. I would also suggest you begin exploring your options now, while you are in a comfortable situation, rather than waiting for something to happen when you become desperate for a job.
As for the question you ask at the end of your letter, try something like this: “I really appreciate your concern about my welfare and your interest in my life, thank you. Right now, things are working well for me and I’m happy, but I am seriously thinking about what you have said and am exploring my options in life.”
So I've been attending a new animation and art college and It's been going great. Sort of. I got into furries when I was 14 years old and I love it to this day. But it seems people at my university have a problem with furries. So a few days ago we were told to do a project. A simple animation texture on water and hair, I asked my professor on if I could draw FUR. As I was planning to draw an anthropomorphic ANIMAL. As I'm not often able to speak to him personally, I was basically forced to only be able to ask him in-front of everyone. So, After I asked the question, a few people chuckled, I brushed it off. So as the professor I could assume wondered why, he asked me, and I told him I was drawing an anthropomorphic animal. No harm in that, correct? Wrong. There was about 4-5 people in the room hysterically laughing at what I'd asked. Again, I brush it off. So the professor didn't laugh, he knew what it was, but didn't think much of it. So he said yes. As I was working on my project on my digital tablet, a few students behind me happened to look at my screen. When they first heard "anthropomorphic" I imagine they didn't think quite of FURRIES. So when they saw the drawing/WIP of the animation, they asked me if I was a FURRY. I said yes; I now know that was a horrible choice. They laughed and laughed. I could hear them whispering about it and chuckling about it for the rest of the time of that class.
After that day, I had a couple people come up to me as I was walking to my dorm, yelping "yiff yiff! yiff yiff!" In my ear. It just bugs me a whole lot how they assume I enjoy that side of the fandom. I told them to stop. They laughed, and they did it again today, but more of them. Almost the whole school knows at this point. But that’s not all. I had a girlfriend by the name of Aleshia, she knew I was a furry, but she didn't really know what a furry WAS. So I can assume that those specific students, or maybe others, told her what the "public" knows as a furry: a monster that dresses up in animal costumes and has sex. And her, being a very gullible person, believed it. So she broke up with me today, and I'm devastated. I've tried for 3 hours today trying to talk to her and she won’t listen. How do you think I should get over this? Or, even better, prove to these people furries AREN'T bad people!
Aquil (age 17)
* * *
Let’s be clear that there are a couple reasons for the mocking you received: 1) your fellow students’ ignorance of furries, and 2) because of the social dynamics in schools where cliques find a target person who is seen as weak and vulnerable to mock, tease, even beat up so that they can reinforce bonds with the “cool” people. These are not people who are interested in hearing arguments about the true nature of furries (no matter how correct or well-reasoned). They are only interested in finding someone to pick on so they feel better about themselves. For this reason, trying to educate them is pointless.
What you need to do, then, is deal with them as one must deal with any type of bully: ignore them. They only have fun and get off on their bullying when you give them a reaction. Even a simple “Stop doing that” is sufficient for them because they know that you don’t like their teasing, which is what they want.
So don’t react. Indeed, ignore them completely. As Nick Wilde said in Zootopia, remember to never let them know they have gotten to you because that’s what they want. The only time you should take a criticism to heart is when it comes from a person you respect and who is trying to help you. These people do not qualify in either category.
Also, keep in mind that laughter is an effective weapon. Instead of acting upset, laugh at them.
As for your girlfriend: I’m sorry what happened, but, seriously, do you want a girlfriend who believes some stupid social clique more than you? If she truly loved you, she would be supportive of you and listen to what you have to say in your defense. Instead, she turned her back on you and didn’t even give you that chance. You don’t need a girl like that. Keep looking. You’ll be better off.
While I was googling why I was changing my fursona, I came across your lovely website. I've wanted to ask you, how can I have a more permanent fursona? Everytime I change, I feel bad and people are like "Thal, are you serious, you changed again?" I do it, since I get this sense of ennui from having to force myself into a role. I'm also afraid of having to have a fursona that's seen as trite like a fox or wolf.
For now, I am just going with the flow. Personally, I've been told to base some of my species off of my personality.
On the good side, I'm rather reliable and tend toward a soul that is rather more suited to smiles than to frowns. I tend to be self-sacrificing and a bit of a mediator. I'm also pretty self-aware.
On the bad side, I can stubborn and I've been told I can be arrogant. I also tend towards a defiant personality, and I don't hold like being around big crowds or having to work in a large team, like a sports team.
For more neutral or double-sided traits, I'm introverted, and tend to like work by myself or in a small group like I've said. I am also of a dominant ... at least when it comes to matters in the bed. Also, when I'm not sure, I tend to seek advice from people who I regard to be wise... which is why I'm typing this. xP
So, what do I do? have anything to suggest to me?
Thal (age 21)
* * *
Yes, I do :-) First off, stop listening to other people about what your fursona should be. A fursona is deeply personal and only you can decide what it should be and what feels right for you.
Secondly, don't worry if you change fursonas (or have multiple fursonas). That's perfectly fine. And if people have a problem with your changing fursonas, that's their problem, not yours. Don't worry your fuzzy head about it. My fursona, over the years, changed from wolf to dragon to bear (I'm quite certain it will stay bear from now on). When I was your age, I was still a dragon.
Thirdly: should your fursona reflect your personality? Not necessarily. It can, but doesn't have to. My feeling is that a good fursona can reflect who you wish to be, what you aspire to be, rather than what you are. You might have noticed that people choose fursonas that are often more outgoing, talented, adventurous than they are. Fursonas often personify (haha) the traits we are afraid of expressing ourselves. Great example: the real me (Kevin Hile) would be terrified to perform on stage. I've never even done karaoke. However, as Grubbs in my fursuit I performed "The Bare Necessities" on stage quite expressively. Grubbs is stronger, more easygoing, more confident in himself than I am.
Perhaps the problem you are having is that you are listening too much to other people and it is making choosing difficult for you. My advice would be to plug your ears to all those other voices and listen to what is in your heart and spirit. Do not force it; let it come to you naturally. This is how Grubbs came to me. I really didn't think of it much, he just introduced himself pre-formed in my head and all I had to do from that point is commission a fursuit.
Think about your fursona at quiet times, such as when you are lying in bed about to go to sleep or perhaps while in meditation. In a way, fursonas pick us, not the other way around.
Hope that helps.
I have a bit of an unusual problem and I really don’t know what to do. I’m in a long distance relationship with another fur for three years (living in two different countries), we’re both trans women and despite having different schedules we both made an effort to talk to one another regularly through good times and bad. Though recently she has been responding less and less and becoming seriously depressed to the point that all she does is work (14 hours a day), make lunch, sleep and nothing else. She has no appetite and rarely drinks fluids. Nothing gives her joy anymore.
We’ve talked about getting help but meds are expensive and therapy even more expensive. Last time we talked she was worried about her friends, one tried to commit suicide and was in the hospital. He might lose his job and can’t afford to pay the bills. Another lost his mother and another yet lost his apartment. She is usually a very helpful person but she feels she can’t even help herself let alone her friends. I’m legitimately worried about her to the point of tears. I feel so useless not being able to help her when she needs it the most, I just don’t know what to do. I know it’s not an easy problem but any advice you could give would be helpful, thank you.
Concerned in Canada
* * *
You don't explain why she might be depressed, so I can only respond in general terms. First of all, yes, she does need to get some professional help. Does she have insurance? You say she works, so she may have insurance through her company. As you know, the Affordable Care Act requires you to have insurance (you're in Canada, and I'm guessing she's in the USA? Actually, if she's in Europe she is even better off). Recently, a U.S. law was passed that said insurance companies need to include 3 free consultations with a psychologist; some provide more, depending on the policy. Anti-depressants, of course, must be prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist and should also be covered by insurance. So, saying "medication costs too much" really should not be an issue (Lexapro cost me $20 for a month's supply, and my insurance is pretty lousy). Furthermore, a little Internet research should lead you to free group or even one-on-one counseling for depression.
Your friend needs to think of her own well-being first before trying to help others. You might have noticed, for example, that Papabear has been posting less often of late. This is because I am still grieving after losing Jim last year. On good days, I will write the column, but on bad days I focus on myself and feeling better.
Therefore, my advice to her is that, while it is nice of her to be concerned about her friends, she is not in a position right now to help them (other than being a shoulder to cry on, perhaps, on occasion). She needs to try and help herself first.
The same goes for you. Stop worrying about all those other people. Are you doing okay? If so, good, and do your best to help your girlfriend. Do some research on getting her help that is at no- or low-cost. Believe me, it's out there. Be there for her, she needs you.
If I knew more about what was going on with her, I'd try to give more details, but that's as much as I can do right now. Write again if you wish to.
I'm not a Furry but I don't know anyone else I could ask. (Besides people on FA but I don't want to make an account since I would only use it once). She's 16 I'm about 15.
About 4 months ago I met Angelina. Her parents are furries, and she got her first suit, and it's not too ackward, because she doesn't wear it in public around me, so props for that, But she asked me to go to a furcon, and to go with her to furry meets, and trying to introduce me to the fandom, and I don't want to... But should I? I don't want to break up with her.
* * *
Thanks for your question. You don't have to be a furry to have a furry girlfriend. My late husband was not a furry, but he was very supportive of me. I would suggest you join her at a furcon or furmeet for the one reason that you should probably get a better idea about what furries are before you make further judgments about them. You will see that we are just normal people with an unconventional interest that's really no stranger than, say, being a Trekkie or being obsessed with World of Warcraft. We're just people--like your girlfriend :-)
She obviously has qualities about her that you like a lot and you want to continue the relationship. Be supportive, just like--I would hope--she would be supportive of you if you were interested in something even if she wasn't.
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.