Lately, I have been feeling down and lonely quite often. The problem is I kinda prefer to stick to my old friend and not struggle to talk to new people. Do you have any advice?
Lara X (age 20)
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Hi, Lara X,
When you say "stick to my old friend," do you mean just one friend? How is your relationship with that friend? Many people struggle to talk to new people. Telling me a little more about your life and background can help me to provide feedback.
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Well, yeah, it’s mostly one relationships with new people don’t seem to last long and we get distant. As for my past life, I unfortunately grew up watching my father abuse my mother and sisters, and kinda feeling guilty for not also getting hurt. This has given me a distrust of most men, which is awkward considering I’m gay, but I also have a distrust of women because almost all of the girls in school used to bully me. This has caused me to be pretty lonely and to limit who I talk to.
Thanks for your time and patience.
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Dear Lara X,
I can understand why you might be socially shy, given your past. I don’t know why your father didn’t abuse you the same way he did your mother and sisters, unless it’s because of your gender (i.e., he would only abuse females), but please don’t feel guilty about that. Bottom line on that part of your life is that it is NOT your fault; it is your father’s fault. Assign blame and guilt where it is due. You are guiltless.
Recognizing you should not feel guilty is Step 1. Step 2 is to realize that just because your father was an abusive douche doesn’t mean all men are like that. As for women, your experience in school is pretty typical. Schools can be horrible social environments where kids who are seen as outsiders in any way are picked on and abused by their peers. Like packs of wolves seeing a weakness in a non-alpha, they swoop down to nip and bite you (both boys and girls do this). In your case, because of your father’s abuse, you were probably shy going into school. Kids sense that and go on the attack.
Okay, so, I’m hoping now you are out of the house and well out of high school. Getting out of negative environments is key to your mental and emotional well-being. What you need to do now is try to put the past in the past and focus on where you are today.
The good news, I believe, is that you have recognized and accepted that you are gay (some people drive themselves nuts for years refusing to believe their own identity). The other good news is that you have at least one friend, so forming friendships is not an impossibility for you since you’ve done it before.
The key to finding new friends is to start in a comfortable environment. Since you are gay, I would recommend that you look within the gay community and other people who are similar to you and will more likely empathize with you. See if you can find a gay men’s social group near you; I would not recommend gay bars (and certainly not gay clubs) at this point, since they might be overwhelming. Anyway, you’re looking for friends, not hookups.
See if you can find a social activity with gay members. A quick Web search, for example, shows me that there are several LGBT Outdoor Clubs in Wales. There is also the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus (if you like to sing). If you visit the Meetup website and enter some appropriate parameters, you are going to find some social meetup groups, too. So, give that a shot.
Finally, don’t push yourself to make a lot of friends all at once. Start slowly, making one or two new friends to start. What often happens after you get a core group of friends going is that these friends will, eventually, introduce you to their friends, and so on and so on. Before you know it, you’ll have dozens of friends and probably some of what I call “good social acquaintances” who are not close friends but fun to hang out with. It is the lucky person, after all, who has more close, sincerely genuine friends than he has fingers on one hand.
I hope that helps. Good luck!
First off, I apologize if I sent a version of this letter that is similar. I had a problem with my browser.
So, seven days ago (October 20th) I was feeling bad, possibly depression-level bad. I ended up self-harming using a rather sharp boxcutter. I've only cut three different times, causing a few cuts each time. I cut on my upper thigh high enough that my boxers cover them well. I had been considering cutting for quite some time before my first session. It's a way to show control over myself and I've started to enjoy the pain afterwards. I'm willing to risk the scars.
Now, to my question. Is this a truly unhealthy, unmanageable behavior that I need to stop? I don't want to stop.
AFoxThatIdentifiesAsADoggo (age 15)
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Thank you for your important letter. Cutting and self-harm is a subject I have touched on in other columns, but now I get to do so directly, so this is something that is good to add to the “Ask Papabear” column.
Cutting, by its very nature, is not healthy, but it is understandable and treatable. It is also quite common. Statistics show that nearly 1 in 5 Americans have harmed themselves in this manner at some point in their lives. Typically, self-harm occurs during adolescence.
There are a couple reasons why people cut themselves. One, as is the case with you, is depression or anxiety. If you are in a situation where you can’t express those feelings openly to others (family etc.), cutting affords a kind of release of emotional tension. The pain caused by cutting also distracts one from emotional pain, which provides some relief.
Another reason for cutting is self-punishment. People who feel unworthy of love and compassion become angry at themselves and feel they deserve pain. I don’t think this is what is going on with you, however. I think the former is more likely. I also don’t believe you are in danger of committing suicide; such drastic acts are usually not part of the self-cutting paradigm.
Answering your question, any time you cause trauma to your body, it’s not a good thing. It would be best if you stopped. You don’t want to stop because cutting yourself is offering you relief from your psychological and/or emotional pain.
The best solution, therefore, is to figure out what is causing that pain and put an end to it. You don’t explain what is causing it, so I would need more information there. You will stop cutting once you stop your emotional pain. This might come with a personal revelation, or with help from a therapist, or simply by outgrowing the need to cut.
Hope this helps. Feel free to write again if you wish to discuss what is really going on behind the cutting.
Well,I want too say that I have a problem with my fathers,I`m gay and My fathers are very strict and they are too awful with this things and I don`t know if I can say them that I`m gay or what
I want they too still love but I dont know what to do
AGH!! I really need your help,pretty please
I already have my beautiful boyfriend
please ,answer me the most fast you can
Kiss and hugs papa bear
Sater (age 17, Mexico)
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Apologies for the slow reply. I am still behind on my letters.
Being gay in the USA is difficult, but I have heard it is even more challenging in Mexico because of the culture there. Anyway, my advice to you is that you need to find a circle of supporters. I would not advise you to try coming out to your father all on your own. You need help and resources.
You don't say where you live, specifically, but if you are near Mexico City that would be lucky because, in Mexico, that is where you will find the most community and government support. I recommend you do a little research and contact some people for advice in your native land. Here is a helpful link: https://www.angloinfo.com/how-to/mexico/mexico-city/family/lgbt/lgbttti-organizations that provides everything from legal help to community information.
Hope this helps!
I am a 23 year old furry (I have been a furry since I was 5 years old). I am saving up for a fursuit and planning with some friends to go to a con once we all have gotten our fursuits. However, I am a bit scared since I need glasses too see (I can't have contacts since they irritate my eyes) and I can't really find a suit maker who could make the head a few inches bigger to fit glasses under. What shall I do?
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You and I are in the same boat. I, too, cannot wear contacts and have to wear glasses. But! I found a fursuit maker who could accommodate my needs and she made my head to take my glasses into account. She goes by the name Beastcub. If she can do it, I'm sure other fursuit makers can, so I would keep looking (I'd suggest Beastcub, but she has a waiting list a mile long and it would take about 18 months at least for you to see your fursuit done).
I would put the call out to your friends and on furry sites and Facebook or other social media sites that you are looking for a fursuit maker who can accomplish this task for you. Like I said, Beastcub can't be the only person able to make a fursuit head for your needs.
A couple of things to note about wearing glasses while fursuiting (and while getting a fursuit made):
Anyway, keep looking. A little diligence and good communication with the maker should help you get what you need.
I have been struggling with various bits of emotional conflict for 13 years now. When I was 6, my mom picked up a guy at the bar. He got in lots of trouble with DUI, theft, drug abuse, illegal gambling and many other crimes. He beat my mom, used her for money and ass. He stole from us to the point that we went bankrupt. Everyone in my family hated this fellow and estranged us as family because Mother wouldn't let him go. In 2011, the hurricane weathers broke a levy up in New York that caused a flood that destroyed our community. We had to stay with one of the few relatives that still liked us while Mom's boyfriend was forced to go to his relatives. In that time, he stole guns for pills. Luckily for us, the guy has was selling to was a narc and he went to prison. Unluckily for me, Mom still loved him and visited him every month for a year. She took him back. I'm a grown man now, sitting here in our new home, still pondering why he continues to be a thing that plagues me and my family to this very day. He hasn't changed a bit. He still gambles, does drugs, doesn't give us money, steals, drinks and manipulates.Why would Mom want that? Why would she ask for this day in and day out? Why do I bother trying to improve her life when she doesn't seem to want things to change for the better? Sorry if this has been long-winded but this has been on my mind for far to long and therapy hasn't helped since I was 14. I just want closure.
Feral (19, Pennsylvania)
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You’re not the one who needs therapy; your mom does. It’s a legitimate question you ask—why would any woman want to be loyal to a drug-addicted loser criminal? Usually, the reason is that the woman (and this also applies in reverse with a man connected to a loser woman) has low self-esteem and doesn’t think she deserves better, so she will stick with anyone who says that they love her, even if that person is a no-good bum. It is a kind of co-dependent relationship and the same reason why many women stay with a man who physically beats them. There is also the psychological condition in which the woman thinks that her love and loyalty will, somehow, eventually, save the other person. Here is a helpful WikiHow article on how to tell if someone is codependent.
The most direct solution to this problem would be for your mother to see a therapist to work on her sense of self-worth so that her eyes will open up and she can see that this guy does not make for a good partner.
There are also nonprofit organizations that can help. One of these is Co-Dependents Anonymous International, which has meeting places all over this country, including Pennsylvania. CoDA has also published a book that you might want to check out on Amazon. It’s only eight bucks for the Kindle version. Of course, you can browse online for other similar books, too.
Until your mother recognizes she has a problem and does something about it, you won’t be able to get rid of the loser. Here’s the real problem: going up to Mom and saying something like, “Mom, I think you have a codependent relationship problem and maybe you should get some help” will likely not be received very well. You might try a more indirect approach, such as casually talking about the issue of codependency without targeting Mom. Maybe mention you read something interesting on the Internet about it or know someone who is codependent. Perhaps she will see a parallel in the discussion.
Then there is always the hope that a new, better guy might come into her life and replace the jerk, but that may be just wishful thinking.
At this time, I think I would suggest getting the book on codependency and learning more about it. Perhaps if you understand your mother more it will help you to help her.
I have been having this certain itch in the back of my mind for a while, now which has formulated from other things within it. As I have slowly made my steps back into the fandom over a couple of months, there has stresses over my latest fursona.
I was born a male, but over the last year or two, I have been feeling different, and I know you have probably heard this a good few times. I have been feeling a slight uncomfortable feeling with my male image, and often refusing my masculinity. I have pictured an exact female version of myself, and it has caused great happiness within myself.
These feelings have leaked into my creation of older fursonas, with my male ones often being rejected by myself for their simple masculinity and being males themselves. I began to create some female ones, but then came my intense fears of being judged for such. Is it so wrong to make a fursona of a different sex I was born of? I feel really happy with my current fursona, but the opposite gender fear is really getting to me.
TurnWall (age 17)
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Our fursonas are often an expression of our inner selves, so it is not surprising at all that your struggle with gender identity is reflected in your fursona. There are many people in the fandom just like you, so you will have no problem being accepted by other furries, I should think. Heck, such gender transformations date back to the beginning of the fandom with the famous Robert Hill and his bambioid fursuit, which made appearances at Confurence in the 1980s. His main fursona was Vawlkee, a rather effeminate wolf-morph, and he liked to draw hermaphroditic bears based on Disney characters like Baloo.
Probably the most appealing thing about the fandom is that it is about the freedom of expression, which relates to everything from artistic to sexual expression. When we are free to show how we really feel and think, it brings happiness, as you have experienced with the creation of your new fursona.
Your nervousness is the result of societal pressures from the world's mundane community. You shouldn't listen to the mundanes. Look how badly they have screwed up this planet. Instead, make connections to your own kind: furries, especially those who, like yourself, are exploring their sexual and gender identity.
The more you do so, the more you surround yourself with others who feel the same as you, the more comfortable you will be, and the happier, too!
Does McDonald’s allow fursuiting without asking them if you could go in with your suit? I have a cheap Walmart head and paw slippers and gloves and tail from 2 different Halloween stores. I really want to go to McDonalds with it and I don't want to ask them cause I want it to be a huge suprise.
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It's Sawina again. I recently went to a corner convienient store in my partial and forgot my head was on until I was already in the store. I quickly took off the head to avoid an incident, but when I returned 2 days later, which was today. I ran into the manager. I apologized for what I did, but she told me if she was working at that time she would have called the cops and even shot me. Was my small mistake really worth the death threat I recieved today?
Thanks in advance, Sawina.
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Dear Rainbowpaws and Sawina,
Because your letters are related, Papabear decided to combine them into one column. It is an important subject to address here: the wearing of fursuit heads in public.
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, concealing one’s identity in public places has come under greater suspicion by authorities who are concerned about people trying to attack American citizens. Actually, antimask ordinances likely date long before then for reasons such as problems with the KKK, bank robbers, etc. But before we get into that, let’s just talk about going into private businesses, such as a fast-food joint or convenience store.
As you might imagine, such places can be and have been robbed by masked criminals. Masks can be anything from stockings and ski masks to Halloween masks easily bought at party stores. You might see, then, that if you go inside such a place wearing, say, a wolf or lion head, this could make the person behind the cash register understandably very nervous as to what you are up to.
So, my immediate advice is don’t do this. If you are going to a store (or bank!) and want to express your furriness, limit yourself to things like paws, ears, and/or tails. Never conceal your face behind a mask in these situations.
That said, what are the legal implications here? This can be extremely complicated because laws vary from state to state, country to country. Also, there have been federal cases that have revolved around the wearing of identity-concealing masks.
France is an example of a country with a very strong, anti-mask law that was passed in 2010 and has been used to jail people for wearing balaclavas. Predictably, this has inspired protests by the Muslim community.
The U.S. Constitution does protect you when it comes to self-expression and protest, however. For example, during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the state tried to jail protestors for concealing their faces with scarves, but the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the wearing of masks during protests as a form of free speech. There have been other efforts to make masks illegal to wear at protests on public property or private property when the owner has not given permission for a protest.
Let’s look at the state level. There are eleven U.S. places with anti-mask laws, including California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Usually, when states have a law against masks it is stipulated that they are illegal when used during a crime and not for entertainment purposes such as during Halloween. There are other obvious exceptions, such as if you are wearing a respirator or surgical mask for health reasons.
In your cases, we’re dealing with Massachusetts and California law. Section 185 of the California Penal Code states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of: One--Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense. Two--Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 268, Section 34 states: “Whoever disguises himself with intent to obstruct the due execution of the law, or to intimidate, hinder or interrupt an officer or other person in the lawful performance of his duty, or in the exercise of his rights under the constitution or laws of the commonwealth, whether such intent is effected or not, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year and may if imprisoned also be bound to good behavior for one year after the expiration of such imprisonment.”
(For a list of other state laws, see http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/mcs/maskcodes.html.)
In both your cases, you are not violating the law, but we shouldn’t assume that store employees are going to be fully aware of the law, so they could call the police on you or toss you out of the store (many stores, after all, do have signs where they say they can refuse service to anyone they wish.)
Bottom line, again, is I would not wear a fursuit head in these cases. While the law is on your side, save it for places where wearing a fursuit is expected (cons and meets) or at events where those running the event are fully aware you will be in suit.
Thanks for your terrific questions!
So I'm having trouble with getting out of my toxic household and commissions haven't been of much help. My job has cut my hours and I feel very lost on how to escape. Been trying to apply to other jobs but so far I've been getting silence and a mountain of rejections. How can I get out of this mess as quickly as possible?
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I'd like to have more information before I offer advice on this one, please. Here are some questions:
1. What education do you currently have?
2. What is your current job?
3. What are your career goals?
4. What types of jobs are you applying for?
5. Are you living in a small community with few opportunities, or a large one?
6. What job skills do you currently have?
Answering these will help.
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Art therapy can be an immensely satisfying job. I have a friend who is an art therapist in Fresno and he enjoys it greatly. But to get a job in that field you really need at least a master's degree, so after you get your AA, you will need a minimum of three more years of college education. As for working in the video game industry, if you mean as a programmer or designer, you would also need considerably more training. This is an incredibly competitive industry, and only the most avid people who eat, breathe, and live video games have any chance of getting a job. From your email, it doesn't sound to me as if you have the obsession and passion required to succeed here (could be wrong; could be a lot you haven't told me yet).
On the short term, if you are simply looking to get some kind of full-time job as a clerk or other similar position, then it would seem to me that being bilingual in Miami would be an enormous benefit; if you don't already do so, you should play that up when you apply to jobs in your area.
Since you are interested in finding something that will help you get out of the house sooner, and because it sounds like you're good with computers, I would like to recommend that you start studying to get an IT certification of some sort. There are a wide variety of certifications available, and many of them can be accomplished in a matter of weeks or months. You can also make good money in areas such as network engineer, systems administrator, or (an area that is hugely short of people right now), some type of security analyst.
If I were you, this is the course I would steer toward for the short-term, at least. Continue to look for the jobs you are seeking now, but apply to a good IT school and get yourself certified. Then find a better-paying job, move out of the house, and, as time allows, seek your preferred degree in the arts.
I hope that is helpful!
I'm new to the Furry world, though I've always better identified with animals, and I really like pokemon, the games being kind of a refuge for me. So I've been wondering, is it ok for my furrsona to be a Pokemon? would it still be considered a furry?
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Interesting question and one Papabear has not been asked before, so bonus points to you. Now, what I'm about to write to you is just an old bear's opinion, and there are likely to be those who will disagree.
"Pokemon," as you know, means "pocket monster," although some might translate it as "pocket demon." In Japanese folklore and mythology, demons, devils, ghosts, and other spirit creatures appear in many of the stories and are very important to that culture, so it is not surprising that in the modern-day world they should be reborn in television shows, movies, and games.
Now, let's compare that definition to "furry." A furry is an anthropomorphized animal. So, it is an animal that can talk, reason, and behave like a human being does. A pokemon comes from the spirit world and has no connection to humans. Only a couple of the Pokemon characters can speak, though most seem to understand human language and some can communicate telepathically, which is consistent with their folklore background. They can look like mammals, dragons, even plants, so as for species, they are kind of all over the place, whereas furries are limited to animal species, though they may include mythological ones such as dragons, minotaurs, and griffins (which in themselves are based on real animals). In many cases, Pokemon intelligence seems somewhat below that of humans, which is why, apparently, they can be captured and used by humans in competitive sports.
Another difference--and one that is often applied to Bronies, which many consider outside the fandom--is that they are part of a commercial franchise originating from the Game Freak video games of the mid-1990s.
All in all, I would consider Pokemon to be one of those tangential fandoms that include Bronies, Otherkin, and Therians. Some Pokemon might be more furry than others. But bear in mind that you are not limited to selecting a current Pokemon to be your fursona. You could create an all-new Pokemon with furry qualities and fit in quite nicely. Even if you don't, many furries are Pokemon fans and you'd likely get along well with them. Too, if you would like to get involved in furry culture and events, I'm sure no one is going to tell you "no."
Hope that answers your question.
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