I'm an artist, and I love to create and draw my fursonas on my computer, usually with the help of free ref sheets, but lately I've realized that my dad has been going on my computer to see what I've been working on, and to make sure I don't have any games or anything bad installed. This would be fine, but I have a feeling that my dad would NOT approve of my being a furry. I've been hiding it for over a year now, because I'm pretty sure if he found out, he would disown me, or at least punish me. I've been pretty good at hiding it, but I'm worried that if he keeps checking my computer like this, he might find my fursonas and get mad. I don't know what to do. If I ask him not to look through my art, might get suspicious, but if I do nothing, he might stumble upon it anyway. Please help. I don't know what to do.
Pip the Pesky Bird (age 14)
* * *
The problem goes deeper than the art on your computer. This is about trust. Now, your dad has a perfect right to monitor your computer behavior, but he did so by sneaking behind your back to do it. At the same time, you were hiding what you were drawing regarding furry stuff.
The first thing you and your dad need to do, therefore, is to rebuild the trust between you. Here is a nice article from the Boys and Girls Club of America on ways to build trust. Basically, what it advocates is open, honest communication. Working on expressing your needs and desires. Both you and your parent need to be able to do this because without trust you are creating a path toward miscommunication, hurt feelings, and a broken relationship.
I understand that you are afraid about revealing your furriness, but you are not doing anything bad such as drawing porn. Your father likely does not have an accurate mental image of furries, especially these days with all those ridiculous falsehoods about cat litter boxes in schools. Your job is to communicate to him why you enjoy drawing furries and what furry means to you. At the same time, tell him you want everything out in the open and he is free to monitor what you do on the phone and computer. You also want him to ask you any questions and to feel free that you can ask HIM questions about anything.
Assume your dad already knows what you are doing. Apologize that you have been a bit secretive about it, but tell him why you have. He will not disown you. And punishing you would be stupid. I mean, has he ever forbidden you to draw furry stuff? If he forbade you to do something and you did it anyway, he might justify a punishment, but if he never said don't do it, he has no grounds to punish you.
Most parents fear their kids doing furry stuff because they are ignorant of what furry is and believe what the idiotic media tells them. On the other paw, once parents understand that furry is no worse than, say, playing World of Warcraft, most parents are okay with it. The key is to alleviate your dad's fears. Being secretive is a red flag that you know you are doing something wrong (even if you aren't), and your dad isn't stupid. He picks up on stuff like that. So, once again, the key is to be honest. And honesty goes both ways.
Remember, your dad loves you and wants to protect you. If he didn't, he wouldn't care what you did on the computer.
Talk to Dad.
I'm in the closet, and if I come out I lose everyone I still care about except for my brother. My mom hates gays but thinks my Greek grandmother molesting me and hitting me and starving me as a kid is ok and says I am being a sissy pretty much cause I don't want to be around her.
[I'm] single, male, no job cause of stuttering, can't drive yet, and severe nightmares. i can only sleep in daytime. These nightmares are so bad I can't fall asleep at night. Every sound makes me jump and turn on all lights. I feel pain, and I can't wake up from them, like, Freddy Kruger-style.
Of course, no marks when I wake up, but my mental health is declining. I feel so alone, and I am starting to see my nightmares when I'm awake, too. Like, I can see it but only as it rounds a corner or out the corner of my eye. I know it's not real; in fact, I'm an atheist, but this terrifies me. It'ss a deer who wears its skeleton on the outside of its body and stands 12 feet on hinds legs. I'm 6 ft 7, and it holds me down and bites me, causing extreme pain and suffering.
[At] age 21 and a half, [I'm] not sure what conversion therapy they were talking about [Papabear note: this is a follow-up letter of one I received in which the letter writer asks if he should go through conversion therapy; I asked for more background, which resulted in this current letter], but I read and watched vids, so I'm scared of that shock therapy stuff.
Dating site stuff, all want me to pay, and I currently can't. Money issues and no credit card. When I put my mind to it, I can do tough jobs, but my mind has been deteriorating for years now. I've lost hope. Only reason I ain't dead is my brother, and I am too sissy to end it, and idk how to end it.
If you can help that would be wonderful. Also, current counselor is way too queer. I guess I just need someone to tell me it's okay and [get some] advice. Racist south Louisiana, but gay is the new black (aka, gays are being beaten every day, and no cops interfere). I spend time on video games hoping that tomorrow is a better day. Like walking dead, taking it one day at a time.
The way my grandma did stuff was she was like the Baba Yaga in [the Witcher]. She weaved a web of lies and fed off my pain but sexually. Grooming and touching and rubbing and hitting and starving. Now [that] I'm larger, I cant retaliate. Why? Cause she is a woman, and I'm a man, and she is old now. Please help if u can. I don't sleep much, and I fear I may go crazy if I already haven't.
Solmyr Wizard22 (Louisiana, age 21)
* * *
Yours is a terribly sad story. I see why you might ask about conversion therapy. So, we need to be clear here. Conversion therapy does not work and never has. It is, indeed, a form of mental and emotional torture and has been banned in several states (see this map https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy). People who still believe in conversion therapy consider being homosexual a type of mental illness or social deviancy. This is not true. There is nothing wrong with you, which is why conversion therapy doesn't work (you can't "cure" something when there is nothing to cure). Indeed, as you can see here, conversion therapy is dangerous: https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy.
Being gay and having family hate you for it seems to be only part of the issue. Your grandmother is a huge problem, too, as you know. The nightmares you are having are likely a manifestation of your fears and horrors experienced while living with this horrible woman. She is the deer with the skeleton on the outside of her body. Because your anxieties are depriving you of sleep, these dreams are now manifesting in your waking world. When you do not get enough sleep (REM sleep), you can experience many side effects, including hallucinations, and this appears to be what you are experiencing now.
Of high importance at this time, therefore, is for you to get some sound, restful sleep. Here are some tips from Harvard Medical School (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/tips-for-beating-anxiety-to-get-a-better-nights-sleep). If need be, try over-the-counter sleep aids (I would avoid ZzzQuil as it tends to exacerbate nightmares). You can also talk to a trained therapist about how to alleviate your anxiety to sleep better.
Speaking of counselors, yours is evidently not a good match. There is nothing wrong with shopping around for a therapist until you find one with whom you are comfortable and who helps you.
Your mental health issues are peaking, which is concerning since you are entertaining thoughts of suicide. For this, I would ask you to please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. It is a free call and you will reach people who are trained specifically with this issue. And, FYI, it is GOOD that you are "too sissy" to kill yourself. This means you still have a will to live. Hold onto that healthy desire to live.
You also need to start working toward getting away from your present environment, especially your grandmother, but also your gay-hating parents. YOU are NOT the problem. THEY are. You have not done anything wrong. Being gay or bi is not a moral failing.
You don't make clear why, at 21, you don't have a job, but you need to amend that. If the problem is your anxiety, then deal with that first and then work toward employment. If you are disabled and cannot work, then apply for government disability. Do anything to get some money so you can take control of your life.
That's my initial advice to you. You can write again any time when you have more questions.
Underage Furry Sabotaged His First Chance of Getting Dad on His Side. Time to Try Again.
Hi. 13 year old new furry here. I want to ask my dad if I can get a fursuit. He already knows I'm a furry from snooping on my computer and discord. I don't really know too much of how he feels about it. I also want to attend my local furry con in June. I am really struggling with this new liking. I also want to make friends with furries, but my dad recently made me completely log out of discord and other forums for (reasons) that I will not share here. I hope someone can help me out here!
Victor (age 13)
* * *
Your father is trying to protect you from porn, of which there is a lot on furry websites, as you likely know. At 13, you are too young for such things. The furry fandom was created for adults, not children, but these days a lot of kids as young as 10 are discovering the fandom. It is attractive to them because it relates to many of the cartoons and animated movies young people enjoy watching, and the idea of becoming an anthro animal character can have a lot of appeal to the young imagination.
If you wish to continue exploring your furriness, Papabear's advice to you is that you stop hiding your internet and phone behavior and have an honest discussion with Dad because, at the tender age of 13, you are not going to be able to attend a furcon without his cooperation and support. You are likely going to have a tough time of this, honestly, because it sounds like you have been looking at furporn and possibly indulging in other unsavory behavior.
Furcons will only allow underage furries to attend if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. You can't just go by yourself or with a friend.
So, for you to get a fursuit (are you paying yourself or asking Dad to buy it, which will be even harder?) and go to a con, you are going to have to reestablish your connection with Dad. Indeed, you will need a verbal agreement with him to do the following: NOT look at furporn or engage in X-rated roleplay online and be completely transparent with your online and phone activities with Dad (no more hiding what you do; Dad must have complete access to your browser history and more). You will then need time to repair your relationship so that Dad trusts you to be honest with him. Seeing that this is January and the con is in June, I seriously doubt you can fix this in time for the next local furcon.
That said, all hope is not lost. With a lot of work and love, you may be able to get Dad on your side again. You can do this by discussing the fandom openly with him and by showing him such things as the documentary The Fandom by Ash Coyote, which is available free on YouTube here.
His Parents Are Bad Christians
Okie, why do Christians hate gay furry people? They have always been hating them, but they claim that they do "love" them. (Especially where I live. If you are gay, don't expect to be treated like a human, just hide it for your safety). My parents found out I was gay by guessing (they are good at it). Now they see me walk feminine, they make me walk again till they see I "walk like a man." They call me names ("sissy," it's annoying), and they just stress me a lot. Can you please help me?
Possible Snow (age 13, Alabama)
* * *
Dear Possible Snow,
Christians do not hate gay or furry people. True Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ follow His command to love ALL humankind. There are dozens and dozens of passages in the Bible that tell us to love one another. For example, in John 15:12, Jesus says, "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." Jesus doesn't say to love only fellow Christians or only straight people or white people or to hate gay people. Therefore, those who say they are Christians and then say they hate you for being gay (or for anything) are not true Christians. They are a sadly common breed of fake Christians that have overwhelmed the Church in America and around the world.
Fake Christians get around the Word of God by saying things like: "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner." This is just a convenient way of trying to get around what God (according to their own religion!) says so that they can pretend to love you but, in truth, they look down at you with contempt. I experienced a horrific example of this two years ago when I got married to Michael. We invited his only sister--a classic fake Christian--to join us at the ceremony. But she told us she preferred to go to her minister's retirement party than to be there for her only sibling. The reason, obviously, is that we are gay and the marriage makes her uncomfortable. Now, when I confronted her on this, she protested, saying, "But I LOVE you Kevin!" I call bullshit. Actions speak louder than words. She hurt me and Michael deeply because she is a bad sister and a bad Christian. Oh, the pièce de résistance was when she surprised me at the front door around Christmas time to hand me a Christmas card with a $20 Starbucks card in it. Good Lord! Oh, yeah, $20! That makes it ALL better!
Pardon my digression, but I think you see my point. You're asking the wrong question. Your question should be this: "How do I convert my parents from being fake Christians to being loving parents who are good Christians?" This is where the Bible comes in. Know your Bible. Read it. Find all the passages in which Jesus commands us to love others. If you need help, see whether you can find a minister who is not a homophobe (this might take some research, but they are out there). Also, I have a link on my website for Rainbow Ark, a resource for gay furry Christians. Check it out.
Good parents love their children unconditionally. Apparently, you need to teach them how to be good parents. This is hard to do living in a state like Alabama, which is the heart of Homophobe Country, but if you talk to them in a way they understand by using the Bible, there is a chance they might listen.
So, I'm an aspiring furry and I want to make a head for my fursuit! But, my mom thinks that the furry fandom is sexual and keeps telling me to stop being one because its "GROSS!" and "bad." I keep trying to explain to her that the fandom isn't sexual and that we are actually donating to charities and stuff but she won't listen. What should I do?
Grazer (age 11)
* * *
Both you and your mother are correct. The fandom can be a lot of good, clean fun, and yes, a lot of charity work has been done by furries. But your mother is also correct in that there is a lot of adult art in the fandom, and you need to be careful you don't associate with the wrong crowd. There are a lot of good furries, but there are also some very bad ones. You, being 11, can be an easy target for bad furries. Your mother is trying to protect you, which is not only her right but also her duty as a parent.
That said, your mother needs to not go the easy route of just saying, "No, you can't be a furry." This is what I call "lazy parenting." Also, it is ineffective. When a parent tells a kid, "You can't do that because I said so," the kid just wants to do the forbidden activity all the more and thinks the parent is not listening to them or sympathizing with them. This can create resentment, secretive behavior, and misbehavior on the part of the child.
What Mom needs to do is become more involved in your life. The two of you should explore furry together. First, understand that the furry fandom was created for adults, not children. The entire establishment of the furry fandom was meant to create anthro characters in adult situations (not just sex, but everything from scenes about violence to other mature situations and themes). But since it began, the fandom has evolved, too. It used to be mostly for people in their teens and twenties (and still largely is), but now more and more you see furries who are a lot older (I'm 55, for example) as well as kids as young as 10. The fandom needs to accommodate this changing membership, and in a lot of ways it does. For example, if you go to a furry convention, there will often be an art gallery. Most of the art is clean, but there is some mature art, which is kept in a separate section and only adults are allowed in. Also, minors such as yourself must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at any furcon, and panels and workshops that address adult topics are restricted to mature members.
You should not argue with Mom. Instead, explain why you are interested in furries. Have a discussion with her. Also, tell her you understand her concerns and tell her that she is right to be worried, and also you should thank her for caring! Then, invite her to explore furry with you. Tell her that she can freely monitor what you view on the computer and on your phone to make sure you don't see anything bad. Ask her for her help in navigating the online world. Ask her to watch the movies and TV shows you enjoy with you. Maybe, with enough communication, you can even ask her to take you to a furcon someday.
In short, don't argue with Mom. Communicate with her. Listen to her concerns and ask her to listen to your feelings as well.
It's my first time writing this letter to your website after I saw your ad on FurAffinity a couple of months ago while I was working at home for a company I don't want to name here.
The thing is I have two dilemmas which I'm dealing this moment. The first one is with the family in which my old brother (mid-30s) finally moved out to a new apartment and live there after we had to put up with so much toxicity for everything, even when I had that job the first 3 months of this year. It was so frustrating to live together when he judges from the food that my mom serves (who was a lawyer) to the dirt of this apartment. He pretends to be a rich, entitled dude but he goes to the fancy places (so he works as a sound engineer for live events for some artists) wanting to be part of that society. Also he's kinda narcissistic, specially with his previous ex-girlfriends. I tried to understand him about his past when he decided to go and live with his dad (a lawyer, too) after my mom divorced him; and then realize that the wasn't the ideal home to live, amid of the problems are having with the other family, including their finances. It was an everyday conversation with my mom when she mentions that part and that's why my brother has an inferiority complex due to these problems. But it was a relief to leave the nest and face the reality to live alone and not depending from my mother and I all the time. Leaving that aside, I doubt I could talk with him after he treated and scolded me so badly for being a shy guy and being dependent for my mom. But that's not the way to treat a person like that, even when I'm jobless/unemployed.
What should I do in this case? Should I ignore it or try to forgive him?
The second issue is more personal. As I'm introvert guy and a degree holder with a little experience in Film and Television, I always wanted to be a full-time content creator and live from it, even though I already tried to write posts on my blog and uploaded videos on my YouTube channel; besides of monetizing and earned a few cents. The problem with this one is I feel remorse of getting late to the party and the constant perfectionism of each content I'm creating. Besides that, I have a lot of insecurities and a lot of episodes of anxiety and depression ending to postpone the main project. I told my mom about how these creators earn money from it and I'm aware that it's not easy to get enough followers in order to monetize the content. And almost always get demotivated (mentally and creative) for this reason, until I wrote a script for a podcast I'm going to make this week. Being a loner has both advantages and disadvantages, so I tried to talk with other furs about the project and some of them was amazed and left some thumbs up, but they never asked me for a feedback or some moral support to keep going and staying afloat. And even I talked with some psychologists and some friends as well.
And I also want to learn to draw again and offer some commissions. So, I decided to undertake this path without leaving aside other projects that I have in mind, staring with the screenplays I'm writing. Do you know if there's a way to be more confident with the people I surrond it and myself? I want to overcome this weakness.
I'm sorry that this letter is so extensive or long, but I hope this will be helpful for me, Papabear.
Gabbo The Fox (Colombia, age 28)
* * *
Your letter is a little difficult to decipher, I fear, probably because English is your second language, but I think I get your meaning. So, the questions seem to be, in summary: 1) How do I deal with my brother? and 2) How do I gain confidence to become a better podcaster and online personality?
Your brother is trying to be a big shot as a way to compensate for his own lack of self-confidence, which probably arose from growing up in a dysfunctional family. In my opinion, he's getting involved with a very shallow, money-grubbing crowd and will likely regret it, eventually. I would not recommend following his lead, and you don't have to accept his criticism of you or your life choices. Whenever he criticizes you, just smile and say, "Thank you for your advice. I will take it under consideration." Then, ignore him and do your own thing. He is a damaged person, and you would be wise not to worry about his opinions.
Your second question is slightly related to your first because one of the best things you can do to boost your self-confidence is avoid toxic people like your brother and surround yourself with supportive, loving people. This is not to say you only want to have "yes men" around you (people who just agree with everything you say to make you feel better), but you do want people who care about you and try to support what you are doing in life and career.
Another thing you should do, you are already doing: pursue your dream. In this case, you are seeking to develop audio and video content online using what you have learned from your film degree (and congrats to you for completing your degree!). Don't worry if you are struggling at first. Everyone struggles at first! You are finding out that doing stuff for a college class is very different from real-world experience. You are going to have some failures, but the thing is to learn from your failures, grow, and improve. You won't have an instantly huge audience. Audiences take time to build. Be patient and keep at it! If you can do what you love for a living, you will be truly blessed throughout your entire life!
Next, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone has different experiences in their career and life paths. Some will be more successful than you, but you are not competing with them. Work on being unique unto yourself, providing people with something that has your own spin, your own personality, your own content. Be an individual and focus on what you are doing now, in the present. If you work hard now and develop your skills, eventually there will be a payoff.
Learn what you are best at, where your strengths are, and develop those. Meanwhile, keep an eye open for opportunities. You never know when something might develop that will open doors for you and your career. Also, keep learning new things. The industry you are in is constantly changing and developing. If you can keep up with all these changes, you will be doing better than a lot of your peers.
The more you learn, the more skills you develop, and the better you get at your job, the more confidence you will get. One day, you will realize, "Damn! I really know what I'm talking about, and I'm good at it, too!" At that point, you will have arrived.
This is my first time sending this. But here's my question, it's been kinda bothering me. Is there a way to keep my mind off of negative thoughts from the past? The reason is have this question because I had times when I messed up in high school. Not paying attention, not doing my homework and all of that. And my father kept of telling me, "You're not going anywhere in life." if I kept on acting like school was nothing. Lucky for me, I actually graduated and I kinda expected for my father to congratulate me like how he did with my little brother, but he ignored me for the whole day. And it broke my heart seeing that all that I work hard for ... was just there for my father to ignore or seeing it as a joke. And it still bothers me till this day. Can you give me an advice?
* * *
Congratulations on completing high school. Good for you!
I have a feeling there is at least another letter or two in there about why your father treats you this way, but for now, I will just address the issue at hand. My bear gut tells me that all this stuff about not paying attention in school, not doing homework, etc., is probably related to stuff going on in the home. For example, if a kid or teen is having family trouble at home, or suffering from poverty and not getting enough to eat, or some such thing, it makes it difficult to concentrate at school. Or, it could be you have an attention deficit disorder or another mental or emotional issue that is hampering you. Or it could be that people have put you down so much that you didn't believe you were worth the trouble to do well in school and you self-sabotage.
Many things could be going on here, you see. I also suspect that you have trouble keeping your mind "off of negative thoughts from the past" because someone (guessing your father) keeps reminding you of his perceived shortcomings of you. Yet despite these handicaps, you still managed to get your diploma, and I think that shows you have a lot of character and proves your father wrong.
First thing's first. When your father tells you, "You're not going anywhere in life," don't believe him. Don't let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Going for my gut again, I'm guessing your father didn't get where HE wanted to go in life, and he is now projecting that negativity onto you.
Am I hitting any targets here?
If I am correct in any of this, the solution is to get your father out of your head and write your own story of success. Just because he doesn't believe in you doesn't mean you shouldn't. If it's worth anything, I'm proud of you for finishing high school and hope you continue your education (whether or not it is a formal education matters not at all). Now, doing this is tough, admittedly. That's because it is programmed in all of us to want our parents' approval. Many times, parents are kind and loving and give us what we desire, but sometimes there are bad parents who not only deprive us of this emotional need but actually damage us emotionally by attacking our sense of self-worth (this is usually because the parent is damaged themselves and passes that emotional disease on to the next generation).
To get your father's voice out of your head, you need to recognize that he is not perfect and that there is a very real possibility (I feel, certainty) that he is incorrect about you. Once you acknowledge that, you can break free of that chain and begin to actualize yourself.
In addition, you need to begin supplanting negative thoughts about yourself and negative memories with good, positive thoughts about yourself. Take some time each and every day to look at yourself in the mirror and reflect (pun intended) on good things you have accomplished and good traits that you have. Do not be hesitant to congratulate yourself on something good you have done or some good quality that you have. Spend at least 10 minutes a day doing this; longer, if you can. The more you do this, the more you will crowd out negative brain waves running through your mind.
Live your life as you see fit and not with the goal of pleasing others. You are not placed on Earth to make your father happy. You are here to discover yourself and improve yourself. Whatever it is in your life that you find appealing and wish to pursue, regardless of what others think or demand, that is what you should do. And don't listen to people who say you can't do it. If you truly want it, then you should go for it. Even if you fail, keep trying. Failure is not the end; it is merely a chapter in learning.
I hope this helps. Good luck to you!
When People Don't Believe You're Innocent, the Relationship Damage Is Their Fault, Not Yours
I have been in the furry fandom for about 6 or 7 years, give or take, and have been making fursuits for about two. i don't post about my fursuits to online forums, but I do distribute to friends and family. Recently, I came under some drama because of one.
I had made a black wolf suit a while ago and gave it to a friend, who sold it last year as they no longer wanted the suit or the character the suit was based of off. Recently, adult content featuring this suit has popped up, and most people don't care, but my friend group, and people who know me personally/know my friends and work, have been harassing me and the person who originally owned the suit.
I believe the person who owns the suit now converted it into a murrsuit, as I made repairs to the suit before it was sold because of a popped seam in the armpits, and on the neck of the head, and there weren't any naughty holes in it then.
I have tried to explain the situation to others, but I can't seem to get it through to them. Any advice?
* * *
I've come across many similar situations from my readers in my inbox. While the specifics are different, the results are the same. A furry gets accused of something they didn't do and no one will believe them when they deny it, even when they present evidence to the contrary.
When this happens, the letter writer always asks me for advice on what they can do to convince their friends and family they are innocent. Wrong question. You did nothing wrong. The real question is this: WHY don't they believe you? There could be a couple of reasons for this. Are you an untrustworthy person who has lied before? If so, like the boy who cried wolf, you are unlikely to be believed.
I don't think this is usually the case, however, with the people who write to me, including you. Far more likely is that these other people don't like who you are or don't agree with what you are doing. Therefore, when they find some "evidence" that justifies their point of view, they believe it and will not change their minds about it because it validates their opinions. This is the same reason we have Trump voters. Despite all the evidence to the contrary that he is a horrible person and an incompetent leader, people voted for him because he validates their worldview concerning white superiority and the fear of people who are different. In your case, the idea that you make murrsuits validates their worldview that all furries are perverts, so they stick with that interpretation.
Another possible reason is that they are looking for people to put down so that they feel superior themselves. This is the trolling syndrome and is also true of bullies. Many people who have low self-esteem become bullies or trolls and look for signs of weakness in others in their community. Whether or not that "weakness" is true or not, they will glom onto it and begin a campaign of trashing you so that they can say, "Hey, look, that person is a loser. They aren't like me. I'm awesome and superior to them." (They don't talk like that, but you get what I mean.)
So, my advice? Since you can't argue with stupid people and hateful people, all you can say is this: "Well, I have told you my side of the story, which is true. If you refuse to believe me, that's on you, not me." The burden is on them to fix the relationship, not you. The good news, if you want to put a positive spin on things, is that now you know which of your friends are derps and should be avoided.
Then look for better people to befriend. They are out there. I know a lot of them. Fortunately, sounds like not all of your friends believe this lie, so that's a great thing!
Spend Time with Grandma
So, I showed my grandma a fursuit that I liked online, and said that it was cute, and I'd like to make one someday if I had the money to, because I love to build fursuits. She looked at me really concerned, and said, "Other than being a furry, what do you like to do? Are there any careers you'd like in the future?" I know it sounds harmless, but her tone and concern showed that she didn't like me being a furry at all. She's VERY religious and isn't very open-minded on most subjects. I love her, but I need some help. Do you have any advice?
Checkmate (age 11)
* * *
Yes. Be happy that your nana isn't being crass about your furriness, but respect that she is not entirely comfortable with it. You are more than just a furry, so talk to her about all the other stuff in your life. She is concerned about your future, so talk to her about what you would like to do in your future and what you see yourself doing. Furry isn't everything. You can still share a lot with her about you and your family. Also, ask her about and talk about HER life. Show interest in her. She has been around a lot, so take advantage of her experiences and wisdom. Also, if you can, do things together and make new memories. Your gramma won't be around forever. Enjoy her presence in your life now.
I've always had this bitter feeling between me and my parents. It's not hate or spite. It's just a unpleasant. I feel like it has to do with differences in political views. I hate this feeling. I feel unwanted in this world in I'm around my parents or any authority figure. The only people that make me feel whole and wanted are my friends. I love my friends, they make me feel wanted, like I deserve love. However, there's this fear in my head. I'm afraid of that bitter feeling and I'm afraid of that bitter feeling spreading. I mean, I've had friends with different political views but I never had any feeling of bitterness with those select friends. All of my friends, and I mean; ALL OF MY FRIENDS make me feel whole and wanted. What I'm afraid of is that the bitterness would spread in some friendships. I absolutely don't want that. I don't think I can bare such an oppressive feeling. I have a good feeling that it will NEVER happen. But I still fear it. So what do you think is the deal? Why is it that my parents and authority give me that bitter feeling? It confuses the hell out of me.
Maxi (age 18)
* * *
It is quite natural for teenagers to resent, disagree with, and even sometimes hate their parents. I would, however, be hesitant to believe that you "always" felt that way. I'm sure that when you were a baby and little kid, you loved and looked up to your parents. As you got older and started to form your own opinions and worldview that didn't mesh with your parents' views--and, also, found them to be authority figures who restricted what you wanted to do (i.e., your "freedom")--you began to dislike their company. This pretty much always happens. My theory is that Mother Nature plans it this way because fledglings eventually have to leave the nest, and it is easier for parents to kick their kids out of the house (or to see them go on their own) during a stage in their lives when they become obnoxious, disrespectful, and petulant.
You see, Maxi, growing up comes in three phases: 1) infancy and childhood, when you depend on your parents as your sole source of nurturing and comfort and you believe they know everything and they are your world and you crave their attention and love; 2) puberty and the teen years, when you suddenly know everything, you're always right, and your parents become utter morons who should be put in an institution for the sake of public safety; 3) adulthood, when you realize that both you and your parents have good and bad points, know some things and not other things, and you are all basically good but flawed human beings. You are currently in Stage 2.
Stage 2 is also characterized by the forming of close bonds with your peers, who you feel more closely reflect who you are, what you think, and how you feel. All of you are in the phase when you resent your parents as authority figures, and this is often expanded to all authority figures (teachers, bosses, police officers, politicians, etc. etc.)
As your friendships progress, you will lose some friends along the way (they will move or you will stop sharing interests or you will find out they are jerks), but you will also form new friendships. Do not become distressed by this because this is also perfectly normal. Do not be upset if you become "bitter" about some of these lost friendships. That is also normal.
Do you see a theme here? The theme is: You are normal. Everyone goes through this to a greater or lesser degree. You are not suffering from any weird psychological or emotional disorder. You're fine.
Eventually, as you mature, in all likelihood you will realize you are not as smart and cool as you think you are and your parents aren't as despotic and mean as you think they are. I feel quite confident that you are not unwanted and that your parents actually love you quite a lot. Over time, you will also get better at forming true, lasting friendships and recognizing which people are just fair-weather friends or, perhaps, even users. You will form better friendships and your relationship with your family will get better (this, again, is a typical pattern but there are always exceptions, but I see nothing in your letter at this time to indicate it will progress otherwise).
I hope this makes you feel better, Maxi. You are just at the beginning of exploring deep, meaningful relationships because you yourself are becoming a more mature, complex, and interesting person. Roll with it.
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.