I have this gnawing issue: I live in a country where fursuiters are scarce due to fur being extremely scarce. I eventually saw an opportunity to make my own fursuit when I got ahold of some nice furs and I did quite a good job at my first suit.
Cue Furry X (FurX). Just as I started being noticed by our local community for my fursuit making abilities, FurX came into the picture. We at first started chatting as friends, which came from another turmoil I had with a really bad person and FurX was there to talk to about it. He also had a bad experience with this person. He eventually told me don't worry about the bad person because he's just like that and he does things like that to people.
We eventually started becoming closer and closer friends, going out for drinks, going out on excursions. You know, just having friendly fun times together. Cue Boardgame convention (Bcon). So I was cash strapped and couldn't grab a ticket for the convention in time, and so was another friend of mine. FurX offered to grab the tickets for us if we paid him at a later time, which I saw no harm in at first. So we went to the convention. Both me and FurX suited; he had a suit he purchased from someone else just like me who started making suits.
Time passed and I grew increasingly more busy. Eventually, FurX tried to strike a deal with me where I'll make him a pair of handpaws in exchange for the tickets he purchased for us for Bcon. I thought at first the admission for the tickets aren't the value of handpaws; they barely cover the costs, but seeing as we are friends why not. BIG MISTAKE.
I had other commissions ahead of his; my other commissioners were fine with waiting a bit since they knew I was busy juggling full time studies with suit making. FurX eventually started pressuring me to finish his handpaws even though I explicitly said I do not have time. I was busy with my own bodysuit that I had planned long before this.
I was studying during the day and working on my suit during nighttime; at the same time my gran's health was deteriorating very fast, and since she's the person who taught me a lot about my craft and how to sew and work the machine I wanted to get the suit done in time to show her. She was extremely proud of me making my head and handpaws. This all while FurX is constantly applying pressure to me to finish his handpaws, I was studying for mid-semester tests and trying to get my fursuit done in time for my favorite gaming convention (Gcon).
My gran passed mere weeks before Gcon; I never got to show her my finished suit. The day Gcon started, I was writing a double test since my units were a bit messed up and I had to write two tests in one day. During the day, FurX would message me and ask about the handpaws. I didn't reply since I was stressed for the tests. Furthermore, I had LAN tickets, so I still had to pack my car with my PC and my suit and all my stuff for the weekend. I got home at around 4pm, dead tired from writing a double test series. I had to fur my feetpaws to have them done for Gcon. As I was busy furring them, FurX messaged me and I simply snapped. I cussed at him and told him he'll never get his handpaws if he talks to me the way he does, and I ended up blocking him.
He didn't respond to this well; he started facebook shaming me and going onto every platform imaginable to slather my name and tell people what a horrible person I am. Luckily, the audience he reached knows me and they know what my situation is and promptly defended me.
I was mad as hell for his super-inconsiderate actions and his entitlement to something that was actually done as a favor for him. I arrived at Gcon after a 30-min angry drive from home. I arrived at 7pm, tired and defeated, and still had to set my computer up. Luckily, my friends kept a place for me to sit. It was only after setting up that I received a message from another fur saying that FurX is really upset and that I shouldn't dare show my face at the annual Gcon furmeet we have. I spoke to a few other furs about it and decided I will make a point of going to this furmeet. I eventually pulled up my blow-up mattress and fell asleep ... at a LAN at 10pm I was exhausted after that day.
The next day was exciting since it was my first time ever going in fullsuit to any kind of convention, and it was my first reveal to the community of my suit. I was nervous and excited. I had a wonderful day and I couldn't wait until the furmeet we have at night after Gcon, the very same one FurX tried to ban me from.
I was at the meet. FurX showed up too, and I kept on chatting to my friend who went through the entire thing with me to help me remain calm. I wanted to approach FurX and give him a piece of my mind, but my friend stopped me. Eventually, came time to suit up. I got suited up and everyone loved my suit. It was one of the first suits at a furmeet, and since it was a relatively new thing I got a lot of attention for it.
Until a point where FurX and his other friend started talking to me and picking my suit apart, showing all the errors and asking me things like “why didn't I do X or Y?” I brushed it off and moved on with my weekend. They weren't worth my energy and spoiling my afternoon to engage. I was a bit down after I unsuited though.
The next morning, I decided to unblock FurX, and he got hold of photos of me at Gcon through the Facebook grapevine. He sent a picture to me outlining even more errors on my suit. I immediately responded with “Are you enjoying constantly showing errors in my suit?” to which he just responded, “No,” and the conversation ended there.
So that is the brunt of the story, until this day over 3 years later there is still beef. I have tried on many occasions to just move on and be the mature adult—you know, shit happens; live and let live.
He eventually started making his own fursuits. Probably to spite me or be better than me at fursuit making, to which I say, “Great, more fursuit makers!”
But his constant growing jealousy of what he perceives of me being "famous" for fursuiting is growing worse and worse. I was approached by a local radio station for a live on-air interview with a group of other fursuiters of my choice. I didn't choose him, and why should I?
We were also interviewed at our second annual con by a local magazine and I was one of the people that were specifically approached to be interviewed. FurX very angrily and slyly would glance at me and constantly walk past the table where I was being interviewed. I had a blast talking to the interviewer especially since we're both from the same cultural background, so we understood each other on a different level.
FurX was intensively jealous of this.
I eventually got a message from FurX saying he's surprised I didn't choose him to go on the air with me on the radio interview and that he's proud of my achievements. But at the end of the day that was exactly the reason I didn't choose him. I'm not pushing a personal propaganda I'm pushing the furry propaganda. I didn't go on the radio for myself; I went on the radio to represent the furry community. He wanted to be on the radio for the simple matter of being "popular."
I have friends who tell me that he complains to them because all he wants to be is popular. But it's gotten to a toxic level where he oppresses even his own friends. One of his friends started making fursuits as well and their work is better received than that of FurX, and FurX made the new maker feel so bad for being better than him and the new maker took it up quite personal which upsets me because fursuit making isn't about who can make the best suits; it's about creativity and giving back to the community that we love. Being contributors.
So I'm constantly dealing with FurX being condescending and passive aggressive toward me in a group where I am forced to be as an admin due to my status involving our convention. It's starting to grow worse and worse where he's targeting my messages and anything fursuit related he has some kind of comment to make, especially if I post it. But it extends to more than just this group. In general, he has become this person who just sucks the joy out of life.
I feel sorry for him, I really do. Trust me, I've tried to make things right but I have eventually given up since I don't want to deal with him anymore. He just makes me negative and doesn't really listen to anything one says. He even steps on those trying to help him.
People think that he's like this to me just because of our history and some people laugh it off and says, “You, too.”
What I am ultimately asking for is advice. How can I just move on from this and get him to stop griping at me for being me? His jealousy is extremely toxic, and I've been trying to eliminate toxicity from my life. I'm so tired of this pettiness, and a single message from him can really ruin my entire day. I'm sure others see his aggressiveness toward me and see his ill intentions, but honestly I've been trying actively to get over this issue and every interaction with him is like one step forward and two steps back.
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First, my condolences over the loss of your grandmother; she sounds like she was a sweet and supportive lady. I just wanted to say that before you read the rest of this, which I hope you will take as a wake-up call.
It’s not difficult to see where you went wrong here. Actually, there are three places where you went wrong, at least, compounded by bad behavior on both parties.
Let’s begin with my policy about money and friends/family. My mother wisely advised me years ago, “Never loan a friend or family member money; you either give them the money or you don’t. Do not expect it to be returned; provide it as a gift, and only give what you can afford to comfortably.” In your case, FurX offered to cover your entry into Bcon with the expectation that you would pay him back (a condition to which you agreed). I would never have done this. If I chose to help a friend get into a con, I would pay the way as a gift and never ask for the money in return. Or, as in the case with a room, I would offer to split the cost of the room, which helps the other person while not getting yourself into the quandary of having provided a loan. Loans are a recipe for destroying relationships, as you have found out too late.
Your next mistake was agreeing to his offer that you make him forepaws in exchange for—according to you—the less valuable tickets he bought for you. Not only did you feel this was not an equitable trade, but you did not have the time to sew the paws as quickly as you should have, and you knew it, or really should have known it.
Your third mistake was cutting off all communication with him. That is very unprofessional of someone who considers himself a businessman in the fursuit industry. You should always openly and honestly communicate with your clients, especially about the status of their commissions. You’re belief that you are doing FurX a favor is incorrect: you agreed to do a trade with him, entering into a business deal, which is not a favor, and you should have treated it as a business contract.
From this point, things go precipitously downhill, with your making speculative claims that FurX decided to make fursuits to somehow spite you, and with your cutting him out of the interview you were asked to do, which was actually a wonderful opportunity to mend bridges if you had taken it.
Given the three things above, I’m definitely leaning in favor of FurX’s point of view, not yours. That said, he has also behaved a bit immaturely by criticizing your fursuit-making skills, but at this point a bit of bitterness on his part is understandable.
One wonders, as well: did you ever finish his paws? All you seem to care about is your own fursuit while simultaneously accusing FurX of wanting to be a popufur. Hmmm. Pot, meet kettle.
You wish to move on? My advice is this: 1) If you haven’t already done so, finish his paws and give them to him; 2) apologize to him if you haven’t already (you don’t explain well how you tried to make amends); 3) stop being jealous, stop worrying about what he is doing, and focus on your own business. Stop worrying about who is a popufur and stop claiming that you have noble intentions to promote the furry fandom when it is quite blatantly obvious you are more concerned about your reputation as a fursuit maker.
Finally, in the future, do not promise things you can’t or don’t want to deliver on.
Sorry for this rather harsh letter, but you need to hear it. This is exactly the kind of drama that degrades the furry fandom, and you are contributing to it.
FurX, if you are reading this, you would do well to drop this issue, too. Learn from it, and try not to repeat your mistakes.
Good Luck to both of you in your future fursuit-making endeavors.
A few years ago I found a great artist, and he's been my favorite artist, and a huge inspiration for me ever since then. I was only 10 when that happened, so I obviously wasn’t old enough to commission art from anyone at the time. I’m 13 now, and now that I'm old enough to get money here and there from whatever extra work I can do around the house, and I'm comfortable with my fursona (I haven't changed him in forever and I don’t plan to because I'm really happy with him), I feel like it’s about time to commission him. I saved up enough money, and asked my parents as soon as I noticed I had enough, but they said no? They've always been supportive when it comes to me being a furry, and an artist, and liking other people's art and stuff like that, but they said that buying art from him would be a waste of money. When I asked why they said because "you can't do anything with it but look at it (because it's digital art)". I tried explaining to them why people buy art of their characters, and how long I had been wanting to commission him, but they continued to say it was a waste of money. I then said it wasn't fair since I earned the money myself, but they said it was basically their money, since they paid it to me and I'm still a kid. I'm really upset, and confused on what to do. Should I keep trying to help them understand, or just wait till I'm old enough to have a real job? Or do something else? Thank you!!
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This is an excellent letter, and thanks for sending it (and sorry for the slow reply). Okay, so what we are dealing with here is, essentially, a verbal contract between you and your parents in which they pay you some money to do some chores around the house, and they agreed that the money is yours. However, they then apparently are under the impression that they can tell you how to spend it or not to spend it.
*Buzzer noise* Wrong-o! That is SUCH the wrong message to teach your child, which is essentially saying “We let you hold the money but it’s really still ours.” Sheesh. There are a number of articles online you can reference (for example, this one from KidsHealth) about how to handle allowances, which is basically what you are doing. Some parents give kids an allowance without asking anything in return; others pay an allowance for the kids doing chores around the house.
Now, what is the purpose of an allowance in exchange for chores? It should be for a couple of things, mostly as an instructional tool:
What I would suggest to you, then, is that you approach your parents and tell them you would like them to help you learn how to save and spend money wisely and that you would like to open an account at your local bank. Many banks have what is called a “teen bank account.” You will have to have a minimum deposit, but usually it is quite low, such as $25. Now, don’t let your parents fool you: in most cases, you do NOT need them to have their names on your account. Insist that the account be in YOUR name and your name only. BUT! Be completely open with the account. Promise them they can see your statements any time they wish. Do not hide your spending and saving habits from them as this will develop mistrust on their part, and you don’t want that. Finally, it must be understood by them that, once they give you money in exchange for chores as agreed upon, it is YOUR money, not theirs.
Next, talk to them about budgeting. Agree to a sensible plan in which you save a percentage of the money you make each year, BUT you also are allowed a certain percentage for discretionary spending. This means buying anything you wish that is fun. After all, part of the fun of having money is spending on toys, right? You can’t tell me your parents never spend money on something frivolous.
This brings us to the example of the art you wish to buy. They say you are wasting money on art because, “You can't do anything with it but look at it (because it's digital art).” I guess if that’s your attitude then a Picasso or a Monet is also a waste of money because you can only look at it. That’s just plain stupid. So it’s digital art? So what? If you wish, you could print it out on some nice photo-quality paper and frame it. Would that make it more legitimate? Plus, once you have this artwork of your fursona, you can use it over and over again: as a badge, as a shirt (you can print things easily on shirts these days, or anything else that matter, such as a phone case or an ornament), you can use it as an avatar, and on and on. Endless uses for the art. And, most importantly, it makes you happy. If they are truly supportive of you being a furry, then they should be made to understand that an avatar of your fursona is very important.
If you are still having problems with this, then I would suggest you find an income from another source, such as raking lawns, shoveling snow, doing odd jobs for your neighbors, and so on. Then they definitely cannot pull the “it’s really our money” baloney on you.
Hope that helps.
I'm trying to raise money for a music/drama class trip to the NYC.
Here's the Letter.
December 2, 2014
Coming this spring, April 2015, there is an opportunity for students involved in the Briggsdale High School Drama program to attend the Broadway Student Summit workshops in New York, New York. This opportunity is very exciting for the students to observe and participate in drama and the theatrical arts at its finest. Being from a very small rural community, this opportunity comes very rarely for many students who attend this school. It is exciting that over 50 percent of the students who attend Briggsdale High School are involved in the drama program, and they will be able to learn and apply their new found knowledge and skills about drama and acting.
Students will attend workshops that will enhance their acting and theatrical ability. Some workshops include: Vocal Interpretation, Stage Combat, Acting Techniques, and even will attend a Musical Theatre Audition Class. Another highlight of this trip will be going to a Broadway production, Les Miserables, and interact with Broadway cast members.
This is an incredible opportunity in which our high school students will participate. However, with many great opportunities, comes great cost. The drama program and students are expected to raise enough money to be able to participate in this incredible event.
Would you please consider sponsoring us financially so students would be able to participate in this opportunity? Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go completely for funding this experience.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Briggsdale Drama Club
So if you have any suggestions or help for my/our fundraising.?
Failaria Talerum (age 16)
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That's a wonderful opportunity for you, and I hope you make it there. There's a great performing arts program here in my valley, too, with students trying to raise money to go to New York City and see Broadway shows and also get behind-the-scenes looks into the production of a Broadway play.
When I was in school and there was a program to raise money, it usually involved me and my peers going door-to-door selling candy and whatnot. You can also try having a local fundraiser, such as a car wash, bake sale, garage sales, and the like.
You and your fellow students could partner with a company that sells products, part of the money from which goes to your trip. Companies that partner with students for fundraisers include:
There are also websites where you simply set up a page and ask people for money for your cause, which can be almost anything. Some examples are GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com. These sites allow you to set up a donation page, which you can then tell people about on places like Facebook or other social sites.
One more option would be to set up your own website and put a donate button on the site. If you use PayPal, you can set up a direct link with your bank, generate html code, and insert that into your website.
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas to help. Run these by your school teachers and your parents to get their input.
I've written to you before about my boyfriend and him not getting a job and helping me out. Firstly, I wanted to say, that he's doing a bit better :3 He has a job now and even though he's not that great starting out, I feel like he'll do fine (I hope >.<). So thank you so much with your help on that matter. ^^
Now my question. So ... we've ben together for a year and almost 3 months now. We're very confident that we can continue to work things out together and some day get married. My only issue, is that I still feel like this is all ... temporary. I talked to him last night about it, and he said that in was still attached to my "safety net." That in the back of my head, I know that if something goes wrong, I can always go back to my parents and my old life and leave the fandom/move on. I feel like that thought is corrupting me. I've realized that a lot of our bickering we do, is because of something stupid that I didn't realize/made up; as if I want him to get mad at me and break up ... I don't know why this is happening. I feel awful and it's depressing me. I love my boyfriend. I honestly do. I just need help to get this thought out of my head because it's only going to make things worse for us and limit what I can do.
If there's any advice our help you could give, that would be amazing, Papa Bear. Thank you so much for your time.
Nature (age 19, Tennessee)
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I’m glad your boyfriend got a job and the two of you are doing better. It’s not at all surprising that you’re nervous about the stability of your life right now. Starting out on your own—even with a mate—can be nerve-wracking. I remember when I was fresh out of college and I left home and moved in with my mate, who had found a job working at a small college. I had a degree, but no real job and managed to find a part-time, minimum wage job at a factory. We lived in a small apartment and ate cheap food, but we managed. The key, of course, was being smart with the money we had and managing it well, which was something my mate handled very well.
Papabear recommends that the first thing you do is learn to manage your money and to try and save some for the future and emergencies. Have you ever heard of Suzy Orman? She’s great. She has a TV show and website all about personal finances. One of the things on the site is a calculator for tracking expenses http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/expense-tracker/ for example. Check out her site. Another page that might be of interest is the cohabitation agreement page at http://www.suzeorman.com/resource-center/cohabitation-agreement/.
The reason I recommend this is that if you feel like you have a financial plan you will feel more at ease about life, which can only be good for you. You’re nervous right now because you don’t feel like you have a net to fall on if you slip off the tightrope. Instead of looking to your parents to hold that net up for you, weave it yourself. Since the main issue here isn’t love (we’re not talking Plan B in case he abandons you), then it’s gotta be money.
(Oh, quick aside: when you are in a tricky financial state, the last thing you want is a baby. Please save family planning for a much later time when the two of you are financially comfortable.)
Back to finances: okay, so far we have budgeting and cohabitation agreement. The other factor is jobs. It’s great you’re both working; now you need to look forward to the future. You’re not going to be in your current jobs forever. Think about where you want to go and make plans accordingly. Also, educate yourself about your benefits (for Tennessee, go here http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/esdiv.shtml).
You also need to think about insurance, health and otherwise. If you have a health emergency, you sure as heck don’t want to have to figure this out at the same time you’re worried about one of you being sick. Assuming you’re rather low income at this point in your life, check out this page http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/tennessee/homeless/healthcare. I’m guessing you already know about car insurance, but the next thing you should consider is renters insurance if you have anything particularly valuable, such as computers or other electronics. Renters insurance is very cheap, but worth it in cases of theft, fire, etc.
When it comes to essentials, like food and clothing, there is a LOT you can do to save bucks. For food, try a store like Save-A-Lot which has the same food as Kroger (same company) at cheaper prices. If things are even tighter, in your area there is Angel Food Ministries, which provides low-cost, wholesome foods http://memphis.about.com/od/shopping/a/angelfoodministries.htm. Clothing-wise, shop at second-hand stores. You can buy good stuff there for a lot less than new.
Finally, avoid luxury purchases like video games and movies and eating out (although, in a pinch, there are some cheap restaurants in Memphis: http://www.ilovememphisblog.com/2012/07/cheap-food-guide/).
The thing to keep in mind here is that your standard of living is not what it was when you lived with your parents. You’re going to need to watch money very closely and develop good financial habits, while you establish yourself as working adults.
If this sounds like a lot of boring adult stuff, it is. BUT it is incredibly important boring adult stuff and the sooner you get a handle on it, the more confident you will feel about making it in the adult world. When THAT happens, these fears you are currently having will dissipate and thoughts about going back home to Mom and Dad will go away. You will grow as a person, and that’s a great thing.
One more thing: the antidote for becoming a boring adult after you get all this money and bills thing in hand is to ... STAY FURRY! You can keep a youthful heart even as you become a responsible, mature, independent human being. Don’t use that child-like spirit of wonder and imagination!
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.