How do I stop the oncoming flow of hate towards the furry fandom? I hate how I'm persecuted for wanting to wear a costume. I understand that yes, there is a bad side to the fandom, but that's not the whole thing. Take Indigo_Raptor, for instance. They were so young, and yet they supposedly killed themselves because of hate. I really don't like how everyone stereotypes furries as 'The fandom that f*ks cheese graters and dogs for fun." And the people who bark at me in the school hallways--my fursona isn't even a dog; Neon's a cat! And if I'm a furry, and I don't go around barking at people, how come they do? We as furries have given the rest of the world more than enough reason to at least accept us if not love us.
How do I stop this? Is it even possible?
* * *
(Note: I could not reply to you via email because you used a school email server, which blocks emails from unknown sources like this one, so I hope you see this on my website.)
Furries such as yourself all make the same mistake in thinking that normies are specifically targeting the furry fandom with their behavior towards its members. Actually, what you and others are experiencing is one facet of a phenomenon with humans: social predation. This is the characteristic in society in which those at the top of a hierarchy (the "top dogs," shall we say) and other members below who follow said hierarchy attack those at the bottom or outside the accepted norms in order to keep the status quo intact.
You see this kind of behavior in other animals, too, not just humans. Wolves, as most know, have their alphas and betas keeping the omegas in line; monkey troops actually go to war with other troops they feel are impinging on their territory; animals ranging from pronghorn sheep to elephants have been seen expressing bullying behavior, too. The higher an animal is in the hierarchy, the more aggressive it tends to be.
Humans behave just like the "lower animals" in this respect. In areas such as business and politics, of course, there is a clear hierarchy involving job titles and salaries and power. In the school, titles might not be formalized and complete with a salary, but they are still there in loose terms such as "that lunch table belongs to the popular kids, that one is for the jocks, nerds and geeks over there, and the losers sit outside on a bench."
Groups that adhere to social norms and that gain status through achievements (real or imagined) such as winning a championship game or wearing expensive and stylish clothes rise to the top of the hierarchy. Those who challenge the status quo by being different are filtered to the bottom of the glass. Such is the fate of furries because we aren't "normal."
But targeting furries per se is just an excuse. Anyone outside the "normal" range will be subject to violence and bullying. In the recent past, for example, such violence was directed at African Americans (and still is in many ways, but somewhat less so in schools now). People will also be targeted for their religion or nationality, as is seen in all the violence still going on today against Jews, Muslims (labeled as terrorists), Sikhs (often mistaken as Muslims because haters are stupid), LGBTQIA people, the handicapable, and more.
Bullies and haters are violent and nasty not just to keep the outsiders out, but also because this behavior reinforces the status quo hierarchy and creates a social bond (however unpleasant) with a group's leaders and all their toadies.
So, when you ask, "How do I stop furry haters?" you are asking the wrong question because you don't stop them. They are a part of social behavior in humans that will always be there, and you will be attacked for anything you might be or do that is considered "not normal."
Before I continue, it is important to note that if bullying becomes violent or dangerous in any way, you need to report it to your school administration and, possibly, local authorities if it gets really bad. There are laws against bullying (go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/ for more information on that).
When it comes to annoying teasing behavior, there are a couple of strategies you can pursue:
Whatever strategy you try--or maybe you have one of your own--the important thing is to not show any weakness. As Nick Wilde explained to Judy Hopps, you should never let them see that they got to you. Don't give them that power.
Will this stop the bullying? Maybe, maybe not. As noted above, you can't really completely stop it, but you can sure keep it from bothering you.
Remember, it's not about your being a furry; it's about them using bullying to maintain their social status. Is that pathetic? Yes, yes it is. And you don't have to buy into their pathetic displays of insecurity.
Hope that helps,
I've written to you before, but I used the name StormFolf! Well, when I wrote you, Storm was my first Fursona, and I hadn't fully gotten into the fandom yet. But now I've done my research and things are going great!
My new name is Harmony. I'm a Raptor! Anyway, I took your advice and told my family and friends about being a Furry, and they were entirely supportive. A few days after telling my brother, he bought me a raptor mask, and a few days after THAT, one of my friends that I told bought me some paws, and painted my mask! Its all thanks to you, and I thank you greatly.
I am doing great, except for one thing. I told one group of friends that I was a furry, but they have banded together and won't stop taunting me. They tell me that I'm a f*g, and tell me to stop watching animal porn, when I've made it clear I'm not into that. I've told many adults, but nothing helps. My mom says I may have to stick up for myself, but idk how.
Harmony (age 13)
* * *
Thank you for your letter and I'm very happy for you that your family has been supportive of your furriness :-3
Okay, about bullies: You may have read some of Papabear's earlier posts about bullies, and the same kind of logic goes with your situation. All bullies are alike, and sometimes they glom together in bully cliques to torment innocent kids like yourself. Bullies behave this way for a couple of reasons: 1) they are insecure about their status in their social group, so they tear down other people to lift themselves up; 2) they have no skills or redeeming qualities in themselves, so to feel better about who they are they pick on others to try to make them outcasts; 3) they are like wolves in a pack, and sensing weakness in others gives them a reason to go on the attack to assert their place in said pack; 4) they are emotionally troubled because they have a lousy home life, which causes anger to build in them and they release this anger on others because they need to vent their frustrations and sadness in some way (even if that is an inappropriate way [this is like the character Gideon Fox]); and 5) they are fearful of anyone who does not adhere to what are considered "social norms," and fear leads to hate, which leads to bullying.
Once you understand some of the psychology of the bully (or bully group), you will see that the flaws lie within THEM and not within YOU. You don't get bullied because there is something wrong with you; you get bullied because there is something wrong with them.
You describe these people as "a group of friends," but I assure you, they are not. Not if they treat you this way.
The way to defeat bullies is to take away their power. What is that power? The power is the ability to make you feel bad about yourself. This is reinforced by the strategy of trying to stick a label on you such as "f*g."
The most effective way of fighting back is to show them that what they say has absolutely no effect on you. Yes, at first, this will be difficult, but the more you practice it the more it will be true. When they say things like "You want to watch animal porn" or "you're a f*g," just say something like, "That would really hurt my feelings if I cared at all who you are or what you say. You're not my friend and I have no respect for your opinion." Don't say this with tears in your eyes or angrily. You must do it with great calm and indifference. The more indifferent you are, the more they will see they are not hurting you, and bullying you won't be fun for them anymore.
Other things you can say:
Remember, in NO WAY show to them that you are upset. This is actually where you can take some advice from Nick Fox in Zootopia: "Never let them see they got to you." Don't try to defend yourself with arguments or denials because this is engaging with them and that is exactly what they want. They are not interested in your arguments or in the truth. Their sole purpose is to upset you and pick on you. Don't let them. If you do a good job, they'll get tired of you and pick a new target. Then, you might share with that new person what you have read here.
Get the idea? You can come up with your own comebacks, too, as you feel appropriate. (Remember, if they turn violent, report it at once. I doubt they will because most bullies are cowards, but you never know).
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading Ask Papabear.
Hi, I really need help. At school I’m constantly bullied for being a furry, it has be happening for 4 months. A whole sixth-grade class will bully me when they leave the cafeteria. They supervisors helped on the 3rd month, but they still bully me. Whenever they walk past my lunch table I always get quiet and fell very uncomfortable. It has also been making extremely emotional lately. Do you have any advice?
Skyla (age 11)
* * *
I won't ask how the entire school discovered you are a furry. They know, so now you need to deal with that. You have done the right thing by telling the school about the bullying (and I hope you have also told your parents). Keeping adults informed of what is going on is important. You should also keep track of bullying that happens to you, either by writing it down (include people's names when you know them) or taking pictures of video with your phone (if you have one). If you are being bullied online or on your phone, block all bullies. Do not interact with them; do not reply to them. Just block them. Bullies thrive on knowing they are bothering you, and they slink away like wounded weasels when they know they can't affect you.
This brings us to the most important way to fight bullying. It's not fighting, of course (if you are being physically threatened, report it immediately to the school, your family, and even police). No, the way to fight bullies is to show that what they do doesn't bother you. By this, I don't mean doing what you described where you "get quiet and feel very uncomfortable." That is exactly the kind of reaction bullies like because they know they are getting to you. Bullies do what they do because they can only feel better about themselves by putting other people down and making them feel bad. Groups of bullies (like that 6th grade class) bully a kid that they feel is weak; groups do this as a way to bond socially with each other (they have something in common in that they make fun of a kid they all think is below them). This is wrong, but this is how a lot of immature people behave.
If you feel confident about yourself and who you are, then bullies can't affect you. For this to work, you have to be comfortable with being a furry. Since you are just 11 years old, I have to guess that you are a furry because you simply enjoy cartoon and animated animals and like the idea of pretending to be like one of these characters, right? There is nothing wrong with that. Liking anthropomorphic (humanlike animal) characters is something that millions of children and adults enjoy. That's why animated movies like Sing, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and Zootopia are so popular, as well as cartoons like Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and PAW Patrol and book characters like Winnie-the-Pooh and the heroes in the Redwall stories. There are a lot of reasons why people of all ages like stories featuring animals who talk and act like people, but it would take too long to describe them here in this column, so let's just acknowledge that millions of people read and watch such stories.
If kids at your school ask you why you are a furry, just say, "Well, I just like cartoons and movies and stuff (like the ones I mentioned), like a lot of people do. I even bet you like them, too, right?" Ask them to mention some shows they like, and I bet at least some of them have furry characters in them. And if they ask if you pretend to be a character like that, just say that this isn't weird either. People dress up as monsters for Halloween or Marvel and DC Comics heroes at Comicon. People also like to play video games in which they pretend to be comic book heroes or even (shocking!) furry characters like Sonic, Angry Birds, Spyro the Dragon, Starfox, or Crash Bandicoot. Ask them if they have ever played one of these, and if they have, well, they have enjoyed a furry game!
Once you see that you have nothing to be ashamed about, then their teasing will be senseless and have no power over you. Now, I realize that part of the problem, too, is that you want to be accepted by your schoolmates and not mocked by them, right? Everyone wants to be accepted. But you should only want to be accepted by people who are dope. If you talk to people, you will get to know who is awesome and who isn't. Bullies are phony, and you don't want them as friends. If bullies tease you, my reply is always, "Wow, that would really hurt my feelings if I cared about your opinion or who you are." See, you have to take away their power. You do that by not caring who they are or what their opinions are. People who are mean just to hurt people are not worth your time.
To summarize, this is how to deal with this problem:
One last thing, if the bullying gets really bad, call the Stop Bullying Now Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Remember, the special people in the world are not normal. Dare to be weird!
I was barked at on my way home from school, and was handed a homophobic note in my locker. I don't know how to handle this. I know I'm not supposed to come to you about this. I just need some advice. I'm sorry.
Alice (age 13)
* * *
There is no reason why you can't come to Papabear for this question. I'm happy to help.
I'm assuming "barked at" means that your fellow students know you are a furry, as well as gay. I'm sorry you're having to go through this, but it is quite common when one is at school. I, too, was often mocked and even beaten up at school for being different. Here is my advice to you:
First of all, make sure adults know what is happening. Show the note to your parents and also to the school administration. You might not know who put the note there (bullies are notorious cowards), but just making adults aware of what is going on will help to put them on the lookout for future incidents. This is not being a tattle tale. It's being smart.
Second, keep records of EVERY case of bullying, taunting, and any other abuse. That means, keep copies of anything written (on paper, in text, etc.). You can also record video chats, although it's a little more complicated. Here is a video on how to record vidchats on your Android, and if you have an iPhone, it's a bit easier to do this. If you are being bullied face to face, you can simply use video record on your mobile device. Keep a journal about any incidents, too, and record times and dates and describe the people involved if you don't know their names.
If you feel in any way physically threatened at school, again, tell the school administrators. When you are not on school grounds, it might be a good idea to carry pepper spray with you. Do you walk in a safe area? Make sure you don't walk alone in dark or remote areas. You might also consider taking self-defense classes.
[Note: I've gotten some feedback on Facebook about my advice on telling school admins about the bullying. While I say you should still do this, it is true that some schools are not responsive to bullying claims. In such cases, that is when you need parents as allies. One psychologist, Dorothy Espelage, a Ph.D. Professor of Childhood Development, said this: "If a parent has repeatedly gone to the school about their child, his or her child being bullied and they feel that the school is not being responsive, I often say these are your choices. When I talk to parents, I say, "Can you get your child out of the school?" If you can get your child out of the school, do that because we know that in some cases just moving the child away from a non-responsive, unsupportive administration may actually reduce the bullying. In many cases that's not an option, right. It just would be too much disruption for a family to move so I then say, "You know, have you thought about seeking legal counsel because increasingly schools will respond to a lawyer calling versus a parent that has repeatedly called. If they don't want to go that route, then reach out to some professionals in your area and try to put pressure on the school administrators and go to the school board and have a conversation about how it is that the administration has been non-responsive. What we don't want to do is the parents sit back and wait for the school to respond because they will not. The schools are failing miserably in responding to bullying incidents in our schools, and parents have to be proactive, and so please think about removing your child, seeking legal counsel, or going to the school board to hold that administrator accountable."]
I don't mean to scare you by the above; I'm just covering all the bases. Judging by your email, it hasn't gotten dangerous yet. You are just facing some moron cowards who are making fun of you to feel better about themselves, which is, of course, pathetic. You should keep that in mind: What they are doing is juvenile, cowardly, and a poor reflection on their character. It is NOT evidence that YOU are in any way a bad person. You are growing up in a world that hates people who are different, whether that is because of race, income, sexual orientation, or being a furry.
Alice, I know you feel bad and maybe embarrassed by what happened, but it should actually make you feel special. It is not the ordinary and accepted people on this planet who are special, it is the weird people who challenge social conventions that make the world wonderful. People like you.
Do not feel alone. You are not alone because you have an entire furry community who is like you and who are there to be your friends. You also have a huge LGBTQI community. Don't worry about getting approval from derps and twits like the ones who left you that note or barked at you. They're losers. They are the sort of people who make this world a crappy place. Why would you want their approval? You shouldn't.
You're a special person because you are unique and willing to find out who you really are as a person rather than trying to be like everyone else. The fact that you are an individual and not a conformist is what irritates boring people like those who have mocked you.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
How do I explain to my children that I'm a furry? Got two of them and want to stop them from getting bullied for having a dad who dresses like a kangaroo.
* * *
Apparently, your children already know you dress as a kangaroo, so how does explaining you're a furry change that? Since your kids' schoolmates already know, too, then adding that you are a furry will not stop the bullying. Indeed, it could make it more severe.
First of all, if your kids are being bullied, make sure the school administrators know. I hope it is not violent bullying that causes physical harm, but even psychological bullying is cruel and damaging. Either way, bullying should not be tolerated in any way.
The schoolyard functions much like a wolf pack. There are alpha wolves and there are omega wolves. The wolves at the bottom get picked on by the top wolves to maintain a social hierarchy. Such hierarchies exist in both the animal kingdom and human society. If your children were not being picked on for having a dad who dresses as a kangaroo, odds are they would get picked on for something else because I'm guessing they aren't jocks or on the top of the social cliques.
You are, therefore, asking the wrong question. The solution is not so much about telling them you're a furry (although it is related; see below); the solution is to teach your children how to stick up for themselves. Schools are not just places to learn math and English; they are places where children learn to navigate difficult social and relationship situations.
You need to teach your children assertiveness, and step one is to be a model of assertiveness to them. Actually, your not telling them you are a furry is a bad lesson to them, so you are correct that you should tell them. By telling them you are a furry and what it means to you, you are demonstrating that you are not ashamed to be yourself. Next, you should explain that they should not be ashamed of who they are. Furthermore, tell them that it is not their job to defend their father. Next time a bully gets in their faces about their kangaroo dad, tell them they should invite those bullies to your house, dress up as a kangaroo, and entertain them for a while. Ask your guests if they have ever pretended to be someone or something they are not, and encourage them to join in on a game of imaginative play. During the imaginative play, you can act out scenarios in which you or one of your kids bullies the bully, but use it as a lesson, such as, "When Mary calls you a fat ass, how do you feel about that? How do you think it made her feel when you called her that?"
There are many strategies in dealing with bullies. The three main ones are to be assertive and confident (not defensive), don't be afraid (most bullies are cowards), and ignore/show no reaction to their bullying. Bullies, like online trolls, thrive on knowing they have somehow hurt you. If you show them their words don't affect you in the least, the bully withers and slinks away.
This page offers more instructions and strategies to help you and your kids: https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/safety/helping-bullied-child.
Hope this helps!
I saw this on fur affinity, and I'd thought I'd give it a try. I'm a second year college student working on a degree in marketing. I've always been good with numbers and I'm kinda creative so I thought it would be a good choice. Two years in an I'm having doubts. The courses are super challenging. My main skill is creative writing, and I also love geology, but I was afraid those would be not good ideas to take as it's hard to find work in those fields.
My main question is this. Should I continue with my degree for 2 more years, or should I do something else? I'm afraid it will take me more than two years to complete because I'm struggling with many courses. What do you think?
Dodger the Crocodile
* * *
Assuming colleges in Canada are similar to the ones in the USA, the first two years of college are typically about taking prerequisite courses in areas such as math and English composition. So, probably many of the courses you have already completed would also work in another major discipline, yes? I mean, if you were aiming at marketing, you'll probably take writing and math courses. Also, if you were doing some graphic arts courses for advertising, artistic skills could apply to, say, cartography in geology majors. Anyway, changing majors in college is a common occurrence, so deciding on a different path is not going to cost you too much time, I think.
The best majors to pursue are the ones you have a passion for. Don't pick an area study merely because you think there is money in it. If you love geology, then you should go for it. Furthermore, you seem to be under the misguided notion that there are no careers out there for geologists. Quite the contrary! Geologists are in high demand in areas including:
Anyway, Geology has applications in a wide array of industries. Not only that, but hiring for geologists is predicted to climb 5% a year for the next 10 years, which is faster than growth in many other industries. Therefore, if you have a passion for geology, I think you would do very well in switching majors from marketing and getting a degree in that field.
Dear Papa Bear,
Ever since I started school, I always focused on the work more then anything. I always wanted to make my parents proud for all that they ever gave me. I didn’t even have that many good friends until high school, when I finally met a group. I was happy, but for college I decided to follow a full ride scholarship to a university states away. I thought it would be an easy adaptation and I would get many friends and good experiences here. But even without COVID-19, things have been rough.
With my experience here so far, I’ve struggled to make any friends in anything I thought I’d be remotely interested in, with me even joining a furry club. I haven’t felt a connection even close to the one I had with my friends back home, and at times even feel unwanted. While I can call my friends, I feel much more alienated to them the before, especially with me being the only one to go out of state for college. This feeling is starting to affect my drive for my grades, which is possibly a disaster, since I need to maintain a 3.5 to even keep my scholarship. Do you have any advice for not feeling so lonely when you’re having a really difficult time making connections?
Drew (age 20; live in Lincoln, NE for school; San Antonio, TX and Atlanta, GA for family)
* * *
Different states, cities, countries have different cultures. One might think there would not be a big difference, culturally between Texas and Nebraska, but it kinda depends on the part of Texas. Now, you are from San Antonio, which is a pretty happening city. You also mention Atlanta, Georgia, which is very different as well. Nebraska is very rural, for the most part. Now, if you were from the Texas panhandle, for example, you might have a closer cultural tie to Nebraska. Lincoln, Nebraska, is very much a "college town," which also has a different feel from, say, a big city like Atlanta.
So, a guess I have is that there is a bit of a cultural difference going on here that might be interfering a bit with your efforts to make friends. Also, just in general, it can be a challenge to make new friends in a new town compared to a place in which you grew up. One suggestion would be to see if you could find some fellow students who are from San Antonio or Georgia. Might be a bit easier to connect.
While having a healthy social life is important, the main reason you are in Lincoln is for school--and congrats on your scholarship, by the way. I'm also guessing that, once you complete your degree, you're not going to stay in Lincoln. I could be wrong, of course. But even if you do stay where you are now, your peers will change once you get a job. You will be switching from college buddies to coworkers, and by then (4 or more years from now) you may have adjusted more to being a Nebraskan.
Big adjustments such as the one you're making take time to acclimate to. I remember my first year of college being rather lonely, but it got better in my sophomore year. Now, you're 20, so have you been in college a couple years? Or did you get a late start? If the former, you can tough it out for another year or two and then you will likely move when you find a job; if the latter, give yourself some time. Such big changes take a while to settle into.
Hi Papa Bear,
First of all, I truly want to thank you. Many years ago, when I was 12, I stumbled upon your site and writing to you and reading the archive of letters helped me so much, both in deciding to join the fandom and beginning to understand that I was bisexual and accepting that. In times where I'm at my lowest I still come here and your words always help me.
I'm writing you now to ask for help contextualizing my emotions. For context I am a Senior in High school, and of course like everyone else I've been stuck at home since March 15th.
At first, it seemed there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that I'd see my friends again on April 15th, then May 1st, then finally that light was put out as in person classes were officially cancelled until next school year--which means nothing to me as I'll be in college.
This has all taken a huge toll on my mental health. I already live far from my friends and my boyfriend, and just calling has been a fine substitute until last night.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day of my school's Prom, and originally me and my boyfriend had asked our friend group if we could do a call of some sort and maybe dress up and play some games and music. At first everyone seemed okay with this, but when the night came nobody responded as they all went off to do other things. In that moment, I just broke down. I couldn't stop crying and I felt so foolish because in the grand scheme of things, it's just superficial high school stuff right? But it's more than just Prom. Prom just represents everything that's been taken away from me. So many people I'll never see again, who are staying here or going to a different school, people who may not have been my dearest friends but still meant a lot to me as part of my adolescence. The fact that as President of my school's Drama Club I never got to take my final bows, that I have to choose officers when I didn't get to properly evaluate their skills and leadership ability. Decision Day, our senior trip, competitions, birthdays, the list goes on.
It feels like I'm going to be shipped off to college without any proper resolution of my childhood and I don't know how to deal with it. I'm scared that even when things do go back to normal, It'll all be taken away again. I just don't know what to do anymore.
* * *
I actually do remember you :-) and am grateful that my words have helped you in the past. Let me see if I can help you a little with this problem today. (Being German, I am fond of lists):
Life is about phases. Each phase of your life involves saying goodbye to some things and greeting others. You can be of good cheer if you look at the new phases with optimism and hope. I'm reminded of my dear friend Motoko when she had to say farewell to her house and move into senior living apartments. Instead of grieving that she could no longer maintain her home, she looked forward to all the new friends she would make and all the things she would learn from them. You can do the same. Look ahead, not backwards.
Hope this helps you some. Congratulations on graduating, and I wish you luck, success, and happiness!
[Papabear note: I was unable to reply to this writer because it was sent to me from an email account on the Tahoma School District server, which apparently does not allow replies from friendly bears. Therefore, here's hoping the letter writer will see this page!]
Hello, I've come to say... WHY AM I BULLIED AT SCHOOL?!?! I don't understand why kids at my school think I'm weird and mock me. but there's some nice people, one time, at my school, Logan, this kid said my Dinosaur mask was COOL! and asked if he could wear it (before Corona virus), so, I let him! and he was pretty nice, but also someone called me B**** at school, he got in trouble, and then this one girl was afraid of me, but no she CHILL! Anyway, I've recently Noticed that I'm being bullied, because this one dude, I was making noises at, was mocking me, like, "Raaga ghhh, yeah, shut up," and ow hes still rude to me ... and now my friends are saying when I tell them my problems, they are saying, "Well, what do you expect when you're running around like a dinosaur?"
It's just annoying to me, and I'd like advice.
Card the Wyvern
P.S my TikTok)) @dragondinosquad ))) follow me im lonely guys ;w;))
* * *
Well, I notice in the form you sent that you're not a dinosaur, you're a wyvern. That's pretty awesome that you know the difference between a dragon and a wyvern and you are only 12 years old :-3.
The issue of bullying is a HUGE one, and many books have been written about it. I don't have time to write a book, so I will be brief.
First and foremost to note is this (and it seems you already understand this): if you are being seriously tormented with hate (verbal or physical), make sure that the adults in your school and your parents are aware of this and take appropriate action to stop it. There is no justification for bullying, which is a very serious act and should never be tolerated.
The second point is this: people bully for a couple of reasons. One reason is that they are insecure about themselves, and so they pick on people who are different or appear weak to feel better about themselves. Most bullies will back down if you stand up to them because, inside, they are actually cowards. The second kind of bully is just the sort of mundane who has no imagination and is fearful of those who are different, creative, unique, or more intelligent or enlightened than they are. There is IMMENSE pressure in the schoolyard of life for people to conform because they want to be accepted by society. That is human nature.
But you know what? The remarkable people of the world, the people who are inventors, artists, and dreamers who make the world a better place, are never the bullies and conformists of the world. They are people like you, Card.
It is terrific you are exploring your furry side, but there is a lesson to be learned here: There is a time and a place for being furry. Wearing a reptilian mask at school and making growly noises is going to set you up for rejection, disdain, taunting, and bullying (whoever said "what do you expect?" was actually making a keen observation). Therefore, you need to keep such behavior out of school and, when you go to school, just focus on listening to the teacher, doing your lessons, and taking your tests.
There is a lesson here to learn, and it is not a happy one: People might say they will accept you for who you are, but that is not true for many people. They say it, but they don't mean it. To protect yourself, you must learn that sometimes, especially in social settings like schools, where you do not control the situation, you have to pretend you are "one of them."
The good news is this: There are tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of furries in the world, and these are the people who are fine with your being a wyvern.
Part of growing up is learning how to deal with people. You will learn, after much trial and error, who the real people are and who the fake ones are. Choose your friends carefully, and you will be much happier. Learn which people are not your friends, and those are the people to whom you do not show your real self. They don't deserve to know what a terrific person you are, so don't give them the opportunity to try and bully you and put you down.
And always remember this: If you get criticized, consider the source. If someone who is not your friend or who you do not respect criticizes you, then what do you care? Brush it off. It is of no consequence because they have not earned the right to judge you.
Big Bear Hugs,
I'd like to know, how to I become the best student at school with the best possible grades?
* * *
As with anything else, if you want to be good at something, work hard at it. Study hard and you should get better grades as a result.
Hi, again, DayPaw,
You know, I apologize for giving you such a terse answer earlier. There's really more I should say on this subject, and it's this: Learning isn't about grades. Real learning is about finding something you're interested in and exploring it fully. Education systems--especially in America--are designed to produce good little factory workers, cubicle dwellers, and consumers. They are not designed to help you genuinely learn things you want to learn to pursue what interests YOU in life. You really don't get that opportunity until college, BUT! You will have a hard time getting into college if you have difficulty with one or more subjects in high school that subsequently brings down your GPA.
The school system--especially in the good ol' US of A--is made to train you to do things by rote learning, to respond to discipline (you must go to your class when the bell rings, leave when the bell rings, sit in your assigned seat, only speak when spoken to, etc.), and to become, basically, an automaton. You are also disparaged and made to feel like shit if you have problems with any one subject, whether that is science or English or even physical education.
So, again, to really answer your question, I should say this: discover first what interests you; if that means you need to go on to college, then you need to play the game to study hard, take the tests, get A's, and move on; but if you don't need a college degree (for example, you want to be a dancer or a painter or you are brilliant enough to invent something in your garage that makes you a millionaire--which actually happens with many of the millionaires we have in this world), then don't worry about it. Just do your time and, when not in school, focus on your passion.
Most of what I know about the world (indeed, most of what I do with my money-paying job) I learned AFTER I left school.
Good grades are there to please your parents and to get a better shot at college. They don't actually mean anything about you personally, and they certainly don't mean squat about your value as a human being.
Big Bear Hugs,
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.