Hello Papa Bear,
A few years ago, I was very much a part of the local community. I made a great many friends and really enjoyed myself.
A crappy drama situation happened involving a popular artist fur in the local community and I was dragged into the middle of it. I stopped talking to any other furs and decided I had had enough of the entire fandom. I deleted all of my own artwork and journals off of every major furry site and stopped talking to anyone.
The artist fur continued to spread rumors about me in the local community even though I hadn't talked to anyone in 6 months. She would call me at home to try and get me to talk to her and I stopped picking up the phone. It got to the point I was receiving death threats over text messages from furries whom I had never met!
Two or three years have passed since all of that went down and I've been sort of missing the fandom a bit. I've lurked the local community and noticed that the artist fur has been banned from the local forums. I'm still terrified that I'm going to be prosecuted and ran off.
My anxiety is so strong about it that I still have occasional nightmares about getting death threats and things like that. Do you think it's safe for me to come out of hiding and try to make friends again?
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Papabear is sorry you had a bad experience. Sounds like you were really being harassed. Papabear wrote a column a while back about a similar situation http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2012/05/bad-furs-flaming.html that you might want to look at, as it talks about your rights and how to protect yourself against people who you feel are threatening you. Keep it in mind if it happens again.
In the meantime, according to you, the air has cleared some and the offending furry has been banned and disappeared. People these days seem to have short attention spans and may have completely forgotten about you and what happened a couple years ago. Some may not have, though, and might still blame you or hold a grudge about whatever happened. I have no way of telling.
Even so, it is not right that you should have to hide from the furry world forever for something that was apparently not your fault at all. How about this for an idea? Adopt a new fursona. Many furries do this for a variety of reasons, and you can to.
Drop the name Jackal (or whatever name you were using at the time), create an entirely new fursona, begin anew. Introduce yourself as a new furry, open a new account on FurAffinity or whatever other art sites you were on—remembering to post only new artwork—and start making new friends. If you stumble upon acquaintances you knew before, introduce yourself anew to them, if you feel okay with that, only revealing your real identity if you get a solid sense they are not going to start the old drama again.
There is far, far too much drama in the fandom in this bear’s opinion. Furry life should be a joyful, fun, playful experience. You should not be terrified of it. If you do get death threats, do what I suggest in the article I cited: keep a record of what happens, reporting the threats to Web administrators or even law enforcement, if it gets that extreme.
Good luck! Hugs!
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