Nice to meet you, Papabear!
My question is probably not too unique, but it's something I’ve been having a hard time getting any real clarity over.
Without bogging you down with pages of medical jargon, I was born with a genetic disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I am 100% wheelchair bound and require a lot of assistance eating, moving; it's... a lot of work; thankfully, I have very loving mate of about 6 years to help me. [Papabear notes: Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the limb muscles—usually legs more than arms—but can also affect muscles that control breathing and other body functions. Types I and II can be very disabling and lethal, affecting children at a very young age, but since the writer of this letter is 26, I would surmise he has Type III, which, though disabling and increases chances for lung infections, still allows many patients to live a full lifespan.]
Lately I've been thinking hard about getting a fursuit, attending cons and furmeets in my area, and meeting other furs. Now while I know there are many disabled furs out there that attend things like this, I'm afraid my condition and need of great amounts of assistance will make a lot of people uncomfortable or uneasy, and though I’d likely be in suit, I feel as though between my chair, and my mate and my 'sona's (I'm a Guilmon and he's an Eevee) we'd be very easily spotted out.
I admit also IRL, I am a bit of a hermit, too, so a lot of it may be me simply overanalyzing. I guess my question mainly is: Have you personally seen many severely/chronically disabled furs in the community and maybe what to expect, or if maybe I should avoid the situations for the interest of keeping people comfortable? I've tried asking a few groups here and there, but I know it's an odd subject so I'm at a bit of a loss.
Casper Epsilon (age 26)
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I know a couple of furries who are in wheelchairs. One, Anpu, is the head of my local furry group, the Inland Empire Furry Association. He has an Anubis mask and sometimes wears a partial. There is absolutely no reason why you could not get a partial (I'd suggest a partial would be better than a full suit—easier to put on, don’t ya know) and have fun being a Pokémon character with your mate.
As for being noticed—er, that's a lot of the fun! Wearing my fursuit helps me to be more extroverted and have fun with people, and I would think that it could have the same effect on you, helping you to get out of your hermity behavior.
I have seen a number of disabled furries at conventions, as well as a couple of senior citizens who are in wheelchairs. No one makes fun of them or is made uncomfortable by their presence; quite the contrary—I think most furries think it is super awesome to have them join in the fun.
A big appeal of the furry fandom to disabled or chronically ill people is the fantasy of being freed by projecting one’s personality into a fursona and living out a fantasy on the Internet, a place where one’s physical limitations are not an issue. Many people like you just play out their furry life online, but there are a number of people, as mentioned above, and as you already know, who will go to furmeets and furcons and meet people in real life.
As for needing assistance—actually, many people in fursuits have “handlers,” people who help them get around because your vision can be limited when you are in fursuit, so having someone help you because you are in a wheelchair and wearing a partial (or full?) fursuit will actually not be unusual at all.
Your premise about which you are so concerned is that you fear that you will somehow upset other furries at a convention or meet if you appear in your chair with your mate helping you. You and I both know that that is just an excuse to give you a reason not to do something that makes you nervous and takes you out of your comfort zone.
Don’t use other people as an excuse not to do something that deep down you want to do. It’s not their fault if you don’t go to a convention or a meet. Go because you want to go. If you don’t want to go, then admit it’s because you don’t want to go, not because you’re worried about other people being upset. Make sense?
Remember, you only have one life. Don’t let fears and concerns about what people will say or think limit you in how you wish to live it.
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