I think I've "known" I am a furry for the past several years, but, except for a few brief experiments, I've been denying it until about two months ago. One of those experiments created Vincent, my "fursona" (used loosely).
Vincent is, to put it bluntly, a bad person/wolf. While he originally started as a fairly standard me-but-with-confidence-and-fur character, as I played with his appearance and mannerisms, he began to take on a life of his own. That isn't necessarily a problem. One thing I like to do in TTRPGs is learn things about characters that I didn't know when creating them, except Vincent took on some of my worst traits, as well as a few I hope I don't actually have. In a word, he's "superior," which means he's kind of a manipulative bully, unwilling to see others as his true peers. I don't want to present myself as Vincent. However, I can't seem to get rid of (or change) the Vincent-concept.
(A bit of context that may or may not be relevant: I was kind of a bully as a kid, but out of ignorance from autism, not malice. Vincent seems malicious.)
Anyway, now I'm trying to define myself as a furry, and I'm having trouble coming up with a concept that resonates anywhere near as much as Vincent does (and is not a Vincent clone). Do you think I should just embrace Vincent as my fursona? If not, do you have any advice for "un-sticking" myself from Vincent and/or developing an alternative?
* * *
Thank you for your letter. Fursonas are truly a fascinating psychological phenomenon for many people. I mean, while often they can just be a way to have an avatar in an online RPG or to have some fun fursuiting, fursonas can also serve as an expression of who we are or who we wish to be.
For some furries such as yours truly, the fursona is how they envision their ideal self. Grubbs is modeled somewhat after Baloo, a bear who is friendly, laid back, easygoing, takes life in stride. This is quite the opposite of Kevin, who is often anxious, deadline-oriented, overworked, and fearful of what is going on in the world. I aspire to be more like Grubbs, an avuncular, kind of slobby bear, who likes to go fishing and wears tattered overalls (someday, I'd like to get some for my fursuit LOL). I've talked to a number of furs who feel as I do and whose fursonas represent their aspirations in life, too.
But fursonas can serve another function, which is to explore our inner selves. In the fandom, this often takes the form of exploring one's sexual identity in a way that is not tolerated by society at large. The fursona can serve as a shield to protect us from judgment, allowing us time and space to explore our inner feelings and desires.
Similarly, a fursona can serve as a platform onto which we project parts of our personalities for careful examination, and that, I feel, is what is occurring in your case. It is fascinating, really, that what you are doing is taking some aspects of yourself, removing them, and placing them into the fursona of Vincent. Vincent, then, takes on such characteristics as being a bully and feeling superior to others, which allows you to regard yourself from a distance, objectively.
Vincent, therefore, has become a useful tool for self-examination. My advice to you: keep Vincent for that purpose, but create a second fursona (or more, if you wish, there are no rules on this) and project onto them all the things that you aspire to be as a person. Make this second fursona someone you would admire and emulate. You might, too, consider a third fursona who is just there to have fun gaming and enjoying life.
Fursonas are wonderful things. They are a big reason why I love this fandom because it is so creative and because fursonas can be so personal and not just a way to dress up as a character already created by some corporate franchise.
Hope this helps.
Leave a Reply.
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.