I've had my fursona for quite a long, long time. Ever since I joined the fandom! I've often said that she is a fursona I will keep forever, and never change from. She's very bubbly and energetic, being a small and enthusiastic bunny, and goes by the name crypsalis/cryp (which is my online username most of the time).
Recently, I've felt like I've been stuck between a rock and a hard place in regards to deciding what path to take on life, since I've recently turned 18. With this indecisiveness, I also question my fursona. She is so wholesome and pure, and sometimes I cannot relate to her because the pain I experience just feels so distant from her. This kind of distance has made it feel like I'm not really looking at myself whenever a friend draws art of my fursona with their own.
I've been playing around with some alternate designs for a fursona. One is a female rabbit who looks more anthro/human than my original, and is a bit more calm and like me with my anxiety and whatnot. I see myself in her, but I struggle to draw her as bubbly as Cryp. She is like a reality check through the skull when it comes to how intense my anxiety is, and I'm not sure I want to represent myself in the furry fandom so closely to my insecurities. Another is a male rabbit, who does not resemble me at all, but I love drawing him and even just looking at art of him lifts my spirits. Heck, he doesn't even pertain the same sexuality as me! Though, what he lacks in his physical relatability to me, I feel like I can really see myself as him, or see myself in him. I don't think I have dysphoria, as I've been comfortable being a female my whole life. Though, it's so strange to me that I relate so much with this male character I've come up with that I share no physical resemblance to whatsoever.
Is it healthy to change my fursona to match the struggles I am experiencing in person or to change them so far from any identifiability from myself? Should I be aiming to be more like the bubbly fursona I've had for so long?
Thank you for reading, and much love to you! I hope you are doing well.
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Thanks for your good wishes, and I wish you happiness and love right back. Perhaps unfortunately for you, you have caught ol' Papabear in a chatty mood, so here we go . . . .
I could write a book about fursonas (oh, wait, I AM writing one!). The fursona sounds like a simple concept, but it really is not. The word is a portmanteau of "furry" and "persona." Now, "persona" comes from the Latin word referring to the masks that used to be worn by actors on stage. Miriam Webster's dictionary defines it thus: "an individual's social facade or front that especially in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung reflects the role in life the individual is playing."
Fursonas first developed in the furry community online and in gaming. People would adopt personalities and characters to use in games with other players, and these became fursonas. At this stage in furry history, a fursona was just a character, and people had few compunctions about having multiple characters of all types. As the years went by and the fandom evolved, a fursona became a furry's alter ego, so it became something much more personal to many people and not just a mask worn in a game (this, please note, is not universally true; for some furries their fursona is still just a meaningless facade.)
As far as I've seen, one's fursona can represent a couple of different things:
Many furries get anxious about picking and designing their fursona because they are the #1 type listed above and they want to get it right. Sounds like that is where you are currently in some aspects. Not to worry. If you are a Type 1 fursona, your fursona can change as you do as you grow older. A furry who is 12 will be different from a furry who is 18 or 27 or 55. I, for example, was not a bear until I discovered the gay bear community and found that is where I felt I belonged. Before that I was a dragon and before that a wolf.
What about being different sexes or genders? That happens, too. I've spoken with a couple of furries whose fursona is a different sex from their own. It doesn't necessarily mean they are gay, either. Sometimes, they just want to try to understand better what it means to be feminine or masculine in a world that imposes arbitrary gender standards on people. You can be a feminine male and still be hetero, for example. Or, you can be a girl who likes racing cars and boxing but still marries a man. All these ideas about what is masculine and what is feminine have no basis in biology but are merely societal.
To get back to your specific case, I suggest this: be all three fursonas. Be Cryp when you're feeling bubbly and fun, be the other doe when you are feeling more mellow and in control, and be the buck when you are in the mood to explore your male side. That's the wonderful thing about being a furry. You can be one fursona or three; you can be your own sex or try another, or try on a different gender; you can have a personality close to your own or completely the opposite.
Melting into your fursona can be something that is just fun and playful, or it can be often be a type of therapy and a tool for personal growth. This is one big reason why I so love the furry fandom as opposed to other fandoms. So, don't worry so much. Be anything you want to be. Try anything you want to try. It's all good.
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.