Good day! I'm writing this letter to let out all my worries and anxieties to you:
(2015) When I was 13, I revealed to my parents that I am a furry, they were okay. But they are totally weirded out about the fursuit part, and they told my brother ( who is 17 now ). I'm not very close to my brother but it leaked to him and I was really uncomfortable. Having a sibling sure does suck.
(2015) There was once I bought upholstery foam to make a fursuit secretly in my bedroom, I always hide the head in my drawer and when my parents were away I would usually work on it. But then after a month or two my dad found out and told my mother about it. This is when I decided to throw out my head because I felt like I lost all my dignity from my parents.
(2016) Since this year, I haven't been talking about furries with my families lately, so I was still quite secretive about it..(I don’t know why) I made hand paws and a small tail for my furry needs, and also kept it somewhere that nobody would care to see. But wow, my brother found out and told my mother about it, and they are now chatting amongst themselves about how weird I am. I am really stressed and worried that my parents and my brother would think of me differently and negatively, what should I do, Papabear?
Lots of love,
Anonymous (age 14)
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Dear Young Cub,
One of the great difficulties of the human condition is that we are all biologically programmed to desire love and acceptance from our families, friends, and colleagues. We want this, especially, from our families because it is they who have nurtured us and who, ideally, offer us protection from the hazards of life. Therefore, when we feel rejected by them, we become frightened and insecure.
As you might imagine, Papabear’s inbox is full of emails from furries who are terrified of this sort of rejection. The main reasons why this comes about are: 1) parents want their kids to conform to society; 2) parents want their kids to be successful, and they define success as dependent upon money; or 3) parents want their kids to fulfill the dreams that they themselves failed to accomplish in their own lives.
I think you might agree that all three of these reasons are not very good ones. A gifted parent realizes that success is not defined by money but, rather, by happiness, and happiness comes from surrounding oneself with those who accept you for who you are and also from being allowed to be yourself and pursue those things in life that truly interest you, regardless of what society thinks. I, personally, reject the measuring stick society has created; if it were so great, the world would not be in the mess it’s in right now. A big reason furries make me smile is that we are iconoclasts (people who break the mold and follow their own paths).
You can see for yourself what happens when family members don’t support you for you: the result is you become secretive, distrustful, rejected, and unhappy. A wall is thus built between you and your parents and siblings, and this is never a good thing.
The first thing you must do, therefore, is rise above the idea that your mom and brother are right and that you are somehow a “bad person” who is indulging in something that is wrong and bad. Quite the opposite is true: your mother and brother are the ones being negative people who are hurting you. Do not be ashamed of yourself. The only bad people are those who deliberately hurt others. If you are doing no harm, do what you will.
If you are not ashamed, this alone will help your situation because when people feel ashamed about what they are doing, those around them pick that up, and they assume you are feeling ashamed because you know you are doing something immoral or sinful (when in actuality it is because you feel rejected). But! If you are unashamed and happy about being a furry, they might actually see it as a positive thing for you.
It is, admittedly, very difficult to overcome other people’s prejudices. Too often, parents and siblings buy into the negative hype about furries and immediately assume all furries are sick in the head. The lazy parent then forbids everything wholesale, and, as mentioned above, drives a wedge between parent and child that is harmful to the relationship.
All of this will be explained in my upcoming The Furry Book, which will be a guide to both furries and the families who love them (or misunderstand them).
Cubby, Papabear can’t force your family to change their minds, and you can try to change them (check out the “Coming Out Furry” category on my website for more advice), but don’t be surprised if you fail. In the end, what is important is that you understand that learning who you are and what is important in life to achieve happiness is more important than anything else in the world, and that includes the approval of parents and brothers and sisters. If they can’t accept you, that is their problem and reflects badly on them, not you. I’m not saying this to mean you should be angry with them; rather, turn a sympathetic eye toward them and understand they are trapped in a mindset in which they are paralyzed by the fear that society will reject them (or you). Once you realize, though, that society is the thing that is broken and that fearing the opinion of a delusional and ignorant judge is irrational, you will have set your spirit free.
This is all a lot, I understand, for a 14 year old to understand. It’s pretty mature stuff, really, and philosophical, I suppose. So, take some time to try and digest what Papabear has written here and write me again sometime.
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