I’ve written to you a few times before and look forward to your warm advice every time. I should also say that I have talked to therapists and extremely benefited from the experience. Anyway, here is the real content of my letter:
How do you escape the ghost of your lost love?
Six months ago, the man who I thought was my soulmate broke up with me, and I lost the life we built together. I lived with him, and his other partner (F), and every other weekend we would house the children each of them had from previous relationships. It was everything I ever wanted: a life living with the man I love, kids, a home, a daily routine. We had been together for two years including a three month or so break, when he broke up with me the first time. But it all came crashing down when he met someone new and wanted to replace me. After fishing for excuses and blaming being rid of me on something he forgave me for five months prior, I overheard a conversation between him and his other partner about how much he was in love with the new boy. How he never loved anyone more, besides herself, and this new relationship scared her. Time and time again he threw her concerns aside and failed to comfort her about it. He crossed many lines between all of us dating this new flame, and the fact he wanted to give this new person, who frequently lied to him, everything I ever wanted, while pushing me out of the picture was too much.
I loved that man more than anyone and everything I had ever known, but in an instant I hated him more than anyone on the face of the earth. I had already started therapy prior to the end of the relationship in an attempt to save it, and through the months since I have gone through many stages of grief. I still hold contact with his son, a child I will always consider my own. We have phone calls during the week and play games together. His mother and I are good friends, and we’ve even arranged visits to play at the park.
Just like the first time he broke up with me, I tried to date. The first time, I was completely incapable of getting him out of my head, and gave up dating. I had accepted the fact of being alone until my wish was granted and he returned to me. This time though, my hatred for him kept the thought of him away. And now six months later I find myself happy with another man. My boyfriend is amazing, he’s kind, listens to me, even remembering many off hand things I say. He’s romantic, takes initiative, and is always happy to hear me go on about the little things I adore, and does the same when I want to be enamored by his voice. I could go on about all the big or little things he does that have won me over, but I should address the issue instead.
Lately, I feel haunted by the ghost of my ex. Sometimes when I’m cuddled up to my boyfriend or when he kisses me, I pull away and expect to see my ex’s face. I almost want it. Especially when I’m intimate with my boyfriend, I get flashes of being intimate with “Him.” I thought I hated “him,” and when asked what I wanted: “to no longer be a part of his story.” But now I’m having dreams/nightmares about him coming back to me. Dreams that bring me to tears, or chill me to the bone, and I don’t know what to do.
What do you do when you love someone so deeply that you wouldn’t hesitate to die for them, and then it’s just gone? I feel trapped between the ghost of a man who hurt me deeper than anyone else, who used me and never truly loved me, and a man that does love me, and may even marry me one day. I’m afraid this haunting will continue to affect my relationship, as I am hesitant to bring it up to my boyfriend. He’s been the most understanding person in the world to talk to given his own history and hauntings of his own. But, it’s just all so intense and I feel disgusted and ashamed every time I see my ex in the tender moments I try to share with my new love. I know what he did, why do I feel this way? Why can’t I keep hating him and move on in my life with someone else?
Any advice you may be able to give is always deeply appreciated.
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When we have a powerful, deep relationship with someone, that person and all they represent will have a lasting impression on us even after they are gone from our lives. This is not a bad thing, since we learn a lot about love and ourselves through relationships--even the ones that have ended. Your first love will, thus, be in your head for a long time, if not forever.
When you kiss or hug or are intimate with your current beau, these physical interactions are sensory stimuli that can elicit powerful memories. As a for instance, it is like when you are going about your business and, suddenly, you smell apple pie and it brings back a strong memory of your mother and suddenly you can see her quite clearly in your mind's eye. In the same way, the sensation of a kiss brings back a memory of your first love. This should not make you think that you would rather be with him than your current love. It's just the way memories can work sometimes. Also, it doesn't seem like it has been very long since the first relationship ended, so your memories are still very present in your mind.
The people we meet in our lives become a part of us. I still often think of Jim, even though he has been dead for eight years now and I have my husband of four years, Michael. the good news is that Michael is not jealous about this and is very understanding. Your new love sounds like a kind person who will understand, too. Your thoughts of Love #1 do not mean that you are going to try to go back to him or anything like that. We both know that despite how he hurt you and how you say you "hate" him now, there is still a lot of love there and a lot of fondness for the life you had with him. That doesn't mean you actually want to go back to him.
The good news is that love is not a limited resource. Just because you still harbor feelings for your first man doesn't mean this will limit the amount of love you have for Love #2. In short, it's okay to still feel love for #1 despite how it ended. Treasure the fond memories you have. Permit yourself to admit there were good times and this will bring you closure and self-acceptance. Then, recognizing you are in a much better relationship now, allow yourself to enjoy it! Remember the past, learn from it, and then live in the present.
I work on creative games and mods to bring joy to others. My adapted symbol is the spotted hyena, which I chose for its misunderstood perception, dangerous nature, and intelligence.
I've known about your website for a long time and I know you to be experienced in life. Do you have experience in dealing with narcissists online?
I used to not be aware of their existence until recently and this experience involved three at once. I created a mod for a video game and entered its community. It turned out I had walked into a war of sexual assailants. They deserve to not be named - that would only validate them. Therefore, I will call them N1-3. All three are known in a different related community. N1 was expanding into the community I entered. He used me as a stepping stone. He exploited that I had been betrayed by friends to paint himself to be in similar shoes and filled that void in my life for 2 years. Through his manipulation and the manipulative actions of his former right-hand man, N3 - who had forsaken him and was dragging this new community into the conflict - I believed N1 to be a victim and involuntarily became his defender. N1 slipped up, allowing me to recognize what he is and I broke free. He was not the only one to slip up. N3 personally involved me and my project in a public call out of N1 despite my wishes. When confronted, he tried hard to justify it (mainly to himself) and distracted from the issue by attacking my character. Such an action lead me to gravitate more toward N1. It also had me feel like I was walking on eggshells. As a result, I uncovered the full story. One constant question I had was how did these people become friends in the first place? I found the answer: They're all narcissist manipulators.
Here's what they did:
N1 built a harem of ride-or-die fans. He abused many women online (and some offline) and painted himself as the victim or downplayed his actions. I'll list the main incidents. He coerced a woman younger than him (W1) with future faking and special rewards into sending sexual cosplay photos then blackmailed her with the possibility of reposting them. N1 rewrote history that it was W1 who initiated. He also made her feel she was in a competition with another woman (W2). He underpaid a co-worker (W3) and visited her to have sex with her despite her clearly saying no beforehand. (W3 was in a relationship too.) He confessed to W3 about getting W4 drunk to sleep with him and cry to her boyfriend afterward. W3 was able to resist him. After the unsuccessful endeavor, he would berate W3 until she stopped working for him. He was ultimately exposed by another co-worker - let's call her Ocarina - when she accused him of sexual assault at a con. N1's key lie is that Ocarina wanted to share a bed with him - the resulting argument being they were both in the wrong (did I mention Ocarina was in a relationship with another person too?), but in reality, she only wanted to share costs on the room and expressed she was very uncomfortable about sharing a bed when it turned out the room didn't have separate beds. They both got drunk and N1 took Ocarina back to their room despite her friends' protests. They both stated that bodily contact happened. Their stories differ on the details, intentions, and states of consciousness.
N2 guilt-tripped a fan into a date - let's call her C. The date took place near her city but far enough for her to feel isolated from her family. C expressed discomfort multiple times, but was successfully coerced into spending the night at N2's hotel room. N2 pressed for sex and a condom broke. Their stories differ on what happened afterward. N2 tried to rewrite history that C never clearly communicated what she wanted.
N3 was N1's righthand man. He defended N1 until Ocarina then switched to defending N2. He makes everything about himself and used the stories of N1's victims to prove to himself that he did nothing wrong. He made a video targeting newcomers. He didn't show anything of the victims' stories that did not pertain to himself, thereby leaving doubt about the validity of the accusations against N1. N3 is also ignorant of N2's actions and paints him in a positive light with lies by omission.
The complication here is that all of these were friends. N2 championed for Ocarina, leading the call out of N1. C reappeared at that time to accuse N2 of rape for the second time. N2 remained silent and let Ocarina and her friends who attended the con to defend him from C. They involuntarily became N2's apologists. One of the friends made an anonymous account to help expose N1 and this account was used to defend N2 as well. Ocarina got hacked and the burner account got exposed. All this allowed N1 to return, arguing that these are hypocrites who tried to cancel him.
As you can see, this is a complicated story. Untangling it with no prior knowledge of narcissist manipulation tactics was an ordeal, but I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I got through it and emerged stronger.
The problem is that these two communities are filled with teens and young adults who are not mature enough to understand the weight of the situation. They interpreted it as drama and picked their favorite creator to defend.
I will continue to be involved with one of the communities through my hobby (for at least a little while), which is already poisoned with a lot of in-fighting due to N1's shift into this community. I am bound to get asked for input about N1 since some of my popularity is due to him. Do you have any advice on how to handle it? I know talking about N1 either positively or negatively validates him, but I do not want these young adults to be left in the dark and falling prey to manipulation from either side. I got rid of my YouTube account kickstarted by N1. I plan to just not talk about him anymore. However, I have already drawn the rage of N1's most religious followers by disassociating. These followers can potentially get other people entangled in such manipulation. I don't know how to handle it. Do you happen to have any advice?
Thank you in advance and stay safe, Papabear.
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You're right, this is complicated. First, let's clear something up: These people are not "narcissists." The appropriate term for all of them is "immature assholes," who are also apparently guilty of sexual assault. In short, these are very bad people, and if you are wise you will disassociate yourself from all of them. I would also argue that saying they are (or were) "friends" is highly inaccurate because friends do not treat each other in this manner.
Secondly, while it is noble of you to think of the young people in these groups who might get sucked into the N1-3 drama, it is really not your job to patrol the groups and act like a police officer. If you try, I guarantee that you will not be successful and will only be dragged farther and farther, deeper and deeper into a pool of disgusting drama.
Kartal, you are not responsible for the way people behave and you will find that trying to change people who are bad actors is a fruitless endeavor best left to professionals in the mental health industry.
One of the greatest skills to acquire in life is how to be a good judge of people. Once you do this, you will live a happier life by surrounding yourself with good, true friends and family and stepping away from the immature, the manipulators, the selfish, the gaslighters, and the cruel. True friends are kind, loving, and supportive. Anything less makes them not friend material.
So, step away from these communities like you were backing away from a minefield.
Does this make sense?
I am a bit new to the fandom (I joined the fandom two years ago but not until recently have I gotten into the community) and I was wondering how I can make a positive impact within the furry community. The fandom is often looked down upon and I want to do something to showcase the friendliness and helpful side that brought me into it. Your articles remind me of this and shed a good light on the community, so do you have any advice on how to highlight the fandom on a community level?
Sol the Naga (age 18, Texas)
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Dear Sol the Naga,
Welcome to the fandom :3 It's nice to see a young furry with a good, positive attitude, and thank you for your question!
The ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE THING YOU CAN DO to shed a positive light on the fandom is to be a good example to other furries. Don't be a troll. Don't be a drama queen. Definitely do not join the Furry Raiders LOL. Just be a good furry. A great way to do this is to volunteer at furcons. You're in Texas, so perhaps you could attend Texas Furry Fiesta in Dallas next March or Furry Siesta in August and help out. Or, in Houston, there's StratosFur, and in San Antonio, there is the Alamo City Furry Invasion. The people who run cons are just amazing givers of their time and hard work and they are always in need of more paws behind the scenes.
You can also volunteer at charities. Many furries support wildlife and pet charities, for example, as well as other worthy causes such as raising money for ALS research through the Walk to Defeat ALS that many furries have participated in after the death of Tony "Dogbomb" Barrett from this tragic disease. The local chapter for you can be found here (https://alstexas.org/walk-to-defeat-als/). I can ask my friend Joe Bear if there is a furry contact in Texas.
If you haven't already done so, see if you can get involved in your local furry community. There are groups on social media you can join, such as https://discord.me/txfurs on Discord. Start a chat there and find out what Texas furs are up to and raise your paw to help out.
The more you get involved in your local community of furs doing positive things for people--furry or not--the more light you will shed onto the fandom. Be a good furry, think globally, and act locally, and you will be accomplishing a lot toward your praiseworthy goal.
I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to reach out and share my thoughts and feelings regarding a situation I've been experiencing. As a freshman at THS, I am grateful for the support provided by my IEP. However, I have recently encountered some challenges that I would appreciate your advice or insight on.
In an effort to cope with my autism and ADHD, I've been carrying around a stuffed coyote that holds personal significance to me. It has become a source of comfort during the past few days. Unfortunately, I've noticed that I've become the target of mockery and ridicule from my peers. While I understand that people might not fully comprehend my coping mechanisms, the teasing has been hurtful.
I am reaching out to you in the hopes of seeking guidance on how to navigate this situation. I believe that everyone's unique qualities should be respected, and I am striving to find ways to manage my challenges in a positive and supportive environment. Any advice or explanation you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Your support means a lot to me, and I look forward to your insights.
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Are you sure you're only 14? Because that was a very well-written letter, better than I get from some adults! But let's get down to it.
Emotional Support Plushies (ESPs) are valid tools to help emotionally sensitive people, just as Emotional Support Animals are. Since it's not too practical to bring a live dog or other pet to a school, a plushie is an excellent substitute. Clearly, it is helping you, so you shouldn't get rid of it because you are being teased.
Why do kids tease you? As a freshman, you are a vulnerable and easy target, and older kids and bullies typically target younger people when it is noticeable that they are different somehow. That's how bullying works: they find someone they feel they can push around who is "different" in some way and then pick on them to make themselves feel better (bullies have a lot of emotional problems themselves and use this strategy to cope in a very unhealthy way).
So, first thing to do is to recognize these bullies and their toadies for what they are: shallow people looking to gain social status by putting other people down. These people do not deserve your respect, and the harsh words of people you do not respect are hollow indeed.
The first strategy in dealing with bullies and taunters is to ignore them. They can only get off on their belittling if it provokes a reaction from you. This is what I do. I have been teased and criticized for everything from this advice column to my Good Furry Awards. When I get hate mail, I simply do not reply to it. When people post nasty messages on Ask Papabear, I simply delete them. I get very little of this nowadays because bullies and haters simply don't get a reaction from me, and they totally hate that.
Another strategy some use is humor. A number of famous comedians (Robin Williams comes to mind) survived taunting at school by becoming class clowns. Try turning around the taunts about carrying a plush coyote with stuff like this:
If you're no good at ignoring or humoring people, you might try educating them.
High school is tough. Unlike middle or grade school, everyone has raging hormones and is struggling to find their place in society. This results in a lot of competition, social posturing, and plain old meanness. Recognizing the fact that all your peers--even the bullies, and, maybe, ESPECIALLY the bullies--are going through emotional and hormonal turmoil can help you recognize that they are all temporarily insane and should be regarded as such.
When they act out against other kids, it actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If it wasn't you and your plushie, it would be the fat kid or the unathletic kid or the shy kid or the trans kid or the Muslim kid or anyone they can label as different. Heck, even me, a white boy, was targeted for being German (I got a lot of "Heil Hitlers" because my last name is Hile), and even made fun of because I was born in "a mass of two shits" (aka Massachusetts). So, you see, it doesn't matter what it is, as long as they find something--anything--different about you AND sense weakness (rather like a pack of feral dogs jockeying for status).
You can't change how others behave, but you can control how you react to it.
Be chill. Be bear. Be cool. As Nick Wilde said, "Never let them see they got to you."
I've been in the fandom for a long time privately but only active in the last 2 years when my kid showed interest. We have never been to a furcon, just anime and popcons close by. My question is about furmeets. I would like to host one and having never been to one wouldn't know where to start. What advice do you have on a successful furmeet that would be inclusive to young furs and grey furs ?
Thank you for your consideration,
Dartumus (43, West Virginia)
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What a lovely question, thanks for asking. I always love to hear about furry parents and their furry children having fun in the fandom together.
There are two types of furmeets: the ones you have at your own home and the ones that are set up at other venues.
The easiest thing to do is to invite a bunch of friends you already know who are furries and just have a party at your house. This way, you aren't dealing with any unknown factors such as a stranger coming to your house who might not be entirely trustworthy. Furry home activities can include playing board and video games and watching furry movies and, of course, lots of noms and fursuiting. Tip: if you DO have a home meet with strangers attending, make sure your valuables and prescription drugs (if any) are stowed away safely. Also, have a room where people can change into their fursuits and keep all their furry stuff and keep an eye on that room. Usually, everyone is cool, but there have been times when I have heard of people stealing stuff from furmeet houses. Finally, keep the party booze- and drug-free.
If you wish to broaden the attendance some to include allowing furries you don't personally know to attend, then I suggest organizing something away from the house. There are all kinds of options for this. You can organize a trip to the theater to see a new movie, you can go to a park and have a picnic, go bowling, or go to a state fair or other event (the best types of these events include Halloween parties and Renaissance Faires--there's a Ren Faire every June in Lewisburg, WV, if that is close to you). All of these activities are appropriate for younger and older furries alike.
If you wish to set up a regular furmeet, I suggest you create a Meetup.com account, then announce it on various social media websites that your local furries would use..
I have been following the fandom since my early teens. I WANT so badly to belong, but the few times I've reached out to locals or joined any group, I've found it to be a nightmare. The people I meet are either not great people, or I just don't fit in. The one con I went to was a terribly lonely experience.
I regretfully say that the fandom has left a bitter taste in mouth. I however, also find it hard to just "walk away." I am now a sad, lonely, semi-furry. My mental illness also makes it hard to fit in as few seem to understand. I am wondering what your advice is for fitting into the fandom or going it alone.
Anonymous (age 33, Texas)
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Yours is not an uncommon problem. The difficulty with joining local meetup groups is often that they are already an established group of friends with a hierarchy, etc., embedded into their system. The best way to enter such a group is if you are already friends with one of the members and they invite you to join. If you don't know anyfur in the group, then yes, it is hard to introduce yourself and gain acceptance. Imagine if there were a house party somewhere and you lived in the neighborhood but didn't know anyone at the party, but you decided to invite yourself in and go anyway. As you likely know, this is called being a "party crasher" or "gate crasher," so it's kind of the same thing. Of course, with a furry meetup, you need to tell the host you're coming, so it's not exactly the same as crashing the party, but I think you know what I mean. Still, people seem to think that just because we are all furries that it is okay to just show up at a meet and everyone will welcome you as a friend. Nope. The same dynamics are in play at a furmeet as they are in a normie party. This problem is compounded by the fact that many furries are quite shy, so it can be tough to break the ice.
Similarly, if you show up at a furcon all by yourself, not knowing anyone, you're going to have a lonely time. Many furries will already be grouped with friends there, and they also converge into cliques, such as gamers and fursuiters. The best con experiences I have had is when I go with (or meet up with) friends who are also attending. Have you seen the movie Coco? In it, the boy Miguel thinks his grandfather is the famous Ernesto de la Cruz, and he goes to meet him in the afterlife. Ernesto throws huuuuuge parties, and when Miguel manages to enter the giant villa party, no one pays him any attention, even though everyone there shares a love of music (just like furries share a love of anthros). But then, Ernesto introduces Miguel as his grandson; suddenly, everyone is welcoming (also, there is the fact he is a skilled guitarist LOL). In comparison, one might say that if you are friends with a popufur, you're going to get some attention pretty quickly. Same holds true, though, if you are connected with a respectable furry who might not necessarily be furry famous, or with a furry who is in an established subgroup.
Now, once you have a few friends already with you, it can be a bit easier to make new friends by just participating in various activities and sharing some experiences. For example, I met a couple of furries while going to an escape room at IndyCon. This is a particularly good activity as you have to work together to find the puzzle solutions. Another good way can be if you like gaming and can perhaps find a group that needs an extra player. Some cons also have a video game room set up, and you might be able to find someone who wants an opponent to play with.
(Side note: my furiend Michael Crisci [Dineegla Moose] is trying to organize a kind of "Welcome Wagon" at the next Midwest FurFest. The idea is to have a kind of welcoming committee at the con to provide those who are new to the experience or who are having trouble connecting with information and friendship to make their con experience more enjoyable. I think it's a great idea, and I hope the MFF organizers allow him to do it, and then maybe other cons will follow suit.)
Anyway, the best way is to meet someone beforehand and then go to the meet or con with them. You can find friends or acquaintances in a lot of social media groups ranging from Facebook to Discord. I see you are 33, for example, and could join the Greymuzzle group I run on Facebook. It's easy to meet people there and then try to see who might be going to a con you attend and see if you can meet them there.
An alternative to joining an established meetup is to create one for yourself and invite people you have met online locally. Since you are running the meetup, you can have it focus on things that interest you--whether that is board or video games or going to a movie or bowling outing or whatever.
As for your "mental illness" (autism spectrum disorder, perhaps?), many furries have such issues, so that shouldn't stop you from furry activities. Most furries I know are sympathetic or may have the same issues you do.
Finally, an excellent way to overcome feeling alone is to go to meets or cons as your fursona. One of the cool things about the fandom is that we can fantasize we are someone else, and these fursonas, you will find, can provide a way to gain entrance into the social world of furry, whether that is online or in real life (online RPGs are an excellent way to meet furries). So, when you go to a meet, try going as your fursona. I find that this really loosens me up, and I bet it will for you, too.
Hope this helps!
I am a person who's been in the fandom for at least four years and I'm now getting my very own fursuit! But- unfortunately, I do not know the proper things needed whilst having a suit and proper fursuiting etiquette. The most I know about it, is not deheading in public and needing a lanyard with a badge on it. I'd love ta know more so I can participate in an upcoming convention the right way!
Much love and bear hugs,
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Congratulations on your upcoming fursuit! And thanks for your question.
Fursuiting has changed a lot since I first started doing it over a dozen years ago. Back then, the rules (or, really, traditions, which basically arose from the fact that a lot of early fursuiters had worked at places like Disneyland) were much more rigorous. For example, most fursuiters believed you should never talk while in fursuit or reveal the fursuiter underneath the fur for any reason other than you're about to overheat if you don't dehead right away.
This is not so much the case today. I regularly see fursuiters take their heads off in public instead of in the fursuit room at cons, and there is a thing now called "poodling" that we would never have done back in the day. Poodling is when you just wear a head and paws and you allow your arms and even your legs or belly to be seen. The reason these things were frowned upon in the past is that fursuiters felt it spoiled the illusion that you were your fursona. If you ask a young fursuiter today if that is true, they will deny that it affects this illusion. Now, I understand why some people poodle because a full fursuit can be very hot. However, the problem is easily solved simply by wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts. I do feel that deheading in public and poodling are not really in the spirit of fursuiting, but since this old bear is not in charge of how fursuiters behave, I'm not going to police them. Me, I stay in full suit because I want to be 100% in character. But what you do in this regard is up to you.
There are no rules other than make sure you do not overheat and that you have access to water. All cons have a "headless room" or "fursuit room" where you should go if you need to dehead, get some water, and sit by a fan. Fursuiters and their handlers are allowed in these rooms, but not other people (this goes back to the tradition that we don't want to spoil the illusion, but also because fursuiters need a lot of room to relax and you don't want a lot of people wandering about getting in the way).
The next thing you want to do is to have a handler, especially if you are new to fursuiting. Because visibility is a problem in most fursuits, it is easy to trip on stuff. A handler helps guide you through the hotel or wherever you might be to avoid this. Handlers can also warn off overenthusiastic people who try to hug you or pull on your suit without permission. It also helps if you familiarize yourself with your fursuit location before you suit up. Do a walk-through and get to know where tables, chairs, pony walls, and other obstacles may be. Oh, and be very careful on any stairs and escalators. When it comes to hotel elevators, remember that fursuiters are allowed to get on first (after any people with disabilities and the elderly or ill).
Next: Performance! Get into character when fursuiting! Don't just amble about like a guy in oversized SCUBA gear. Get into it. Remember to exaggerate your gestures so that they are expressive and easy to see. If you choose to talk in fursuit, maybe do so in your character's voice. If you don't talk, then it's even more important to do a physical performance. Remember, people will want to take pictures and give hugs. It's up to you whether you want to allow this, and you can politely say or gesture to them that you don't care for that if that is the case, but for me, the hugs and posing for pics are the best parts of fursuiting.
Oh, and yes, do remember to wear a con badge. That's true whether you are in suit or just a regular attendee. When you are putting on your suit, it can be easy to forget! So, don't! Put on your body first, then the lanyard, and then your head in that order.
Those are the highlights. If you have more questions, feel free to ask. Have a great con!
I've been seeing a lot of furry hate recently on the internet, and to be honest, I am tired of people hating on us, thinking that we are all zoophiles or thermals [I think he means therians, or maybe ferals], and to see that even though we hate them (zoophiles/therians) as well, people still don't see that! I feel like the fandom is dying, and you know what? We should destroy the furry community to make a new community like it, except with thermals or zoophiles, and to not have inappropriate things like murrsuits. It should be child friendly!
Do you think we should recreate the furry fandom and have a set of rules with it? To keep everyone more safe and to stop furry hate all together?
Anonymous (age 15)
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Wow, there's a lot of stuff in this letter to address. Let me see if I can do so in an organized and logical fashion.
If you're looking for a subculture or fandom with rules and structure in it, the furry fandom is not where you want to be (try a Star Trek convention, maybe). It's chaotic, creative, explosive, turbulent, wild, manic, and totally counterculture. That's what makes it fun, frustrating, and amazing.
The people who hate furries hate us because we don't go by their rules. I love it. Don't let it bother you, because they only hate us because they can't control us. Kind of like Darth Vader hating the Old Republic because it didn't conform to his ideas of control.
There is a lot of pressure and hate against people who are trying to be free. Yes, it can be hard, and I understand you're upset about it, but that's a part of what being a furry is.
I wanna ask how to deal with gatekeeping within the fandom and how to improve despite their differences?
For context, I have a friend who's in college and we started to chat and sharing everything since the pandemic. The problem my friend has is that he doesn't live in one of the biggest cities in Colombia but in a tourist one. That's why most of the fandom have (not everyone) start to mocking some regions, including my friend's city, with terrible jokes.
Despite I lived in the capital city (Bogotá) where concentrates the most part of the fandom, I can't believe the hipocrisy of some people, causing a lot of drama and splits to show which side of the furry fandom is the best; including the popfurs and meetups. And this bothers me when I read what happened in the past.
The funny part is I open the conversation in a group where I'm part of by typing "Hey, Divas! What's up?" to see what are the reactions.
At first, I thought that the Colombian furry fandom was open and welcomed, until I realized the live in their own bubbles. And maybe it can happen in other countries as well.
What do you think?
Gabbo the Fox (Colombia; age 30)
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Sorry for the late reply. What you're experiencing in Colombia is something that happens in fandom groups across the world. It is human nature, sadly, for hierarchies to form in social groups. While in the broad, big-picture view of the fandom, it is true that the furry fandom will accept anyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or nationality, but it is also true that this is often not the case in small meetup groups.
Why does this happen?
Simply put, it's because certain people are not happy unless they are dominating others. There are a number of reasons for this such as overcompensating for low self-esteem or because the only way they feel safe in a group is if they can control all the other members. And the best way to dominate others is to put those other people down. You can do this by mocking certain attributes (it doesn't matter what attribute so long as it can be labeled as "other" or "unacceptable.") or by gatekeeping in which the dominant person declares that certain people do not meet the requirements to be "true" to their type, whether that means you are a muggle or not a true furry.
While there is such a thing as a true leader, one who assumes the post because they are smarter or stronger or more experienced and wish to use these skills to lead their group to success and happiness, such people are typically found in times of crisis (for example, FDR during the Depression and World War II, or, closer to your home, Simón Bolívar). But when there is no crisis and the only purpose of a group is to socialize, then true leaders are not really required and what you get instead are popufurs and prima donnas. This is true whether you are in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Colombia.
You are 100% correct that these furry social groups "live in their own bubbles." This is the reason for the social dynamic you have witnessed and why the leaders of such groups are typically jackasses (often--not always, but often). I hear stories like yours all the time. It's very petty and small. And it can definitely turn one off being a furry.
Don't you let it. You're furry, I assume, because you love anthro animal characters in stories and art. Don't let others take that love away from you just because they're derps. Recognize that the ones treating you like this are most likely furries with very low confidence levels who are, basically, bullies trying to gain undeserved attention and admiration.
How do you deal with it? Once you recognize these people for what they are, I have found that their personal attacks bounce right off me like bullets off of Superman's chest. Personal attacks on your character don't sting at all if you do not respect the people who are dishing it out. (My usual response to people trying to hurt my feelings is, "Ooh, ouch! That would really hurt if I cared about your opinion.")
Once people realize you cannot be hurt by their attacks, they, like all bullies, usually get bored and stop attacking you.
In short, be cool. Be calm. Be Zen. Be Bear. Bears don't take no shit from nobody, and neither should you. And they look cute doing it, too.
Hope this helps.
I have a question about fursona creation. Firstly, some things to know that kinda lead to the question, I have Autism, I tend to be an indecisive overthinker, and I have a terrible people-pleaser problem.
I know many people say that when you make a fursona you should just make what you want and not let others decide things for you but it is genuinely hard for me to ignore people who say things like how dog fursonas are bland, or how blue as a color is too popular, and people who say things like that make me overthink my fursona so much to a point where the fursona is just a character now.
I also notice I struggle with figuring out colors and markings that I like which balance between not too complicated and not too simple, and that I struggle with choosing one part of me that I want to represent and then getting upset when my fursona seems more like an oc than a sona. I don't want a shapeshifter, and I notice I don't connect to hybrids as easily as I do with full species, and it's a little frustrating since I feel bad every time I want to change my fursona. I also go through species phases a lot too.
Basically, the main point of this (lowkey rant) is to ask if I will ever get a Fursona someday. I really want a fursona, I want a character who feels like me but I cannot keep going through the amount of fursonas I've been going through :')
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For many furries--myself included--fursonas are a deeply personal creation, a reflection of ourselves. But this doesn't mean that, once you have created your sona, it is locked in stone. Sonas can change over time. Also! You can have more than one sona!
For me, for example, my original fursona (before I even joined the fandom) was a wolf. As a teen and 20-something who was into fantasy fiction, I was later a dragon. Today, I am a bear. I feel confident that this is the sona I am going to stick with, and that is because in my 50s I really feel I know who I truly am and Grubbs is a reflection of that.
You, on the other paw, are 17. This is a time in our lives when we are going through lots and lots of changes, and it is totally logical--whether or not one is autistic--to go through lots of stages as you discover yourself. So don't beat yourself up about your fursona. You can let it change over time, or, as many do, have multiple fursonas. There are no rules about fursonas, and anyone who tells you there are has no clue what they are saying. Leave yourself open to possibilities. You could have, for example, a straightforward canine sona with blue fur as one of your sonas, but then also have a second or third sona with different colors, features, and qualities.
I recommend you experiment with multiple sonas. Have fun with it. Eventually, one may click and that will become your main (or only) sona. But there's no rule about that, either. You could still have multiple sonas for years to come.
One of the wonderful things about the fandom, in this bear's opinion, is that it provides a tool to explore our inner selves. This tool is better than a Swiss knife, as it can have many different tools all in one little package. So, go crazy with it. This is supposed to be FUN! not a big personal crisis. Oh, and if you need help, just search for tutorials by typing "design your fursona" on YouTube and lots of stuffs will pop up that can help.
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