I'm kind of in a bad situation. For one, I am moving to the city for my sophomore year in high school. I just got used to my school life in my town I am currently living in. I’ve been bullied ever since first grade for such a small thing that I really can't remember so well. All the bullying has finally stopped (and thank lord.) But I'm really nervous. I really want to make new friends with similar things in common. I'll give you a short list of things I really like: anime, furries, art, music, pets (mostly felines and certain canines) and cosplaying. I currently don't own a fursuit, just a fox eared hat I ordered from Etsy.
I kind of wonder if I'll be able to talk to anyone. I'm very socially awkward and keep to myself; there is no way I could just go up to anyone without feeling like, "Oh no what if they are thinking bad about me!" I'm not in any sport and I used to be in band but I'm very unskilled with my flute so I hope to work with it on my own... My parents sometimes wish I could do something, anything, other than draw and write.
Now my grades: I didn't have a good teacher-student relationship with any of my teachers, which I guess they just got bad vibes from me even though I'd listen and do all the work I could. The counselor said he really didn't have hope in the ninth grade with the passing scores. Sure enough the state tests proved a lot. I was one of the few that passed all state exams, which really shocked a few of my teachers. But trust me, I never was a high scoring student; in fact nobody really gave me that extra push to help me succeed. So what I'm really asking is I want to leave my past behind me and start off as a new Husky, to help with my confidence.
I better go feed my cat Roxy she's on my lap meowing as I type this!
* * *
Papabear cannot change who you are, nor can I tell from your letter if your social anxieties might be caused by an issue such as Aspergers syndrome.
However, I do have an idea that might help you. There are many traditions throughout many cultures of rebirth and/or renaming ceremonies. These are performed on people who are making a new start in their lives. Familiar ones would include people changing their legal names when they get married, the baptismal ceremony of either being submersed in water or having water sprinkled on you to emulate John the Baptist’s ceremony of rebirth and acceptance of Christ, and the similar Catholic christening of an infant child.
Other examples include non-Muslims dedicating themselves to Islam and giving themselves a new name (e.g. Casius Clay becoming Muhammad Ali). In Wicca, people who are undergoing initiation (or dedication) receive a new Craft Name, which is only used when among other Wiccans. Native American tribes have a tradition of naming ceremonies when a youth is old enough to understand the significance of the new name; an outsider who manages to be accepted by a native tribe might also undergo such a ceremony, though that is pretty rare.
Naming ceremonies are most typically done with newborns or the very young, but, as you see above, there are also traditions of rededicating oneself to a faith or belief through a renaming. Another example comes from African traditions in which families will give youths or even adults with European-based names may assume new African names in order to rededicate themselves to the traditions and cultures of that continent.
Papabear is not suggesting you join a faith unfamiliar to you simply to change your name, but the above examples serve as a model of what you might do for yourself to give yourself a rebirth of sorts. As a furry, you know that many furries give themselves fursona names, such as my name being Grubbs Grizzly. Psychologically, changing one’s name can have a profound effect on one’s outlook and, subsequently, even one’s behavior. Similarly, and related to this, is a rebirthing ceremony (which baptism is, of course) that renews one’s spirit.
In mythology there is an animal known as the phoenix that grows old, dies in a burst of fire, and then arises, rejuvenated, from the ashes. Without self-immolating (LOL), you might try a phoenix ceremony of your own in which you find a quiet place to yourself, dedicate yourself to a new you (the you that you wish to become) and give yourself a new name. Make it a strong, assertive name. This becomes your secret name, a name of power known only to you (if you tell others they can have power over you, so do not do so lightly or casually), and gives you your new identity.
This might seem a bit unorthodox, but it could work for you in your case.
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.