Hello Papa Bear.
I'm in a bit of a dilemma, It's rather complicated so I'll just start at the beginning...
I always felt a little different from others, just felt like I had some slight trait that made me different from those around me, be it friends or family. Growing up with this constant feeling, I learned to adapt and after several more years, to actually favor the difference. I liked that I was different, all the 'Be Yourself' and 'You're perfect' encouragements I'd been getting so far had actually worked. I acknowledged that I was different and I also liked it. To that point, though, I hadn't realized what made me feel different. That changed over a year ago.
It was a typical weekday. I was on YouTube/Facebook. Messaging friends and looking for the new song that I'd get hooked on for a few days then discard it and look for another. My favorite genre of music this month was techno. So I was searching the vast expanse of YouTube for the electronic beats and bass that I was craving. Noticing a video that had a picture of what seemed to be a green wolf-like creature, I was curious right off the bat and the video looked pretty good too. Clicking on it and waiting a few seconds, I get a better look at the emerald wolf. It was indeed a wolf, who appeared to be a DJ in a nightclub filled with other strange human-animal mixes. The music that came with the interesting picture was great too so I was hooked on this song for at least a week.
After listening to that song 10-20 times, I started to wonder where these pictures were from. Was it a cartoon? That was the only place I've seen these animal-hybrids before. Scrolling through the comments, It doesn't take long before I notice a word that I had yet to read.
The word was 'Furry' and it was used in a rather proud manner. My curiosity piqued, I open up a new tab and Google this newly added word.
I don't want to go horribly clichéd but I can truly say that what I found, changed me. I don't know what direction it changed me, but it definitely changed me. I soon came to learn that 'Furry' was a term for someone who was interested in the Anthropomorphic personification of animals. That was a pretty incomprehensible sentence that I read at the time, given my low intelligence [Papabear note: Nick does not seem to be low on intelligence to me] and I simply ignored it. I merely focused on the pride of being a 'Furry'.
And boy was I prideful. Not on the outside, no, no, no. But on the inside, I was smiling. I had finally found something that I could tag this feeling of difference to. The years of not knowing had finally came to an end and I was happier then ever.
But happiness doesn't last very long. I don't know what compelled me to Google a certain few words but those words led my interest from an innocent, childlike admiration to a dark cloud on what I call my life.
I'll be blunt and simply say that I stumbled into the dark and erotic side of Furry. I'll spare you the details, I'm sure you can deduce what a teenager would do when no one is home and has access to large quantities of porn. Ahem.
I simply justified my actions as normal. Everyone experiments, right? This was just normal teenager experimentation. I knew that my method of experimentation was a little odd but that was fine. Another teen was attracted to plump rears and large breasts, I was attracted to Fur and Tails.
About a week after that, I once again was compelled to search the annals of the Internet for Furry-related material. Although his time, my search would reveal a much more negative opinion. After reading all the horribly rude critiques of Furry, I was a little ashamed, my previously stone-solid pride in before a Furry reduced to a crumbling tower of self-doubt. I went through my days wondering if I was a pedophile or some sick freak.
I got better though, and days looked up. I stumbled upon a neat little site called SoFurry and I entertained the idea of being a writer for several days, before opening Microsoft and writing the first chapter of Furry literature I had ever written. Now bear in mind that I wasn't very talented at the time, I still have doubt in my ability as of now, so It was very cluttered and full of run-ons and other grammar crimes. But it made me happy, I had once again taken something full of negativity and turned it into something full of joy and happiness.
And once again, I had it taken away from me. Seems to be a recurring cycle in my life. The problem I'm about to stumble on is currently the problem I'm dealing with. After writing several much more refined chapters and exchanging friendly emails with the other writers of SF, I started to wonder, was I supposed to be human? I knew that deep down, I had a large wanting to be a Hybrid. I also knew that biologically, I was stuck.
And that feeling of getting nowhere just made me feel worse. I started to think that my entire human life was punishment by some deity for my "Sins", that I was originally going to be born covered with fur but for some reason, I was born smooth, solely to punish me for previous offenses. And that feeling dragged me down even lower. I would get up every morning and do what I usually did. But I'd do it with a momentum that came from me thinking that If I worked hard enough, prayed enough, helped enough people, that maybe I would get my wish came true? And after trying so hard to please everyone around me, I would go to bed, exhausted both emotionally and physically. I would then say the simple prayer I say every night, but I would add a tiny request on the end, and I would then drift off into sleep.
I came close to making myself stay up, as I dreaded going to sleep, as sleep gave me hope that I could become something that I wasn't and that hope, as false and small as it was, would still burn deep inside me. It'd only make the sting of getting up the next morning and feeling my soft, smooth skin even more painful.
After going through that brutal cycle for weeks, I decided that I was going to stop all of it. I went cold turkey on anything Anthropomorphic. I deleted every single word I had ever typed about Furs who would find love, about how cruel the world could be, every single world. Did I feel better? I like to say that I did, though I really feel that I didn't.
I went with that for a couple weeks until I broke and sank back into the warm, carnal, furred environment of Furry. I once again purged everything, only to break once again and that would lead to me writing this letter.
So that's my story. I'm writing to you to you out of hope that someone will read this and give me some advice. I think the sole act of writing this has made me feel better, I suppose I just needed to vent all these emotions and stress that I've built up.
So, can anyone help me? I'm hoping to whatever Deity is in the sky, be he/she/it benevolent or malevolent, that your still managing this site. I admit that I feel better but I still want the feeling of knowing that another being knows how I'm feeling.
I hope you respond back Bear. Thank you for your time.
* * *
An interesting journey you have described here into the world of Furry. Papabear bets it is reflective of what some other furries have experienced, including myself. Furries have asked me whether, if I had the chance, I would want to be an anthrobear, and the answer (despite a lecture Uncle Kage once gave about how inconvenient, practically speaking, and awful it would be to actually accomplish such a goal) is “in a heartbeat.” I believe the number of furries who feel this way are in the minority, but there are quite a few who do.
As I get older and more curmudgeonly, Papabear finds less and less to like about the human race (and Americans in particular—furries being an exception, of course). Recent events in my life have caused me to downright despise certain people. Other than being connected to furries like you through the Internet, I don’t much like the modern technological age, either. And, as you point out, humans just aren’t very attractive as a species. Let’s face it, we’re basically bald apes with pushed-in faces. Bleah. I imagine having a bucolic life as a bear in the woods, where I have simple needs of food and shelter in a pristine environment unspoiled by Man.
But that is not reality.
What you and I are both experiencing is the yearning that Germans call “Weltschmerz.” Not to be too droll about this, but there is an amusing clip from “The Big Bang Theory” about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCc9nyxqR44.
Unable to reconcile our dreams with reality, we can get depressed or suffer from an unfulfilled yearning made even worse by the knowledge our dreams will be forever out of reach, at least in this lifetime.
Our saving grace is imagination. Human beings have a vast capacity for imagination and creativity as evidenced by the one thing that Papabear feels truly separates us from other animal species: the arts—literature, painting, sculpture, theater, music ... all the way to fursuit crafting. These things provide us with a release for our inner desires and make the world a richer place for everyone when we share them. I would encourage you, Nick, to continue to pursue your writing and to create as vivid and fantastic a fictional furry world as you can.
The other thing that gives Papabear comfort concerning this is something that probably a lot of my readers would not necessarily agree with, but I’ll share it any way. I believe that the thing we call a “soul” is a piece of the larger Spirit that imbues all existence, and that we find ourselves encased in our present forms in order to experience, learn from, and grow our capacity to create new and unique things. Then, when we die, we maintain that capacity to create, which we may then express in the reality beyond this one. In other words, we are able to create our own individual heavens. We cannot do this, however, without having this time on Earth first, so do not rush into it, by any means. But, someday, Nick, I believe you and I may shrug off our mortal coils and become what we truly feel we are inside.
May that small thought comfort you,
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.