My name is Mindy Erickson. I am twenty-one, five foot three, one hundred and twenty-two pounds. I am a non-graduating senior at a top-ranked University, majoring in English. I am an American who can’t wait to move out of the States, a media-hater who loves the Discovery and History channels, and an anti-social ‘seldom drinker’ who goes to bars just to sit alone and write.
My name is Aalaueryiian. I am a therianthrope, a snow leopard, a human. My soul is no different from any other soul, but I won’t presume to say what a soul is made of. I believe my soul has lived multiple lives, and that one of these was a snow leopard. Snow leopard has clung to my soul, as human clings to my soul, making something new and beautiful and not nearly as rare as one might think.
My hair is straight, honey-blonde, and falls to my hips. It is constantly going over my eyes, into my mouth, and onto my boyfriend’s clothes. My skin burns at the first hint of direct sunlight and is covered in more freckles than five people could count. My tail is a foot longer than my legs, forcing me to keep the tip curved away from the floor as I walk. My mobile ears react to sound, raindrops, and emotions. My fur is thick, soft, hot. It’s too hot in Texas for a fair-skinned, sensitive-eyed young woman. As a snow leopard, it is unbearable. The land is beautiful and has been ‘home’ all my life. I will miss it, and visit it often, but I crave mountains and forests and cold and snow. I will leave the scrubby Hill Country for somewhere further north, where I can satisfy both human and snow leopard.
I feel safest in high places — a top bunk, a loft overlooking a room, on counters and shelves, even the back of the couch if there’s nothing higher. Or in dens — a bottom bunk, an open walk-in closet, a canopy bed with the drapes mostly closed. I love being as close as possible to my mate, enjoy occasional hugs from close friends and family, and rarely tolerate physical contact with anyone else. The intricacies of language fascinate me, but my thoughts are often images, impressions, emotions, sans words. My favorite foods are tacos, salads with Italian dressing, or cereal with almonds and skim milk. But I can’t help but stare at livestock as I drive past ranches, and enjoy hunting nimble, long-haired goats in my imagination.
I hang roses from my ceiling to dry, sing along with Soundgarden as I drive, and daydream about my writing as I shop for groceries. I despise submerging myself in water, adore cold rooms, and hate eating in crowded places. I am meticulously clean, would rather nuzzle than kiss, and can almost see a snow leopard’s face imposed over my own in the mirror. I feel just as comfortable moving on my toes and hands as on my two feet, but prefer to wear sandals with heels than flat-footed shoes; it helps my balance, and feels more natural. Flying down a snowy slope on skis is amazing, but I can’t shake the feeling it should be a rocky slope on four paws.
I cannot put into words exactly what it is that makes me a snow leopard. I cannot describe how it feels, or how perfectly everything fell into place when I first discovered I wasn’t the only one. But in the end, what does it matter if I can or not? I am Mindy, Lauery; I am human, snow leopard. And that is enough.