This is a heavily updated form of my first “personal therianthropy” essay. It is, in fact, only a chronology of my discoveries, a look at my journey and growth for the sake of archiving it so I can look back at it later. The quotes are from older writings. As for my personal therianthropy itself, it can be found in various other essays everywhere on this site.
I run in the playground, I run between the Mediterranean pine trees. I climb, I snarl, I use my claws. I play with other children. Many thoughts go through my head, about myself, about others, about the world. At some point I stop; I look around. I’m a Cat – general Cat, not domestic cat – I’m thinking, I’m a spotted rainforest kitty, I have always been, that’s an evidence. I’m 7 or 8 year old, and I know I’m a Cat. I feel the ears and whiskers, and bird wings and stuff. It doesn’t matter, I just am. I don’t know if there are any other truely like me.
“I was a child enjoying life and what I was, no soulsearching, no pondering over being species specific.”
I’m a teen. Still an animal. Perhaps I’m crazy. Better not think too hard about it and not tell anyone. Nobody seems to experience what I experience. I focus on hiding it and I try to fit in, because they say it’s what one should do. Doesn’t work out. I’ve always been better doing things my own way, so I eventually go back to being myself. I have always been drawing, and always been drawing my animalself. I’m not sure I’m spotted, but anyway it’s probably all in my head, right?
2001. “Therianthrope”. That’s what I am, and I’m not alone. I never thought about searching for animal people like me before, but I found them – totally by chance. I read websites. I read a lot, everything I can find. I go from link to link to link to more links and I learn the words and rules.
“All my excitement disappeared after some times as I noticed all the “warning” guides made for newbies. I didn’t want to jump on conclusions, join the community, and do something wrong. I decided to stay away from this “werecommunity”.”
Autumn 2002. I join WereNET’s IRC channel. I do not learn anything valuable there other than “newcomers are expected to keep their mouth shut”. After some months, I leave, only staying in touch with a couple of friends. I do not want to have anything to do with that “werecommunity” ever again. I couldn’t accept the fact I was part avian so I stopped considering it, while narrowing my feline aspect to clouded leopard.
“I came on IRC; the ops/mods were already harsh there at that time, bashing and kicking people out – especially noobs and polyweres. [...] I quit the community. [...] The fear of being bashed again kept me away from any board a whole year.”
I create forums for my friends – the Kumacanga forums. I also start lurking again on public forums. I come to terms with my avian part and feel it’s corvid. I also feel some sort of connection to all felids and to the corvus family. Something’s wrong with my feline side. Perhaps I’m just a feline, and just a corvid, and that’s it.
“I searched information about people experiencing connections to a category rather than a singular species, and I found Mokele’s cladotherianthropy theory (let make it clear that I was searching for similar experiences, not for an actual label).”
October 2003. I join the Werelist, “when the new version was just set up”. I find people nice there. I define myself as: a feline and corvine cladotherian and contherian. I think: that the werecommunity is great and full of interesting people, and I want to get involved in it. I post a lot. I lurk on other boards like SO/TO/WAG’s (Shifters.Org, Therianthropy.Org, the Were Artists Guild), the Awereness forums. I think posers are a threat to the community. Therianthropy is an important concept to me.
2004. I join the Crossroads IRC network. I join the Awereness forums, eventually. Something sounds off about what I know of my animalself. In June, some discussions lead me to quit the forums for a short while so I can focus on soulsearching again and narrowing down what I am, “to find out the truth about myself, whatever it would be”. When I come back, I define myself as: a clouded leopard, caracal, common raven contherianthrope. I think: that the werecommunity is plagued with confused people and that I should help them out to make it a better place. I gather my thoughts in essays and I put them up in a website I build. I need a name so I call it: Akhila’s Nest. “Therianthropy” isn’t the most important thing in life, but it sure is an interesting concept and a part of myself. I am very active on several forums, I know most of the names there and what’s going on, and I help out a lot on the Werelist specifically. At the same time, I get to know many “animal people” who aren’t part of the community anymore, or have never been, through LiveJournal.
“I found out about myself, and I found other animal people like me. People who have questionned themselves, people who put much thought into it, real life therianthropes.”
2005. I’ve learned about the “werescene politics”. I am tired of semantics. I am tired of theories. New labels are popping up everywhere, while almost all of the people I respect have left the place. I prefer the company of “outsiders” than “community people”. I want to read from experienced animal people, not confused one, deluded teens, or weregurus. I define myself as an animal person – clouded leopard, raven, caracal inside, an integrated and unchanging mixture of human and animal. I change my site’s name to something that suits me more. I think: that hypocrits, politics and insecure people plague the “werescene”, while serious animal people are way too rare. I am interested into: writing and archiving my experiences, sharing them with like-minded, real animal people that I can find on LJ. I sometimes lurk and read intros on forums, just in case, even though I left. Snarking gets old; it’s not funny anymore. “Animality” or “animalness” work as well as “therianthropy”, if not better. I’m feline, I’m corvine; I’m an animal person.
2006 – I am 20. Politics and hypocrisy can be found just as much inside the werescene than outside. I lose contact with some people there, and got closer to others, for the best. I rarely read the intros on forums, I don’t know most of their inhabitants, the next generation of “therianthropes”. I don’t know what is being discussed and I don’t care. On the other hand, I start an alternative discussion group for serious animal people who write about their experiences – Animal Quills. Being an animal person is just an aspect of who I am. I still write about it and update my website. I have more projects in my head. I define myself as, among other things, an animal person – corvine and feline, though I can get into details if that’s the focus of the discussion. I don’t mention much caracal because I’m changing a lot as a person, and things I related to caracal I stop identifying with or relate to differently. I am interested, among other things, into walking my own path, and sharing my thoughts with thoughtful animal people whose roads I cross too.
“I know what I want to make of my life, even when I lack words to describe it. I know I’m a Traveller. I know I’m on a path, as a Traveller, as a trans and as an animal person, as an artist. The rest does not matter. I am flexible and constantly evolving, and I will survive no matter what.”
2007. Holy shit. I’m still there. Went through rough times on different levels of my life – and got over it. Started physical transition; body’s mutating. Jaguar’s around, watching over more than ever. Caracal’s gone, not a part of my identity anymore; faded away with what I cannot bring into manhood. I’ve grown a lot since last year. Moved to a different place, started a new life. Got close to part of my heart-family, socializing on a regular basis with the people I love and who love me. Still keeping in touch with the dear animal friends I’ve made over time, still writing and musing and living. I am an animal person – a raven and clouded leopard – just like I am trans and French and many other things. Paris is a huge city, with a lot of people to meet, and a lot of places to explore. I want to taste it all. I am intensely alive.