We’re just ghosts, most of time. We see clues or presences around us and we figure people exist and are as real as we are. Maybe I know you and you check this place once in a while, or perhaps we’ve never met and you still watch from afar. I am not pure intellect hanting the web, ever musing, ever writing animal blurbs. I speak a different language, am from a different culture. I have a specific voice and smell and I live in the concrete world struggling with my own issues, overcoming my own fears. I have friends, real life friends, who can touch me and love me and we laugh together. I am real.
Sometimes I write to other animal-people or read a webpage, but when I shut off the computer I’m still the same, still a clouded ravenpard and transboy, and surely more than ever as I’m confronting concrete things, perceiving and experiencing them fully. I am tense; all tail-twitch and wings-flap, and snarling and watching cat-like. The animal doesn’t disappear until next time I connect and chat, the animal is me and crawling in my skin anytime. Many people get the feline thing, sometimes they see me as bird too. I am not much interested in discussing animal identity with non-therians but I am not especially stealth. Most of my friends know, and once in a while I make a related comment and they nod. Not all of them are trans, none of them seem animal, but there is no questionning because identity is louder than norms.
I take the train regulary to go south and today we had a survey. There was the usual “are you a: [ ] woman, [ ] man” section, and I wrote [ ] other and checked all boxes. I don’t know exactly what people see when they see me but they seem intrigued. Is it the androgyny, that they can’t tell my age, the mohawk or piercings? A mix of everything? I sat on a bench that day and watched them like I often do, and they seemed as alien to me, but that’s okay. I enjoyed the sun through the leaves on my skin and wondered who they were (who are you?). Probably it’s why I feel the most inspired when I’m out; this world is full of possibilities. I’m intense and receptive, and I want to feel, taste, smell, explore and write about everything.
I like the city. I love Paris. It’s grey and polluted like most of metropolises and the weather almost reminds me of UK, but there are a lot of things to see and do, a lot of people to meet. Density of more than 24,000 people per km², subway with the most dense provision of stations in the world, and 250km of catacombes underneath. I went down by night through a secret entrance and explored for a few hours with friends. Walked in mud and knee-high water, climbed on huge telecom wires and rusted ladders, crawled in passages full of human bones. Did not walk on the dead, did not steal bits of skulls. When you stay very still and shut off your cap lamp, there only is perfect darkness and the faint echoes of tiny drops of water in tunnels. Did not talk much that night, stayed quiet and wide-eyed, sniffing the air, moving agilely through narrow corridors and “cat flaps”, and musing. Cave ravenpard on a journey to the antechamber of chtonian gods’ underworld.
Then the police or some cataphile trickster removes the ladder to the way out and you’re back being a simple person with no wings to escape. No bird-panic though, only the travelling-exploring bliss-contentment with head-on-shoulders. Walk some more, take other tunnels to a closed down railway. Surface again. The lamps are off to not attract attention but I can discern on either side abandonned junk and plants cascading down huge dark walls, contrasting with the lighter and starless urban red night-sky. Feeling so alive. There is beauty and magic in the city. Our amateur-guide said I was doing great for a first time and I’d be a good guide. I blushed and thought of clouded leopard folklore.
People I connect with are rare because I am rare – not better no, just different. They often are trans and animal, though not always. I do not seek animal-people specifically. I have a thirst for experiencing and learning, and that sometimes includes exchanging with interesting people, and people I’m interested in can happen to be trans or animal. They also are those who understand me the best. The rest of time I’m more of a loner. I have met animal folk in the concrete world on rare occasions but we hadn’t more in common. I also have met several furries who would say “I’m a wolf”, and that was it, like a blank statement. They did not get it. I wonder how many animal people there are around if there is any, but I do not really want them so much as the animal friends I relate to and know. Heart-family, though this isn’t a closed circle. Sometimes I can be happy just writing to them or talking to them over the phone. Right now though, I’d rather hang out with and touch them, and do things together.
However I am not fooling myself. I’ve just settled here with my friends around, and I’m already planning travels, exchange trips and such to visit the rest of my heart-family. I know someday I’ll cross the ocean, and when I get there, I’ll want to explore more and go further. You know, that Traveller thing I regulary mention. Wanderlust. Friends are welcome to join in – but I just can’t help thinking and evolving and walking that sort-of-path. I don’t think I was made a certain way with a Purpose, some sort of destiny I cannot escape. I am the result of a person that’s been through specific events, with a specific history; some things I can change, others I have no control over. So I happen to be this way, and I chose a name for it and chose to live it to the fullest. There is this fire-thirst burning inside that makes me move forward, and without this and the strength to fight, I’d be dead. It’s something precious that I want to cherish. I don’t want to make compromises, at most I only want to take my time.
That’s my Thirst, and it’s both thirst/hunger and drive, drive to explore, learn, go further, walk underground and dream and ink. Not a mere need or wish – a fucking burst that makes you ear-forward with fur standing on end. Electric tail, intense raven-cat watching, pounding-heart all fuzzy inside that feels like gravity excepts it lifts you up above-ahead and not down against rocks. You can’t always notice because you’re not paying attention to my breathe, you can’t hear my heartbeat; but it’s there. It’s here and running through my spirit through my body through blood in the pard in the bird in the guy. From bones and guts to fingertips, exstatic.