I feel lost in the flow of time.
I feel old whereas I’m not, I feel surrounded by confusion and noises, it’s like things are getting too much for me.
I feel I have to make a choice.
I remember when I learned about therianthropy as if it were yesterday. My first steps in the community, how ignorant I was, and how everything impressed me. I found forums, websites, essays. I started learning about the community, its words, its people, its variety. I went deeper into myself through questionning, introspections, soulsearchs. I learnt more about who I was; about others’ experiences, views, opinions.
I understood it, I realized how naive and ignorant I was about myself when I arrived. I discovered more and more about my animal sides, getting closer to my inner self little by little, not just thanks to what I learnt in the community, but also because I had always evolved and became more critical in a general manner, as a result of growing and being interested in many things. I learnt who and what I was (although I’m still learning more).
At some point I started answering people’s questions when I could, those questions I had pondered about when I arrived. I made researches when needed, and helped in the way I could. I became more and more critical towards the werecommunity, its bunch of posers, of so-called greymuzzles, of pretentious people. Its politics, contradictions, bullshit. Eventually I got fed up with it and started wondering what the fuck I was doing here. Instead of quitting, I went on.
I believe that we won’t fix many problems in the community. I also believe there are a few things we can fix, or at least work out. Doing something in that “community” is something I can, as a simple individual. I don’t claim people need me as an individual at all. That’d be damn arrogant. What I think is that it costs me nothing to answer questions when we can, writing things that may interest people, and in a more general way, help promoting communication, knowledge and wisdom, not from therianthrope to therianthrope, but from individual to individual. I’m not saying that everybody can and should do so, but I wish people become autonomous beings who think by themselves. Therianthropy is a pretext to soulsearch and introspect oneself. What matters is that people learn more about themselves and become more critical about everything.
The community is not a group of close and overfriendly animal-people who love each other, where you will only get wise answers, or where we can all grow together. The werecommunity is a bunch of various people, and while you will find some helpful and smart ones, you have much more chances to stumble across people who don’t know what they’re talking about, who are confused about what therianthropy is, or who are posers. You will also find therianthropes who will try to make you fit with what they want therianthropy to be, and who will expect you to be naive follower while scolding you for not thinking by yourself.
Right now I feel alone. I don’t have the mass of newbies to cling onto, I’m not a newbie anymore. However, I have never been part of AHWw, I never saw the whole thing start, grow and fall into what is it nowadays. I have my own experience of being an animal-person, but I know nothing about being among the first therianthropes in the community. I feel the same as a speck of dust with no roots and no future, because the community has lost its roots and has a fragile future.
It’s like nobody new knows about AHWw. It’s like nobody new realize all the greymuzzles from the community have left or are disappearing. People arrive in the community and they have everything here-right-now. The FAQs, the essays, and a few experienced people to answer their questions. They read websites, post on some forums, and then consider they know everything about therianthropy. Damn, therianthropy is not about knowing all the labels and their definitions, it’s not knowing a bunch of therian websites and their content. It’s about being animal inside and experiencing it on a daily basis. Many newbies arrive in the community, stop there, and don’t realize it’s not that way they will “walk their path” (or whatever you wanna call it).
What will happen when the last really experienced people will leave the community? Nothing is eternal. One day the last AHWWers will be gone, the few smart ones will follow them, and all the knowledge of what the community was will disappear. I don’t believe it is essential, but I do am afraid of what it could be like if all the informations and wisdom of the past slowly go away. I see too much therianthropes who, once they find the community, make some “werebuddies” and then disappear. I don’t see that much serious people who tale the time to soulsearch, and I see very, very few people who share their experience and give something back and new to the community as a whole, wether it is on boards or on a website (or whichever way suits you).
I fear for the few serious therian newcomers, finding only newbies, a self-proclamed greymuzzle or two, and arrogant forums dictators who will do nothing but put them into molds. And this it not just a nightmare, it’s already there in some places. I don’t think those who have never been part of the community can fully notice it, nor the newbies can. But I do believe that the community is changing, has constantly been evolving. That means some things can denegerate in a very negative way. Most of people aren’t aware of that; the community was there when they arrived, so it will always be there, right? I am not sure, and what will it be like? How much will remain? How many serious therians?
Perhaps one day I will withdraw from it too. Perhaps this day is closer than I think. For the moment I try actively to bring what I can to those who need it, before everything crashes, if it does. I care for the few serious people who might want help, I care about these animal-people. I had the chance to find good resources, and it helped me in some ways. I would like others to be as lucky, or even luckier. I want them to have the possibility to know what it was like before they arrived, and to find people who know what they’re talking about.
Before it’s too late.
… cages and illusions.
But it already is too late. I told you this day would come, and yes it came: I am withdrawing from this “were-scene”. I have grown up and realized I am not gaining anything anymore from being involved there. As for what I can bring, experience and thoughts, Thébaïde is where I share them. My opinion of the community has evolved with years, and if you don’t understand my views now, then perhaps someday.
I don’t know how to sum up my experience of this “scene” – as it is nothing more than a space for showing off. The problem is not just about the posers or fluffies. It is not about the confused people; they will eventually come to an understanding of themselves. The problem is that what you will find on forums is: on one side a few experienced people who claim to be here to help you, half of them actually wanting nothing more than control the place and possibly the minds – through their labels, rules and molds – and on the other side, a horde of people who convinced themselves they are animals, as well as real therians who are unable to distance themselves from the community, its terms and theories and politics. They want to sound more real and animal, “serious weres”, and I guess it wouldn’t be such an issue if they didn’t stomp on everybody around them in the processs of earning respect.
You will find cliques outside the community too. I just stick to the people who accept me, not those who would accept me if I buy their stuff. And this is what a lot of boards are about, they educate people in their own way. Learning some good things you also get formatted in the process. I believe one can find a balance between being in and out of the community, but I also believe that, from a certain moment, you just can’t stay in it unless ambition, fame or dependance keeps you in. Or just because you still hope that you can help people there, which I don’t believe in anymore. If you think I am insightful, okay whatever; e-mail me, but don’t expect me to get involved in pointless debates over werenames, past lives and packs. And stop with those topics about how does the moon affect therians and why are there more wolf people. Holliwood bollocks, that is all. And what about shifting anyway? You enter the community and “shifting” seems such a natural thing for everybody! But why? Wouldn’t it be because, again, therians must be similar to the werewolves of legends? Or because of the similarities with shamans and their science of shapeshifting? I believe that shifting is a valid experience, a natural way for our human brain to rationalize the animal side in us and deal with it, but it is surprising that nobody ever ask questions about it and that people assume most of therians must shift. This is a good exemple of how the community formats you, you just don’t question what you find there.
This has to be clear: therianthropy is not fast-food. Learning about your animalness is not about getting involved in a community as you enter in a restaurant to look at the menu and ask for what you want. The other day I was lurking on the ‘list, gave a link to the Con-word FAQ in case it could help, and this was soon followed by a comment from a newcomer asking “am I a contherian?” after a short, vague experiences summary. I’m not the one who will tell you, read and think for yourself, dammit. Reading is one thing, but pondering and questionning yourself is what matters. People don’t dig up old sites or research for the best stuff anymore. If you are interested in reading from others’ experience, don’t just join a board and sit on your ass until someone miraculously start an interesting topic. Go to people’s personal pages, search for the good places and read the content, check the links section to go to more sites, and so on. E-mail the people you think are interesting, with whom you could have constructive discussions. Let me tell you, interesting writing about therianthropy, I never found it on boards.
And this is why: informations on community sites are about the experience of the “werecommunity”, not of therianthropy. Most of the “2004” essays from the Nest deals with how to find oneself among all this shit; I’m almost done with it, and will now focus on personal experience. What do I mean with “articles dealing with the community”? Those articles aren’t about being animal-folk. C’mon, look at the forums. Newbies Guides. Terminology. Encyclopedias, wikis. Types of weres and shifts! *Snarls.* And yet “this is not for you to pick and choose!”. And while they say so, telling you that you don’t need labels, they create new ones so everybody can fit. You get it? Informations displayed on boards are about fitting in the community, in the terminology, and if you’re lucky you may find tips for introspecting and not-to-do’s, instead of just being told “go soulsearching!”by people who don’t even have a clue about how to do it. The knowledge over there is the experience you are capable of having on your own if you pay attention and if you question yourself as well as what you read. But this isn’t about being an animal inside and what it feels like.
The werecommunity is about anything but therianthropy. It is about the community itself, its rules and gurus. It is about young people who need to be accepted by their “peers”. People posturing. Arguing over labels and sementics. Pointless theories. People telling who and what they are with “I am similar to this or that label, and I experience this and that type of shifts, but…”. This space is not about being an animal, sharing one’s deep experience as being said animal, sharing what makes them different, how they view the world as being animal inside, how they integrate therianthropy in their life, and accepting the fact they also are human.
Being an animal-person actually isn’t about “growing and learning in the community”. It is about being yourself in your daily life. Those who understand it leave the place, because it’s a closed circuit. You don’t really grow in the community – you grow outside of it, when you question yourself laid down on your bed, sitting in a park or walking in the woods with others. Many of those who get stuck on the boards become passive, swallowing down what they read; people outside get active, stimulating each others while growing in their very own ways. And it’s not because there is a few exceptions that this is untrue.
And one last thing: this essay is not about telling you how foolish you are for staying in. I once was there and had some epiphanies, and I am writing this to let you know: if you are animal inside and if what you want is growing and learning as an animal-person, you don’t have to stay in the community. The people who know what they’re talking about may just no be there, and the right place to truely live who and what you are is offline, ultimately.