I Live in Fear

Appreciate what you have. Written 11.29.05.

See, I'm not always animal, like this: I'm not always pure leopard with green eyes and white teeth, savage against a pretty human backdrop, a wonderful lycanthropic being. I'm very flawed. I'm small and weak and young and I'm afraid to jump from heights, although I like the high places themselves. I'm scared of hyenas and lions, and I'm scared of their human equivalents. I'm scared of gods, Baba Yaga and Sekhmet, eyes gleaming in the dark, red and fierce like suns. Sekhmet drowning in red beer—fears, I know, can be conquered.

Animal lives in fear.

Animal, my animal, is nearly fully fear sometimes. Fear that the prey will strengthen, like a baboon—a wounded young baboon is good meat, but the mama baboon is real big, and she's strong too with wide muscled arms. My leopard-animal is crouching, nervous at the top of trees, eyeing its mother, adapting readily with a wide-eyed grimace of fear beforehand. It's a warning song sometimes, a neckbite and a toothgrowl, urine and blood and claws signifying that I am not your friend.

Because, probably, I'm not. I really am a leopard. I really do have a home range, I really do have a territory, and I really do have that sandpaper growl and the long shadowy tail and the fur. You just can't see it, 'cos it's underneath. That's even a good way for a leopard to be, a personcat in a human skin, which can't be seen and even if I'm up in a tree, I'm assumed to be a nice little kid without claws. But I have claws and I have teeth and long whipping tail and scentmarks. They are closed up.

They are closed up and darkened and softened until they remain only part of the softness in me—you know, what might be called the psyche, the soul whatever. I think 'softness' is a good term for it. It's not physical, not as hard as pure muscle and bone; it's curled up underneath. But you can't see the leopard on the top part of my body; strip me down like an onion and I'm merely a Homo sapiens.

Cat is smelly. Cat is territorial and cat bleeds and cat bites and cat hides in fear and cat kills its infants. A cat is not a nice way to be and it sure isn't about purrs, love, or light. It's not about pure darkness, not about eyes like yellow lamplights in the dark. So what is cat about? I wrote, yes, cat is smells and sensory. That's part of it. I am forever redefining this, thinking over the ways I behave and examining how these ways of behavior are close to a leopard's behavior. Flehmen, scentmarking, sex and hunting. They show up in my own life, deformed and diluted and mutated, fitted into a human form for the purpose of I-don't-know-what.

The question now remains, of course, what am I doing here? Which philosophers the world over have had trouble with, of course, although the nature of philosophy is such that it has trouble with anything definite. I am a cat and not a cat, a shapeshifter primarily. Doesn't matter if I actually switch from one mindset to another—my self is made up of Panthera pardus and Homo sapiens, swirled together like an ice-cream cone and those two Latin names are regarded as different. I say bullshit. I am pardhomouspanthiens. You know, whatever. Leopard and human are not different beings for me.

I am an animal person. Animal person, now, moving away from the cat thing. I believe myself to be somewhat diffused through with animality, a thing not human pounding through me like my body were some kind of convenient container. Hell, it's not even convenient. Don't know about that. Either way, this is what I'm getting at—I exhibit real actual animal behaviors—it's not just astral journeys and drumming and auric visions and Reiki psychics telling me that I remind them of a large yellowy cat. No no no, it isn't people telling you what you are.

Don't ask mommy to tell you what stuff you're made of. For that matter, don't tell yourself who you are. Observe. These behaviors exist and can be perceived and they can't be denied. I'm an animal. Undeniable, probably this is a fallacy of the first degree, but I don't give a crap. I see my animality, I register it on my little inner timeline, and I look at all these little bits of leopardiness and think, okay, I'm a leopard as well as a human and I blimey well better get used to dealing with that.

I used fear as an example. My fear has the traits of the fear of a leopard. My behavior is sometimes, quite definitely, more suited to a foresty wettish place than a warm, clean, carpeted place. That is the way I deal with things—it's neither bad nor good—it's the animal in me clamping its paws over the human's mouth. And even then these things are not distinct. Cat/human, human/cat, it's more like one great mucky soup. The onions and the broth and the carrots are all mixed in, and if I'm a picky eater I can eat only the onions, but the broth is still there. I can pay attention to cat or human or maybe both, but both of them are still parts of the 'me' soup, by their natures. Moving them around doesn't change that. Anyway—I digress.

Another thing—I don't empathize with the behavior of, say, a wolf. I don't really empathize with dogs at all, as a matter of fact. My animalness as a cat is real, because I act and think and talk and move and react like a cat. Does this mean I can point to anybody and say 'gee, you are this animal for sure,' just because I myself am sure of my own leopard self? If I were a dog, could I identify people as dogs? Nay. Leopards are not rocks, they have personalities and thoughts and feelings and individual histories, they are people in their own rights and don't have one big trait in common. You know that weird vocabulary word I've used over and over again? Animal people. Actually, it's two words, but I like the sound of it. Animal people. Animal people. Animal people.

For some reason I distinguish animal people from therianthropes. It's not a cultural thing in the were-community, it's just something I do in my head. Therianthrope can be anybody. A therian, to me, is somebody who tells themselves that they're this animal, and looks through dreams and meditation and shit like that, and looks back on past events more vaguely. Not observing, you know, the hard evidence of the animal. I'm not subtle regarding the way I express myself as a person. I AM Quil. That's it.

Look at yourself constantly. Observe yourself constantly, see and delight in you yourself as an animal, and rejoice and go out and do stuff with it. You have the reality in your paws, I should probably say hands or if I want to be politically-correct, "your handlike implements".

See and be. Find those little things that you do, the little unimportant things that distinguish you as animal. That's what I call an animal person—a person who exhibits the behavior and the character of an animal. Are all animal people 'actually' animals, inside their heads, thinking animal thoughts? Not really. A kid can act like a wolf and be a wolfkid, but not identify with wolf as a physical animal. More an archetype or a set of behaviors. I don't know what I'm getting at here.

I like confirmation. It's another unflattering thing about me—gasp, I'm revealing so much today—but rest assured, confirmation isn't bad. In fact, it can be found easily, ripe and beautiful like a gem in a mine. If the reality of animal doesn't show in you like that, doesn't show up in your behaviors so much as your thoughts, that's another kind of animal person. However, activeness is good, to let go is very good, too. Why not let go? If you're an animal, be your animal!

Smell things and taste things, nip at someone you don't like (oh, metaphorically, of course!) and be afraid, hormonal, anxious, a carrion-eater, imperfect, bestial. Neither a raving movie werewolf nor a smiling, saintly angelbeast. I have fur underneath, in the dark soft places between the psyche and the flesh, and the fur and the green eyes and the teeth show up in this real, mediocre life.

I bet they show up in your life too. Look a bit closer. Yeah, closer than that. See 'em?

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