"Know Thyself, Know Thy Animal"

Why personal animalness can't be ignored. Written 3.18.06.

I need to find a happy medium.

It's easier to find in a human existence than a feline/human one. I don't envy the "Oh! I'm a panther!" idiots their pains once they figure out they're not leopards—thinking they're feline gives them a way to rationalize away all the screwed-upness. Meanwhile I'm sitting here being a feline.

I try to make my existence as a therianthrope a good thing, and that's why I keep working with animal, rather than just accepting it and moving on and not writing about it. I want to sink my teeth into it. I want to make it a gift to myself rather than the Schroedinger's cat (yeah, bad pun) of good/bad it starts out being. There's a whole attitude of "oh, it ISN'T special" backlash against the really fluffy people, which makes a certain amount of sense, but it doesn't work. Getting involved with something isn't the same thing as thinking it makes you speshul.

Getting to know it isn't narcissism either. I mean, it can be, but it's not a bad thing to be interested in therianthropy just because you're a were. That's like saying anthropologists are too self-involved because they're humans who study humans.

What I'm getting at: therianthropy isn't any more a part of you than your eyes or your crossword puzzle skills, but it's a phenomenon that can and should be looked at more closely, neither ignored nor glorified. It's just you. You should be interested in yourself, your people, the subtle/beautiful way your mind works. Interested, not obsessed. A happy medium. "Know thyself before you seek to know the world," or some such motto.

Happiness is the point; it doesn't matter what you think you are so long as you don't hurt anybody. On the other hand, people who aren't therians and don't know themselves DO "hurt somebody," though that phrasing is crude. They disrespect animality and possibly fuck themselves up. And they don't know themselves.

A person needs a good self-image, a solid foundation, something to imagine staring back at them in the mirror. Those people become confident, so consequently doubt doesn't knock them over, and they're pretty much left open to be a decent human and animal and friend.

But it's so hard that people don't want to do it. Even under the guise of "soul searching," that dead horse. I'm sick of soul searching. Figuring out who and what you are doesn't mean you sit in deep meditation, it means you look at the way you function in the world. Active rather than passive. Guess what, soul searchers—you are SITTING ON YOUR ASS. Go get some fresh air. Go run around. Take the healing crystals off your head and cough the enchanted herbal potions up and ACT. Sitting around might increase happiness for a while, a sort of dazed mindset, but the important thing is being. Being an animal, joy, pain, whatever the universe throws at you. That's really being happy.

Dammit, I love felines. I love being a feline. It's a big fucking wide world, isn't it? Paws and claws and tail. That's important to me. Being a cat. I don't know what it's like not being one; it's pretty intense, really, and it needs to move and to know itself. Cat is knowing where you want to be.

Reality through leopard lens. I don't want anybody to poison that by calling themselves a leopard when they're not one. I want them to take a closer look. Is that selfish? Sure. Is it a legitimate reaction? Yes, I think so. Therianthropy's not cool, it's not awful, it's not a present in a ribbon. It's not a bomb. It's what you make of it, and if it's not there you CAN'T make anything out of it; it's me and mine, it's genuinely part of who I am, and I don't want that to be cheapened.

At the same time, I don't want to slap "You're not real" on somebody's ass.

I need to find a happy medium.

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