Blurry Notability

Animal identity's "importance" in a human world. Written 7.27.06.

It's not so much jaguar, or leopard, or jungle cat or anything; it's the feeling you get, close inside, somewhere between your head and your back paws. A soft feeling. Blurred edges. You go between worlds and it's not quite so obvious where the dream starts or stops, and that's my kind of animality.

To be an animal in a human body is not, ultimately, to walk around in someone else's skin. Whichever skin you wear is your own, even if it changes. And whether or not someone can implant whiskers in a human face, or to meld hands into paws, doesn't matter. If you're not an animal without the junk, you won't be with it.

I can stand out in the rain, thinking about being a cat, but that's not what defines me as a cat. Mean to say, the glamour of it is just smoke and mirrors. There's a lot of that kind of thing in any group of people, but in animal people especially. You meet someone who seems like one thing at first glance, someone sincere and sweet-hearted, and then behind that sweet-heartedness is just humanity.

Humanity's a good thing. It's really a good thing. It's a way to be a member of, arguably, the dominant race on our planet; this is not a bad thing, not even close. Humanity has screwed up, but it's also got this self-awareness: the ability to fix what went wrong. If a cat pisses against the wrong tree and gets in a territory fight, they can't go to the UN and argue for all the troops to come in to their defense. Humanity's intense power, and art, and culture, and language. That's why some people don't believe in weres. Because humanity is such a damned beautiful thing on its own, sometimes.

But being an animal is not a coping mechanism. It's not even close to that. It's not even really about escaping from the human race. The human art and awareness, and the animal instinct and the fierceness and the, to put it gently, gunk. Animals aren't pure like white marble statues of Greek gods. But just look at them and look at cave paintings, religion, shamans, holding a horsehair for luck, taking in a black cat for luck.

That's the way some stories go: they never get bound up in a proper book. They just get lived.

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