I am a furry! I have been one for my entire adult life, and I was one for a sizable chunk of my childhood. I have been a furry longer than I have been not a furry.
It all started around 13, when I got my first private computer. Keep in mind this was circa 2000, back when the internet was a very different place. I was kind of a socially awkward child, and although I had a fair share of friends, I lived very far from them in a suburban neighborhood that had really nothing going for it. I also struggled with reaching out and initiating contact. Consequently I used to spend a fair amount of time surfing the web. Again, I always struggled with approaching people and I guess it was easier online.
One of my favorite things online was webcomics, and it wasn’t long until I discovered animal-people themed comics. Something about these deeply resonated with me! I supposed I always enjoyed funny-animal cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and this felt like an extension of that interest.
One web comic artist who tended to draw a lot of animal-people comics I really enjoyed was Dave Kelly (who ended up being a very tragic figure decades later, but I digress). A lot of his comics were very raunchy and salacious, especially Smut, which could only be described as semi-pornographic. Definitely things a young teenager shouldn’t be exposing themself to. The comic had an oekaki board attached to it, which is a kind of chan-like forum that allows people to draw directly in their web browser and post their art. Being attached to a semi-pornographic comic that heavily featured animal people, of course this oekaki had very heavy involvement from furries. Both Wacoon and Nanimoose posted there (not to be a name dropper of late-x early-millennial era popufurs). And from there I eventually was linked to VCL, Furaffinity, and other repositories. Not to mention Second Life, which is its own can of worms I’ll probably end up doing a post about later.
And yes, my early involvement with furry did grow out of a sexual tantalization. Pre-18s definitely do have sexual feelings, deal with it. But it was, and continues to be, far far more than that. Currently, the sexual aspect of furry actually remains a very small part of what it currently means to me. As Patricia Taxxon covered in her recent vlog (which inspired this post), there is a certain disarming earnestness about furry creatures. I think this especially is true for socially-awkward types such as myself, who yearn to be earnest but struggle with it in practice.
Furry allows you to distance from the self without estranging from it. The fursona is a filter that allows you to approach uncomfortable and unfamiliar aspects of psyche – things that are too overwhelming to be seen head-on – from an oblique angle. It allows you to craft and play a role; something that can serve a mediating function, rather than directly interfacing with confusing aspects of the self and social life. The fursona, and interaction of fursonae, serves as a layer of abstraction that imposes form, structure, and most importantly, safe distance. In this distance one is free to experiment, and hence, explore ways of being that may be more authentic, if not real. The connection to the self is more genuine, because you are creating a the self that you want, and approaching the areas of existence in a manner that is safe for you.
So, yeah, I guess you can say that furry is a neurosis. Whoops!
As I have matured I have gone through several mainline fursonas that all served me in different ways:
- Sanny the golden retriever – Basic (cringe) “me, except fuzzy femboy UwU” fursona
- Vlad the bat – Super sarcastic & ironic (cringe) “me, except The Worst” fursona
- Student the squirrel – Bizarre “me, except an old professor” fursona. I was in grad school at the time (cringe).
I’ve also had some feminine alts to explore that aspect of myself as well:
- Jocasta Panda – Hedonistic and bacchus-like figure.
- Ruey Shark – Just a funny, dumb, jokey, playful girl! She’s great!
My current guy is Petrichor Squirrel, and he is quite different than my previous furry emanations. Instead of representing who I am or some mindset I would like to explore, he represents what I deliberately strive to be in a moral sense. He is an aspirational figure of self. He is the confluence of furry and the other great influence on my life, dharma, into a single being. He represents what I believe to be the fruits of existential development – a being of depth, wisdom, and kindness. In ways that, I myself, occasionally reach; except Petrichor is like that consistently. Through discipline and mental fortitude he has exhausted all greed, hatred, and ignorance from his being and operates in a default state of empathy, sincerity, and acceptance. All the time. The ultimate Mary-Sue!
I doubt I’ll ever be as attractive as a being as Petrichor. But he is less of an end goal and more of a pointer towards a unconventional and idiosyncratic morality that I’ve adopted for myself as the small-t truth. Yes, he is a neurosis – but he is a neurosis in the service of transcendence!
In a famous teaching that I’m probably misremembering the Buddha asked “if you needed to cross a river in order to then climb a mountain, would you not build a raft? After crossing the river, would you then strap the raft to your back in order to climb the mountain?” Of course, the Buddha was cautioning against clinging to the word of the dharma after it has served its purpose, however I do see this parable as holding meaning for who Petrichor is in relation to me. In many ways (which I have glossed over, or have not covered here) I have been damaged, and I use furry as a cope in order to deal with that damage. Furry has become an inextricable part of who and what I am, as an identity and sense of self. I view him as a leveraging of that depth toward a direction of growth and maturity.
Om petri petri maha petri maitri petri om petri svaha!