Answering the Question: "What is a Furry."
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music." - Nietzsche
The question "What is a furry?" is a really HARD question to answer, isn't it?
I mean, it's EASY to answer a question such as, "What is a 'Star Wars' fan?"
"Well DUH! That person is fan of Star Wars, of course!"
But what do you say when an imposing figure looms over you, and impatiently asks:
"What the heck is a FURRY??"
.......That..... is a very difficult question to answer, right? And For many years, while attending dozens of furry or anime conventions, I've seen HUNDREDS of people with that same puzzled-look in their eyes, after having been asked that same question by a curious passerby.
And let me tell you something...that question stumped me, too, for years, and as a former clinical social worker, it's a question that I take very, very seriously.
After meditating on the subject, I wished to share some of my thoughts with you.
I do this because it breaks my heart knowing that so many of us feel as though we must hide this crucially important part of ourselves from our families, our friends, and Our World.
Worse still, it breaks my heart that a number of Furry Conventions have been involuntary shut down, thus taking away the only opportunity that many people have each year to be in-person with their closest friends.
And for 10 straight years, it has broken my heart to watch this extraordinary fandom get mocked, bullied, mistreated and misunderstood by news media and by the general population of our World.
I FIERCELY believe the Furry Fandom genuinely deserves better, especially in how we are perceived by the public. I also believe that if the public were able to better understand what the fandom is, a lot of bullying, misunderstandings, and misplaced-disgust would evaporate.
But my STRONGEST belief about the Fandom?
I believe with all my heart, that our very frightened and very confused global community could learn extremely useful and extremely healing lessons from the fandom.
And so, when someone asks you the question "What is a Furry?"
Well....We are fans of our OWN, PERSONAL IMAGINATIONS!!
Furthermore???...............This means we are ALL 'fans' of Individuality ITSELF!!!!!
What do I MEAN by this? Well, think about it! What is the ONE commonality in ALL of our Fursonas?
……..We would prefer that they are totally unique, and different than ALL others……Why…..
THEY ARE US!!!! They are an OUTER representation of who WE are BECOMING!
Through discovering more and MORE about what our Fursona looks like, through our UNIQUENESS, we find our strength, our species; our SHAPE!
I am PROUD to be a Furry. I LOVE being a Furry, and the I think the fandom has MUCH to be proud of, too.
“But wait Corvy, what EXACTLY did you mean by ‘Individuality??”
Well my friends, in Psychology, "Individuation" is the process of discovering who YOU are; Not what OTHERS think you should be, but who you want to be, EVEN IF you’ve not yet found the words or pictures to explain it.
You see, discovering NEW parts of ourselves and building a sense of "....Who AM I, really??" is a VERY hard thing to do by yourself! Humans need other Humans!
We need INTERACTIONS! We need STORIES! We need ART! We need INSPIRATION!
Our Ancestors found "parts of Themselves" in the different shapes and patterns of the constellations in the night sky. Today, we find "parts of Ourselves" by watching our favorite movies, reading our favorite books, going to religious and cultural services, or finding a brand new artist who stirs our imaginations and super-charges our imaginations with inspiration.
There is another source of this inspiration, isn't there? One that doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside. A source that is the very HEARTBEAT of the Furry fandom:
Our OWN DREAMS. Our OWN IMAGINATIONS.
And when we experience difficulty in finding what we are looking for in our OWN imaginations? We seek out the imaginations of others, so that we can be inspired by another, totally unique imagination.
We work together to build WHOLE new worlds, ENTIRELY NEW and EXCITING senses of IDENTITY.
To put this even MORE simply?
We. Are. COLLABORATING!!!
You see the collaboration between a multitude of individual imaginations at nearly EVERY level of the Furry community:
Artists collaborating with their clients;
Roleplayers exploring a brand new world which they both helped create;
Trading your sketchbook with another artist so you can draw each others ideas;
Brainstorming new ideas for new and different character designs;
or even venting to someone who has given you a shoulder to cry on, and someone with whom you are safe.
Together, Furries have made the same discovery our ancient ancestors stumbled upon while gazing into the night sky, hand in hand, thousands and thousands of years ago:
Two imaginations are better than one.
The Furry Fandom is an absolutely remarkable group of Individuals. We transcend International borders, cultural divisions, and socio-economic lines.
We are a GLOBAL neighborhood of INDIVIDUALS, and in our personal uniqueness, we are made stronger, together.
We CELEBRATE, ENCOURAGE, and SUPPORT each other, all while pursuing our OWN, unique Sense of Personal Identity.
We are an ever growing and ever evolving infinite diversity of infinite combinations.
I will stop here for the moment, although I intend to write much more on this subject in the very near future.
I know that so many of us do not have the words to explain to our families just what it means to be "Furry." As consequence, many good, kind, and gentle people are rendered alone, isolated, shunned, and rejected.
I hope these words are useful to Furries and non-Furries alike (especially to your families), in better understanding this incredibly beautiful and vivacious community.
I hope we can all start developing a common language, so we can all better understand each other, and, as a consequence, learn more about ourselves.
We are so much stronger because of our shared love for collaboration, imagination, and inspiration..
As for me? I think the Spirit of our Community is most easily put like this:
"I like you just the way you are."