First, let me clarify that I say “re-awakening” because I’ve always been this way; I’ve always been ‘kin. I just didn’t have the terminology when I was younger.
Second, this essay is a mix of several personal essays that I combined (and edited) in order to give the reader a more complete picture of my personal journey with my therianthropy and otherkin identity. Much of this was written way back in 2006 but I wanted to honestly share what I’ve experienced. Please keep in mind that these are my experiences and thoughts. Comments are welcome, as are any questions. So, flaws and all, here we go.
For me, like many people in the therian community, I have always felt that I was different. Something deep down inside of me does not connect wholly with humans and their ways. I have different thoughts, different ways of doing things, just a different way of seeing the world.
All through elementary school I was teased for being different but I can’t remember exactly why. It probably goes back to the fact that I refused to indulge in name calling, singling out other kids and participating in other typical kid stuff. I preferred to play with stuffed animals over any other toy and in fact one of my favorite games for the longest time was pretending to actually BE an animal. Most kids, even in elementary school, thought that was something only ‘little’ kids and freaks did.
So my favorite games faded to the background in an effort to ‘fit in’ and ‘grow up’. However throughout high school the teasing continued and eventually got to the point where I lost ‘friends’ and constantly felt alone. Once again, something about me was different than the others and they seemed to notice it too. I was a fun-loving, happy person and yet I was belittled, back-stabbed and hated. For what, I usually never had the foggiest idea as to why. My parents told me that was just how kids were. But there was still that thought that I didn’t fit in because of something inside of me not being wholly human. I usually chalked it up to me loving fantasy and mythology; I was different because I had different interests. But how I longed to be like everyone else!
Granted I have never been the ‘girly’ person that your typical female is and that probably helped to single me out. But things that I enjoyed or got excited for were movies, preferably with animals or fantastical themes and more importantly, books. I loved to read; especially about strong female characters that had animal companions. Or books with talking animals in them. In every part of my life that I can remember, I have felt that I was connected to the animal kingdom. It always felt like it was a deeper connection than liking a certain species. But I continued to be an outcast and I had come to grips with the fact that I would probably never fit in with ‘normal’ people.
Then I went to college and everything changed. I could hang out with people that actually liked me for me, no matter how I acted or what I liked to do. We had common interests, we had fun together and we all got along great. They didn’t judge me for being confident, an outgoing person or having an open mind, they didn’t care that I slept with stuffed animals or that I felt at home in the woods. They were the first real friends I had ever had and it was great.
As college progressed, a group of us decided to create our very own live action roleplaying game. It was along the lines of Dungeons and Dragons but we actually created the world, the characters, the creatures and the rules. We created the world in which our characters lived, the time period was based off of medieval Europe and the creatures we would face were taken from different mythologies and stories that we all liked and enjoyed. Then came the actual character creation. However none of us created the stereo-typical RP characters (For example, an elf ranger or a human paladin). Our characters were based off of the traditional fantasy characters, but none fit exactly. (For example, one friend played her own unique version of a dragon called a ‘dryvvn’.)
It is interesting to note that up until this point in my life, it had been years since I had identified one single animal as my ‘favorite’. In going through school I had a horse phase, a dolphin phase and even a duck-billed platypus phase. But at this point in my life I did not have a favorite animal, I simply loved them all.
It was during the time when I was trying to create a character for our RP that suddenly and without warning, I had an idea on what type of creature she was to be. For no reason that I could explain, my character was going to be a type of wolf shapeshifter. As soon as I had that thought, more about the character immediately fell into place. It was as if I had unlocked a door into my subconscious and the secret inside was bursting to get out. Every aspect of the character was perfectly me, the character WAS me, how I saw myself as, etc. I WAS a wolf inside, just like her! But unlike her, I did not have the physical means to change into my true form.
As I continued to create the character and creating her actual shifter species, something about the wolf aspect of the character seemed very familiar to me, like I was re-discovering something that I had lost. Had I gone through a wolf phase? Yes I had, though briefly. So I did research on real wolves; their habits, their physiology, their habitats, anything I could find I devoured with interest.
It was also during college that I began to explore more of my spirituality. I was raised a Christian but as I explored myself I began delving into Paganism. Through researching this topic, I learned about meditation and how it could aid in self-discovery. So I meditated and asked for answers. The answer I got came in the form of a wolf spirit animal/totem who is still with me today. The memories are foggy here but from what I can remember, upon meeting her I simply knew that I was wolf. The recognition that she and I were the same left me stunned.
I knew deep within my soul what I had been feeling my entire life; that I was different because my soul was that of a wolf. I finally had answers.
I really did experience that proverbial light bulb going off and it just felt right as everything seemed to fall into place.
With this new and strange idea running around in my head, I decided that since I was a wolf, then there must be others, somewhere in this wide world, just like me. So again, I checked the internet. It was then that I discovered the Werelist in 2005. And from there the possibilities were endless. While I posted in the forums and acknowledged others like myself, no matter what I did, where I was, who I was with, I was still wolf-me on the inside.
In 2008, I chose to join an otherkin forum since I firmly believe therianthropy falls under the otherkin umbrella and I wanted to branch out and be involved with active online communities.
Perhaps it was the exposure to mythological creatures in addition to non-human animals, or maybe it was just because I became settled in my wolf identity (and was now an adult at 26 years old!) and was thus open to more possibilities, but I also incorporated, whether unconsciously or not I’m not sure, identifying as a werewolf into my beliefs. More than likely this is due to interpreting wolf things as overlaying my human body. I also believe my original species possessed the ability to shapeshift and one of the forms was into a werewolf-like form. So the wolf/werewolf tends to go paw in paw.
Then in the summer of 2009, I started also experiencing phantom limbs of an aquatic nature. At first I thought I had a second theriotype of orca, but that never felt 100% right and it didn’t match up with all of the phantom limbs I experienced. I eventually settled on aquatic fae. I use the term ‘aquatic fae’ because ‘mermaid’ isn’t accurate as most traditional depictions have them as being half human woman and half fish and with my phantom limbs, there is much more of a fish overlap over my human parts and because I believe I can use, or have used, glamour, etc.
After years of research and introspection, I believe that my otherkin identity stems from a combination of mental wiring and spirituality. My human body is mentally wired to be ‘other’ and, on the spiritual side of things, reincarnation seems to be the most logical reasoning as to why/how I am this way. Also add into the mix that I feel as if my soul was born into the wrong body. There are many causes as to why it seems accurate to label myself as otherkin.
Now, in 2017, I still believe I am a seawolf which is a hybrid of half wolf/werewolf and half aquatic fae.
lupine (werewolf) & clouded leopard | 38 | writer & published author | scuba diver | chaotic good | Hufflepuff | INFP | eclectic Wiccan witch