I'm just a little old cat, coming up on my twenty-second birthday and about my eighth year in the otherkin community. I've been through my teen years, and while I haven't totally escaped that mentality yet, I do feel sure I at least know a few things by now--at least about myself.
As a therian, I may be nothing too special, just a housecat. No wolf or canine here, I've never been much of a "dog person" as they say, although I do share a house with a dog--and three cats. Domestic cat therians may be a little rare, rarer than our wilder cousins the big cats, but we're by no means rare enough to be collectables. And yes, that was a joke, I am allowed to joke, aren't I?
While I've written numerous essays about the differences between wild theriotypes and domestic theriotypes, I certainly don't think we're that different. I'm still "something else" in a human body and my paws don't exactly have all the controls memorized. I think, in that way, many otherkin are the same as therians to a degree. Obviously there are other differences, cultures, and logical conclusions I could discuss, but that isn't really the point of this essay, of which I'm already getting off track.
You see, my journey started long before the internet was something accessible by children and DOS was still our computer's main operating system. I was just a little girl who ran around like a loon and excitedly jumped on the spot of "pet" whenever my friends played house. I had more imaginary friends than real ones, although my real friends and I would make up grand stories about our imaginary friends and their adventures together, so that was okay. I was the loony girl in summer camp who stuck my towel down the back of my pants and ran around pretending it was my tail. I was the fastest in my class running on all fours and as the years went on, I was known as "the cat lady" by people in my grade who didn't even know my face.
I illustrated my turmoil in my early drawings, as I did most of the emotions I couldn't put proper words to say. In elementary school, I shut myself down and refused my feelings out of pure logic of the situation and my growing knowledge of physics and genetics. Because of this, in middle school my confusion and identity crisis came to a head and I became afraid I was turning into a monster inside my skin.
However, high school came about and I learned about otherkin through the obvious source of the internet (having been a huge nerd all through middle school, this comes as no surprise). I was a skeptic off the bat, arguing against it on an online forum of which I was a member.
I argued viciously against the idea, until I realized I was using myself as my main defense. I was saying that they couldn't be like that, because I felt the same way and "wasn't like that". I dropped out of the argument (they didn't miss me) and took several weeks to figure myself out. Doing research online about otherkin and therianthropy, and eventually lurking some forums before I hesitantly posted an introduction of myself--as who and what I honestly was, to the extent I could explain at the time.
I continued growing up, learning to debate and argue without hard feelings and honestly discuss major issues about life, spirituality, religion, and experiences. I learned to agree to disagree and laugh with the people who I was debating against. I would like to think those beginning, stumbling steps helped me become a better person. Someone who learned to be openminded without letting my mind fall out and scatter across the floor. Accept that people could believe themselves to be something that I didn't agree with, but accept that it was just as important to them as my beliefs were to me.
I became settled in myself as a feline, washing my metaphysical paws in the sunlight.
Online drama happened, in leaps and bounds, as it is wont to do. I grew closer friends to certain people and we helped each other along further in our journeys.
Love and loss also happened, as happens in any friend group. I grew stronger, and found out that my spirituality didn't have to be something projected out into a community, or something constantly talked about. I became satisfied with myself and let my journey become something private and internal. I never stopped on my journey and I never gave up, but I realized that I didn't need others to define me.
I was my own self. And perhaps it's proper, as a cat, who doesn't need the society and structure that wolves do, to go off on my own and discover the parts of me I had left behind all those years--the human parts.
Because, you see, I'm a cat, but I'm also a human. I'm both, through and through, and I don't need to deny one to admit the other. I can be cat and human at the same time and be perfectly satisfied with myself because of that. After all, there's no need to deny either when I can accept both.
So you see, I draw and write about fantastical places and people, I play video games, I write computer code, I calculate flux integrals in calculus, I'm human, and I'm cat.
There's no shame in being human, just like there's no shame in being cat. I don't have to hide either. I can work on my college physics homework, pay my bills, and then go curl up on a couch in the sunlight and kneed a pillow. Sometimes my brain shifts more towards cat and I have to take a break from my human things to chase my fellow cats around the house, and be generally silly and playful. Other times I can't draw my cat characters right because I'm shifted too far human to think that way. Either way, I'm still both cat and human, and there's no difference between where human stops and cat begins. I perch and spread across the back of the couch as my friend and I watch movies, with a few of my friends reaching up now and then to scratch behind my ears. I don't have to tell anyone the terms or the words--they just know that "this is how Kit is" and accept my quirky nature, just as I accept their quirks as well.
There's no need to get into technicalities or be embarrassed "oh I meowed, oops!" it's easier to just let them say one day that "you're really just an oversized cat, aren't you?" and nod and laugh. No denial or complex words needed. They know the important part already.