I often feel like the odd woman out in the therian community.

 

Why?

 

A part of me really identifies with the label.  When I first discovered what therianthropy was and that there were other people out there who felt like animals…that I wasn’t alone in the world and that I wasn’t (completely) insane.  So as skeptical as I was then, I felt that the label fit.  And to a point I still do now.  But I can’t help but keep questioning whether or not it really is a correct label for me.  But at the same time I feel very awkward using it.  Most therians admit that their animal sides were always a part of them, even during childhood.  The first time I ever had an inkling of my animal side was when I was eleven.  And at that time I honestly thought something was completely wrong with me.

 

My experiences with my canine side though seem fairly “weak” in comparison with others.  I suppose my main problem has always been that I compare myself to other people.  It’s a habit that’s very hard to break.  In the back of my mind I know that if “therian” is the proper label for me I would have different experiences than other therians because I’m a different person.  It’s just hard for me to get over that hurdle of comparing myself to other people.

 

For example, I generally compare shifting experiences.  No I don’t mean physical shapeshifting.  That’s a complete and utter impossibility.  “Shifting” in this light refers to other things (mental, phantom, dream, aura, astral, etc.).  But describing terminology is for another post.  I’m predominately a mental shifter.  Meaning that at times my canine side tend to be more prominent in my mind.  Though I always retain my human mindset.  I think of my “shifts” as if they were on a sliding scale.  One end of the spectrum is human mindset.  The other is canine mindset.  The bar is mostly set on the human end.  But if I encounter anything that triggers a shift (scents, strong emotions, etc.) it will get pushed closer to the other end but never far enough that I have no idea what I’m doing.  I wonder if I should even count phantom shifts as 1) I didn’t experience them after I found out about therianthropy and 2) I don’t experience anything more than awkward sensations.  Since I recognized that I tend to ignore phantom shifts.

 

It’s the fact that my shifts are generally weak that make me question things a lot.  I think that I’ve only had a few stronger shifts but those are extremely few and far between.  Plus I’ve spent a lot of time suppressing them so my natural urge basically is to suppress them.  Even when I’m alone.  I’m learning to get over that, but still…it is quite awkward.  Humans shouldn’t feel like anything other than humans.

 

Also, (even though I know better) I generally see the term therianthropy used in a spiritual light.  It’s nearly impossible to look up a definition for therianthropy and not see some sort of spiritual connotations behind it.  I on the other hand (as a non-spiritual person) look at it in a psychological light.  At one point in time I did believe something spiritual.  Either that I had the soul of a wolf (at that time that’s what I narrowed down my therioside/animal side to) in a human body or that in a past life I was a wolf.  But after thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t think that at all.  I figured that mundane reasons should be considered far before spiritual reasons.  There’s so much we don’t know about the brain and how it works.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if therianthropy was just caused by atypical wiring of the brain.  Or even perhaps recessive genes that are triggered under certain conditions.  I’m no scientist, but speculating these mundane reasons make far more sense to me than skipping that step and believing I have the soul of some animal.

 

And to top it off (for now), one of my shifting triggers (aside from the ones I listed above) is werewolf movies.  I’ve seen other therians admit this.  Not a lot.  Just a few.  But this is one that make me believe that whatever it is I experience now is a product of one of two things.  The first being my love for (bordering on obsession with) werewolves/were-creatures.  The second being the fear of dogs I used to have when I was little.  But this is more focusing on the werewolf movies/TV shows.  This is why I believe that this is a psychological construct for me.  Well one of them.  I love the idea of shapeshifting and I’ve loved it for quite a while.  So maybe it’s been ingrained in my mind.  That seeing werewolves or a person turning into an animal brings out a more animalistic nature in myself.

 

Of course I mentioned my other reason why I believe this is a psychological construct.  My past phobia of dogs.  I was absolutely terrified of them.  I wouldn’t allow myself to get close to them.  It was around the time that I began to get over my fear of dogs that this canine nature began showing up in me.  Perhaps it was a way of helping me cope with the fear?  I’m not sure in the least bit.  It’s just a personal theory.

 

Where does the term “animal person” play a role in this?  Well, it’s a very vague label.  It could mean just about anything.  A person who loves animals.  A person who’s an animal totemist or shapeshifter.  Or a person who’s a therian.  It’s a term that I could use instead of therian.  I wonder if it’s better.  I’m an human being with somewhat of an animalistic nature.  Whether it was always there or if it was caused or triggered I may never be completely sure of.  All I’m sure of is how I am now.  That I’m still confused and slightly skeptical about the whole thing.  That maybe something is wrong with me.  That there is a part of me that’s very intriguing and odd, but I still like it.  For the moment, I’ll keep learning, keep “soul-searching”, keep questioning.  I’m sure I’ll figure it all out eventually.  It’ll just take a little more time.  I got this far in about 10 years.  What’s another 10 going to be to me?

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