Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


mermaids, furries and other dreamers ~

No, it’s not a real cat. It’s also not, according to the owner, merely a costume. It’s a fursona. A human being who has taken on the identity — at least sometimes — of a furry.

I only learned quite recently about furries. A friend of mine was telling me that her son, whom I’ve known since he was in middle school, is a furry. He identifies w/ animals, and w/ the furry characters from various media.

A few weeks after we visited, I was in Portland, home of tolerance for most things. Sitting at a caf é on Pioneer Square, drinking a civilised cup of great Portland coffee, w/ a dear friend I saw something that made me start from my chair, to poke Pat hard.

“Pat! Look behind you!”

Pat shushed me, scolding ~ “Don’t point, Britt! That is soooo rude!”

“Pat, I mean it! LOOK!”

Rolling her eyes, she turned discreetly. Her jaw dropped open. Literally.

“OMG!” she said. “What IS that??”

Behind her, teasing and playing w/ his three other more normally attired friends, was a blue-fur-faced young man of probably 20 or so. Hard to tell…:) He had blue (Yup. Blue.) fur –fluffy artificial fur — glued to his face. Not a beard (although he may had one of those also…), but fur, all over his face. His arms also were painted blue, and he had a blue hoodie on. This Oklahoma girl was blown away.

I had to explain furries to Pat. And we actually saw Mr. Blue a couple of other times downtown, while I was in Portland.

So yesterday, my hair dresses commented on my mermaid necklace (I promise this connects). I told her my best friend — the same one who saw Mr. Blue w/ me — loves mermaids. Kaitlin said her girlfriend also loves mermaids. “In fact,” Kaitlin offered, “she’s kind of obsessed w/ them.”

“Really…?” I said.

“Yeah… She dresses up like one all the time. And she went to the Mermaid Convention this year,” Kaitlin adds.Where a bunch of other folks (mostly women, but hey — some mermen, as well) dress up like mermaids.

“Soooo, does she dress up like a mermaid a… LOT?” I ask. And Kaitlin nods… “She carries her tail with her.”

Everywhere?” I’m not believing this.

“Even on a cruise,” Kaitlin says.

“Wow. Did anyone go w/ her?” I’m thinking what it would be like to be on a cruise where one of the passengers carried her mermaid tail w/ her everywhere…

“Yeah,” Kaitlin answers. “Me.”

And now I’m wondering what it would be like to be the girl with the girl w/ the mermaid tail. So I ask. :)

“Embarrassing,” Kaitlin admits. “At least sometimes.”

So these are my stories. About adults — albeit younger ones in their 20s — who dress up like fictional and/or mythical creatures. Who identify w/ them so strongly that they believe, in some cases, that they are furries. Or mermaids. Or mermen…

What is it about dreams that can take us over? What is it about life today that sends intelligent, thoughtful & creative people into fantasy worlds where they can be something other than human? There’s a kind of schizophrenia, in which the schizphrenic constructs a realistic and holistic fantasy world, in which s/he lives. This is NOT to say that mermaids & furries are schizophrenic. But I used to think, if the world gets too much for me, I’ll just build my own world inside my head and live there. And perhaps that’s what Kaitlin’s mermaid friend and Mr. Blue are doing — building better worlds for themselves.

And yes, it does have to do w/ love, and beginner’s heart. :) Because my friend is trying to understand her furry son. And Kaitlin went on the cruise w/ her girlfriend knowing  that Mermaid would carry her tail. Everywhere :).

That’s love — uncritical of oddities, responsive to the other’s crazy (but harmless) choices. I wish I could be that accepting. But I’m trying. And mermaids and furries are helping :)

 



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