The first re-post from F4L, from The Round Table group discussion titled “The souls in the furries”. (edited from the original)
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I feel a need to get deep… we’re talking soul here, after all.
I am a furry because someone I befriended online, but never met, told me I had the spirit of Fox. He was a full-blood Native American of the Kiowa nation, a man of my own age and a Vietnam vet (Marines, Special Forces). After that, he never called me anything but Fox. (About a year later, he volunteered back into uniform after 9/11. They took him back, for his ‘special talents’… he was killed in action overseas in a location far from the headlines but vital to our common safety.) Another friend, the dearest I have in the real world (who also said I had “a poet’s soul”), gave me the name Lalo from a character in a book we both read. I combined the two and became Lalo Fox, the name under which I wrote and edited for six years. Yes, you can Google it.
When you join Second Life, the administrators give you a list of last names from which you must choose (it changes regularly). Fox wasn’t available… but one name did jump out at me: Telling. To understand why, you should read Always Coming Home by Ursula LeGuin… but the short answer is, one of the story threads carried through that novel is narrated by a woman called Stone Telling. I took the name, with a smile of thanks to the unseen forces that made it possible, and I took the responsibilities that come with it. As “Lalo Fox”, I had already begun telling… this renaming was a re-dedication.
I was a fox for a while… but, as we furries know, sometimes as one grows one changes form — at least, the image of ourselves we keep inside. In Second Life one can change one’s outer form for any reason, or for no reason at all. Without feeling at all like I was dishonoring the memory of the friend who named me Fox, I surrendered to the call of the feline, and have been a cat of one sort or another ever since. (To be fair: the People of the Plains had no small cats in their world to learn from, and foxes are the most “feline” of the canines).
In the other posts (i.e., the group discussion from which this is copied) I see a common thread: solitude. In my real life I am the same, and have always been so… but, being also human, I cannot avoid the desire for companionship. There, I think, is a conflict all of us share: the need to be loved vs the need to be alone. That conflict is never far from the front of my mind, and I carry it with me into Second Life, too. I am not unloved in either world — but I do not have one special love, not here, not there, and the conflict rages on.
I learn from my past, but I do not dwell on it. Instead, my inner eyes look toward the future while my conscious mind sits in the stream of the present like a stone in a river: never moving, but shaped by the flow at the same time that my presence makes ripples in it. I am now of the age when I know that stream will, some day, finally take me with it, and the ripples I make will vanish… yet that is of no concern. I won’t be there to know of the change.