avia: Text: "feel infinite with me". (feel infinite with me)
2032-11-26 07:21 pm

Non-human resources and projects [stick post #2]

Just a resource list I am passing around.
avia: Two swans in a painted style, with a soft purple color effect that looks fantasy. (mysterious swans)
2013-05-11 03:06 pm
Entry tags:

Douglas Adams and the Artificial God

[Public post.]

I've been reading this article which a friend showed to me, and finding it very interesting. It's a speech by Douglas Adams, and the idea is this: "there probably isn't a god or supernatural creatures, but strangely, some things work better when you act like this particular kind of god, or supernatural creature, is part of the situation".

I'm not talking about very general things like morality or being kind to each other. I'm talking about, and he's talking about, very particular situations where it works to assume there is a supernatural creature there for some reason. The examples that he gives are about the rice planting traditions of Bali, which are based on a very strict religious calendar, and Feng Shui, which is based on ideas like "how a dragon would move around this house, would they be comfortable here". And both times, scientists went in and said, we have modern knowledge now and you don't need this, you actually can be happier if you do it this modern way. And the modern way didn't work. For some reason, all the scientific calculations about how it was supposed to work, were not as good as the traditions that assumed there was a god or a dragon there.

And the point he comes to is this:

...as we become more and more scientifically literate, it's worth remembering that the fictions with which we previously populated our world may have some function that it's worth trying to understand and preserve the essential components of, rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water; because even though we may not accept the reasons given for them being here in the first place, it may well be that there are good practical reasons for them, or something like them, to be there. I suspect that as we move further and further into the field of digital or artificial life we will find more and more unexpected properties begin to emerge out of what we see happening and that this is a precise parallel to the entities we create around ourselves to inform and shape our lives and enable us to work and live together. Therefore, I would argue that though there isn't an actual god there is an artificial god and we should probably bear that in mind.

Here's another example. You can skip it if you want. )

Well, we probably don't want to jump to the conclusion that these things are true right now. But, what we can say, is that if we assume that "something like these things" exists, then it gives us a good model for how to work with the world. It's a model that we can understand that somehow makes these things make sense. Of course, if we find out later that the model doesn't fit some other part of the situation, we can throw it away. But right now, it seems to predict things that the other models can't predict.

And that is really how science works. If the best model for the situation really is "imagine that a dragon has to live in this house", then you imagine the dragon. The dragon might not be real, but the point is that the dragon-shaped model works for some reason and you use it as long as it works. You don't just throw it out because "dragons aren't real". It doesn't matter if dragons are real, it matters that the model works. And that doesn't make "common sense", but, it is how science is really done. A lot of things that are good science don't make common sense.

That's what I feel is also true about being therian or otherkin. On the chain of events that made me, I can't say if there is literally a swan at any point. That's why I don't base my therian identity on reincarnation. I also don't base it on the idea that I "really" have a "swan-like brain".

But, what I can say is that if I act like I have a swan-like brain, if I assume that I "am" a swan in some way that has a human body that was raised human, even though this doesn't seem to make any sense, it works. That seems to be the model I need.

And that's the important thing. That's the only thing. I don't want to throw away a model that works. And that's why I'm a therian.
avia: (captive swan)
2013-05-01 08:19 pm
Entry tags:

Talking accurately about otherkin and mental health

(This post is public.)

Just a thought that's been going through my head.

In order to defend otherkin/therians or show how things are difficult for us, people often talk about being afraid to talk to a therapist about their otherkin-related experiences or problems, because they're afraid they will "be called crazy and be locked up", or "the people in white coats will come and give them a big injection".

I understand why people say this, because being a neurodiversity minority or being seen as one is very scary, and because they are trying to encourage people to feel sympathy for them. And that's not a bad thing! It is often a question of survival, when you are a minority group, to encourage people to feel sympathy for you. And though otherkin are not at risk of being attacked on the streets (usually, though I have heard of it happening), it can still be a question of survival, if it makes a difference between being constantly mocked, humiliated and harassed away from your social spaces to the point that you feel suicidal, and having a few people in the world who understand.

But, I think this also can cause problems. Because it supports a false idea of psychological treatment and what psychologists/doctors do, that doesn't actually exist. And that idea is damaging to otherkin (and other neurodivergent people) in many ways.

It's damaging because, if otherkin say that they are scared of being locked up and injected, then it supports a belief in the general population that "people get locked up and injected for being crazy". In fact, it's very hard to get "locked up" in America for mental health reasons, particularly for longer than 72 hours, and even then you are usually only put in a hospital if you are showing that you are dangerous to your self or other people. (There's a book called 72 Hour Hold that is a really good exploration of this, if you're interested. It's fiction, but it is strongly based on real marginalized American communities.) The idea of people who live in an "asylum" is just not true today in America, though it exists in other countries.

This also adds to the popular (false) belief that the mental health system is actually effective at making "crazy" people be "not crazy". We have an idea in our heads that if someone is "crazy", which can mean something as small as "having strange beliefs" or "not fitting in with society", then there are mental health services that will treat these people with powerful chemicals that stop them being "crazy" and make them think like "normal" people, and if they can't do that then they lock them up.

This leads to an idea that there are no real people with mental illness in our society, and no real "strange" people, because they are all locked up. And, if they're not, they should "go and get help", so they either will be locked up, or they will be given medications until they stop being "crazy".

This is not how mental illness works, and it's not how having strange beliefs works. Even if someone has a mental illness that negatively affects their life, and that they want to treat, you can't just go and "get help" and be fixed. For some things and for some people, treatment doesn't exist, and for other things, it's a long process of finding the doses that work for you and help to control, but not completely remove, your symptoms. And, with things like otherkin which are completely based on theories about your self, and don't actually involve any delusions, you definitely can't be "treated" for it. Normal is a social idea that is different in every time and place, and so there is no medication that will magically make you "normal", because it isn't a real state that exists.

Psychologists know this, and they won't lock up otherkin. Otherkin are more in danger of being laughed at, told they are not serious, and treated negatively/abusively by a therapist than they are of being locked up.

It's important to spread this truth, because otherwise we add to the impression in people's minds that otherkin and people with mental illnesses

a) are the same thing
b) can be magically cured by psychologists, or else they are locked up
c) don't really live among us in society, because of b), so we don't need to accommodate for them, or talk to them as if they are listening.

(Edit: This comment shares a different perspective that I didn't know, and is worth reading.)
avia: A beautiful artistic phoenix raising their head to the sun. (phoenix of rebirth)
2013-04-21 12:29 am
Entry tags:

Self-diagnosis, non-human identity and empowerment

(This is a public post, in case anyone wants to link to it. I thought it needed to be said in a wider space.)

Sorry for another post being grumpy about jarandhel, but I think this is something that needed to be pointed out.

I don't try to look at jarandhel's posts any more, but I do look at the Tumblrs of other therians/otherkin, and sometimes they reblog him. This discussion got my attention, and, particularly this part of it:

Look at the transgendered for a moment - they didn’t come along saying “I believe I have a neurological condition which results in me experiencing gender dysphoria”. They said they felt trapped in the wrong body. Scientific and medical language was applied to their condition later, after proper study of the subject had been made. Not by trans individuals playing armchair psychologists and diagnosing themselves.

You know, I don't know much about how the trans* community started, but I'm pretty sure that they didn't do this because they wanted to play nice and sit around and wait until the Proper Medical Authorities noticed them. They didn't talk about things using the phrase "gender dysphoria" because they didn't have that language available to them. Not because it wasn't "the respectful thing to do".

I'm willing to bet most trans* activists didn't care about being respectful to the mainstream, because, when did it ever respect them? I'm sure those activists would feel sick, if they knew that they were being used as an example now, of how people should just wait politely to be recognized. They knew something was wrong, and they fought to be recognized. Fought.

And if trans* people didn't do some self-diagnosis, then probably they never would have been understood. Does jarandhel really think that the whole acceptance and understanding of trans* people was based on the medical community's work? I'm sure that trans* people actually did most of the work about understanding their selves, and the first time (and probably the 20th time, and the 200th time, and I'm sure it still happens today) that a trans* person went to a doctor or psychologist and explained their feelings, the doctor or psychologist looked at them strangely and said, "I don't know what to do about that". And so they were forced to find their own way, to understand their selves and then go back to the medical communities and say, "Doc. This is how I feel. This is what I need."

And say it again, again, until people listened.

Self-diagnosis is a tool of knowledge and empowerment. Do some people make mistakes in self-diagnosis? Of course, but a lot of doctors make mistakes in diagnosis too. And even if there are some false experiences with self-diagnosis, that's a small price to pay for the ability-- the right-- to educate our selves about our own bodies and our own health and to say, "I am the one who knows best about what is going on in my body." To use doctors and psychiatrists (who often like it when people come in knowing what's wrong with them! It makes their job easier) as assistants to help us get onto a path of wellness (or whatever path we want), not as gods who we are following blindly. To be able to understand our bodies without needing to pay the fees of doctors that many people can't afford. To be able to understand our bodies even before medical science cares about understanding them, which can often take many years after we notice something is wrong.

Look at transgender people for a moment - they didn't come along saying "I believe I have a neurological condition which results in me experiencing gender dysphoria". Because they didn't have those words and that power.

Don't we wish they had? In what world, in what totalitarian nightmare, do we think that it was a good thing that transgender people didn't have the words to describe their bodies and their experiences from the beginning?

And, now, in a world where those words exist, it doesn't seem sensible to start again from scratch.

Imagine a tornado is coming for your house. In days before people understood tornadoes, people might have said, "Huh. That's a big swirly pattern in the sky. I wonder if it means anything." Then, as time goes past, they might think, "It's getting closer. I really hope it isn't dangerous." And finally, while it is destroying their neighborhood, they think, "Okay, when that big swirly pattern happens, it's bad"... but of course, then, it's too late.

But that was before we knew about tornadoes. Now that we know, isn't it better, if we see a tornado, that we can think, "oh, that's probably a tornado, better get my family and run!" Even if we turn out to be wrong? Or, is it better to just stand there and think, "Well, that's a swirly pattern in the sky. I guess it could be something bad, but instead, I'm just going to stand here and wait until the weather service tells me. They know best, after all."

And then watch, as your house gets destroyed?
avia: (hearth fires)
2012-12-31 01:58 pm

Wishing for a stronger community

A couple of related links:

"The number of people who accept that a given oppression is real and bad is inversely proportional to the severity of said oppression." A great article that shows how not believing people's oppressions is one aspect of oppression.

A thoughtful article on BIID has been published, finally! And compares it with gender dysphoria, how shocking.

I like reading BIID blogs. Or, really, transabled.org, because there are not that many BIID blogs. Yesterday, I finally realized why I like the community so much that I watch it from a distance, even though it is not my community.

It's because I wish it was my community. There is so much support in that community, so much bonding between all the people in it. They don't mock or put each other down, or try to gaslight each other by doubting their experiences. I've never seen them fight or argue. When they have a disagreement, they settle it gently. I've never seen them act like one is better than the other, or like their experience is more "real" than the others'.

They've helped each other through depression, suicidal thoughts, and the extreme actions that many of them have needed to take to cure their dysphoria. If someone in the BIID community says, "I need an amputation to feel comfortable with my body", they are accepted and supported by mature people who have studied the literature, understand that this is not a phase, it is a neurological problem with the wiring of the brain and body map that only can be cured this way, as extreme as it seems. They don't start yelling emotional arguments or talking about how this will "make the community look bad". They don't suggest pointless things that don't help, like "you need to see a psychologist" (because these people already have seen psychologists!) or "just try to appreciate the body you have now and the fact that you are healthy" (because you think they haven't tried that??) They are rational, because they too have been there and they don't deny how horrible it can be.

In the otherkin and therian communities, someone who talks about wanting surgery, even if we know we can't have it, is automatically an outcast. Even someone who talks about any negative experience, depression, dysphoria, uncontrollable shifts, is not helped and supported but mocked, told to "toughen up", that "that's not how real therians are". The community cares far more about whether it looks bad to the outside than actually helping its people. New ideas and experiences are not used to help the stores of knowledge grow and become more detailed, but are attacked using false, pseudo-scientific arguments because they are seen as a threat. The community is deeply injured by a hierarchy where, in many places, therians are seen as "more legitimate" than otherkin, otherkin are "more legitimate" than fictionkin, and fictionkin are "more legitimate" than factives. Denying that your own experiences mean anything, and pushing them away with a simple explanation of "I must be crazy", is seen as healthy and rational behavior.

And, most importantly, the BIID shows that the therian and otherkin communities' ideas, that too much support and accepting attitudes would make people stop thinking critically and stop other people taking them seriously, are a complete fantasy. The BIID community does not harass its members constantly, yet they have come much closer to discovering a cause for BIID than therians or otherkin have to discovering a cause for our dysphoria. The BIID community does not police its members to make sure that only the "good ones" stay, but the outside world is slowly starting to realize that they are serious: scientific articles like that second link are being posted about it. But we're not even close to having a good medical or psychological article published about otherkin.

In fact, I believe that what the therian and otherkin communities do, probably has the opposite effect. If you don't police people and harass them for their views, they naturally will think critically about their own beliefs and experiences. But if you constantly threaten them, they will start to get defensive, and then they will feel much less comfortable thinking critically at all, because they won't want to admit that the people who are attacking them are right.

So, yeah. I wish we were more like the BIID community, and less like our own community. If I had BIID, I'm sure I would have had a place there, instead of being the outcast of the outcast. And that is kind of sad to think about.
avia: (nest of books)
2012-10-14 06:31 pm
Entry tags:

Otherkin/therian romance anthology

aaaaaah this small publishing company is working on an anthology of romance stories featuring otherkin and therian characters and they're putting out a call for it

they're looking for a cover too, and if the cover features human-looking people they prefer people of color, yay

they will pay you $30 for stories and $100 for the cover and [profile] thegreenwolf is writing the forward

they're also collecting a nonfiction anthology of essays by disabled people on sex and romance

please please signal boost this all you can because this will be one of the few times that published stories have been written deliberately FOR otherkin (actually the only other one i can think of is soar) and i need this with all my heart (and i don't even like romance)

blblblblbl thank you
avia: A beautiful artistic phoenix raising their head to the sun. (phoenix of rebirth)
2011-12-19 09:03 pm

The Forest Voice #1 is out! ^v^

Download here or here (note in the first link, the updated download URL in a comment, I had to fix one page for an error).

I could not find a place to have a print version of the zine published that would not be super expensive. But, with the instructions on zinelibrary, you can make your own copy! For this issue the cover page and the last page will need to be printed separately. The zine is designed to be printed on US letter paper, each page will be half of a US letter page. So, the instructions at zinelibrary will work perfect.

So, you all want to know how to submit to the next issue, right? ^v^

Next issue's theme is Glamour and Spelling! Bring your most magical thoughts, poems and writings to our next issue! Ideas for glamourbombs are particularly welcome, as well as stories and articles that can be shared in a glamourbomb way, prayers and spells, reviews of fiction about glamourbombs and magic, thoughts on magical traditions that mention nonhumans and how accurate are they really (Faery Wicca, Dragon Magic...), costume tutorials... anything that's magical or full of wonder!

Anything "Spring themed" (nonhuman-focused rituals you like to do for Spring, your feelings about Spring as a nonhuman, etc.) is also welcome.

Submission deadline for Issue #2, Spring 2012, is March 1st. Send submissions to hakuchou at allusion dot net, to my PM box on Dreamwidth, or my submit box on Tumblr.

Submissions can be:

  • Essays
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • Glamourbombs
  • Meditations
  • Rituals
  • Tutorials
  • Songs and chants
  • Art
  • Or anything you like!

For art, note that The Forest Voice is a black and white zine, so please submit arts in greyscale, or, be prepared that they will be coverted to greyscale. The Forest Voice has a "medieval illumination" style so arts in this style are particularly wanted, as well as other traditional styles like sumi-e, etc. But, your art can be in any style you like.

For essays, The Forest Voice does not have a lot of rules, but, I ask that you do not submit anything ableist, racist, sexist, cissexist, etc., and, people who submit should be open to a polite discussion of the content and an ask for them to edit their content if it does contain these things. Important note particularly that people might not notice: Saying that people can, or should "get over" things like dysphoria, bullying, stress, etc. is considered ableist here, because not everyone has the psychological ability to do these things.

People have been really nice about this with all your submissions! So, let's continue this way! ^v^
avia: Text, blue letters on a tree trunk: "I have only a beast's heart". (only a beast's heart)
2011-11-29 02:23 am
Entry tags:

Sudden thought I have

I am supposed to be sleeping, but a thought just came into my mind that I had to write down, like they often do before going to sleep...

One day, I want to get a motorcycle. It's cheaper than a car, you can feel the wind, you're not shut in a metal box, it's more eco friendly, and, you never get stuck in a traffic jam because it's legal to ride between the lanes (here it is, anyway).

So, I am planning this image in my mind, haha... I want this (the Princess Mononoke quote*, not the "Anti-christ" part) on a non-leather jacket**... and then I was thinking, what can I put on my helmet? Something animal... like horns... or...

Then, I thought about Lupa's spirit costumes, the way that she takes skins that are second-hand or would be thrown away, and makes them into spiritual dance costumes for animal spirit work. She says that often, the animals love to be able to dance again. I wonder, if there is a skin out there who would love the feeling of being able to go faster than an animal can run? A real thrill-chasing spirit who would find joy and freedom in being a head-dress for a helmet...

* Yes, I know it's misanthropic, but it is a quote that I feel a lot with, because of my love for San as a young age...
** I'm not vegan, but I like to avoid leather when I can. Of course this seems ironic to match a non-leather jacket with the animal skin, but I know that with Lupa's work, she is not causing extra cruelty by selling her work, but if I buy a leather jacket, it probably does add to that...
avia: Bird with the text "Fly away with me". (fly away with me)
2011-10-26 03:34 am

One more thing and then I really should get ready for bed...

The first issue of the new non-human zine, The Forest Voice, is calling for submissions!The theme of the first issue: Walking Man’s Road: The challenges of living non-human in the human worldI’m looking for all kinds of submission: stories, poetry, art, quotes, essays, glamourbombs, recipes, anything you like. You can write something that’s five words long or five pages. You don’t have to write perfectly (I don’t!) but please try to write with passion! Nothing too strange! Nothing too extreme! Imagine you were writing for a magazine to be delivered to the fae, and pour out your pure and wild heart.Anything that blurs fantasy and reality (making it seem like you are writing as a physical nonhuman) is particularly welcome, as I hope this zine will also be a glamourbomb, for people who don’t know about nonhumans.Anonymous submissions are of course, always okay!Please send submissions to hakuchou at allusion dot net, or, in my submit box, by December 1st! (This is just a rough look at the cover: it won’t have Autumn/Winter 2011 on it now obviously, hehe~)And, please signal boost! <3

The first issue of the new non-human zine, The Forest Voice, is calling for submissions!

The theme of the first issue: Walking Man’s Road: The challenges of living non-human in the human world

I’m looking for all kinds of submission: stories, poetry, art, quotes, essays, glamourbombs, recipes, anything you like. You can write something that’s five words long or five pages. You don’t have to write perfectly (I don’t!) but please try to write with passion! Nothing too strange! Nothing too extreme! Imagine you were writing for a magazine to be delivered to the fae, and pour out your pure and wild heart.

Anything that blurs fantasy and reality (making it seem like you are writing as a physical nonhuman in the Earth world) is particularly welcome, as I hope this zine will also be a glamourbomb, for people who don’t know about nonhumans.

Anonymous submissions are of course, always okay!

Please send submissions to hakuchou at allusion dot net, or, as a PM, by December 1st! (This is just a rough look at the cover: it won’t have Autumn/Winter 2011 on it now obviously, hehe~)

And, please signal boost! <3
avia: Text: "Never love a wild thing." (never love a wild thing)
2011-09-22 01:45 pm

[warning: abuse of humans and other animals] feral hearts

Oh, oh, oh. This. This.

Our feral heart that wants to run. Our quiet heart that wants to go home. The way we are on a constant search for wings.

What are we? I can’t answer that question for everyone, but I, I reject human form, the same way that maybe the dog rejects the way it has been shaped by vain, proud hands, rejects being squashed into a small body with a stump nose and legs that hardly run, remembers the wolf.

Perhaps, there is a secret society of species dysmorphics through the world, wolves trapped in handbag-size bodies, tigers designed by human hands for beauty and not for breathing.

Perhaps, humanity is just the first victim of a curse, a curse that washed over the land and said, we will take birds and give them not-flight, we will take coyotes and give them not-running, we will squash them into strange naked shapes. And, in anger, they will turn on the rest of the world and make it as not-wild and not-free as they are, turning wolves into handbag dogs, clipping the wings of birds and shutting them in cages.

We have been abused, we have been broken, and so, we repeat that abuse on the helpless things around us.

But I say, no more. I will not continue the abuse done to me. I will let the birds fly, even if it makes my heart ache to watch them go where I can not.
avia: Picture of numbers, shapes, and stars falling in a night sky. (falling numbers)
2011-09-17 11:56 am

A question of business

So, I am thinking that I might start to do a small business type thing, making patches. The kind that you sew on clothes, or, you can pin them on. They are going to have various neurodiversity type statements on, because, I don't see a lot of people making patches/buttons for actual neurodiverse people, more like cure stuff. I also want to make therian/otherkin/non-human ones, and, similar things that not typical people might want.

List of ideas I have, I am accepting more... )

I got some blank patches and, I have some iron-on transfer paper that is left from another project. I also want to put charms, beads, etc. hanging from the bottom, and, I want to do custom versions.

For each patch, what I will need is:

  • blank patch (they cost $1.50 each)
  • transfer paper (I think that for $10, I can get about 10 sheets, cutting them into pieces will give me enough for about 100 patches so, it's 10 cents for each patch)
  • two safety pins for people who want to pin them on (didn't look at the price of this yet)
  • charms and jump rings (I have some jump rings, I don't have charms, the charms will be most expensive. I can probably buy a large box of various beads for not much money, but, for special charms that I want to do, like a paw charm for a therian patch, it will probably be about $2 for each charm)
  • shipping cost (about $2 to America plus enveloves?)

Total: about $2 for regular patch, $4 for special charm patch, $4/$6 with shipping

So, I am trying to think of how to make this make actual money for me. I don't want to charge a lot, but, at the same time, it will be hard for me to make anything if I don't charge at least $5+shipping for the special ones.

My questions to you are:

  • What do you think is a good price for special patches (with charm that matches the patch)?
  • What do you think is a good prince for regular patches (would just have beads)?
  • Do you think it's fair to charge more for patches with different special charms than the regular ones? Or, maybe I should make it all the same price (meaning that the regular ones are more expensive) to make up the cost of the special ones by selling regular ones?
avia: A dark haired girl sitting without concern in a winter scene, with a large heart next to her feet, surrounded by crows. (eat my heart out)
2011-09-14 11:32 am

The pilgrimage of swans

A lot to write about, a lot to share. I had a very powerful and eventful trip with [personal profile] niya. She was kind enough to take me to San Francisco, so I could see the swans that I have a spiritual longing to be close to.

These are the stories that happened on that trip. Or, some of them. I'm sure I forget some, and, others are stories inside stories, that I will tell on my Tumblr under the writing tag. But this, this is the main story as I remember it.

Swans, faerie forests, deer spirits, and amazing food, plus many many photos )
avia: Painting of a swan flying against a background of city night sky. (swan flight)
2011-09-07 06:32 pm

swan+girl: why identity doesn't clash

Prompt from kinspeak on Tumblr:
To otherkin and therians alike, how do you think your personalities tie in with your kin-type or therio-type? Does the “human” side of you clash with the “other”? Or do they fit seamlessly together?
For me, they perfectly match.

Which is not saying that I never have more “human” feelings that clash with the “swan” feelings, but… I don’t think this is a deep clash between the girl and the swan, because, I sometimes have human feelings that clash with my other human feelings, and, swan feelings that clash with my other swan feelings. That’s a part of being alive, that your feelings don’t always match.

But, it’s not a daily war between the swan and the girl. The girl is like the swan, swan-like, sometimes gentle to those she loves, sometimes cold and distant, and the swan is like the girl, girl-like, sometimes expressing her self in ways that are not like a swan at all. Most of the time, I don’t know where one ends and the other begins, and, it seems wrong to try and pull them apart, because, they are meant to be whole.

Read more... )