Date First Written: April 2019; Date Last Updated: November 2019
Our Lack of An Awakening & Our Discovery Journey
Note: Due to our limited memories of our childhood, much of what is detailed below was aided by our mother, grandmother, and older sister whose recollections helped fill in some gaps or added more context to certain situations.
Within the various otherkin communities (especially the therianthrope community) the term "awakening" is used to refer the process of an individual realizing that they do not identify as human and instead realize they identify as a nonhuman species. The term doesn't have an exact definition and can be used to refer to realizing one does not identify as strictly human non-physically and/or it can mean realizing what species an individual identifies as. For some people they begin experiencing shifting as part of their awakening process, but some people experience shifting long before their awakening takes place. The term doesn't refer to when a person discovers the therianthrope community, though that can occur during or around the same time as an awakening. It is generally accepted that many therianthropes experiences their awakening during their adolescence, though an awakenings have been reported as occurring before or after adolescence as well. It is also accepted that some therianthropes to not have had an awakening or not a remember an event like an awakening.
Our Lack Of An Awakening Based On Our Earliest Memories
When did we awaken? When did we first know we identified as nonhuman? The honest answer is we have always known, or at least, we have always known as far back as we can remember. We have always known ever since we could coherent thoughts seems the most likely answer. If not that early, at least as young as age 7 or 8 based on memories clear enough to say with certainty. For this reason, our multiple system does not consider ourselves to ever have had an awakening; or, more accurately, it seems what awakening we had occurred so very early in life we do not remember any of that process of discovery. We do not recall a moment in our life when we came to the realization and conclusion that most of us identified as nonhuman having not previously thought such was the case. None of us recall a time when a majority of us didn't feel nonhuman to some extent or another. In fact, as far back as any of us can remember anything at all, we've always been aware that most of us are nonhuman and been aware of our individual species identities. As far as our own perception stance, we have always known we were animals (or for the few, plants) trapped in a human body.
Clear enough childhood memories to glean much of anything from only reach as far back as about 7 years old. So we believe if we experienced what can be called an a awakening, it occurred either around that age or before then. So the exact circumstances of our awakening is unknown to us due to our lack of earlier childhood memories. Due to the fact we have no memory of ever having not been what we now call therianthropy, we strongly feel this state is something present from birth or came about very early childhood at the very least. Our only limitation back then was an exact context for all of our feelings and experiences as well as a label for it all. We might not have had a term to describe our experiences and my feelings, but they were still there. That would come later on in life.
Our earliest memories only go back to about age 7 but even by that age our therianthropy shown through. We grew up being aware are of our unusual state of being even though we didn't fully know what it all was or mean back then. Our brain couldn't warp around all of the experiences, feelings, and thoughts we had nor did we have a vocabulary hardy enough to even begin to describe our state of being, but our therianthropy was their nevertheless. It took time to get a handle on all the different kinds of experiences we were having in relation to out self-images and our innerworld form over time through our childhood before even discovering the therianthrope community. We began our path to self-discovery without the aid of the therian community, thus we had to come to our own conclusions and explanations as to how and why we could perceived ourselves as we did. Our ability to process what we felt and experiences grew with time and continued experiences. We began to slowly grasp that our feelings was identification as and so on.
A List of Behaviors We Had During Our Childhood
Feeling of Being Animals Even though Our Body Was Human - The stereotypical phrase we "always knew we were nonhuman on some level" does apply to us. One of the clearest memories we have from our childhood is this : we felt like animals. Of all of our memories that point to as being early signs of our personal therianthropy, this is obviously the biggest indicator for us. As far back as we can recall what we were thinking and feeling at the time, we felt like were somehow animals even if no one else could tell. We just remember always feeling so profoundly animalistic. When we were still very young we took this to mean others just were not able to see what was really there (we thought we were physically nonhuman animals that just appeared human to everyone else), but we quickly rationalized that wasn't the case. We learned and accepted we didn't have fur, feathers, or scales and that instead we just thought of ourselves as nonhuman animals. We figured out that our body just felt wrongfully human.
Made Statements of Being Animals - As young 5 or 6 years old we made statements declaring any one of us was a particular nonhuman animal in very matter-of-fact and serious tone. If we were not claiming to be a nonhuman animal, at the very least, a few times one of us claimed to be at least part animal. For example, Earth Listener would say things like "I am a wolf," Lunatani said things like "I feel like a dog," and Andraya said things along the lines of "I might look like a girl but I'm a seal." Those three are just of a handful of remembered events. Those are claims we recall people stating to others at some point during our childhood (likely sometime between 7 to 12 years of age as we started to be more tight tipped about things in our teens.) We made many of such statements according to family but we don't recall as much as they do. There was no confusion in our mind to our state of being, the confusion came because no one else could see what was going on. We felt we were animals in a human body, but our child brain couldn't process how something so obviously true to us was obvious to others around us. Our child selves couldn't grasp why no one looked deeper than the flesh of our body. These kinds of statements of being a nonhuman animal were constant throughout our childhood. They only stopped in our preteens because saying such things always got us into trouble. However, we never stopped feeling that way. We just stopped talking about our feelings and thoughts.
Drawing Ourselves As Nonhuman - Even as young as 6 or 7 when told by teachers to draw self-portrait we would draw figures other than our body. Nevado would draw a white dragon, Lunatani would draw a red mutt-like domestic dog, Ravi would draw a tiger, to name a few people recalled being drawn. This sort of response to being asked to draw any sort of self-portrait consistently resulted in us drawing a figure other than our body throughout our childhood. Being reprimanded for not doing the assignment right (if for school) merely led to confusion on our part and us being adamant we did it correctly. As we grew older we learned to always just draw our body when asked for a self-portrait. Though as a teenager several of us took any excuse that they could be found at drawing their real self as well or instead in our art classes. Now that we are an adult, we simply draw what we please.
Pointing Out Photos Of Animals As "Me" - Then there was also all the times any number of us pointed out a photograph of a particular animal and said "That is me" or something along those lines. Specific events we recall include Andraya pointing to pictures in a Zoobook Magazine of harbor seals (or seals similar in appearance to 8 year old eyes) and stating "that's me" one time while she was fronting. In another instance, we specifically recall Blue Sea pointing to the television while watching a documentary about sharks when a blue shark was shown when we were 8. One thing we recall and find interesting is how we always pointed to photographs of animals or very realistic drawings. We wouldn't point at an animated animal character. We also would not do this to characters. These sorts of actions began around age 5 or 6 and continued throughout our childhood until we began keeping our feelings and thoughts to ourselves due to being reprimanded or even punished once again for making such statements.
Lack of Facial Recognition - As a child, we had a difficultly recognizing our body as us in a mirror or in photographs. We would understand the nature of how a mirror worked and what photos were, yet there was a disconnect of our face being really our own. We knew it was our body in a mirror or a picture, and yet it felt so foreign. It felt like it didn't look like it should. So even as a child, we disliked looking at our body in the mirror and avoided pictures as much as we could voluntarily opt out of.
Feeling Of Being Different Or "Other" - On top of everything we just has a strong and compelling sense of being different than others. A difference that we felt deep within us beyond what we really adequately describe. As cliché as it sounds, we have always felt "strange," "weird," and "different." As far back as we can remember, we haven't felt quite human. We felt like we were trying to live in an alien world trying to be and act in a way counter to what felt natural to us. We felt like there was some fundamental difference about us that separated us from the people around us. This sense of being other than everyone else arose at a fairly young age. Since we were a child, we have been aware of a part of ourselves that did not fit. That we did not fit in, as it were. We recall certainly feeling it when we were 8 years old. Other children sensed it too, or they certainly acted that way, as other children constantly bullied us for being "weird" or they would simply treat us like we were literally invisible. We were the "weird kid." throughout our years in grade school. (To this day we still do not know which treatment was worse.) Our mother regularly punished us or chided us for not acting like a normal girl. So between our own inner knowing and outside reactions to us, we certainly felt very different than other people.
Desire To Live As An Animal - Besides wanting the form of a nonhuman animal, early hints of our therianthropy also included the nonhumans among us being drawn to the idea of living as a nonhuman animal to some extent or another. Our thoughts ranged from wanting to just live closer to nature (living in a small house in the middle of a forest, was one childhood dream example) to living outright like an animal. As we grew older we went through a variety of different idealized future lifestyles relating to this. These dreams varied a little depending on if our child brain factored in a physically human body into the scenarios or not. If we were including the desire to physically transform into nonhuman animals we would think up idealized scenes of nature fitting for our theriotypes.
Desire To Transform Into An Animal - Early on in our life we became obsessed and fascinated with the idea of physically becoming a nonhuman animal. Growing up, at least as young as 7 or 8, the nonhuman animals in our multiple system used to fairly often wish while falling asleep at night that we would wake up changed into a nonhuman animal. Exactly what animal depended on who was making the wish. (Plus, those of us who are also transgender would wish for a sex change along with a species change.) Further, any time we came upon something we were supposes to wish upon (birthday candles, shooting stars, dandelions, pennies into a wishing foundations, etc), the thing so many of us always wished for was to either become a certain nonhuman animal or the ability to change shape into an animal at will. We also wished we could just shapeshift into our species at will; our body molding into whoever was in control at the time. A number of us also would sometimes so vividly imagine a nonhuman body just under the skin of our physical body, just itching to come through our skin. We wanted to look like we "are" so badly we hopped any hint of anything was something. This feeling was further spurred on by early experiences of our phantom limbs. Those of us who had wings often hoped when we were not even into our preteens that our body would sprout wings if they just jumped high or long enough. Further we recall those of us whose animal species ran quickly on all fours around age 8 hoped that if we ran fast enough, a nonhuman body would shed through our physical body. All of this lead to us to be highly athletic in elementary school. We learned quickly bodies don't grow wings or any other features, but our childhood was still full of the wish what we wanted could be so. When we were 13, the werewolves in our multiple system discovered books on how to turn into a werewolf. Between 13 and 14 they tried any number of spells under the light of Full Moons (the ones that were do-able and safe to do anyway) in an attempt at gaining access to physical shifting. These spells and rituals were not done out of belief they worked, but out of desperation that if only they could. We also recall as a child finding it odd when characters in some movie or show reacted negatively to being turned into animals. We thought becoming an animal would be the best thing that could happen. For example, while watching the 1994 movie, Swan Princess we only thought her being kidnapped and held prisoner by the antagonist was the issue and her turning into a swan at night sounded cool. This interest lead us to become fans of werewolf and other shapeshifter-related books and movies when we were not even into our preteen years. This interest was driven by how many of us found ourselves relating to the duality of being both human and animal in many of the stories we found. This was especially the case for Cavern-Risen. This interest is what would later help us stumble into the were community due to the were community having originated with the werewolf fandom in the 90s. That link is what helped is find the were community as early as we did.
Phantom Limbs - We began experiencing shifting, at least phantom shifting specifically, fairly early on in life. As early as our preteens at the very least, we would occasionally have distinct physical sensations of the present of nonhuman traits that were not actually physically there. For most of us, these were usually the tails or ears of our given species. As a child it puzzled us that we would feel things on our body but when we turned to look we could not see them. Even before our preteen years we would also complain of feeling "invisible tails," "invisible ears," or several other nonhuman characteristics to family and teachers. They, of course, assumed we were playing pretend. This assumption usually lead to nothing but occasionally we got in trouble for "playing when it was not appropriate." One event we vividly recall occurred in kindergarten where Lunatani cried out when a classmate walked behind us while everyone was seated on the floor and managed to step on Lunatani's phantom tail. Our teacher got on to Lunatani for disturbing the class. We tried to talk about our phantom limbs to others during our childhood until we learned to keep such strange experiences to ourselves. So by about age 11 we had stopped sharing such things with anyone though such phantom experiences only grew in regularity and detail as the years progressed.
Non-word Speaking / Making Non-word Sounds - We were late talkers compared to most children having not began to really speak until we were 4 years old. (This delay was likely caused by our autism, when is something our animality seems well tied into by way of certain symptoms.) Before and even after that point we instead used a lot of non-word sounds to communicate. The sounds we made included snarling, whining, hissing, snorting, grunting, growling, howling, barking, and various other sounds not as easily described. We also made a lot of sounds from within our throat, which while came naturally to us, was often confusing to people around us. Even as our use of speech grew with pressure to use to it from family and teachers, we still often would slip into non-word sounds at times, especially if surprised or in pain. We also had short spells were we would become non-verbal. During these timeframes that could last only a few minutes to several hours, we would just not know how to form words. It was almost like a switch gets turned off inside our brain. The causes of these spells is something we still do not really know. This inclination toward making non-word sounds and occasional lapses into being non-verbal continued on throughout our childhood, into our teenage years, and still prevails into our adult years.
Animalistic Body Language - Along with our inclination towards non-word sounds as a means of communication, we also originally used a lot of body language. Much of the body language we naturally used differed from what is considered normal and instead it had a very animalistic quality to it. Some things we recall doing for sure when we were children included baring our teeth, crouching in submission, tilting our head to the side, avoiding eye-to-eye contact, and pacing in one place when agitated. Those being just a few things we did. Our use of body language that differed from the norm was driven inward and suppressed by punishment from our family and teachers though our predisposition toward animalistic body language never could be fully stomped out of us. It simply became more subtle when in public. On the flipside of our body language naturally being best described as animalistic, our innate understanding of human body language was rather lacking as a child. We had to self-teach ourselves how to read and mimic normal body language, though still to this day we sometimes have trouble reading people right and using the right kinds of body language.
Posturing - There was also the quirk of how we would position our body without thinking while we were a child. We would sit, lay, or so on in ways that was more like an animal in some fashion. For an example, given many of us are quadrupedal animal, growing up many of us would recline on our body's belly with our limbs laid out in whatever manner seemed best fitting for our species within the confines of what human anatomy could achieve. When those of us who were quadrupedal animals fronted, we would also sit with our arms resting on the seat of the chair we were at, between our legs. For another example, the avains in our system often walked with our arms up and tucked in close to our chest mimicking a bird's folded wings. These are just a few of the easy to describe examples. As best we can recall, we did this because it felt right and only stopped doing it because we got into trouble for it. Keeping our body in such ways was done outside of play.
Defending Ourselves With Teeth And Nails - We were picked out as the "weird kid" by others fairly early on in our childhood. The reason for being noted as "weird" was the unusual little things children use against each other, but some of it wasn't. Pretty early on in our childhood other kids picked up on quirks and behaviors that we could later on as be labeled as symptoms of our autism, early signs of being transgender, early signs of being multiple, and early signs of being a therianthrope. Sometimes, we were bullied because of these quirks. When bullying ever become physical our instinctive way of defense, if running wasn't an option, was to scratch and even bite rather than punch or kick. For example, when we were 8 or 9 a girl came up behind us and got us in a choke hold. We managed to grab her other arm and bite down while scratching at her face. The bullying was all but constant from the time we were in daycare until we started college.
The Enigma Of Hands - Another little thing we dealt with growing up was our confusion surrounding our hands. Growing up we found the use of our hands very perplexing. Thumbs were especially a puzzling things. Our hands functioned normally, of course, but it seemed to take us longer than usual to become comfortable with using without a second thought. We mastered the use of our hands within the average range for a child to do so, but we always felt bewildered by them. Use of our hands often felt alien to us for the longest time as a child. We recall as a child just studying our hands and wondering if they we really part of our body and thinking how alien and weird they looked attached to us.
Using Mouth As An Extra Hand - Growing up, we never really understood why other people do not use their mouth to hold things that much. Using of our mouth to hold things is something we began doing very early in our life. As a child we would free our hands up by holding things with our mouth constantly. Even if we were not needing to use our hands for anything in particular. Anything we could keep a hold of in our mouth often went there: pencils, paper, small toys, and other things of that nature. This behavior is something we still sometimes do to a fair extent without a second thought at least outside professional settings.
Impulse To Chew Or Mouth Objects - Related perhaps to our impulse to hold things in our mouth was our impulse to also chew or just play with things using our lips. This behavior made sense when we were growing in our baby teeth and later losing our baby teeth for our adult ones; however, it remained outside those events. We just had a desire to chew on objects whether we had teeth coming in or not. An example when we still fixated on chewing when we were 7 or 8 was we would take our tinker toys and make them look vaguely like bones and then lightly chew on them and carry them around in our mouth. One thing we did when we were 10 or 11 was pull the tags off our clothes curl them and uncurl them with our lips and fingers. The aquatic and avian folk in our multiple system seemed the most prone to this activity and compulsion.
Walking On All Fours - Another thing we did growing up was our inclination toward walking on "all fours." Even after we learned to walk upright, we continually still often walked with both our hands and feet on the ground. Walking this way took time for our mother to pressure us out of doing. Even by age 13, in our free time at home when our Mom was at work, we still would often move about on all fours. It felt more natural to move about on our hands and feet so we did do when we're free to do so. Also, ever since we began interacting with stairs, we would talk up them on all fours. This behavior reminded throughout child. We still have the impulse to walk on all fours while going up stairs as adults but do not actually follow through when in public.
Walking Digitigrade - We don't recall when we started sometimes walking with the heels of our feet never touching the ground, but perhaps we started around age 10 or 11. We didn't walk or stand like that all the time, but occasionally many of us would start doing it for a spell. Usually up until the muscles in our feet tired of it. A majority of those of us who are nonhuman, save for any of the aquatic folks in our multiple system, would occasionally walk this way while fronting. We still occasionally catch ourselves walking digitigrade a little bit but as our age progresses our joints don't care for it more and more so we do it less and less often.
Making A Den - One habit we had throughout our childhood, is that many of the mammalian inclined people would make what we called "dens." Basically, we would find or make a dark small space to add blankets and pillows to make it a comfortable place to be in. Early on in our childhood our "den" was very simple. We would just drop a blanket over the footrest of a reclining chair to make a dark little place be under. When we got too big for that, around 8 or 9 years old, we used an indoor play tent that we put blankets on top of to make it dark inside. By the time we were into our preteen years, our desire to curl up in a small dark place had diminished but when we did have the occasional want that comfort we would use our closet instead. By the time we were in our teens we had almost entirely grown out of the impulse. The only remaining exception during that time was once when we were a sick with a bad case of the flu and again a year or so later with some other kind of upper respiratory infection that left us sick for several days we ended up back inside our closet laying on a bunch of pillows and blankets. Since our late teens we have not had the impulse to be in or make a "den."
In a similar manner, the avains in our system would spend hours making nests using blankets and pillows to curl up to sleep. Early on, we would simply warp blankets and pillows around us, but as we got older, took more care in playing pillows down and around first before adding layers and layers of blankets. However, the avians in our system outgrew the impulse to make such nests faster than those who made dens.
Wearing A "Tail" - Another thing we did as a child was wear things to act as an artificial tail. To do this, we would take a spare purse strap from our mother's closet, attach it to the back loop of our pants, and run around the house with a "tail." We strongly remember doing this when we were 8 and 9 much to our mother's irritation due to it being yet another unusual thing we did. As she often made us take it off when she saw us with it on, we began only wearing it when she was out of the house. She didn't break us to taking the extra purse strap until we were a young teenager. By then, though, the vividness of our phantom limbs had grown to a point we had little desire for an artificial tail
Playing As An Animal - Early hints at our therianthropy also came through in our play. We remember very clearly playing in more animalistic ways. Not playing as animals in like a roleplay sense at all, but instead playing while being animals and playing accordingly, if you will. We played that way because it felt right to do so and we were a child not knowing how unusual it was. What also made it so notable beyond what most children do is that this animalistic play was constant and consistent throughout childhood rather than being a phase during a point in our childhood. Of course, people thought we were pretending to be animals at play, but for us we were just at play. Things we remember doing varied.
We recall all too painfully how we played set off our mother throughout our childhood. Our play style and interests were just so counter to how most girls stereotypically played it irradiated her greatly because of how different we were from a normal young girl. What did help matters and didn't comfort her either, alongside all the animalistic stuff was how tomboyish we were and how often many of us told her were a boy because most of us identified that way didn't comfort her either. She tried to for the longest time to get us interested in dolls of any sort along with other toys aimed specifically at girls; however, we just had little interest in them. Fairly quickly, when we were still around age 8 her chief way of showing her distain for how we liked to play was say things like we were getting "to old to pretend you're an animal." In retaliation for not being more stereotypical girl-like we were regularly punished both verbally and physically when we played in an animal-like way.
One way we played in a more animalistic manner was we pretended to stalk and chase. Usually during this sort of play we would get on all fours (feet on the ground, not on knees) as well. Sometimes we would use our toys as they prey we were after and bat around toys with our arms. Other times we would stalk and chase imaginary deer or rabbits. Occasionally, we even tried to actually stalk and chase squirrels and birds though of course we never got anywhere close. We've lost count of how many times we have actually chases rabbits, squirrels, birds, and even insects like crickets an flies. This behavior was impulsively followed through as a child before we gained more self-control in our teenage years. Many of us, those who are predatory animals, did so because we felt we should. Because it felt right. Whenever we were taken to a pool we would pretend to stalk other swimmers or if there was not anyone nearby we would imagine fish darting around instead. These were call common games many of us played throughout our childhood until we started getting into our teens.
Rather than playing "house" or whatnot we would care for our stuffed animals. It wasn’t like we just substituted them in the place of a doll in the stereotypical play of young girl's play-acting at being a mother, preparing food, or any of that stuff either. Instead, when we played it was things like caring for our stuffed animals like an animal would. Some things we recall doing was pretend to nurse our stuffed animals like a canine or feline would, carry them in our mouth, building a "den" in a closet or under a table, and so on.
We recall hating dolls and only played with animal shaped toys or occasionally plushies. We used all the animal figurines to reenact somewhat naturalish life for animals (though dragons and unicorns were included among the animals we played with). We would play out animals looking for mates, finding food, finding water, moving about, and so on. Occasionally, especially when we were younger, we would simply mimic whatever was happening on an animal documentary we were watching or had recently happened on one we had seen not long ago. However, as we grew a bit older we didn't rely on documentaries for material.
Excessive Amounts of Daydreaming Of Being An Animal - Throughout our childhood we also spent a lot of our free time daydreaming. We seemed to have started daydreaming around age 7 as something to due to being on our own during recess sense other children tended to shun us. What we daydreamed revolved around many of us sometimes going on fantastical adventures but sometimes in daydream we simply did normal things our species might do. We often wonder if all of our daydreaming is what helped develop such an extensive, detailed, and stable innerworld. Rather quickly, daydreaming because our may to escape away from all the bullying or ridiculed from fellow classmates, the punishment from teachers if we claimed to be a boy or nonhuman entirely, and from the punishment from our mother for not acting like a "normal" girl. We also wonder if all of the dissociation as a child lead to even more of us headmates being here in this body than if we had not daydreamed so much. However, the answer to that we will never know. Inside ourselves we could be free and escape from the parts of our childhood that hurt us. However, fairly early on this means of coping with all the bullying and other traumatic things going on around us began to consume much of our time. So much so we almost certainly fit the criteria for Maladaptive Daydreaming from about age 10 until about age 20.
Preference For Anthro Animal Characters - When we were not watching nature documentaries, we still gravitated towards television shows or movies with nonhuman animals as characters over human ones. We found ourselves more engaged if the visual media we were watching had anthropomorphic characters (whether they were just talking animals or anthropomorphized in shape). We just empathized far easier with nonhuman animals compared with humans. (We now know it has to do with empathizing more with their more animalistic nature.) Our preference for media with anthropomorphic animals has continued throughout our life. It is what lead us to the furry fandom later on into our mid-teen years.
General Obsession With Animals - Early on in our childhood we showed an unusually high interest in animals. At least since age 8 we had an obsession with animal documentaries. We had almost no interest in cartoons aimed at children (much to our mother's dismay) and instead loved watching documentaries that focused on animals. One of our favorite series was something called "Wild Discovery" which aired on the weekends throughout much of our childhood and preteen years. Because of our interest, we quickly learned how to record them on VHS so we could rewatch them as much as we wanted throughout the week. Throughout our childhood on through teenage years and on into our adulthood, we have continued to enjoy documentaries that focus on the lives of animals. The sharks in our system loved the yearly Shark Week hosted on the Discovery Channel, especially due to its focus on shark-related documentaries. The draconics in our multiple system instead had an obsession with any documentaries that were about dinosaurs. We also preferred reading books about animals over story books. Because of this obsession, our mother got us a subscription to Zoobooks when we were around 9 or 10.
Our Species Discovery Journey
The most notable discovery process each of us had to tackle was in identifying what species we were exactly. Just because we had an image in our head of what each of us was, didn't mean we knew the English name for the species each of us was. For some people, they discovered the name for their species identity while we were still a child. However, for others, the discovery took longer. When this knowledge was uncovered mostly depended upon how easy it was for us to come across their species. It took no time for Oreo to know he was a dalmatian (before age 7 most likely) because we learned about that domestic dog breed while still a child due to a certain Disney movie. However, it took until about age 13 until Saanpu knew he was a black pharaoh hound-like mutt because that is a lesser known breed of domestic dog. For another example, Blue Sea learned about blue sharks when we were still a child thanks to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and that species being more talked about; however, Ocean Touched did not learn of frilled sharks until we were 20 years old because they are for less known or even talked about. For some people they mistook their species for another species due to this lack of information. For example, up until age 23, Earth Listener labeled her species as gray wolf while her actual species identity was aelurodon because aelurodon's are less known about and they were wolf-life canids. For another example, Nychus was never sure what feathered theropod species he was all the way until we were 24 years old when we came across tawas. Some people who are polytherians also went through a period of time when they thought they had a mythical kintype rather than more than one theriotypes due to blended therianthropic experiences. For examples, Quatz spent our childhood and teenagehood assuming he was an amphithere until he discovered he was an emerald tree boa & resplendent quetzal when we were 21 years old. So suffice to say it is in this aspect of our self-discovery in our nonhumanness that we had the most notable of journeys.
Finding The Community
Because of our lack of experiencing on awakening and our becoming aware of our state of being very early in our life, our coming across terms for our feelings and identification was more of a task of comparison. When we discovered the therianthrope community we found not only our experience mirrored many others, but also that our conclusions were fairly on point to what other therians felt (though the terms we had been using for lack of others were a bit outdated in the community's eyes). By the time we first came across the term “were” for people who identified as nonhuman animals we knew we identified as nonhuman ourselves and simply had to do research to see if what was being described fit how deeply we felt. A process we repeated again and again as we found more terms - therianthrope, phytanthrope, draconic, and so on. So our discovery of the were community was more an end point. Something that allowed us to take all of our experiences and suddenly make so much sense of it all in retrospect. Discovering the were community gave us grounding to reflect on our life and realize how much of our life experiences all lead to the understanding we were therianthropes and phytanthropes.