Date First Written: October 2018
Our Experiences With Cameo Shifting
Defining Cameo Shifting
Cameo shifting is when an individual experiences a shift of a nonhuman animal that is different than the species they identify as. The kind of shift itself can be any other kind of shift (dream, phantom, mental, or otherwise). Experience of cameo shifts can vary from rare to common among individual people. Also, the intensity of the shift and the length of time the shift lasts can vary as well from person to person. Finally, the nonhuman animal or being the person shifts into can be a common subject for a cameo shift for an individual or a person can never have a have cameo shift of the same nonhuman species twice. Cameo shifts occur for any number of reasons or causes. For some examples of cameo shifting: a wolf therianthrope experiencing cameo shifts of phantom wings off and on, and a leopard therianthrope experiencing a random mental shifts of a horse once.
Shifting doesn't make someone a therianthrope, nor does not experiencing shifting mean someone is not a therian. It is fairly common for young and/or never to the community therianthropes to mistake cameo shifts for a theriotype. It is also common for non-therians to question or conclude they are therians due to experiencing shifts though they do not identify as the nonhuman animals. It is for this reason the therianthrope community so highly recommends members do not jump to concluding a therioype solely based on shifts (especially only on a few shifts) alone.
Intro To Our Cameo Shifts
While normally shifting is caused by our individual species identities, cameo shifting for us is far more caused by our multiplicity. When cameo shifting occurs for us it is almost always is in relation to fronting or switching. In fact, something like 98% of the time our experiences with cameo shifts are caused by fellow headmates. The most common ways our multiplicity leads to cameo shifts is either from experience bleed-over between people cofronting (two or more people controlling the body at the same time) or due to an aftereffect right after switching control of our physical body.
Cameo Shifts Caused By Cofronting
One way they occur is during confronting. This is the most common cause of cameo shifting within our multiple system. The act of two or more people sharing control of our body can lead to each of those confronting, either experiencing the other's nonhuman experiences as well or being very aware of the details of their current state. How much this "bleed-over" can occur, and thus how strongly it is experienced, varies greatly. A common experience of bleed-over is where those cofronting end up feeling their fellow's phantom bodies overlapping their own phantom body. For example, if Grizzly Ears (a gray wolf) and Yamir (a wild horse) are cofronting together they may not only experience their constant phantom body overlapping our physical body, but also feel each other's phantom body overlaying as well. This overlay may be less vivid as their own phantom body or may be as vivid as their own. Normally, cameo shifts of each other's phantom bodies are less vivid than our own phantom body's. A less common, but still not uncommon, thing to bleed over is instincts or other nonhuman mindsets. Going back to using Grizzly Ears and Yamir as an example, Yamir could suddenly have a random prey drive while cofronting with Grizzly Ears. Such cameo shifts of bleed-overs of instincts tend to be very sporadic and shallow. Cameo shifts caused by bleed-over during cofronting has also taken the form of sensory experiences and dreams but these are far more rare. Cameo shifts don't happen every time people in our system share front, but it does occur fairly often while cofronting.
Cameo Shifts Caused By Recent Switching
The other way we usually experience cameo shifting occurs when one person has changed over control of our physical to another person in our body (an act called switching) but some of the experiences of the person letting go of control of our physical body remains for the person coming into front to experience. This experiences feels sort of like an after image of sorts. An impression of what the last fronter was experiencing while they had been fronting. This after-effect usually deals with having a few passing thoughts or perspectives that are of the former fronter's experiences with being the species that they are. Such experiences usually takes the form of feeling the past fronter's phantom body for a brief time but occasionally other experiences are felt. This after-effect usually lasts anywhere from a second to only a few minutes. Cameo shifts due to recent switching have never lasted more than a few minutes. This cause of a cameo shift is fairly common among our multiple system as it tend to happen at some point every day or so depending on how often we switch any given day. So while this way of experiencing a cameo shift doesn't last as long as bleed-overs from confronting, they are more common for us.
Non-plurality Caused Cameo Shifts
The times one of us has had a cameo shift not caused by our multiplicity is fairly rare. Probably one the more common non-plurality caused cameo shifts are those caused by empathy while reading a novel with animal characters or watching a documentary. In such cases, cameo phantom shifts and cameo mental shifts are all we've ever had occur because of such experience taking from figures we see or read about. Other than that, dreams of being a species other than our actual species is the only other way we can have a non-plurality related cameo shift.
That is how our multiple system experiences what we can safely call cameo shifts. Our us, cameo shifting does not happen often, but they are still an interesting part of our experiences for everyone in our multiple system. By their nature, cameo shifts are not part of our open personal therianthropy, but instead usually a taste of someone else's personal therianthropy in our multiple system. Because of this, our cameo shifts are often a means of insight into each other's experiences and state of being.