Coming out of the Wardrobe

How do I tell someone that I’m Otherkin?

First of all, I’m not one that goes for telling everything about me to random people. True, you may find someone who happens to be a friendly ear, but on the flip side, you can end up getting not-so-friendly reactions as well. The first thing to do is figure out why you need to tell this particular person that you are ‘kin. Are they someone that you are/want to be closer to (good friend, SO, family member, potential lover), so that you feel that they have a need to know about your habits, quirks, and beliefs? Are they someone that you feel may be ‘kin?

In many ways, telling someone that you are ‘kin has parallels with admitting that you follow a non-mainstream religion, or have a different lifestyle than others. At one point the term “coming out of the wardrobe” was suggested, referencing C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series. It’s something that not everyone is going to accept, and frankly, not everyone has to know about. For the moment, I’m going to assume that the person that you wish to tell is someone familiar to you as well as of friendly disposition towards you. (Telling someone who doesn’t like you to begin with equals “giving them ammo” in my book.)

First off, pick your environment if you can. You want this to be as non-threatening as possible – you’re about to mess with their preconceptions. Generally I’d recommend someplace with a casual but not necessarily intimate atmosphere. A quiet walk in the park together, a back-of-the-diner booth, the living room after watching a good video…something along those lines. Another possibility is places where the unusual is almost expected. It can be easier to accept a strange statement in a con-suite or at a Ren-Faire than it is to accept it in the local mall. The key is to put both of you at ease.

The next thing is to test the waters – find out how open the person is to the idea of “people who are something other than 100% human”. If it’s someone that you are moderately close to already, quick scans of their bookshelves can give some insight. So can the kinds of movies that they enjoy. A few topics of conversation that also usually give a good sense of the open mind are SETI, reincarnation, possibilities of alternate timelines, the intelligence of dolphins, that sort of thing.

OK, so now the two of you are happily chatting. If the other person has proved to be open-minded about intelligences other than human, or worlds/timelines where other forms of intelligence exist, or the idea of “coming back” in another form, then you are in good shape. If not, then it is probably a Bad Idea (TM) to go further at this time. Even if they are friendly, you might end up with the label of “nice, but a bit of a nut”. The next step is to open the possibility that you personally think that you – in some part – feel that you are not entirely human.

Quick side-note here – I’m not meaning to imply that being ‘kin is the result of non-human genetic material, misrouted reincarnation, or such. Just that being ‘kin implies in itself that you are somewhat “other”. It could be in body, in spirit, or even in mindset, and doesn’t even preclude that in any of these things you may be at least partially human.

It’s generally a good idea to ease into this gradually. It also depends a lot on your particular ‘kin type. Are you someone who has memories of a past life as something other than human? Do you feel as though your soul is that of a dragon (elf, dryad, were, etc), but had to take an available body? Do you just tend to look at things in a way best described as “outsider” or “observer”? Proceed slowly, don’t give them too much to process at a time. It’s a bit of a stretch for even flexible minds. Let them get used to the idea before giving them more detail, but answer the inevitable questions as honestly as you can.

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