Reflections on Waking

At about 1:30 am on the morning of April 18th, 2002, I discovered the Otherkin community. Like most of you, I felt as though I had found something that I had sought all my life. I had all but convinced myself that the sensation of phantom wings was an illusion; and my sense of being different was nothing more than the lingering effect of childhood trauma. (Public school was a singularly unpleasant experience – and a mercifully brief one, for I soon began learning at home.) Then, all of a sudden, I found that I was not alone, and for the first time in my life, I was at peace.

I am writing this article in the wee hours of the morning of April 19th. It will go through one draft, and one draft only, though I may make minor corrections before I send it off. I’m doing this because soon – in a few years, or a few months, or perhaps even a few weeks – I will be even farther along on my journey of self-discovery. I will find my place in this society, and I will forget what it is to be born again into this brave new world. Certainly I will forget the fear that follows the initial euphoria of discovery. I find myself wondering whether I will ever truly find my place; if I will find acceptance in this community; if I am deluding myself after all. These fears will pass, I think, but before they do, I must remind you – and remind my future self, lest I forget – what it’s like, and I must tell you some things that I think you should know.

I suppose I’ll begin with the story of my Awakening. I’ve always been different. I’ve always known, on some level, that I am not quite human. Some sensed this and respected, even adored me for it; others sensed it and despised me. Still others could care less – “normal” people are like that sometimes. When I was a child, I had myself convinced that I was an alien. I created an imaginary world for myself, and I was the queen, and everyone loved me.

(Interesting fact: My mortal form is male. I’ve always felt that I was meant to be female, and sure enough, my true form is. I’m straight both ways, and I don’t mean I’m bisexual. I have no desire for a sex- change operation, and I have no desire to wear women’s clothing in this form. Yes, it’s all very confusing. I’m working on an essay on the subject, and would be glad to hear from other “gender displaced” kin – whether you are, in fact, transgender or something more complex, as I am. I’ll return to the subject at hand now.)

Most importantly – I could go home any time I wished.

Except, as it turned out, I couldn’t, and after a few years in which I sent constant telepathic distress signals and received no reply…I gave up on the “alien” idea.

Time passed. I entered adolescence, and began to use magic. I’d always had a few odd talents – the occasional prophetic dream, and an uncanny sort of intuition, among others – but now my powers grew. In time, I could heal myself at an accelerated rate. I could cloud the minds of others, escaping their notice; I could also puff myself up on a psychic level, and thus appear more formidable than I truly was. I could manipulate coincidence on some level. I was soon quite sure that I was a wizard, and currently I am a practicing neopagan (eclectic Wicca, mainly). During my adolescence, my sense of “otherness” was heightened; I was magical, of course, but it was more than that. I began to feel phantom wings on my back. Occasionally I would feel a symbol burning in my brow. And once in a while, I would BE female – my perspective would shift, and though my flesh was still male, I would feel more feminine than masculine. I denied that last part until recently.

I was a Christian mystic/magician when I began to feel the wings, and the symbol – it took me a while to get onto the pagan path – and I therefore came to the conclusion that I was an angel in mortal form. But I wasn’t entirely convinced; it just didn’t feel right. Eventually I let it drop.

Again, time passed. Eventually Wicca started to fit – I’d tried the path before, but it had never really clicked. I needed to be in the right place at the right time, I suppose. This was the road that would lead me to the Otherkin.

While browsing a pagan site, I came across an article describing the online kin community. I’d put my differences with humanity aside, after a fashion, but as I read the piece in question, they came flooding back. I dropped everything and began to explore this new world at once.

Over the past twenty-four hours, I have been giving this more thought than I ever have before. For the first time in my life, I could admit that I wasn’t human, and that liberated me. I still have much to learn, and much to remember, but I have discovered more than I ever dreamed I would. The name I have taken is Casidhe Adain, and though I cannot say for certain that it is my true name in the strictest sense of the word, I can say that it is an Earth equivalent. I’m fairly certain that I am Elenari, or very closely related to those illustrious elves, through blood or friendship; certainly I am an elf of some kind. I can’t explain the wings – they don’t seem to be very common among elves, but I get the sense that they were an abberation back home. (I’m not quite sure where home is, I’m afraid; I remember bits and pieces, but most of it is still out of focus.) I also seem to have some affinity with the denizens of Faerie, as my name implies on its face. But I digress.

So. I am at least partially Awake, and in the process of discovering myself – a process that will continue for the rest of my mortal existence; I doubt that even the most experienced kin can remember everything about who they were or are. As I say, I will soon be integrated into this community, and I will forget what it was like to be a newcomer; thus, I would like to offer a newcomer’s perspective on certain issues.

First: Many of you are reluctant to tell newcomers what they are. Some of you are reluctant even to suggest what they might be. This is very kind of you, but it is misguided. This community is very diverse, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes an elf is just an elf, a dragon just a dragon. If someone comes to you and describes themselves as something that you know to be an elf, tell them they’re probably an elf. You needn’t force that view upon them, and you won’t, really; if they feel differently, they’ll find their own way sooner or later. I discovered the Elenari soon enough, but gosh, it would’ve been helpful if someone had taken me by the metaphorical shoulders and sent me in that direction. My first post to an Otherkin list was a description of my true form as I perceived it and a question – does this sound familiar? No one really responded except for a fellow newcomer. Maybe they just didn’t know, but I have to wonder if some held their tongues because they were reluctant to “force” an idea upon me. It’s ok, guys. Really. I wanted to get some input.

Second: It’s good to tell newcomers that they should try to tell the difference between memories and fabrications, but tread very carefully. That sort of statement, when phrased improperly, makes us extremely nervous. (Unfortunately, I have yet to see a proper phrasing! This may be an impossible request. My apologies if it is.) We’re already new to this, and I rather suspect that we question our sanity far more often than more experienced kin do. Self-doubt can be very painful during this period.

Third: This is going to contradict my first point, at least on the surface, but…the contradiction is already there. Look, if you really believe that kin are what they believe themselves to be, and others can’t say what they are or are not, then please practice what you preach. Don’t make lists of elven traits or draconic traits or what have you – even if you preface them with “these are just the more common traits; not everyone has them; not everyone has all of them”…look, again, it makes newcomers nervous. As I said, I think I’m Elenari, but some of the descriptions of what Elenari are scared me because I didn’t possess some of the traits described.

Newcomers are delicate flowers. It’s a tired metaphor, on many levels, but it’s true. Nurture them, and they’ll become a valuable part of the community. Force them to make their own way and…well…you’re gambling with our community’s future, in my opinion.

That’s all I can think of for now. I can only hope that other newcomers will take the time to fill the gaps I’ve undoubtedly left. Thank you and blessed be.

Addendum: I would like to apologize if I’ve misunderstood some of the information provided by certain members of the community, or if I’ve offended anyone with this article. I’m only trying to help where and however I think I can.

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