Couple months later, and I actually have a topic to ruminate about again! At least, something more than just art posts.
Last night for the first time in a while i experienced what I’m thinking of calling “body tension.” It could possibly be considered a form of dysphoria, but usually when I’m encountering this, there aren’t any phantom sensations to go with it, so I don’t know if it really counts.
It manifests itself as a kind of restlessness. At least, that’s the best way I can think of to put it. When I’m feeling like this, nothing really satisfies me until I find a way to address this formless NEED. It’s kind of like when you really, really need to go piss, but you don’t know where the restroom is and have to hold it and bear it or go looking for one.
As for the need itself? Usually, it is a need to leave this body and manifest myself in another form. Typically, it’s been in regards to my dragon self – a need to BE dragon. Second Life has often been an outlet for this in the past, as I can log in and, though it’s not a perfect representation, stroll around as my dragon self.
Last night, however, it was full-on chakat, partly triggered probably by a twitter post I made earlier in the day. I considered Second Life, as I do have a chakat avatar there(like with my draconic appearance, my chakat ‘sona originated from there as well) but the last time I logged on and looked around most of the furry-oriented places I knew no longer existed. I don’t know of any live chakat communities either… last time I looked I found a taur group on telegram, but it’s on and off active and tends to not have a lot discussed beyond art sharing.
This left me in not much of a good place in regards to dealing with it. I considered pulling out a space game, since Swift is a pilot and I thought maybe getting into that headspace may help, but Freelancer didn’t feel like a good fit, and while I’ve been considering Elite Dangerous, I don’t have it yet. Privateer 2 has the same issue as both of them also, where thanks to cutscenes and other things you have an obviously human avatar, which would be harder to ignore when you have a NEED to not be human. Resorting to some chakat-related, ah, “tension relief” helped a bit in the end though, which let me distract myself with ESO for a bit longer until bed.
When I got into bed however, actual dysphoria finally hit, at least mildly. Phantom breasts, forelegs and lower torso, even a bit of feline head, all at once. The timing worked out though, since I was able to indulge in it before rolling over to completely go to sleep, and this morning things were back to normal.
I still find it odd, though. As I’ve said in the past, there’s quite a few chakat qualities that I feel I lack, such as the fact I tend to pairbond in a draconic way when in a relationship, rather than go full poly like a typical chakat. Male bits also don’t interest me(unless it’s mine, or I can picture mine in their place), and like my core dragonself, I parse myself as male. To be fair, Swiftwind heavily favors hir male side though due to this – though pilot ego/cockiness is also a factor.
On an amusing side note, even though I lean more towards Fluttershy’s personality in expression, art of my dragonself and my chakat both tend to smugness. Maybe if I hadn’t had some of the experiences I did as a child, I would be more inclined towards that?
Still, if I were allowed to choose a different body, and if my dragon body was not an option, I think I’d find the chakat body satisfactory, and still more desirable than my human one. I’d just have to watch out for revolving doors and turnstiles, and get my car seat removed!
I do wonder if there was some part of me that did realize that shi was still a part of me before I re-accepted hir over the past year. Though I still refer to hir in the third person fine(while referring to my dragonself as something other than me feels wrong) I think there was a small irrational fear that shi could displace my dragon identity in much the way it led me to abandon my chakat ‘sona when I first discovered my draconity. That’s partly why I distanced myself from hir originally, and even gave hir a mate when I wrote her into a story, as I’d resisted doing this previously because I don’t like the idea of making up mates for something that’s a representation of myself when I don’t actually have one. That was partially how shi became a pilot too.
To come back around, this sort of tension doesn’t happen that often and usually doesn’t stick around for more than a day or so. I’m not super-attached to this body other than it being the only one I have, which is probably related. After all, in my non-expert opinion dysphoria comes in part from when our mental image and maps of ourselves don’t sync up with the physical reality, and then our brain tries to merge the two which then gives the phantom sensations. Same idea as how someone who loses a limb may still sometimes feel it there, as his mental image of himself still has said limb, even if it no longer exists. And I do know the me in the mirror is logically me, but emotionally it doesn’t feel like me.
That is one thing I found interesting about Second Life, is that some folk tended to use it to create an idealized version of themselves. Particularly with the human avatars, though there are others who would change avatars like they do clothes. Something like this, combined with VR if it can ever properly be harnessed, could lead to a good solution to address this sort of need or dysphoria when it can’t be addressed in the real world i.e. anything non-human.
Until then, we just have to live with it, I guess.