I can't promise my method will work for you, but here's how I go about it:
Play around with sounds. Figure out which sounds you can make, which ones you can't, and how you can fit those sounds together in new and creative ways.
Listen to languages that feel adjacent to the one you want to discover/construct. This includes listening to the languages of nonhumans, such as animals, plants, and machines.
A language isn't all sounds, so examine how your other senses might fit into the language too. This includes body language and tapping on things, but can also include senses that human bodies aren't built to pick up on, such as smells or electromagnetism.
Notice how your body reacts to certain sounds and sound combinations. If you're lucky, your body might give you a sign that you're on the right track. For example, I get a very specific kind of spine tingle and tear up a bit when something "just feels right".
Don't be afraid to have a hand in the creation of your language. It's unlikely you'll discover an entire language just through these methods alone. There will be gaps, and in a lot of cases it might be best for you to fill out those gaps on your own.
The way I see it, something can simultaneously be a past life, parallel life, or future life (or life outside of time, I guess?) and be psychological. Since "past life", "psychological", "spiritual", and so on, are all just attempts at summarizing how we experience our identities, rather than being objective provable fact, you can experience something as a past life, while also attributing those past life experiences to psychological phenomena.
I've concluded that my gnoll life is parallel because I only get noemata up until a certain point in Ɐwhrayɐ's life, before they slow down or stop. I regularly get noemata of rair childhood, youth, and the cultural practices rae was raised with. But my later, more episodic, noemata are limited, and seem to only appear as Ɐwhrayɐ goes through them.
This also means there can be weeks, or even months, from one "current" noema to the other. Because rair life happens at the same pace as my own life, and neither rae nor I have any way to see into the future.
My Ben life is something I'd call semi-parallel. Most of my noemata are based around the same stage in life that I'm currently at (so, I mostly get noemata where Ben's in his early 20s). But I do also get the occassional noema of 'future' events, and I know what will happen later on in his life. This likely has something to do with the source material's already messy relationship with time and time travel. So while I feel like Ben!Me is about the same age as current!me, I also know that in his late 20s he'll get maried, in his 40s he'll get more involved with space politics, and I even have some gut feelings about how he'll die.
Both of these lives, I attribute to psychological phenomena. However real they feel to me, the multiverse theory (or any other "cartoons are real" theory) doesn't really fit into my worldview. I do have a few spiritual ideas about them, viz a viz the collective unconscious, Dust, and pantheism, but none where they're real and tangible lives in the sense that my current life is.
So in summary, I just experience these lives in a way that feels more parallel/present than it does past or future. That's all ^_^
I don't have much on hand. I definitely implore you to check out @kinstincts, which is a blog dedicated to species affirming body mods (both surgical and non-surgical).
I also know of a few essays about being transspecies:
There's also the article "On having a furry soul: transpecies identity and ontological indeterminacy in Otherkin subcultures". (doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1gxxpvf.23, good luck finding a sci-hub link that works!).
They do know about it, but their reaction to it has been more awkward than to my nonhumanity. I won't say they're downright unaccepting, but they are definitely more dismissive of it than my bison and gnoll identities.
One of them clamps up when it's mentioned, or tries to change the subject. Two others are encouraging when I talk about my source material (we have a strict "never diss or dismiss someone's special interest or hyperfixation" culture in my main friend group), but don't quite know how to react when I talk about my personal canon - it's easier for them to parse when I treat it like a headcanon or AU than when I treat it like a parallel life, so that's a compromise I'm willing to make. Another friend is really supportive, but our friendship is mostly long-distance, so that probably helps a bit.
There's also a friend (not in the aforementioned friend group) who found out accidentally that I'm otherkin, but doesn't know my specific kintypes. We binged Ben 10 together and now he jokes that I have a crush on my fictotype, which is really awkward for me dfjhkgks
In total I've only told 4 people about my fictional identity, compared to the 7-ish people I've told about my nonhuman identity. I've always been quite private about these parts of me. I'm trying to be more open lately, but it's scary. Most people won't want to understand, and even less will actually be able to understand.
Oh man, I've been there.
I think what initially made me accept fictionkind was the realization that the experience of being, for example, a generic dragon and recalling events from your dragon life, isn't all that different from being, say, Smaug and recalling events from Middle Earth. At its core it's the exact same experience. The only difference is that Smaug has a published piece of source material that he can engage with to better get to know his identity, while the generic dragon has to do all that legwork on his own. There's a reason some fictionkind prefer terms like 'modern mythkin'.
Accepting others' identities is a whole other beast than accepting your own identity, though. I'm still suffering from what I guess you could call "internalized fictionkinphobia" - i.e., I don't find other fictionkind cringe, but I think it's very cringe for me to be fictionkind. What I've found helps most with this is radical positivity. I won't accept any negative comments about my fictionkinity, either from others or from myself. I made a separate blog where I basically just post about how great it feels to be fictionkind - even if I occasionally have to fake it. That has genuinely helped.
I get where you're coming from, but what is an animal or a plant if not "destined to have a brief existence before being consumed"? :)
With the well-established existence of objectkin and conceptkin, I don't see how foodkin couldn't exist too (though it is a favored kintype for trolls to pretend to be, and I can't say for sure that I've seen a genuine foodkin yet).
I find it a bit odd that I've seen several supposed fruitkin, yet virtually no fruit trees. Funny how people can identify so much with the product of the tree, but not the tree itself.
Whatever the case, I see no real reason foodkin can't be real, and I'd love to see more personal essays from this enigmatic group.
Yeah - "a human who experiences astral shifts and nonhuman instincts." :-)
You don't need to identify as nonhuman on any level, just because most other folks who share your experiences do. Identity goes much deeper than just shifts and instincts, and if you view yourself as human in tandem with experiencing those things, then you are human.
I have heard of astral travelers/projectors who have a nonhuman astral body, in spite of identifying as fully human. But as it's not a community I participate in, I unfortunately can't tell you more than that. You'll have to do your own research here.
There are also people who identify as 100% human and alterhuman because their human experience falls outside the norm. This can include anything from human alters to transhumanists to sanguinarians. You might wanna look into human alterhumanity as well.
No - you are a version of the character who was raised in a different environment with different rules and social norms, and in a different body and with different people around you. Of course you won't be a 1:1 version of your fictotype.
There will be some similarities between you and your fictotype (not sure how you could identify as a character without some similarities) but these can range from a few innocuous details to your entire personality - whichever end of that spectrum you find yourself on, your identity is valid.
Feeling uncomfortable with your body and having a hard time connecting with people can be therianthropic traits, but aren't necessarily. If you feel uncomfortable with your body specifically because of its human traits (or, conversely, if you feel better about your body when you liken it to animals/think of yourself as an animal), that could very well be a therian thing. But simply disliking your body is not.
Likewise, feeling a disconnect from people can be related to therianthropy, but doesn't have to be. You need to determine for yourself if the disconnect makes you feel like a separate species/if it seems to stem from you being a different species.
Therianthropy is more than just feeling a connection to a species - it's feeling like you belong to that species, and identifying yourself as a member of that species on some level.
A strong connection to a species that is a part of who you are as a person, but that you don't identify as a member of, would be otherheartednes.
Here's a post that might help your questioning:
Both interpretations are fine (though I'd argue "animal, including mythical animals" is a lot more useful for purposes of community building since it's based more on what the identity subjectively feels like than what it taxonomically would be categorized as).
In the recent past, non-Earthen animals who felt more at home with therians than otherkin would call themselves theriomythic, and a lot of them still do. However, in the far past (the 90s, lol) movie-style anthro werewolves would be considered 'therians' (or weres, as it was), where they might be considered otherkin nowadays.
It's a discussion as old as the community, and I really think the best approach is 'my identity is based more on literal animalistic experiences so I'm a therian' vs 'my identity is based on being an individual member of a species so I'm other-/fictionkin.
From my memory and my research it all leads back to anti-SJWs and cringe blogs deliberately using a word that evoked the T-slur to piss off other-/fictionkin (particularly the trans people in the community), though if you can find some sources from non-cringe blogs I'd be delighted.
I'll always maintain that the cause of one's identity is secondary to what exactly the identity is. Before you can start speculating about the origins of what you're feeling, you need to figure out what you're feeling.
In reality none of us can ever know for sure why some people feel nonhuman or, as you put it, disconnected from humans. Psychological, spiritual, both, neither, and so on… are all just beliefs based on what we think most logically explains our identities.
So, when questioning if you are otherhearted, or any other kind of alterhuman, questioning if your experiences are caused by a disorder or trauma is a bit irrelevant. Not wholly irrelevant, but a bit so. Some more helpful questions could include:
⠂Do I identify as this thing on some level?
⠂Do I identify with this thing on some level?
⠂Would I be happier if I lived the rest of my life as the thing?
⠂Would I be happier if I lived the rest of my live with the thing?
⠂Is my identification with/as the thing strong enough to impact my identity?
⠂Is my identification in some way constant? Does it feel somehow indefinite or permanent (i.e. not liable to disappear within the next few months)?
⠂Does viewing myself as the thing make me feel better?
⠂Does surrounding myself with the thing make me feel better?
⠂Do I feel more like myself when I think of myself as the thing?
⠂Do I feel more like myself when I think of being with the thing?
⠂Do I want to craft a new identity?
⠂Do I want to discover the things that are already inside me and build an identity around that?
Once you've spent some time ruminating on these kinds of questions, I've usually found that (perhaps with some encouragement from the the community) the answers appear on their own. In hindsight it might even feel obvious which labels and communities make you feel at home.
My best advice is: Be patient and be persistent with your questioning. It might take weeks or it might take years to figure out where (or even if) you feel at home in the alterhuman community.
As a last note I also must add that you do not need to go by any specific label or be in any specific subcommunity in order to be alterhuman. 'Alterhuman' is an opt-in label that anyone with an experience outside that scope of 'normal humanity' can use, regardless of the type or cause of the experience.
Best of luck with your questioning!
Author's note: This question was originally sent to Rani (@a-dragons-journal, they/it). It tagged me to provide further commentary. Here is Rani's answer:
Oh boy, that's... a tough one, honestly.
I'm not sure there is an answer beyond a) give it time, which I realize isn't always a great answer considering I've been on more or less the same hyperfixation for upwards of two years now, and b) those things can hypothetically come from hyperfixation, with the difference in my personal opinion being permanence and whether they fade on their own.
I would also suggest that it's probably reasonable after a certain point to just. accept that you might be wrong and it might be something that's going to fade, and that that possibility probably doesn't matter as much as how it's affecting you now and what's going to help you deal with that.
hrrr, I really don't have anything better than that, my apologies - @aestherians do you have any words on this and specifically on the 'heartedness aspect of it, something I have less experience with? (Anyone else who has insight is welcome to add on as well, obviously, rae's just the one I think of first regarding otherheartedness these days xD)
The following is my own answer:
One question I'm gonna ask (which Rani already touched upon)... Does it really matter if it's a hyperfixation? And by that I don't mean "does it matter if the feelings are temporary?" but rather "does the cause of the feelings matter?"
Try to take a step back from categorizing your feelings and instead focus on just what exactly you are feeling right now. Do you feel like you are the thing? If yes, in which ways? If no, what other relations do you have with the thing? Is it like an analogy for your own life experiences? Is it siblinghood or familiarity? Is it pure happiness upon seeing the thing? All those are ways otherheartedness can present itself. Do you feel like the thing is a key or core part of your identity, a part of who you are as a person? Does it feel unshakable or long-lasting or even permanent?
You can't start to categorize your feelings until you know exactly what you're feeling. Once you've figured all that out, I think the answer of whether it's a part of your identity that you feel the need to label, or whether it's 'just' a hyperfixation will come to you naturally.
I can't tell you if you are otherkin or not, but my gut feeling says 'no' to this particular situation. Do you identify as these characters, on an inherent level that's tied to who you are as a person, and which is constant or semi-constant and not just there when you're engaging with the character/source? That's a bit of a mouthful but those traits are the crux of being otherkin:
⠂Identifying as, not with (so it can't be a hearttype)
⠂The identity being inherent to who you are as a person (so it can't be a link)
⠂The identity being constant or permanent in some way (so it can't be a flicker)
I'll also tentatively add the the identity should not be strongly tied to your preestablished species identity (so it can't be a paratype), but a lot of people don't consider this important, and will refer to the identity as whatever it feels like (kintype, hearttype, etc.) regardless of which attachments it might have to a preexisiting identity. Which is valid, of course.
Although it might not be an otherkin experience (or otherhearted or otherlink or fictionflicker), it still sounds like an alterhuman experience.
Synpath, otherhearted, and otherkith are all essentially the same. There are some differences in their coining - synpath is something that resonates with you but isn't necessarily part of your personal identity, while 'hearted/'kith is something you relate to that is specifically a part of your identity. But in practice they're used interchangeably.
Most people prefer to use synpath for characters and 'hearted/'kith for everything else, just because it sounds better to say "John is my synpath" than "I am John-hearted."
All I know about Hannibal is what's shown in Silence of the Lambs, and, as compelling as that movie and character is, I doubt that's the version most are kin with.
The reasons so many fictionkin have protagonist fictotypes are probably the same reasons so many otherkin have dragon kintypes or so many therians have wolf theriotypes. While there are several spiritual theories about it, it probably boils down to exposure, charisma, and/or relatability - and a dash of ~aesthetique~.
People gravitate towards protagonists the same way they gravitate towards charismatic megafauna. Whether they want to or not, those things are relatable and it's very easy to find yourself reflected in them. Even if the protagonist is a cannibalistic murderer. i can't judge, i've killed several people in my gnoll life and cannibalized my clan members
Pendulums work via micro-movements in your hand. They're great for answering questions you have a hunch about but aren't confident enough to know for sure. And they're great for figuring out what might be going on in your subconscious. But they can't tell you anything about other people, especially not strangers online, and especially not what those strangers' deepest identities are.
Try sending the same asks to a few different pendulum blogs and you'll see. You'll get different replies from all the blogs. Their 'answers' do nothing except muddy your thoughts and make your soulsearching harder.
Generally speaking, therian identities revolve more around being animalistic - otherkin identities revolve more around being nonhuman in general while still allowing for kintypes with a sense of personhood and culture. The two communities overlap greatly and are largely distinguished from each other for historical reasons - the otherkin community derived from the elvenkind communities in the 80s-90s, while the therian community appeared independently from all that in the mid-90s.
I don't really have a method, I just google a lot ^^' Here's my search history as an example (read from the bottom up):
In this case I started out with 'recall' because that's the closest verb I knew beforehand. So I was like "okay, what's the definition, what does the 're-' prefix mean in this case?" And after figuring that out I just started searching for other prefixes to replace it with. (and in the end I got worried that there might already be a word for what I was trying to describe, so I hastily googled synonyms/related words to 'recall' but nothing came up).
I honestly don't remember how exactly I found 'noema', other than that it was already a word used in philosophy for something similar to what I was looking for. I guess I just got lucky with that one :p
Apparently you don't respect us enough to not put words in our mouths… I've never said that otherkin are oppressed for being otherkin - I've been saying the exact opposite since I first made this blog. With that said, the otherkin community consists primarily of neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ people who are systematically oppressed and/or discriminated against in most places, so it's safe to assume that basically any otherkin you're talking to has experienced discrimination of some kind...
It doesn't sound like you've really observed the community if your conclusion is that "it's not that deep" 'cause to a great number of people it really is that deep. It may not be to you, but to hundreds, or thousands, of people it is.
'Kin are people with specific experiences that chose a specific label to describe those experiences and to find each other. 'Kinnie' is making that so so much harder.
When people create a word to describe themselves and to describe the extremely specific experiences they have, it is then insensitive and thoughtless to take that word and use it for your own memes and games. It shows a lack of care and compassion that so many people's reaction to "hey, the -kin suffix has a really specific meaning and this is not it" is to plug their ears and yell 'gatekeeper!' or even 'delusional!' or 'freak!'. If you do this, you are not a nice or understanding person. You're guarded and callous and care more about being allowed to make jokes than about the feelings of others. Especially if the otherkin community is the only subculture you treat like this.
I don't know why it's so hard for people to not misuse otherkin community terminology. I don't know any other subcultures that suffer from it to this degree. When people say "lolita fashion means this thing" or "being a bear means this" or even "being a modern vampire means this" people are usually quick to stop associating themselves with that subculture if they don't feel like they fit its language. But for some reason people have decided to just not care and instead misappropriate whatever otherkin terminology they think sounds funky.
And I just want to know why this is, but no one has ever explained why. They just tell us "it's not that deep" and continue for no apparent reason. I just want to know why, when we repeatedly explain how something is hurtful to us, people continue to ignore that and not take our complaints seriously. I want to know why people are so attached to these words.
Yup. Race is a social construct, and the quicker you realize what exactly this means, the quicker you can help foster actual meaningful change in the world. More meaningful change than harassing people for having a link or kintype you don't want them to have, anyways. Be careful not to be so anti-racist you do a 180 and become a race realist.
The following is a reply from Mark/Sun (he/him):
This has gotten under my skin for years. I saw the evolution of this discourse and I hate it. Hate it with a passion. It's rarely ever other poc, but young white kids with overinflated egos who think they're really doing something about racism by making up kinnie rules. And sometimes they're white kids who race-fake in the style of the YBC [the Yandere Bitch Club] to get away with it, because no one knows how to critically think out of fear for being cancelled or whatever.
As a human being (even if that's only superficial for you, like it is for me), you have more in common with every human of every other ethnic group than you do animals or fictional creatures. If you can't see similarities between yourself and someone else, even as simple as having feelings and struggles and pleasures and fears, you're disconnected from others to a degree that is not fine. I'm cynical with humanity on a good day, but I can still recognize that a Black man and I have plenty of common experiences even though we have differences, and I have more in common with a Chinese woman than a bird or a cat or a Pokemon. If I limited myself to only empathizing with white and Korean characters, that would be a bad thing.
Links tend to be formed from a pre-existing relationship, so it's debatable how much choice linkers have in who/what their links are. But even if we create a hypothetical scenario where the linker has 100% control of the matter... the link is still created based on qualities that have little to nothing to do with the character being a POC. A link is based on things like personality, life history, relationships with other characters... It's absurd to think that anyone creates a strong, lasting, and life-changing link based on a character's race/the way a character is being racialized.
As long as the linker doesn't claim to have experienced the struggles that real life/current life marginalized people are facing, it's fine. Create a link with whatever character feels right.
Synpath, 'hearted, and 'kith are all essentially the same. There are some minor differences in their coining - synpath is something that resonates with you but isn't necessarily part of your personal identity, while 'hearted/'kith is something you relate to that is specifically a part of your identity. But in practice they're used interchangeably.
Most people (myself included) prefer to use synpath for characters and 'hearted/'kith for everything else, just because it sounds better to say "Peter is my synpath" than "I am Peter-hearted."
Unfortunately these alterhuman identities have always been pushed to the back in alterhuman discussions. Most otherhearteds are also otherkin, and while both identities can be equally important, it's often easier to discuss kintypes since they present a bit more strongly in the day-to-day. The result is that a lot of otherhearteds just spend all their energy discussing their kintypes instead of their hearttypes.
I think this is the main reason the otherhearted community has always been kinda neglected.
I think this is something you can best figure out on your own, though I'll of course give you a few tips to help figuring it out.
The degree to which you identify as your kintype/with your hearttype does not have to be constant, and usually it isn't. Due to various factors it can wane and wax (I know I feel extremely disconnected from my kintypes when I'm stressed and depressed, and feel more like them when I'm happy and comfortable).
However, even when the connection to your kintypes feels weak or almost-nonexistent, there should still be a few less-obvious things that make you identify as them. In my own case, I still know I would feel happier in the body/life of my kintypes. I still feel a longing towards their circumstances. My noemata are still there. Even when I basically just feel "human but a bit to the left", I still want to be kintypes, and long for all the 'kin feelings to come back in full force.
No matter how strong my relationships with my hearttypes are, I never really long to be them. Getting or forcing a hearttype shift is just something entertaining, or perhaps a bit comforting - it's not something that makes me feel more like 'me'. My synpath's life reflects mine, but I don't feel like it is mine. My hearttypes have never consistently felt like they are me, and I've never felt like I am them on any level, for more than a brief shift.
'Kin shifts are changes in your perception that make you feel more like your kintype than you already did. If you don't feel like you are the thing, on some level, until you shift, then it's probably not a kintype.
If you can't distinguish between being and not being the thing, that's okay. It happens. Just give it time. Try to write about your experiences, and seek out different corners of the alterhuman community until you find some pockets that you feel comfortable with.
And always remember you don't have to label yourself as either otherkin or otherhearted. It's okay to not use a label, and to never explain more deeply than "I am sometimes nonhuman." It's okay to create new words that only describe your own experiences, like we saw with suntherianthropy and folcintheric nonhumanity.
Hmm... I'm not sure, really. I don't think creating a category of extremely diverse beliefs that have little to do with each other, yet excludes two categories, is the best course of action. Just saying "non-spiritual, non-psychological" gets the job done and is immediately clear in its meaning. So I think this is one of those cases where creating new terminology might actually muddle things.
A better course of action would be to make information on the other beliefs about nonhuman identity more easily available. Instead of explaining the beliefs as "spiritual, psychological, and other", we should put all the ideas on the same level (while still being aware that the two most common narratives are spiritual and psychological).
In case anyone is reading this and going 'what to heck, there are other beliefs??', here's a list.
Yeah, we should all just go back to calling ourselves elvenkind and weres and draconics /s
Proposing new language when the current one is lacking is never a bad idea. People themselves decide if they want to pick up the proposed words - sometimes they do, as we saw with otherkind/otherkin, therianthrope, and copinglink, to name a few. And sometimes the words are unused and eventually forgotten.
The invention of new terms is the least of the issues with the alterhuman (oh look! another recent term!) communities. I bet you yourself are using a lot of very recently invented words.
Did you know that "phantom shift" only came into popular usage around 1999, even though the were community arose in 1994? Or that we know the name of the specific person who coined 'otherkin'? (it was Elezar in April 1990).
All words had to be invented. Inventing new language is just a way to make it easier to communicate complicated ideas. Inventing new language to further communication is good.
The following is an addition from Rani (@a-dragons-journal, they/it):
Like Poppy said - all words were new at some point. And pretty much all of them have faced pushback from one group or another. If you don't like the new terms being coined, that's fine! You don't have to use them! You probably don't even need to be all that familiar with them unless you personally know someone who uses them, honestly. No one is forcing you to use a term you don't like or don't feel is useful to you - and not every term will be useful to you, and that's fine. There are terms that I'd probably fit into - paratype, for instance - but that I don't use because they're not really useful to me. But just because a term isn't useful for you, and you find it more annoying than helpful, doesn't mean it isn't helpful to other people.
(And honestly, I've found that the vast majority of new terms I've seen coined have died out almost immediately, probably for this very reason - the community largely found them more confusing than helpful. I would point out that therefore, a significant number of people have to find a term helpful for it to actually become at least somewhat well-known.)
Species euphoria could definitely be a sign that something is a kintype. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if it's a cameo shift is to be patient and observe it over a longer period of time.
Here are some clear signs of a cameo shift to look out for:
The shifts seems to pass for good after a while. A cameo shift can pop up repeatedly, but they tend to be very temporary.
You have no further relationship with the shift (i.e. you don't want to be that species or don't feel like you are that species in any other aspects).
The shift only shows up due to being triggered by something else, such as looking at videos/photos of that species, reading about it, doing activities related to the species, etc.
On the other hand, intentionally triggering shifts might help you clear things up. Try to look at how cats and sheep move - how their paws/hooves work and how they interact with the world around them. When you feel like you have a solid understanding of them, you can try to induce a phantom shift. This is how I usually induce a difficult phantom shift:
Sit or lie down so you are completely relaxed
Let the body part you want to shift hang free, with no contact to any surface that might hinder the shift
Close your eyes and focus on the body part - in this case your hand. Start from the fingertips and imagine they're turning into the desired shape
Slowly work your way up the limb. Don't get frustrated if you get distracted and lose your progress, just start over
Eventually you should have a pretty clear feeling of the phantom limb
Moving the limb will usually break this kind of phantom shift, but when you have enough practice you can get the sensation to stay even when using your limb
An exercise like this will make you more comfortable with phantom limbs in general, and will make it easier for you to distinguish shifts and figure out which shifts feel 'right' and which feel more forced or foreign.
One thing to watch out for, since you sound somewhat new to the community, is "shifter's disease" which is a really dramatic word that just describes the experience of getting excited about therianthropy and otherkinity, and subsequently tricking yourself into thinking that just about anything could be a kintype just because you experience shifts of it.
A factkin's identity can not be proven false anymore than a fictionkin's can. If the creators of Ben 10 came out tomorrow and said "actually, ben's favorite alien is XLR8, not feedback" that wouldn't change anything about my identity or my canon. The same would go for factkin. Divergence from established canon does not invalidate your identity.
'kin' does not mean "to literally be". It means "belonging to their kind". I.e., "I belong to elvenkind rather than humankind." That statement can be interpreted in literally any way you want - the elves are really really vague about definitions and have basically stated that only you yourself can know what you are.
There's nothing immoral about having a certain identity, even if that identity is factkin. Thought crimes aren't real. Hurting other people is immoral. Having thoughts that you personally find icky is not immoral.
None of what you're saying proves that factkin can't be real. If they experience being another person, and you accept those experiences as valid, then there's no reason you should consider them any different than fictionkin whose identities are based on the exact same kind of experiences.
Even if you're a canon divergent version of a character, your kintype is still that character. My kintype has a different age, different relationships, and different likes and dislikes than the 'canon' version of the character, but I'm still a version of that character. Canon divergence has no impact on the validity of your identity.
Everyone who has a fictional kintype already diverges from the canon that the creators of the source material created. There is no such thing as a 100% canon compliant fictotype. When you consume media, you also interpret it in your own way and with your own biases. This is true for all media.
Everyone whose kintype is a person (real or fictional) is that character, but with a different upbringing, different genetics, different social pressures, and just overall different circumstances. This does not mean they aren't that character on some level.
Also, while I don't personally believe in the multiverse theory... if you do believe in it, then basically every fictionkin is 'factkin' considering the characters they're kin with are actual real people somewhere in some universe.
I feel the exact way I described in the post. Their identities are real. Their identities are not bad. People should be judged by their behavior and actions, not by inherent/involuntary traits.
I don't think I've even met someone who's a genuine real factkin, so this is all preemptive, but it's no more far-fetched than any of the other identities I've seen in the community. I've seen plenty of people whose kintypes are alter-egos of celebrities, though, like 'Darkiplier' or that Sanders Sides thing.
Unfortunately my best advice, if you still want to be in the otherkin and/or alterhuman communities, is to filter the words as much as possible, block every person who makes your online experience worse, and to learn patience, tolerance, and the ability to ignore bad things. Kinnies, wishkin, elitists, antikin, and misanthropists are just a few of the unsavory people you'll sometimes end up interacting with if you're active in the community.
You can't force people to change. The best you can do is to spread correct information about the community, and hope it eventually drowns out some of the misinformation and makes other people understand who we are and where we're coming from.
If you do want to engage with any of those people, I suggest brushing up on your rhetorical skills (which can best be done through having real, difficult discussions and debates with people), and reading a bunch of articles about related topics like "how to deal with trolls" and "how to remain calm in an argument".
I also suggest seeking out your own little comfortable niche. There are a lot of serious discord servers around already, to which invite links often get shared in the main tags. If you don't want to look for a server you can always create your own. It's a bit intimidating, but having a little group of nonhumans/alterhumans that are all on the same wavelength as yourself, and to whom you can complain, is probably the best way I've found to deal with kinnies.
Other than that, my advice is to accept that kinnies are already here, and we just have to deal with that fact somehow. And to be liberal with your block button.
Hello! For terminology I really can't recommend Kiera's Alterhuman Dictionary enough! It's so useful and easy to use. It only offers basic definitions, though, and doesn't go into detail about the concepts.
The most basic groups I suggest you look into are:
Alterhuman: An umbrella term for all people who have identities that fall outside of what's generally considered a normal human identity. Otherkin, fictionkin, therians, otherhearted, and linkers (among many many other groups) fall under this umbrella.
Otherkin, fictionkin, and therianthropes: People who identify as a nonhuman or fictional being. The identification is often spiritual or psychological in nature (though it doesn't have to be), and it can be partial or whole. The only requirements are that it's an identification as a thing and that it's an identity that's inherent to you. 'Inherent' in this case means that you don't actively choose to create that identity, and that you can't force the identity to go away.
Otherhearted/otherkith: People who identify with a nonhuman or fictional being, to the point that it becomes a part of their identity. Otherhearted people do not identify as their hearttype on any level, only with. This identity is often spiritual or psychological, and it's usually thought to be inherent like 'kin/therian identities.
Copinglinkers/otherlinkers: People who have chosen to create a nonhuman identity. It is typically to help cope with difficult situations, though this is not necessary, and the identity can be created for any reason. The identity can be dropped voluntarily.
To reiterate: You do not have to belong to any of these groups to be alterhuman! To be alterhuman, all you need is to have an identity/experience that falls outside of what society accepts as a normal human identity. The aforementioned are just some of the most common identities that exist.
With that out of the way, onto the second half of your question: How can you figure out what you are?
I think the easiest way to look at it, is that each defined alterhuman group has a set of experiences in common. Some only experience a fraction of these things, and some experience all of them. Some experience things I haven't even listed, but that still help foster a feeling of alterhumanity. Some experiences also overlap between the different groups, making it more difficult.
Typical otherkin experiences:
Species dysphoria: A deep sense of unhappiness from not being of the correct species. Can include having a different body, being perceived a different way, and being treated a different way to what you feel you should be.
Species euphoria: A deep sense of joy from being of the correct species. Can include modifying your body, dressing up and being perceived and treated like the correct species.
Phantom limbs: Feeling like you have the body/body parts of your kintype.
Memories/noemata: Remembering or 'just knowing' things about your kintype's life.
Instincts/urges: Reactions and actions that you don't really think about, but that are very similar to those of your kintype.
Wishing you were nonhuman: Self-explanatory.
Dreams: Dreams where you are your kintype or are living your kintype's life or interacting with your kintype.
Homesickness: Longing for places or time periods or situations that you've never been in in this life.
Self-perception: Picturing yourself as your kintype in your mind's eye, drawing yourself as your kintype when you try to draw a self portrait, always playing as something resembling your kintype in games, etc.
Typical otherhearted experiences:
Familiarity: Feeling like your hearttype is familiar to you or that it's like family, or feeling otherwise very close to it
Feeling like you should be that species but knowing you aren't it on any level
Comfort: Finding contentmen, safety, satisfaction, or joy in your hearttype
Wishing you were nonhuman: Self-explanatory.
Typical copinglinker experiences:
Knowing you had an active hand in creating the identity: You don't have to have been fully conscious of creating the identity, but knowing that you created it (even subconsciously) is a defining trait of copinglinking
Knowing you would be able to quit identifying this way: Quitting might not be comfortable or easy, but if forced to you would be able to push away the identity
Wishing you were nonhuman
The process of figuring out what kind of identity you have, and later what specific kind of nonhuman/fictional being your identity is tied to, is called questioning. Questioning yourself takes a long time, usually upwards of a year! Sometimes it only takes a few months, sometimes it takes several years, but no matter what you need patience. The three R's of questioning are:
your day-to-day alterhuman experiences in a journal
related topics, such as animal behavior or the source material these feelings stem from, community history, other people's experiences, philosophy, and spirituality, to name a few.
on your experiences and what you've found out, for example by meditating or by just letting your mind wander while doing other tasks