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I often get asked these kinds of questions on tumblr. People wanna know how they can stop being embarrassed by their fictotypes, or how I stopped being embarrassed by it. But the true answer is that I didn’t. Like a hilariously self-conscious version of the Hulk, my secret is that I’m always embarrassed.

It’s not easy grappling with the emotions of being a 20-something year old adult with a serious university life, trying to make your way into the equally serious fields of ethology and animal ethics, and suddenly realizing that a kids’ cartoon from 2005 has become an integral part of how you see yourself. It’s especially not easy when your first introduction to fictionkinity was cringe compilations, when you remember introducing the concepts to your friends as something cringy (I was a 16 y/o anti-SJW and I regretted my actions long before my own awakenings), and when you’ve seen how hostile the therian community, your previous home, can be towards the concept.

But take another look at those problems. Fear you won’t be taken seriously, knowing it’s perceived as cringe, and fearing a backlash from people who aren’t even part of the community. You notice a common theme? All the problems are external. I don’t feel insecure due to anything inherent to my fictotype - honestly, I do think he’s cool and I do think I’m cool, embarrassment be damned. All my insecurities are the direct result of an unsupportive environment. I don’t fear that my fictotype will make me a worse person or that it will make me lose control or [insert other common abstract phobia]. I only fear judgement.

And as I’ve matured into adulthood, I’ve realized that the judgement of strangers is not the problem it seemed to be when I was a teen. The only traits you need to get along with others are the self-restraint to listen, the insight to realize when you’re mistaken, and the patience to understand where others are coming from. As long as I work on those traits, I’ll be able to navigate life just fine. If anyone judges me for being fictionkind, rather than for my actions, it's probably because they themselves lack self-restraint, insight, and patience. If I’m too busy or tired or simply just annoyed, I pay them no mind. Their judgement shouldn’t affect me. But if I’m feeling up to it, I might reach out and explain where I’m coming from. And if they feel up to it, a connection and an understanding can be built. And with every connection made, my embarrassment and insecurity are lessened. I don't think those feelings will ever go away, but as long as I continue to work with them, rather than fight them, they aren't a huge issue.

Last updated: March 2022

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