tangyabominy: A serious-looking image of unicorn from Robot Unicorn Attack, standing on a cliff. Text: "Follow your dreams". (follow your dreams)
[personal profile] tangyabominy
Okay, that's not strictly true. But I feel like it is, a little, sometimes. Or rather, like that's true of a lot of things in the otherkin community: we talk a lot about feeling them, where by "talk a lot" I mean "we say the same one line about feeling them, in our multitudes", but there's precious little depiction, in-depth, of what that feeling is like.

I crave words I can sink my teeth into, always. When I do stumble across such descriptions, and the non-human longings are bothering me, I feel better. When I come across them in times of ease, I feel a pleasant solidarity. In short, I really get a lot out of it when people go on about these things, purely because it's nice to know you're not alone.

So as I was writing up a detailed description of the phenomenon for a friend yesterday, I thought I'd share it with the journal, in case it's useful to anyone else.

Day to day, month to month, it's a thing that waxes and wanes. In the moment, when strongly felt, it's... something between a physical sensation, a constant mental chant, and an obsessive fascination with reading about, seeing, or engaging with the subject-- a need to hear poetry, to experience art, or to be with someone, that empathises. It's the kind of thing that makes you keep searching in futility long after you know you've exhausted your options, because you need your thoughts not to be isolated, need some feedback. Personally, I'll spend time on DeviantART, scouring for pictures-- I don't collect transformation art, but it's the sort of thing that makes me realise what people see in it.

The physical sensation's a lot like hyper-awareness of the body region in question (in the case of wings, shoulder blades). There's a feeling of being unbalanced there, as if an important counterweight were missing, and a strong sense that to have the missing parts would be "right". The best way to describe it is... tie up your hand, or some other part of your body you use a lot. Bind your fingers, or bind your arm to yourself. Or remember a time when you were injured or sick and couldn't move or use some part of yourself. Notice how many times you instinctively want to reach for things with that body part, use it to support yourself, do something that requires its balance or function, and you can't and it's mildly frustrating. That little feeling of "ngh, need to do something I can't", that tension that comes from being immobilised, along with that little phantom mental image of yourself doing the action that clashes with the non-movement you feel in the actual body part? That's the feeling, except the phantom-image is of something you don't have.

When your hand is completely at rest, you're aware of your fingers, but it's vague, right? It might be a little hard to tell each finger from the next, for example, but you also do have a rough sensory map of "I extend out to here". This feeling is... you can feel the other, invisible parts of you that extend out, but they can't be moved, even if you mentally "move" them.

Some people have much more of a sense of them, I think. They can move them, and it feels like a body part. I've heard of people feeling pain when the parts pass through things; I've heard of people who'd go out of their way to avoid sitting on other people's invisible tails. I've even heard of... actually, I'm just going to link you to a quick comic that discusses a few of these things. For us [as in "the system"] the sensations are much shallower: no pain, no actual feeling in the "limb" beyond a map of its being there.

Sometimes, it's like they're bound up inside, and they need to come out. It's the kind of feeling that makes you want to push at something within you, so they'd break through the skin. That's not one I notice, so often, but other people in here do. I don't feel a tail often, but I have mobile ears, for example. They don't bother me, they just feel like they're there. When I do feel that sense of something trapped inside, it's not tied to anything specific. I don't know what it is that I want to push out; there's no image associated with it. It's just "must push out of skin", like I imagine the beginning of a transformation sequence feels, the potential energy for change burning within me.

But Iris feels simultaneously like her wings are there, and like there's pressure under her skin, waiting to come out. It's a claustrophobic sort of feeling, like being wrapped in some kind of restrictive suit. Again with the "should be able to move it, and can imagine moving it, but there's also a feeling of frustration that I can't get the real input from it".

So this is me-- but tell me about yourself!

Speaking of such, and as a kind of surreal coincidence, I woke up this morning to find that my laptop... was growing feathers.

This had just got caught in there. Our couch pillows shed a lot of feathers, but I thought this was kind of neat.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-18 12:39 am (UTC)
cassander: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cassander
If ya poke around enough, you'll find some more detailed descriptions of phantom limbs.

For some, they apparently feel just like actual body parts. For me, they tend to be a little hazier, I suppose. I can't tell the exact structure of my wings, for example, but I can often feel the wind against them when I "stretch them out." I know where they attach and I can feel them interact with the air sometimes, but it's not quite like my non-phantom limbs, if that makes sense.

Occasionally, my wings feel cramped. After I went hang gliding, when I drove back in a car, I felt very cramped inside. While I was in the air, I didn't notice my phantom wings as much, but when I landed, I felt them very strongly all day. It was a bit uncomfortable in the car. But I've never had anything like physical pain from them being smashed. Just some discomfort when the physical world doesn't match up with the metaphysical. It can be uncomfortable if I have to squeeze through somewhere they won't fit if I'm feeling them strongly, for example.

The second strongest phantom limb for me is my tail. Still much weaker than my wings. Every once in a while I'll feel it in a similar fashion and have an idea where it is and such. But given that its prehensile, it's odd it's not more omnipresent.

And sometimes I can just feel my whole dragon body and have a sense for my size... a fair amount bigger than my human body.

Any more details you're interested in?

Btw, I love TheriThere. :-) I've used her strips to explain concepts before myself.

July 2011

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