Ursa Major

Not A Therian After All?

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I am almost sure I am ‘hearted and not a therian after all. I’m not unhappy about this theory itself, but I do feel silly and regretful because of the way I was so sure about being a therian. I wonder if I've been lying to myself and others without realizing it.

Until about 3-4 months ago, when I began digging deeper into the history of modern therianthropy, I thought being ‘hearted meant that the experience was “not as meaningful” as being therian. I see a sort of hierarchy in the therian community, with being a therian at the top and being otherhearted or animal-hearted at the bottom.

Bears influence the way I perceive myself, how I think I should look at times, my behavior, my diet, etc., but I don’t identify as one. A part of me is very connected to bears and many of my behaviors/the way I think could be described as bear-like. It means more to me than “liking” or “relating to” an animal, which is what I was told otherheartedness meant since I joined the community in 2018.

I recently read a text called "Common Themes in the Early Animal-hearted Scene" that resonated deeply with me. Linked here: https://web.archive.org/web/20181219...-hearted-scene

I am not the most articulate today so please forgive me if none of this makes any sense. I'm a little down as well, which I hope has not seeped into my writing. If anyone has any advice or words of affirmation, it wouldn't hurt to hear them.

I am still learning to interpret the nature of my experiences, which I think is something we all go through as we learn which word or label works and which does not.

Updated February 21st, 2021 at 07:06 PM by Ursa Major

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  1. Kerguelen's Avatar
    "I thought being ‘hearted meant that the experience was “not as meaningful” as being therian. I see a sort of hierarchy in the therian community, with being a therian at the top and being otherhearted or animal-hearted at the bottom."

    yes! I think this is a huge problem. I know the community is meant to be therian-centered but there's a place for the "not-quite-therians" as well. I think I actually fall in this category too so I've been thinking about this a lot.
  2. Ursa Major's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kerguelen
    "I thought being ‘hearted meant that the experience was “not as meaningful” as being therian. I see a sort of hierarchy in the therian community, with being a therian at the top and being otherhearted or animal-hearted at the bottom."

    yes! I think this is a huge problem. I know the community is meant to be therian-centered but there's a place for the "not-quite-therians" as well. I think I actually fall in this category too so I've been thinking about this a lot.
    I'm glad I'm not alone. I think that the prevalence of the "hierarchy" varies quite a bit from platform to platform, but is something we should have a serious discussion about when we recognize it. I haven't seen it at all here on Werelist. Everyone here so far has been unbelievably kind, mature, and thoughtful. Thanks for commenting!
  3. Savage's Avatar
    If your experience is meaningful to you and you think that "animal hearted" is a good way to identify your experience, that is completely valid. Gatekeeping other people's experiences or labels is strongly discouraged here, and if you think you are experiencing discrimination or someone is trying to assert some form of power or hierarchy over you, please let a moderator know. Everyone is expected to be mature and respectful to others here, especially about their own personal experiences and identity.
  4. Ursa Major's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Savage
    If your experience is meaningful to you and you think that "animal hearted" is a good way to identify your experience, that is completely valid. Gatekeeping other people's experiences or labels is strongly discouraged here, and if you think you are experiencing discrimination or someone is trying to assert some form of power or hierarchy over you, please let a moderator know. Everyone is expected to be mature and respectful to others here, especially about their own personal experiences and identity.

    No worries, everyone on The Werelist has been incredibly kind to me and I've enjoyed the discussions. There are no problems here! I have mostly encountered that problem on platforms like the Therian Amino, which I have moved away from completely. Thank you for the kind words and concern!
  5. wildlife's Avatar
    I think the way you described your experience makes total sense. I have always seen the difference between being therian(/otherkin) and being animal(/other)-hearted as whether you identify as the species or not. Everything besides that can be the same. Making it very hard to determine if you're one or the other so in my eyes there is no need to feel silly or regretful. You just gave your experiences the wrong name, and now you have found one that fits better, that is not lying. I hope you will feel better about it. I think taking a look at yourself and figuring out a different word fits better is something to be proud of! Not a lot of people have the courage to re-question themselves.
  6. Ursa Major's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by wildlife
    I think the way you described your experience makes total sense. I have always seen the difference between being therian(/otherkin) and being animal(/other)-hearted as whether you identify as the species or not. Everything besides that can be the same. Making it very hard to determine if you're one or the other so in my eyes there is no need to feel silly or regretful. You just gave your experiences the wrong name, and now you have found one that fits better, that is not lying. I hope you will feel better about it. I think taking a look at yourself and figuring out a different word fits better is something to be proud of! Not a lot of people have the courage to re-question themselves.
    Thank you! I appreciate the reassurance and advice. Like you said, it has been difficult to discern my experiences from that of a therian. I was confused about what feelings "qualified" someone for identifying as an animal, and maybe the confusion stemmed from me simply not being ABLE to identify as an animal in the way therians do.

    All in all, I am sort of fed up with the intricacies of labels and have decided to call myself "bear-hearted", as I think that it accurately describes how I feel. I would still feel and act bear-like without the label.