Crossing the Bridge for the First Time-- My Awakening Story

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I needed something I could point others to when the topic of awakening came up. For me it is a complicated subject that would be tedious to rewrite so this is a shortened autobiography here concerning this subject.

The Early Days

I identify as a suntherian/otherkin: my identity is ever present with various degrees of shifts. I've been awakened twice over the span of many years with my knowledge growing as I entered the kin community. The beginnings of those years were spent questioning. Now there is nothing much left to question- in the case of identity.

My wolf kintype awakening was easy to figure out. As a kid I was wolf crazy and the usual- in similar fashion to any young wolf loving kid. As I got older I realized that I’m not all that crazy about canids as I was back then but the wolf persisted. I've come to embrace such a familiar feeling in my life- that of the wolf-and its influence most likely from a past life or perhaps two where I was a wolf. I've looked up other canines, the research and hours of listening to sounds; everything a newly awakened therian would do. As I always say, time will tell. I was one of the lucky ones in that regard. I was a wolf through and through. I believe myself to have been/be a Mackenzie valley wolf but my interest in finding out if that was a 100% fit waned as time went on (although it most likely fits).

Around 2011, I also took on the identity of the horse, a secondary kintype alongside a hyena totem for certain other reasons. The horse was a long time feeling with cameo shifts- and I searched high and low for others with similar kintypes. When I finally heard of someone, I was ecstatic…but I could not reach them unfortunately. This was around the time I joined the community. It took some time before I learned of ‘kith-types’ or hearted types, and realized that I identified with them…not as one of them. I did not feel like a horse outside of rogue shifts or being in their vicinity.

I was back with the wolf—I had never really left. However, in (2014) there came a kintype that is much more prominent and demands that level of introspection only on a deeper level. The wolf was in the past, and remnants remain now--will I ever be a wolf again? I do not know. But I will feel at home once more if it so happens.

What’s That Creature?

The zhuard is much more complicated. My awakening did not happen until years after the wolf awakening and I had to step away from the community to figure it out- to be without influences. The awakening I got was pointed to in several directions: from my hyena totem bringing up my sexuality (which really the hyena was guiding me closer to the realization of zhuards and their anatomy), the shifts that were more persistent that felt very odd and difficult to pinpoint, to the deeply ingrained feelings I've harbored in life, and why I felt so strongly on certain things when I was younger and shouldn't have had concepts of such things to begin with.

On one afternoon, I had a dream (now several years ago) that showed a black zhuard sprinting through the woods and skidding to a halt, looking at me. This zhuard was in terrestrial quadruped form and was clearly not me as I was looking at him. I tensed and responded very aggressively with body language- and that was it.

I woke up. What exactly happened? Just a creature from 'dreamland', the mind piecing things together? I didn’t have any information available to me, and it was just a dream...except nothing that described dreams-as abstract jumbled thoughts- felt like that one. I treated it as such- a normal dream-with an intrigue on the individual I saw. Why he and his species felt familiar, why my shifts often reminded me of such a form although though not the only one.

I decided to start drawing what he was after that having previously not been aware of the creature that gave me such feeling. I decided to make a character that wasn't him per say, even though I knew that zhuard was very much an individual himself. Thus a fictional character in every meaning of the word was born:

Jarek had several features that zhuards did not 'grow out of' as I learned more about them. He was a mimic of the black zhuard I saw-Ivan- and was just a “poster child” for my navigation of the species. A species I felt I didn’t really have any true control over as far as ‘creativity’ as they were not from my creative mind. No, they were not some creature design project--none of my art really is. These creatures seemed to be more integrated to me than I knew. It’s very easy to claim that for some, especially artists with their own creatures, however, it transcended that feeling very quickly.

With Jarek even down to a zhuard's metallic sternum/keel (chest protrusion) which I, in 2014, strangely made it match his fur in color- it was a mistake on what exactly it was—but I still knew it was there. That the placing was correct. If anything, due to shifts and further realizations, hip spurs were not quite a thing, and after 2015 they were gone. Zhuards have not really changed much in their physical form since I've started drawing and describing them. Not intentionally, as I have had information come to me which gave me insight...but never changed their appearance in a drastic way. Their form was something I already knew, and I didn't know how.

Who was (wasn't) I?

That dream was the catalyst for several reoccurring dreams that played out like bits and pieces of a story and still do- rarely allowing me to move as a lucid dream but only at certain points.
I’ve had several encounters with zhuards through these dreams, and as I was more focused on what my mental and phantom shifts were telling me, something about these constant dreams bugged me. Why was I interacting and getting emotions from these individuals, and more importantly who was I?

Why did I feel so strongly I would see them again? It felt more like an “unfinished business” thing than anything else. That's when the realization hit-in one of the dreams, I walked to a pond and looked. I was a zhuard. A dark burgundy zhuard…they called me Allendria. I’ve only heard the name a few times—even with a surname. However, was that really me? I was left after each experience with far too many questions. There were many times Allendria felt like me, yet also outside of me—but in those dreams I was her. I didn’t quite know.

I often write Allendria’s her name as third person as I am used to writing things through her eyes- my other eyes, but I had to understand that for some reason, that didn’t sit right. I was used to the zhuard spirit, it felt right, and I have such a feeling that for the most part transcends whatever other available body this soul resides in—a good fit—all else possibly exploratory. So why then did I feel torn? Time would tell.

*And no, this is not DID, and certainly not a part of that alter, tulpa craze. This is more like a dual soul integration process*

She, among others, were not the first zhuards to reveal themselves to me over time, and there have been some that have truly impacted me. Even non-zhuards—from stories of others to Allen’s encounter with them. Her encounters became my encounters.

I could not simply write about them without knowing and understanding them or from others. It became a very difficult task—most people who write or draw can do so when the need arises. Write out a character to fit a role...I do not fully have that luxury. Many times I am information-starved. I know a lot on certain individuals, and when they present themselves and their story, through music, through a thought, etc- it is not something that can be stopped. Often, this is distressing. Yet my strong deep feeling that I will revisit it all—these memories I now call visions as a proper term for them.

And such began my journey of learning more about zhuards, their forms, etc. Such became a journey about learning who I was, am and will be..
Moving forward:
I would remember what I was meant to be. To prepare for another zhuard led life after this one.
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