What drew me into the fandom so deeply was the longing to help folks out. This being the holiday season, I read a lot of angsty posts from people who were suffering alone at this time of year. I had a strong family base although it was a thousand miles away. My circle of friends was very small. I had this strong desire to reach out to every furson that was lonely and/or depressed. I knew that feeling all too well and wanted to end it for as many as possible. I suppose the ultimate expression of that was last Thanksgiving when I opened my den up to several furs who might have spent the day alone.
The fandom has opened my eyes and increased my appreciation for the differences in the world. For years I had wanted to be "normal." Oh, I was kinky and always on the edge, but I didn't want to appear like a "freak." That side I had to keep securely tucked away in a closet. Discovering furry and its diversity has helped me become a more accepting person. In the weeks before I came out, I was reading other furs' websites. I was comforted to see that there were other "greymuzzles" out there and that I would not stand out like a sore thumb. I was a bit concerned that there were so many gay and bi members. What would others think about me if they knew I hung out with "those" people? It was the classic closet syndrome. I was ashamed to admit to myself that I was, in fact, one of "those people." But by opening the furry closet door I was also able to open up the other closet door. I was one who pointed fingers and laughed at adults who played D&D or watched cartoons. Nerds! Geeks! Yes. And I was one of them but couldn't openly admit it to myself. Once again, furry helped me break down that barrier. And on the other side of the barrier I found happiness.
I look back 2 years and remember feeling like such an outsider. I couldn't believe that people were not just communicating to each other on the computer, but they were phoning each other! They were sending Christmas cards to one another! They were even visiting one another! I thought there was no way that I would ever reach that point with other furs. Would I find friends like that? No way! *smiles* Boy, was I wrong, and I'm happy that I was. If you see a new fur post to LJ through a community, I hope you take the time to welcome them into the fandom. I have been lax in this and need to start doing it more. They are going through the same thing you did when you discovered the fandom and need love and support. Thanks to all of you who have become my friends and lovers. You mean the world to me. I hope to be posting a similar message November 24, 2005.