Aug 25, 2014

We're here, we're queer, even we belong somewhere

On Saturday, we made the drive down to Kenmore Lanes, a bowling alley in suburban Seattle. While the venue is nothing special in its own right, it happens to be the location of choice for the quarterly Seattle Furlife group bowling meetup... and that makes it entirely worth the commute. It draws enough furries from around Seattle and surrounding areas to feel like a miniature convention; usually 150-200 of us show up. The attendance seemed a little down this time around, but I believe that was due to BronyCan being held in Vancouver the same day, as well as all the other late summer events happening around the city. Still, we had a good turn-out, and got to welcome quite a few new fuzzy faces to the group. This was our third Furlife bowling meet (we missed the last one), and it seems I only have more fun every time we go. It's good to see a few more familiar faces each time, both in and out of suit.

Admittedly, my depressive funk worsened severely on Friday, to the extent that I was essentially bedridden. I didn't know that I could actually sleep that much and still feel so exhausted. While in such a vulnerable state, the idea of subjecting myself to crowds and commotion and forcing myself to even appear social seemed utterly unappealing, so I strongly considered sitting out the next day's meetup. But with my mate expressing her eagerness to go, I didn't want to be a disappointing drag, so I thought better of canceling our RSVP. Besides, I reasoned, just spending another day moping around and hiding wasn't going to make me feel much better... especially with how much we had been looking forward to this event for weeks prior.

I've also got to admit that as soon as we showed up at the bowling alley, donned our furry gear, and got in line for registration, my mood began swinging in a much more positive direction. By the time we started our first game, the trials of the day before came a distant memory. Bowling may well be therapeutic, but not nearly so much as being surrounded by dozens of fellow furries. I've hardly been able to subject myself to the general public lately without feeling the need to raise my hackles, but the level of comfort and comradery I feel amongst my own kind always seems to take me by surprise when I haven't experienced it in so many months. It's really a heartwarming sense of belonging and acceptance that I doubt I could find in any other sort of group. Even as the general public typically greets us with bewildered stares, we really get each other, and I feel no reservations about lowering the shield and just being myself. The furry fandom is much more than just a hobby or pastime; it's a state of mind and being, a lifestyle, the highly specific social niche I feel most comfortable in by far. I can't imagine ever finding a reason to divorce myself from the fandom, for it has introduced so many kindred souls into my life, truly wonderful, genuine people that I otherwise never would have had the chance to meet. It also has much to offer otherwise, including the fantastically rich diversity of its artistic, musical, and theatrical talent.

The Furlife group in particular is in no way exclusive, but rather very welcoming, and I have yet to come across a single bad vibe or unsavory attitude from anyone. Everyone seems genuine, warm, friendly, primarily interested in just having a great time and making sure everyone around them does too. Furlife has proven to be one of my favorite things about living here. In spite of our living nearly a couple hours away from Seattle, I really would like to be able to attend a few of the other meetups they have going on throughout the year.


After just a few hours of being your true self with your own kind, it doesn't feel like such a shock when you have to say goodbye to everyone and suddenly force yourself back into the mundane real world. ...It still feels a little weird, unsettling, and altogether unnatural, but isn't too much of an adjustment to revert to your "publicly acceptable" side. After four straight days at a con, however, it's altogether disorienting. When the time finally comes for all the fun-loving fuzzies to disperse, the locale that had been transformed into a magnfiicent furry wonderland for so many days reverts to being just another hotel, and mundane reality is everywhere, encroaching. There is no gradual reintroduction to it; it just slaps you across the muzzle and rubs your nose in it the second you leave. And no longer being attached to my tail feels so wrong.

That unavoidable sense of PCD will never be nearly enough to dissuade me from looking forward to the next con, however... only one month to go until Rainfurrest! This year, we've got a room in the main hotel, so we shouldn't have to deal with nearly as many parking/transportation hassles as last time. It's the perfect way to celebrate summer's end.

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