Tesem – End of the Year Essay Project (2021)

I’d like to use this essay as a tool to do several things. To show that it is alright to be uncertain. To show that perseverance can and does pay off. To show that our community still has a variety of issues that we must all work to address. And to show that even if you are uncertain about your actions or your Self as a being, you should always try to strive for growth and understanding. With that, I’d like to say that I know more about myself today, and I am very grateful for the events that have transpired over the year of 2021. I am thankful for the violet flame which has guided me through my maze of thorns, and I am thankful to be able to say that I understand the canine influences which have come to impact my being far greater than words could ever describe. I’ll get around to working that into the open sphere of discourse…eventually.

The changes that occurred over the last year, 2021, got a majority of their start in late 2020, but the full breadth of those changes was not felt until many months later. Looking back further, it’s even safe to say that the seed was planted sometime in mid-2018. While my identity is rooted in both psychological and spiritual understandings, it is no secret that the metaphysical aspects of my experiences are the dominant means of exploration. And it is through that medium that these changes manifested in full.

My whole life I have had some degree of understanding as to “what” I was, but I never knew what that meant. The word “meaning” is being used here with the intent to describe the fundamental purpose an organism serves in the world—their ecosystem. What was my umwelt and what function did I, or beings like me, serve in connection to that world? Or perhaps the universe? Why am I the way I am? It’s a difficult question for anyone to answer in general. It becomes even more difficult if one’s experiences are atypical even among those experiencing such things as nonhumanity.

Being of atypical identity in the sense that it is rooted in liminality, permanence was not always present for the entirety of this journey. It may never be. This fact reflected heavily in the many failed attempts to understand my “function” as an organism. This query coincided with feelings and instincts that also seemed largely unrelated to the nature itself, more ethereal in the sense that they felt as if they were ideologies rather than nature. Or so it seemed at the time. Guardianship. A sense of kinship with Guardian figures. The notion of a “Guardian”. What purpose does that serve in Nature? Weighing any and all sides of the argument never got anywhere other than making me feel more alienated and confused.

I do not mean to imply by saying these things that everything has been solved through my recent experiences. Rather I am intending to say that the obscure road has been illuminated ever so slightly. Enough to consider the impact defining, in a way.

At the beginning of 2020, it almost felt random. The series of events necessary to bring one to such conclusions seemed highly convoluted (and in a way, it still does). The more time that passes, however, shows that this was never the case. As long as one continues to search, continues to move forward despite every dead-end, answers will eventually be found. I’d like to think, anyway. There’s something to be said for perseverance, even without a discernible road to follow in the moment. In the end I think the destination was inevitable. And despite there being meaning now, a function, there is so much more to understand. I foresee this exploration persisting for many years to come if not the rest of this physical lifetime and beyond.

For the sake of privacy, the exact gateway/name of the path that led to such conclusions will be omitted. This may be moderately disappointing for some, but it is with great care and reverence that I protect the flame. Such is my Nature. The imposed limitations in expression are simply necessary.

From what was learned on this path, it can be said with confidence that shapeshifting is still a core aspect of how I interact with and experience this world, a root behavior that will persist always. Additionally this path puts to rest some questions about unusually consistent patterns which had always struck me as “arbitrary”. This revelation concerns the canid pattern fixation, subconscious and unchosen. It was a rock that stood defiantly against the liminal sea of change inside. The greatest (now understood) influence was one primary pattern that I had looked into the least, and the cosmic irony of such does not elude me. Although it feels weird saying it, it must be said. The core pattern, the primary fixation, the medium by which I had instinctively fell into was that of the jackal.

Of course, funneled through my system, it certainly comes out a little strange on the other end. I still haven’t quite figured out the reason for particular aspects remaining so consistent in manifestation (extra features and such). But that is just another road to eventually find myself on at a later time, I suppose.

This may seem like a simple realization, but if all you have ever known your entire life was impermanence, to understand that some part of you was or has been permanent is life changing. So many branching paths arise from something seemingly so mundane.

A question I have been concerning myself with for months is “does or should this change the way I present myself to others?” Manifestation, or actualization, is an invaluable tool for nonhuman persons. It is one way of making our experiences known and heard by others. Making our reality a part of the larger sphere of “Reality”. Sharing your breath with the world. Adding it to the collective experiences of every other living being. In this way, we cannot be denied by those who do not share our experiences. We also can connect with those like us who do. As it stands, I have always, in some way, expressed myself as a shapeshifting entity. That aspect is still True, and will always remain True. But if greater knowledge of other important influences is acquired—influences which permeate through all of that change—should that information also be included  in an open sphere of discourse?

Hesitation, for me, comes from my experiences with the nonhuman community itself. We all want to advocate for openness and expression in earnest, but that is not always reflected in the actions and politics of many that we find ourselves amongst. Being open about being a shapeshifter has brought a lot of conflict over the years by those with more static experiences. Although I am not governed by their ignorance, their reactions, at the least, make me aware of how deeply ingrained human politicking is for those who do not consider themselves human at all.

That awareness, to someone such as myself, is enough to give me pause, to consider the true depth of openly enacting change. Writing this, I suppose, is one way to work myself through the logistics of this consideration while also expressing how important it is to encourage openness and sharing within our community. Unknowing is a powerful motivator for harmful acts.

Knowing this, I decided to share what I have to encourage others who might be hesitating for fear of how others might treat them.