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Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015, 06:12 pm
Why I am a rat

@WhitePaw80 (on Twitter) asked: what draws you to being a rat? That question is far too involved to answer in 140 characters, so I will make a brave (foolhardy? vain?) attempt at doing so here.

Even though I'll be lampooned for it by the "new" furries, I truly believe the rat chose me, not the other way around. The more I reflect on it, the more honoured I feel by that choice. (For full disclosure, I should admit that Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Roland Rat were very big with me during my formative years, but that could just be the chicken and egg debate in fur.) It makes perfect sense: Who would want to be a rat? Rats are small, insignificant and reviled by Western culture. A rat acquaintance told me he was attracted to rats by their status as an iconoclast, but I don't think I ever sought out controversy intentionally. As far back as I can remember, long before I discovered the furry fandom (and, yes, probably even before NIMH and Roland Rat) I was attracted to rats. I thought they were cute (in spite of Western conditioning) and admired them for their intelligence and belligerent determination to live (here I owe a debt to a Christian TV preacher, one of my earliest memories relating to rats, who told the story of the family who tried to kill a rat that just wouldn't die). Which brings me to another early influence when it comes to rats: My father. He taught me to respect rats. He made a humane live rat trap, and I saw a rat escape from it once, by squeezing through a hole the size of its head. It gave me the willies at the time, but it showed me how determined rats are to live. He also told me a story (which I strongly suspect to be apocryphal) of how rats steal chicken eggs: One lies on its back and holds the egg with all four legs while the other drags his friend by the tail.

So the short answer is that I don't know. I could have just said that, but I wanted to be more honest than that, and to also lay out the early influences as I saw them.

Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015 10:10 am (UTC)

Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015 10:58 am (UTC)

Even though I'll be lampooned for it by the "new" furries, I truly believe the rat chose me, not the other way around.

New furries?

Among all the totem and spiritual choices, I've always believed the rabbit chose me :o)

Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015 07:19 pm (UTC)

"New" furries is a way of describing how furry has changed over the years. When I (and I suspect Marko) found it many years ago, furs like us (where the appeal is the spiritual side rather than the anthro side) were a large enough portion of the community that we were at least recognized. These days, furry has become so overwhelmingly about anthro and "characters" and hybrid creatures designed to attract the most attention that we spiritual furs have been lost in the noise. "New" furries I think describes those who either don't understand or are oblivious to what "furry" means to those of us who joined at a time when there was more understanding of those like us. These days, I feel like we're not even considered to be "real" furries. Even though we've been calling ourselves furry for as long as many of the "new" furs have been alive, we don't represent what furry has become.

Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2015 12:50 am (UTC)

*nods* Thank you :o)

It's been a long, strange trip, furry has. My estimates put my beginning at about age 4, give or take, but I only realized there were 'others like me' maybe 19 years ago, at age 40. I've never really partaken of the fandom proper, though, beyond the Internet. This rabbit is a fairly solitary fellow.

Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC)

Thank you, Twig! We are the ones I consider to be "real" furries but often we're not even acknowledged as furries anymore. :/ Luckily, I also have my cute and fuzzy side which still fits right in.

Fri, Jan. 2nd, 2015 08:33 pm (UTC)

Interesting! From this, and all I recall (which sounds much grander than it is, with my memory =:), you've always been a rat, ne?

I suppose it took me rather a long time to really discover the furry truth of myself - several years as a red panda, preceded by a few of various combinations, before that long-latent lapinity broke free, despite plenty of hints in the past.

It's not easy for small mammals to get respect. Carnivores, no problem, or even large herbivores, like equines and bovines, but the rabbit's at best seen as a fluffy pet, at worst, a pest, when they're simply doing all they can to survive, often in the face of tremendous odds, including predators with far too many teeth. That's part of what drives my photography, of course - I want to help show people just what vivid lives rabbits lead, and possessed of such extraordinary agility and timing.

Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)

Yes, I should have noted that up above. I am fond of saying: "I was born a rat and I'll die a rat!"

Sun, Jan. 4th, 2015 06:09 pm (UTC)

Nice. A similar story to me, actually. I always found rats to be fascinating creatures. I liked mouse and rat characters in books as a kid. Though I had Master Splinter instead of Roland Rat, certainly there are similarities in why we're rats. :)

Tue, Jan. 6th, 2015 08:20 am (UTC)

Do you remember that Harry Potter fic I wrote for you for Fandom Aid back in 2011? The one where Scorpius Malfoy turned out to be an Animagus ferret and he was more comfortable in that form than human? I can't find the exact prompt that you gave me because it's on an old email address, but I think it was just 'a Harry Potter 'verse furry fic' or somesuch.

It's officially my most popular fan fiction story by kudos, and third most popular by hit count. A lot of the comments really appreciate the furry aspect to the story, too.

So thank you for that one prompt that led to a lot of people getting to read something they really enjoyed.
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