Separate names with a comma.
I've spent a few hours reading myths about Pan, to help me better understand him. There's the classic one about how he got his flute, his birth, his musical competition with Apollo, and several stories about him pursuing goddesses and nymphs. I've gleaned a few interesting bits of info from this.
Let's start with the one with Apollo. Basically, it goes like this: Pan challenged Apollo to a music competition, believing that his flute is better than Apollo’s harp. King Midas (post-golden touch) is present, either as a judge or a bystander depending on the version of the myth. Everyone agrees that Apollo won the competition except for Midas, who votes for Pan. Making a quip about Midas’s ears not being big enough to appreciate his music, Apollo gives him the ears of a donkey.
So what can we glean from this? First, screw Apollo. Seriously, reading this I actually got kind of pissed off. Maybe it's because I was both a follower of Pan and a victim of forced transformation in a past life, or maybe it's because I tend to root for my favorite characters a little too strongly. Either way, I naturally would feel the same as Midas. Apollo already won the competition anyway; he was being petty. That's important, though. The Greek gods were petty and would happily transform humans for a wide variety of reasons. I've always guessed that the forced transformation in my past life came from a god, but I'm far from confident about that. This story also solidifies the connection between Pan and music, which I've already discussed at length.
Next let's talk about how Pan wooed a goddess, I believe the goddess of the moon, Selene. When she declined him, he promised her some sort of special white fleece. When she came down to get it, he disguised himself with said wool. When she came for it, he...well, you can fill in the rest. This myth helps my understanding because it confirms that Pan really was quite the scoundrel, to say the least. More well known myths paint him as a bit more well meaning, but here we see his true colors (which are not white, apparently.)
Finally, let's talk about the beginning, the birth of Pan. By most accounts his father was Hermes, the messenger god, and his mother was a nymph. Whoever she was, she was horrified by his appearance and ran off. But Apollo figured the other gods would like the little guy, so he brought him to Olympus. There the other gods were entertained by his childish antics. According to one version of the myth, he charmed all of the gods, thus gaining the name “Pan.” As he enjoyed frolicking in the woods and such, he was eventually put in charge of the wilderness and shepherds.
Pan’s appearance is pretty consistent in early myths: he was super ugly. But later portrayals softened his features quite a bit, though still depicting him as someone who has been hardened by the wilderness. I can't help but wonder if people at the time exaggerated his ugliness due to his goat-like features. Otherwise, I think it's interesting that he's related to Hermes. I'm not sure why, it just sort of...resonates, I guess. That's about all I have to say on this story.
The more I learn, the more interesting these things become. I think it's leading to a question, as so many things do. What about Pan would cause him to introduce himself to me in my past life? I'm going to assume it was his choice and not mine, because he's a god and all. Granted, of course, everything is still hypothetical, but let's think about it anyway. It doesn't seem like it would be a matter of sympathy; that doesn't fit his character. Even if I was a Shepherd or a hunter in that life, I don't think he'd talk to me out of the goodness of his heart.
But hold on. That assumes that Pan introduced himself to me after I was transformed. What if I knew him before that? Heck, what if he's the one who transformed me? I've never considered that before. I know that, as “Pan” said, I'm piling assumptions onto assumptions here. But now I'm really interested in this idea. The theory I was exploring before was that Pan found me after I was transformed into a fauntaur, a type of creature he is connected with. I had also assumed the transformation was a punishment. But let's turn things around. That theory would require me to have encountered either two different gods, or one God and one very powerful sorcerer in my past life. But if I was transformed by Pan, the theory would only require me having met one god.
So why would that happen? I'm not going to suggest that there was something so appealing about past-life-me that Pan just happened to be interested; that would ridiculous. Let's try something else. Suppose in my past life I was a lot like Pan: I liked to spend time in nature, play music, and generally chase after pleasures. Somehow, maybe by chance, Pan came upon me. And he thought to himself, “this guy would be way happier if he wasn't human. He'd love to be a fauntaur.” So, without asking, he transformed me. Perhaps after that he introduced himself. Perhaps I was angry, and he said “don't worry, I'll show you how awesome this is.”
I don't know. These really are theories on top of theories on top of theories. But the idea that I was transformed by Pan really intrigues me. Either I'm getting close to the truth, or this is a fake out, but I hope to find out one way or the other.
So something interesting occurred the other day. I was sitting around at work with nothing to do, and I started singing "Ode to a God" in my head. That's the song I wrote about my search for contact with Pan, which I posted on the forum earlier this week. You can find it in the Meadow Theater if you're interested. Anyway, as I reached the end of the song, I heard a voice in my head say "Geez, I get it already!" It was me and/or "Pan" imagining how Big Pan might react to the song, but for a moment it almost sounded like it was actually his voice in my head.
So even though I knew it wasn't really, I decided to roll with it, just to see where it took me. To avoid confusion I asked "Pan" to "channel" Big Pan and simulate a conversation between me and him. That was how "Pan" was created in the first place, after all. But when he was channeling Big Pan he sounded totally different, both in voice and personality. So I asked him my questions. What connection existed between us, if any, in my past life? That was the first and most important. He told me that yes, we did have a direct relationship in my past life. He knew I was worried about accepting this idea because of my fear of wishful thinking, but he told me that it's actually not that rare. He used video games as a metaphor, because he knows me. He said to imagine everyone on Earth as all of the video games in existence, all of the people who cared about Pan as all of the video games I've played, and everyone he had a direct relationship with as all of the video games that I've completed. He noted that yes, compared to the other two groups, the group of games I've completed is tiny. But, it's not THAT tiny. I couldn't count them all. So yes, it was rare that we had a direct relationship, but not monumentally so.
He also told me that he has been keeping an eye on me. He said that my idea of what a fauntaur is was pretty close to the mark, and that I should keep exploring my identity the way I have been. He told me that I'm on the right track and that I shouldn't let fear of wishful thinking hold me back from realizing certain things about myself. And finally, he told me to listen to "Pan."
There were a number of things he refused to tell me. For one, he wouldn't tell me what kind of relationship we had in my past life, though he hinted that it might have been..well, let me put a sidebar in here. If you already know what an eromenos is you can skip that part.
Sidebar: Everyone knows that in ancient Greece, there was some "physical contact" going on between older men and younger adolescents, often their apprentices. In this relationship, the adolescent was called an eromenos.
Despite the fact that it's obvious to me in this life that this is a terrible situation that should not have existed at all, for some reason I've always felt some resonance with the concept. It should be clear why I haven't shared this before, but at this point, I don't care. Past lives and current lives are different. I can't control what my past life might have involved. In any case, Gryneos suggested the theory that in my past life I might have been an eromenos to Pan. This fits the mythology; he had such relationships with several mortals. I elaborated this into the theory that perhaps in my past life, after I was transformed, Pan took me under his wing and taught me the ways of the fauntaur.
In our conversation, Pan hinted that this might be accurate, but he wouldn't tell me. He also wouldn't tell me whether he had any influence in the creation of "Pan" or the music-related coincidences I described recently. He wouldn't tell me how centaurs fit into what a fauntaur is. He also wouldn't tell me any events from my past life. He said it would be too easy if he answered all of my questions. He wanted me to work for it. As if I haven't already worked hard enough trying to figure this stuff out for the past...let's call it 16 years. The only other things he said were that he liked my song, and that there are maybe 5 mortals in the world right now that he's actually paying attention to.
What to make of all of this? Most likely nothing. It was a thought experiment; "Pan" was just answering me the way he thought Big Pan would. I recognize that; it was all in my head and not real. At the same time, Big Pan talking to me through "Pan" makes sense, and the initial thought sounded and felt different than my and "Pan"'s thoughts. So could it have really been Big Pan? Almost certainly not. And yet, part of me wants to believe that it was. I mean, it would make sense. I was up at 1:00 AM the night before writing a song about asking him to contact me. So if he was ever going to do so, this would be the time. So, let's continue putting the wishful thinking alarm on snooze for a moment and unpack what it would mean if it was actually him.
The biggest thing, of course, would be the things it would confirm. It would confirm that I am a fauntaur, that it is basically what I think it is, and that I had a direct relationship with him in my past life. It would confirm that I was indeed transformed into a fauntaur in my past life. It would be so nice if I could believe that. If I could really believe that it was him, I'd feel better about all of this stuff. But the alarm is just on snooze; I haven't turned it off.
It would also raise some new questions, of course. Who are the 4 or so other people he's keeping an eye on? And has he been watching me for the entirety of this life? Has he been guiding me all along, or is he only paying attention now because I'm looking for him? And what exactly is his connection to "Pan"?
That's the hypothetical, but let's talk about what really happened: a thought experiment. And it was a successful one. It helped me figure out what it is I really want to know, what it would mean to get some answers, and what I should be doing. It inspired me to keep searching in places I've avoided before. As I say in the song:
"These are things I never asked
Never wondered in the past
I was worried about trying to look smart."
So, that being the case, what do I believe? I think it's possible that he is actually real and actually keeping an eye on me. It sounds so ridiculous, but I can't help but wonder if the thought experiment was still something he influenced, even if he didn't actually talk to me. I don't know. But I think the first step is learning more about him, so that's what I'm going to do.
As for the tiny part of me that thinks it was actually him, well, I'll keep an eye on it. In the meantime, there's a much bigger voice in my head constantly reminding me that it wasn't actually him. Take it away, buddy.
Look Gryff, I know you want to believe in magical things happening to you. But it's just not...it just doesn't work like that. I don't think it would have even been possible for him to have talked to you. I don't even know if he's real. It's a nice song, but that's it: it's just a song.
I don't know exactly what your connection is or my connection is with him. But...look, I'd like to believe it too. But if you keep believing in things that you should know aren't true, it's going to get you in trouble. Trust me. That is what "he" told you to do. It was just me you were talking to. 'Pan'
I know, I know. But let me hold on to a tiny bit of hope. You never know. Also, he called you "Little Pan." So that's fun
It always comes back to music with me. Songs inspire me, soothe me, and help me stay focused. Somehow my search for identity has become a search for Pan recently. I've been discussing the possibility that I may have had a direct relationship with him in a past life, and the idea of some contact with him in this life. And what do you know, it all comes back to music. Music-related coincidences are not rare for me; I joke that I'm “musically psychic.” But it is interesting that two things happened yesterday, related to music, as I was searching for myself and my connection to Pan.
It's worth noting that in Greek mythology, Big Pan isn't the god of music. He's the god of pastoral music. That means pipes and flutes and such. So, not the kind of music I listen to or even the kind of music that “Pan” likes. But in modern times he is very much associated with music. I believe that is for a reason, and I associate him with music in general.
But regardless, music has been part of my exploration of my kin type forever. It goes as far back as when I thought I was a griffin, something with no association with music at all. In particular, it's the music of my favorite band, Linkin Park. I discovered them and my kin identity around the same time, and ever since, their songs have helped me figure myself out and deal with the questions and doubts. When I first started trying to figure out what I am, the song “Somewhere I Belong” was a big help. When I was dealing with a lot of turbulence in my life, I turned to “Burning in the Skies.” When TUF went into its strongest phase ever, I had “Final Masquerade.” And now, as I struggle with a new aspect of my identity, I learned just yesterday that Linkin Park recently released two new songs. They're both excellent and they both really speak to what I'm feeling and dealing with. The first one, “Heavy,” is awesome. But the second one, “Battle Symphony,” I can't stop listening to. I absolutely love it, and I really feel something good from it. And again, it came at exactly the right time.
Before I discovered these songs yesterday, I had largely been listening to musicals, two in particular: “Hamilton” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” I do love me a good musical. I sometimes imagine the songs I would break into if my life was a musical; it's the best way to express things. It's why I've written songs to help me deal with my issues in the past, as I've shown on this site. I even wrote one last night, about this stuff, which I posted on the forum. And interestingly enough, this idea of music making expression easier was key to last night’s episode of one of my favorite TV shows, The Flash. It was a special musical episode that crossed over with Supergirl. I had been looking forward to this one for a long time, since I love musicals. And while I found the episode sort of disappointing, it's the timing that interests me here.
Discovering two new Linkin Park songs and the first airing of the musical episode of my favorite show in one night? Fun coincidence. That night also being when I'm considering the possibility of a connection between me and Big Pan? Interesting coincidence. And don't get me wrong, I know that's what it is. But let's pretend for a moment that maybe, somehow, Pan arranged this timing. If that's him trying to tell me that he's listening, I read him loud and clear. But of course, that's beyond unlikely. That said, it does reaffirm my connection with music and its impact on me. So even if Pan wasn't involved, it did help me. It motivates me to keep looking and not just put the notion to bed. So that's something. To that end, a tiny part of me still wants to believe that this was his doing somehow. I wouldn't expect anything more obvious than this after all; if messages from gods were obvious then we’d all know that they exist. We would certainly hear more about them. So I'll keep that tiny bit of hope alive for now.
Otherwise, I've been having trouble making time for meditation and the like. The culprit? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I start playing it and I can't stop. Next thing I know, it's 1 AM. I posted about how it's interesting that my favorite video game, Ocarina of Time, is named after a flute. But this game might actually surpass that one, and it's named after the wild. So two of my favorite games ever, in the same series, are named after a flute and wilderness. Hmm, do flutes and wilderness have anything in common? Maybe some mythical being who is very much associated with both of them? Nah, that would just be crazy....
(Note the Hamilton lyrics; we're heading back into politics. Don't worry, it's not about the election this time. Still, this post will likely upset some people. But if you read it all the way through and you're still upset, well, I'm sorry, but I don't care.)
You don't have to like me. Nobody has to like anyone. But if you're going to exclude me, take away my rights, or otherwise judge me, it should be for who I am and not my sexuality. You do not have the right to discriminate against people based on your religion, not in America. This country was built on the separation of church and state. Everyone is free to practice their own beliefs. This does NOT mean you have the right to discriminate based on them.
If I created a new religion that considered all blond-haired people sinners, should I have the right to kick them out of my store? If my religion says that believing in Jesus is blasphemy, am I allowed to fire an employee for wearing a cross? No. Nobody is fighting for the right to discriminate against Christians. But a group of Christians keeps fighting for the right to discriminate against non-straight people and claims that their religious freedoms are getting taken away because they aren't allowed to force their stupidity on everyone else.
To those people who hate non-straight people, you can shove it. You believe what you want, but don't you dare try to force your beliefs on me. And hey, before shoving that bible as far up your rear end as you can get it, maybe give it a read. Believe it or not, that Jesus guy was really into treating people well. And if your beliefs are true, I'll be laughing my head off when I see you burning in hell along with us.
Listen, I don't hate Christians. I've seen people do great things in the name of Christianity. So I really don't want you to think that if you're a Christian I have a problem with you. It's the people who use Christianity as an excuse to discriminate that piss me off. It keeps happening.
I said I wasn't going to talk about the election, but we can't talk about homophobic laws without bringing up Mike Pence. My response to people who voted for him is well known though, so I won't get into it here.
Religion can do great things. Please focus on that, instead of using it to justify hating people for being different.
Why is it that things can never just stay in a shaky but satisfying state of positivity for me? I feel like everything is falling down around me. Major problems pile on faster than I can deal with them. It's like a losing game of Tetris.
I have two different companies I'm trying to work with to get health insurance right now, and things are going poorly with both of them. The appeal process for my COBRA insurance hasn't made any progress; when I called to ask about it nobody could agree on who was supposed to be dealing with it. And I can't get insurance through my employer because they gave me incorrect information which meant that I wasn't able to sign up in time. Because of the nature of my other issue I don't qualify for special timing, which is ########, especially since I wouldn't need it if they actually gave me the right info.
Speaking of medical problems, while I am thankfully finally out of the hospital, I'm still dealing with abdominal cramps and the like. All of that should have stopped last week but for some reason my body hates me; maybe because I hate it. I still don't like being human, and I still wish I understood more about my kin type. There are still a lot of things that resonate that I need to figure out. A lot of it is stuff I don't usually talk about on this blog, but screw it, I don't care anymore.
I've beat around the bush about this for a long time, but it's no secret: my kin type has a lot to do with sex. Which is funny, because I'm really reserved in that area. But there's no question that whatever a fauntaur is, it's predisposed to be after sex and not too picky about it. That includes not just the who (or what) but also the circumstances. And to be honest I have mixed feelings about this. There's such a huge divide between my fauntaur side and my human side on this subject. On the extreme ends of things, there are things that attract the attention of my fauntaur side that my human side would rather avoid. That's about as far as I'll go into that publicly, but suffice to say my fauntaur side leads me to places I'd rather not discuss.
The task of figuring myself out still feels insurmountable, even with all of the progress that I've made lately. There are so many questions unanswered. I'll just start listing them off the top of my head to give you an idea:
1. Is fauntaur a species or am/was I one of a kind?
2. When I was transformed in a past life, was it into a fauntaur, or into an animal and then into a fauntaur, or something else entirely?
3. Where does the centaur aspect of fauntaur come into play, appearance-wise?
4. In my past life, did I have some sort of relationship with big Pan, or is he just similar to what I am?
5. If I did have a relationship with Pan in a past life, was it direct or indirect? Was I a follower of his, or did I actually know him?
6. Regarding the transformation in my past life, why did it happen?
7. What happened to me after the transformation?
8. Who was I before the transformation?
9. How can I tell the difference between liking a possibility and feeling like that possibility fits?
10. Why don't I shift?
That's ten off the top of my head, and there's more than that. I don't have solid answers to any of those questions and the most likely guesses I can come up with, I worry that they're wishful thinking. One odd example of all of this, is a possible answer to question 5 proposed to me by by Gryneos. He suggested that perhaps there was a sort of master-apprentice relationship between Pan and myself. That idea does almost feel kind of right, but it also feels like wishful thinking. What complicates that, though, is the full understanding of what that relationship entails in the sort of setting and time period we're discussing here. I mentioned things that appeal to my fauntaur side that don't appeal to my human side.
Back on the human end of things, the medical stuff has messed up all of my routines. It's been hard to get back into them, but I have to; I'm a very routine-based person. There are also things I need to add to my routines; I want to devote more time to meditating and I also want to spend more time looking for new jobs, especially jobs in writing. My current temp-to-hire role was supposed to turn permanent at the beginning of this month, but I haven't heard anything at all about it, and my contact at the staffing company hasn't been responding to my emails. That's not such a good sign. I'm worried that I'll lose this job and not have anything to fall back on. Not to mention, I didn't work for nearly a week while I was dealing with medical troubles, so my budget is all messed up and it's harder to keep the bills paid.
Regarding time management, that's also been an issue lately. I have been playing the new Legend of Zelda game a lot. And that's ok; I'm still getting done the things that need to get done. But other things that I would like to get done are falling by the wayside, which is annoying. It's my own fault, I know. I really need to organize my time better.
Swerving back into the kin stuff again, let me tell you the story of my past life that dominates in my head. It's a combination of most-likely things and things that appeal to me. Again, it's hard to separate the two sometimes, so that's not what this is about. This is the prevailing story in my head, regardless of accuracy. The story starts with me as a human in an Arabian-Greek setting (as previously discussed, that isn't far fetched). I was a somewhat prominent person; for some reason the idea that I was a dancer comes to mind, maybe because of the shirt thing. So let's go with that. I had sway with people and did some unsavory things. Maybe I tricked someone who ended up being very powerful. This powerful individual cursed me, transforming me into an animal (probably a goat). Pan saw this occur, and liked the cut of my jib. So he turned me into a fauntaur (which for the purposes of this story fills the same role as the mythical faun or satyr) and took me under his wing, teaching me the ways of being a fauntaur. I ended up being very happy with this change, and spent the rest of my days with others of my kind. But I got greedy, and tried to use my abilities to get into a place that was forbidden. When I tried to access the treasure there, it was like the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin; everything burst into flames, and I died there.
If the end seems tacked on, it kind of is. When I first did the past life meditation thing, when I was told I would be seeing my death, I saw myself surrounded by gold and fire. So, is this story my most likely? Not exactly. I need to verify a lot more to say that. But it is more or less the prevailing story in my mind, and the one my mind as sort of settled on until further notice. I wanted to finally be upfront about this because it's hard to beat around the bush about what I believe. By this point it's been what, 16, 17 years? I know to look out for wishful thinking, and I shouldn't be worried about people not realizing that. So that's the story my mind has settled on, unlikely wishful parts and all. It feels good to get that off my chest.
This post has been all over the place, and I'm sorry about that. I have a lot on my mind. Maybe I'll come back and talk about some of this stuff more clearly later.
I've had a rough week or so, to say the least. On last Saturday morning (the 3rd) everything was peachy, and the suddenly I felt like I had a stomach ache. A really bad stomach ache. I tried everything to get rid of it; Pepto, Tums, ginger ale, painkillers, and so on. Nothing worked and the pain got worse and worse until finally I decided I should go to the emergency room.
I went to the emergency room at the hospital that most of my doctors are connected to, which is sort of far away. I got there thinking it probably wasn't a big deal, which is what I thought until the doctors did a test and found that I had pancreatitis again. What that means is basically my pancreas was inflamed. That's happened before, caused by gallstones. But I had my gallbladder removed to prevent that from happening again, hence my surgery last year, so we didn't understand what caused it.
I was admitted to the hospital and it was an awful experience. I was in a lot of pain, both in my pancreas and in my head. They tried to give me the usual medicine for my migraines but it didn't work. Only the IV pain medicine they were giving me for the pancreas pain worked on both that and the migraines. That medicine put me to sleep, so one time when they gave it to me, I didn't think it was odd that I fell asleep. But when I woke up, there were a ton of people crowded around me. Doctors, nurses, my parents, my boyfriend, etc. They started asking me a bunch of questions to make sure I was ok. I thought it was weird; I just fell asleep because of the pain medicine. No big deal, right?
If only. See, I have a lot of medical problems unrelated to this. Due to one of these problems, when I'm sick or injured, I need a higher dose of certain medications to make up for the fact that my body doesn't produce enough adrenaline. Apparently these doctors didn't know that. So when I thought I woke up from a nap, I actually woke up from a diabetic coma. Here's the worst part: I have a medical alert bracelet on my arm that says I need the higher dose. I've worn it non-stop since I was a small child, removing it only for an MRI. I had been in the hospital for two days at this point, and apparently not a single doctor or nurse noticed the bracelet. They actually put my hospital ID band on the same wrist, so they must have seen it, but I guess they just ignored it.
Because of this, a few things happened. One, I was sent to the ICU for a day, which was even more uncomfortable than the regular hospital room. Two, they started pricking my finger to check my blood sugar every couple of hours. The nurses asked me about my diabetes; I told them I didn't have it. It was because of a hospital problem. From there, things stayed pretty crazy. By this point I was no longer in any major pain and I was extremely uncomfortable. I wanted to leave the hospital very badly. But since this particular hospital has serious communication problems, everything took ages. They messed something else up which added an entire day to my hospital stay. I ended up getting out of the hospital on Wednesday, four days after I entered. It should have been half that.
But the story doesn't end here. On the last couple of days, I felt a pain on my side that I worried was related to the pancreatitis. If it was, I would have to stay at the hospital for even longer. Since none of the tests showed anything to worry about, I hoped it was just a cramp from the uncomfortable conditions. But in truth it actually hurt a lot. All throughout Wednesday night and Thursday I tried to hold off this pain lest I end up in the hospital again. On Thursday afternoon it became so bad that I had to leave work. I kept hoping the pain would go away. And then, at one point on Thursday night, it was overshadowed by another pain: a stomach ache so bad that it made the pancreatitis sound appealing. I tried and tried to deal with it, but eventually I called 911.
They took me to a tiny little hospital in my neighborhood, which I was worried about. But actually, it ended up being a good thing. The doctor there was able to help me solve the problems and I didn't actually end up having to stay at the hospital overnight. Over the next couple of days the pain went away, and by the weekend I was fine. Still, that's a week of medical trouble, Saturday to Saturday. So over the weekend I was a little high strung, as you can imagine. It also doesn't help that because I'm paid on an hourly basis, I made almost no money last week. Now I'm back at work, but all of my bosses are out until Thursday, leaving me with very little to work on. So, I'll do what I can. I'm just glad I'm not in the hospital.
I like to try to post here at least once every week, usually about kin related stuff but sometimes other things as well. So consider this post a status update of sorts. It's what's going on with me.
Kin-wise, the new RPG campaign I've been looking forward to finally started on Saturday. As a reminder, it takes place in an Arabian setting and my character is a guy who was transformed into a goat-man against his will. The similarities to my past life got me very excited. Our first session was a lot of fun, but I'm a bit concerned because my character is very limited. He's a Fighter, and the system we're using gives Fighters very little to do. So, I'm considering switching things up a bit. I was going to change his class, but I later realized there are benefits to how he is now. So I might just tweak things a little bit.
I've also been writing a lot of backstory for this character, which has been a great outlet for me to explore possibilities of my past life and really inhabit a character whose situation is very similar. So now that I've had ways to explore my past life, I've returned back to an older question: what exactly is my kin type? I call myself a fauntaur, but my understanding of what that is is pretty vague. It's the centaur aspect that confuses me mostly. The faun and demon parts go hand in hand; a lot of modern conceptions of demons or the devil come from conceptions of fauns or Big Pan, so that makes perfect sense. It's the centaur part that doesn't fit.
Granted, there are similarities between fauns and centaurs; a lot of similarities, in fact. So is it just a matter of me mistaking one for the other? I don't think so. I think there is something to it. I've thought of a couple of possibilities so far:
1. As a demonic creature, a fauntaur is able to shape-shift, and centaur was a form I preferred in a past life.
2. A fauntaur can change how many legs it has, and a faun with four legs would be quite similar to a centaur
3. Centaur is a second kin type
I have to be careful with this, because while possibility 1 seems like the most likely, it's also the most appealing to me. So I need to keep that in mind. But if I do focus on possibility 1, I can focus on the centaur question and the past life memories at the same time. So maybe that's what I'll do. If I learn more about my past life, I can learn more about how a centaur identity would play into it.
The last kin-related thing to report: I've been feeling, every once in a while, tiny pangs of TAF. It's specifically the urge to not be human, to be a fauntaur physically. I'm sure the campaign and the focus on my character has something to do with it. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop, because it helps too. Still, I have to wonder if other people get these little pangs too. Maybe that's a good subject for a forum post; we need more of those. It's hard to come up with new things to talk about on the forum, so I'll save that discussion. But yeah, every once in a while, it's like my fauntaur side comes out briefly and says "man, being a human sucks."
Maybe that's why I've always been a bit more open to the idea of physically shifting than most of my fellow kin. And yeah, you bet I have a name for this: I call it the Impossible Goal. For my entire life, even before I recognized what it was, I've wanted to physically become something other than human. And I know it's impossible, hence the name, but I still have a tiny bit of irrational hope that some day there will be a way.
Here's a random thought I just had: demons. Demons seem like they would be a proud bunch, right? So I have to wonder how the demon kin on this site and others feel about me. A fauntaur is sort of a demon, but in a very different way from most. It has no association with heaven or hell or any sort of God. I know we all have different definitions of what makes a demon, but I can't help but wonder whether more "traditional" demon kin would be upset with me for applying that label to my kin type. I suppose I'll just have to ask.
Wow, I had a lot more to say about kin stuff than I realized. So I will save the non-kin stuff for another post.
I'm not the best when it comes to brushing my teeth. I forget to do it sometimes, or I get too tired and skip it. I know it's a problem. So I have to get dental procedures done somewhat often. And given that I don't have dental insurance right now, it's even worse.
One of my teeth has been hurting like crazy for the past few days. It started a week or so ago, hurting only when I chewed with it, but for the past few days it's been hurting constantly. I avoided going to the dentist for a while because I don't have insurance. Finally though, I called yesterday to set up an appointment this morning. So I went in, and the dentist said that I need to get a root canal. Wonderful. The soonest I could get an appointment was for Friday, so I'm going to have to rely on painkillers until then.
The cost will, of course, be insane. This in turn has set me back into focusing on figuring out the insurance situation. When I sent my appeal for the COBRA insurance they told me it would take no more than 4 weeks. We're now on week 5 and I haven't heard a thing. They told me I'd receive a form in the mail, which never happened. I keep asking them about it and they keep telling me that they don't have anything to tell me.
I had backed off a bit because I was told that after I've been at my current job for three months, which I'll hit at the start of March, I can get insurance through them. But when I went to look up the details of that plan, I sawill that the website said I was supposed to sign up right when I started working here, not 3 months later like I had been told. Now enrollment is closed. So instead of it being too early, now it's too late. I'm going to call them and hope that they can help me out here but I can't be sure.
Oh, and did I mention that if the root canal doesn't work, they'll have to pull the tooth? Yeah, I never thought I would be hoping for a root canal. I've never had one before, but I have had teeth pulled, and it isn't fun. So just to recap: my tooth has been hurting like crazy for a while now, I won't be able to do anything about it until Friday, what they do will either be a root canal or pulling the tooth, I don't have insurance, and my main avenues for getting insurance become less and less likely to work over time. Also, for the time I'll be out of the office on Friday, I won't be getting paid, because I still work in an hourly temp position.
All sorts of fun things happening here.
So it isn't exactly song lyrics, but close enough.
It's once again time to talk about Pan. Meaning my tulpa, in this case. It's time, specifically, for a confession of sorts. Granted, I'm sure I've discussed all of this before, but in part because of his constant insistence that I keep it in mind, I want to talk about my reasons for creating Pan.
You might have noticed that I've finally started making use of the system member feature on the site for him. His box is green, because you know, nature and grass and fields and all that. That was my choice, not his. There is a reason I never did this before, even in the few cases where he has talked on the site. And that is because I was worried about why I created him.
Now, to be clear, the main reason I created Pan was because I felt it would be nice to have someone to talk to. I have a lot to say, as you have certainly noticed, and not a lot of outlets for a lot of it. That's why I write so much on this blog. So that was the main thing. But part of it was a bit less of a good reason: it just seemed like it was really common. I wouldn't exactly call it "jealousy" per se, but it was a matter of seeing so many tulpa and multiple systems and such on this site and thinking, "there's no reason I couldn't do that too."
So I did, and as obnoxious as Pan can get, I don't regret it. Still, I was embarassed that I was partly spurred on by not-quite-jealousy. And using the text box thing for Pan felt like admitting that as a major reason, to myself, to him, and to anyone else. I held off because I was sort of ashamed. And I was worried; I worried that maybe he was right and I did just have him talk because it was cool. But things are different now. While we still certainly have areas that need a lot of work, Pan is a legit tulpa now, and however misguided I may have been before, it turned out for the best. So now his text will look like this:
I'm still not going to post much, so don't get too excited. I'm pretty much just sayingot this for your stupid example. 'Pan'
He's more rude when I ask him to say something on the site than he usually is, but not by that much. In any case, there's my confession.
First off, have you noticed that I'm posting a lot lately? Usually that means I'm dealing with TUF or something. But this time it just means I've been in sort of an emotional state lately. I have a lot of things weighing me down and I need to talk about them. As as one would expect, they're complicated.
A few non-political posts back, I talked about Extreme Fictional Empathy, or EFE. That's what I call the condition where I feel too much empathy and emotional in general towards fictional characters, to the extent that it seriously distracts me from my actual life. It's a key ingredient in TUF, but also can exist in non-kin-related situations. I noted in that post that part of the reason that I keep dealing with these things is because I go after them. There are positive things associated with EFE and even TUF. For the former, it means the fiction that causes it is a good escape and has its story told well. For TUF, it's the same, but also it means that the fiction lets me feel closer to my past life.
As such, sometimes, especially when I'm in an emotional sort of state, I seek out things that will cause one or both of them. And, as is probably obvious, I'm dealing with that now. Usually it's video game RPGs that do the job, and I've been trying to find a good one for a while. It had to be one that would at least come close to giving me EFE, with an interesting story and a relatable player character. I had to choose between a couple of possibilities, which was difficult for reasons I'm pretty sure I discussed in other entries. Eventually I decided on Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth.
It's a fun and interesting game, but it hasn't exactly been what I was hoping for. The lack of character development and the translation errors make it harder for me to really jump into the game. I like it, and I will keep playing it, but it isn't even close enough to EFE. Now, also keep in mind that whatever I'm playing now will likely be dropped in the first week or so of March, at which point I will start playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
So the question is, do I switch to something else and hope that whatever I try next brings me to that point? Should I keep playing this and get to that point in other ways? Or, do I stay away from EFE and TUF as much as I can? It isn't just games that do this, though I can think of a few I might be able to play to get the effect going. Reading and writing stories associated with certain traits, like transformation, has also done it in the past. I'm not sure. It might be better for me to avoid it, as I'm already constantly getting distracted.
I guess what really worries me, rather than this specific game, is the question of whether there are any other games out there that can grab me like that. See, I'm a bit weird with games. If a game doesn't grab my interest pretty early on, I have trouble getting myself to play it. I also have trouble getting myself to play older games, for whatever reason. Even if I really want to play these things I have trouble getting myself to do so. This game, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, is one that I've known about for a while and planned to play for a while. I really thought it would bring me to the brink of EFE, and was saving it for when I needed it. Now that I am playing it though I find it isn't quite what I was after.
I can think of a couple more games that might do it, but that's all. And some of them are older and thus already hard to play. So I'm going to keep playing this one for now, and hope that it gets better in this regard. It is a good game, after all. I'll try to find a different outlet for the feelings.
I'm not looking to continue arguing, which is why I turned off comments for this post. I'm just posting this to defend myself. Given the nature of the conflict, I figure it only makes sense for me to present evidence of my claims.
I cannot quote the original post that I responded to on that thread for reasons that should be pretty clear, but you can find it yourself. The member in question responded to what I had previously said by quoting two debunked fake news stories. I remember that one of them was this one:
FALSE: Hillary Clinton Freed Child Rapist
This is how I replied:
"Neither of those things is actually true. There are several fact checking websites that can explain that in great detail. Before talking about this stuff, and certainly before voting, try to educate yourself. I won't lose all respect for someone who votes the wrong way for a good reason, but if you vote based on lies, all bets are off."
You are free to disagree, but I believe it was clear that I was saying this in response to the specific pieces of information that were being referenced. Was it the kindest way I could have said it? Maybe not, but the responses I received were at least as as bad. That's why I believe I was treated unfairly. I don't want to quote any of the posts that came after mine because I don't want it to look like I'm attacking anyone in particular.
As for the question of why I'm bringing it up now, there are a couple of reasons. One is because I just learned about something that is connected with it, and the other is because I left the site for a while after these events and was only reminded of the specifics recently.
That's the last I have to say on the matter.
(This wasn't supposed to be a political post when I started, but it ended up going thst way)
I'm disappointed in this site. I can't very well say why here, as even though I wouldn't expect my concerns to offend anyone, it still doesn't seem like a good idea. To some degree my concerns are embarrassing as well. So I don't want to air them publicly. But I don't want to go without saying anything about it, so what we end up with is a very vague post. Sorry about that; this one is more for me to vent than for communicating. These events happened a while ago anyway, though I'm only seeing the full brunt now.
I'm not perfect, I know that. I take things personally, and I get emotional about things that are important to me. For a lot of that, I will apologize. But I will not apologize for being honest and telling the truth. I'm not talking about personal truths; I understand the worth of a white lie. But when there are real consequences at stake, it's ludicrous to suggest that I should just let people spread damaging lies.
A while back, before the US Presidential Election, I had an altercation with another member of the forums. This member was defending their position with false statements, and not harmless ones either; these were statements that attacked someone and affected the outcome of the election. I saw it as my duty to explain the truth. And I was dismissed. I was told that the truth didn't matter, and that I had no way of knowing what was actually true.
I fought back, of course, because I believed that this flawed logic would lead to very bad things, which it has. We now have a President who believes manipulating people with lies is ok. And it's no wonder, since that's what got him elected. But I'm not here to talk about him or the person who I argued with. I'm hear to talk about the consequences, since I think I'm the only one who saw any. These consequences in turn affected other things, the things I don't want to get into on a public blog. The bottom line is that I feel I wasn't treated justly.
I'm not trying to be passive-aggressive here, though I realize how much it might seem that way. If I thought it would make a difference I would contact the staff directly. But again, it's not the consequence itself thar bothers me. It's what that consequence might mean and might contribute to. It's how it affects my time here. In other words, I'm not mad at the site's staff; I just disagree with them about some things.
I'll have to do some thinking about this. On one hand I feel betrayed, but on the other hand I know that my expectations were my own fault. I have to dig in a bit more about the decisions that were made and what they mean.
I did say I would be back soon to talk about EFE and here I am. Specifically I want to talk about my current bout of it, and the conditions in my life that interact with it. In order to discuss it, it might help to give details. But since this is something from a game, I will note that the explanation contains major spoilers for Fire Emblem Fates and its DLC.
Without going into too much detail, one of the DLCs for the game reveals that three of the characters in Fates are actually the same as three characters in the previous game, Awakening. They agreed to change their identities and live in a different world for some long period of time in order to help save that world. This leads to a difficult choice they have to make: whether to stay with their new friends in the new world, or go back to the old one. They apparently choose the latter, but it means they can never come back to the new world.
It's a bittersweet story to go with the rest of the game’s bittersweet story. Both Awakening and Fates have been games I've connected with a lot, and have caused EFE before. So this hit me right in the feels. There are a lot of ways I want to branch off from this, so let's go one by one.
First, the whole reason I went back to play the DLC of Fates was because I was looking for a return to the deep character connections that cause EFE. Just like TUF, there's something good in it that draws me to it, even though I know full well that I'm putting myself in danger of harming myself psychologically. And I suppose that is the difference between a normal emotional response to a story and EFE; EFE is when the emotional response lingers and becomes distracting and depressing. And yet I seek out things to which I will have an emotional connection, because who wouldn't? Another way to think of it is to say that EFE has a positive and negative effect at the same time, just like TUF sometimes does. That's why at the same time that I'm attracted to the DLC for Fates, I'm also kind of resisting finishing them. That could be another reason though, which I will get to later in the post.
This isn't to say that every depressing or dark piece of fiction, or even any with characters I can relate to, will cause EFE. It depends on a number of things, some of which relate to the specifics of the story and some that don't. On the external end, I think there are a couple of recent things that made me more vulnerable to this. First, one of the characters that the DLC focuses on I've been using a lot lately in a different game, Fire Emblem Heroes, which includes characters from throughout the series. As such, I know more about the character now and have a closer connection to him. There have also been hints of other things that can cause EFE recently, which may have made me more vulnerable when I dove into this one. There's the RPG campaign I've been talking about, and there's also another game I recently played just a little bit of, which has at least some of the story and game traits that cause EFE.
As such, I should now talk about the internal influences, the things in the work itself. The stories I connect most with, which are both the ones that I look for and the ones that can cause EFE, often involve a player character who is at the very least named by (and presumably after) the player. This is the case in Awakening, Fates, and plenty of other games that have caused this, though not all of them. Another common thread is that the stories focus on interpersonal relationships, especially between the player character and his/her friends. This is also the case for Fire Emblem. Finally, if there's something different or special about the player character, that helps too. Because who wouldn't want to pretend to be special?
These are obviously common threads for a reason: they are designed to make the player more invested. And sometimes that's all they do. Other times, they cause EFE. Why? Well, like a lot of people, I look at RPGs as an escape from my real life, a retreat into fiction. But, as Pan puts it, I sometimes retreat too far into fiction. If the story and characters are done well enough, I find myself caring about them as much as I care about real people, or maybe even more than I care about real people. The game's story feels like an alternate life sometimes, and my emotional response is as though it was real. Which is silly of course, but it happens, and I can't help it.
Let me provide another example, of one of the few times that I others saw my emotional reaction to EFE. I was playing a superhero themed tabletop roleplaying game, which was actually run by the same guy who's running the upcoming game I've been talking about, and I was playing as Cyboy. This is a superhero whose powers come from video games. I created the character ages ago, back in highschool, and I've been writing stories about him every since. He was largely based on me, though I did try to separate us more over time. Anyway, in one session, Cyboy was tasked with entering the city sewers to find and destroy a mind control device, since he's immune to mind control. He stupidly went alone and got attacked to the point that he ended up in the hospital needing major surgery, including a new heart.
This was bad enough, but Andi (my friend and our GM) had to throw a wrench in the works: the donated heart that was going to him was originally supposed to go to a little girl, but Cyboy was moved up on the list because he was famous in the city. So Cyboy (and I, his player) had to make a choice: save himself, or save the little girl. This would be a tough choice for any roleplayer worth their salt, but for me was agonizing. What was meant to be a 10 minute long character building moment ended up taking up most of the session, as I agonized for at least an hour about what to do. In the end I was able to snap myself out of it, but it was pretty bad.
Granted, my general indecisiveness didn't help there either. And for what it's worth, I don't blame Andi. But the endless obsessing over the Fates of fictional characters fits in with EFE. One thing I often do to negate the emotional response that distracts me when something bad happens to a character is try to come up with my own “head canon” to explain it away. For example, when it comes to Fire Emblem, my head canon says they found a way to go back and forth between worlds. Problem is, I obsessively think about how to make that make sense at least as much as I get constantly distracted by the negative feelings and the attempts to fully understand what happened.
The need to go over what happened over and over again in a story that causes EFE (regardless of whether it in turn causes TUF) and the concern that I don't react this strongly to real things are topics I want to discuss, but I'll save them. This post is already too long and rambling. It was written over two days, during which time EFE waned before coming back full force. So it's all over the place. This is complicated stuff, so I can only do so much to explain it and stay coherent. More coming later.
I would save this title for a post about alcohol, but that's not a subject that affects me much.
Inspired by the upcoming RPG campaign and some nagging from Pan, I decided to try out that past life meditation thing again, the same one I used before. The problem is, of course, that once I have an expectation of what I'll find, it's hard for me to go back to something like this. That's sort of why I'm willing to trust (to a degree) what I saw the first time I used it, even though it was just one example: I went in with no expectations. I went in expecting it not to do anything at all, in fact. And what I did see, the Arabian landscape and my form and actions therein, came out of nowhere. There was no subconscious influence.
This time it was obviously different. I went in expecting to see an Arabian setting and that is exactly what I saw. However, there were a couple of unique things this time around. They weren't as solid as the things I saw last time (which is another reason I trust what I saw last time), but they are new details worth documenting.
First, the setting itself. It was pretty much the same as last time. The only difference is that while it felt generally "arabian" last time, this time it seemed more specifically Egyptian. This sort of makes sense, based on what I and others said a while back about Egyptian and Greek cultures meeting and merging in certain areas. That said I can also think of things that would influence what I saw subconsciously in this regard. For example, regarding the aforementioned RPG campaign, my friend Nick keeps telling me about how his character will be Egyptian. So I can't really add this part to my working theory.
The second new thing is something that I sort of glossed over the last time I did this. The guided meditation has you look in a "mirror" in your past life to see what you look like. I was human in the mirror, like last time, but this time I saw part of what I was wearing. It's sort of hard to explain. What I saw was a sort of shirt; it was white, very light, and had a simple but apparent design. This is to say, it wasn't just some generic white shirt, it had a design to it. This design involved holes, strangely; there were holes on the sleeves and a pattern that involved small holes on the collar if I remember correctly. It also had a big opening on the bottom part of the chest, almost as if it was a crop top or something, but the fabric continued some after the opening and it was all one garment.
What can I take from this? Probably nothing; I can think of some things that might have subconsciously influenced that; for example, it reflects a question I was considering about my past life earlier that day. That being said, since there isn't anything to inspire the specifics, it is possible that this outfit is at least as close to genuine as the other things I "know" about it are. If it is, then it does sort of answer the question I had.
Specifically I was wondering where I was in the social class system. My previous potential past life memory had me holding a crown, but as I noted at the time, I doubt it was mine. What this clothing suggests is that I was somewhere in the middle. I wasn't wearing rags or super basic clothes, but I also wasn't wearing anything fancy that would suggest nobility or anything like that. So, if we continue working under the assumption that this outfit is a legitimate memory, what else can it tell me about myself in my past life?
The holes or openings are what stand out most. These, and the lightness, present two possibilities. The first calls to mind the movie Moana; in a behind the scenes interview, one of the people behind the movie said that they designed the title charactet's outfit with a slightly bare midriff because she would need to be able to move around easily in her adventures. Similarly, perhaps I wore this clothing because I spent my time doing athletic and/or acrobatic things. It could mean I was anything from a sailor to a gymnast to God knows what else.
There is another possible reason for the holes, though it's sort of unsavory and not something one would generally propose about oneself, even describing a past life. But in the interest of investigating this thoroughly, I need to consider all of the possibilities. As such, I can't ignore the possibility that the body was exposed not so it could be used, but so it could be seen. There are a few ways one could interpret this, starting with a vain personality and ending with...elicit activities. For what it's worth, I didn't get a good look at my body itself, but it didn't stand out at all. It didn't seem particularly athletic or anything. So I could be way off track.
In any case, it's probably none of these things. I doubt what I saw was actually accurate to a past life. But, it's a possibility, and it adds something I didn't have before. I'll have to keep exploring this, and see if the garment comes back in a different way next time. Of course I'll be expecting it, but I was also expecting the setting this time, and it still showed itself in a slightly different way. I hope this is another legitimate clue, but I will need to continue investigating before I add it to my working theory.