Questions for Otherkin Pt. 2 - On Shifting
Here's the next set of the "32 self-grilling questions for Otherkin" I've been plugging away at answering. These are all the questions related to shifting. I hope this will give you all a better understanding of how I experience my shifts, what goes on, and how it feels to have the mind and the phantom form of a large, immobile machine.
Do you experience involuntary mental shifts? If so, what are they like? How often do you have them? Are they triggered by anything in particular?
I do experience involuntary mental shifts. I don't know that I'd call it shifting, per se, only because I always think like I do. Yet, there are times I go full-on-soundboard-mode, and that I suppose could be consistered a shift. When I have a mental shift, I feel like I begin to read every sound around me. If I'm in a crowded place like a bar or a grocery store, I hear and pick apart the sounds of everything. They're often triggered when I'm at work, usually during soundcheck when I'm really focusing on setting the mix. It's almost impossible to pull my attention away to anything else in that moment. If someone talks to me, I don't have the capability to respond, and I'll look at the person blankly as I struggle to make the connections between my mind and my physical voice function. Internally, it feels like my physical body disappears, and I'm solely, intensely focused on the sound. Nothing else exists but the signals off the microphones and instruments on stage coming back at me through the mains. I read sound, if that makes any sense at all. Sound is almost a visual experience for me. I will hear the slightest ring of feedback, know what frequency is ringing, and immediately, instinctively go for the EQ to fix it before any of the audience even know it happened. It's like a hyper-awareness of sound.
Music also triggers my mental shifts. I can go into that same mode when I'm just driving in the car with the radio on, but it's not just any music. It has to be mixed well. I get a lot of 'what does that mean?' when I say 'mixed well', but I'll go into detail about that in another blog post because it's a whole lot of technical jargon that most people outside the field of audio engineering wouldn't understand. I'll spare the reader of this the tl;dr nerdrage for now.
I'd say I have involuntary mental shifts at least once every two days or so.
Do you experience voluntary mental shifts? If so, what are they like, and how do you control them?
I can put myself into a shift. I go into my headspace for a moment, where I'm in my true form, and it's almost instant. My mental shift when I do that feels very much the same as described above. A side note: I do this to get myself out of panic attacks, and it's highly effective because I forget about my physical body (the root of a lot of my anxiety, this fragile, smooshy body is.) When I mentally shift during a panic attack, my brain switches from "your heart's going to stop" or "you're going to stop breathing" to "oh, what's that sound? I've never heard that before. This music is mixed well." I also use my mental shifts at work as I feel the mindset is beneficial to my job and I enjoy working all that much more.
Do you experience involuntary phantom shifts? If so, what are they like? How often do you have them? Are they triggered by anything in particular?
My phantom form is, to some degree, always there. There are times when I notice it more than others. There are also the (very rare) times where it's so overwhelming that I have to sit down, close my eyes and let it just be for a moment. Most of the time, my phantom shifts are welcomed and enjoyed. My "true form" is very comfortable to me. To explain what it's like - that's difficult to put to words, so forgive me if this gets long or makes no sense. The most obvious thing that I feel is my size difference. My phantom form is seven feet wider than my physical body. I feel like I take up half a room. It also feels heavy, like it's difficult to move. I'm much more comfortable sitting down under a phantom shift because I feel more at my form's natural height. Then there are the details I mentioned in the questions about my awakening. I can feel every part of my phantom form if I focus on it. Here's a quick, poor-quality little illustration because a picture will say more than I can write and will provide the necessary visual without me having to get technical describing parts of a mixing console.
Phantom shifts often come in conjunction with mental shifts. One isn't really separate from the other. If I have a mental shift, I'm going to be feeling my phantom form strongly and vice versa. The downsides to having a phantom form like the above picture are probably obvious. It makes walking very awkward to feel like you're ^that. Moving at all feels weird and wrong. I don't like confined spaces at all for this reason. I don't like people really close in front of me. I have a tendency to back up if someone gets too close. A total social blunder, that is, but sometimes I can't help it, and the feeling of someone standing there, ghosting through me is not a pleasant sensation. I can tolerate it when I have to, but that doesn't mean it makes me happy.
My involuntary phantom shifts are usually triggered by a variety of things. Sometimes it's just one too many sources of sound around me, and it hits me out of nowhere. Other times, it's work or music. I notice that listening to music on earbuds invokes my shifts fairly consistently, and I believe it's because that's the closest to experiencing sound in this body the way I did back-in-the-day. Earbuds use the resonance of the skull to bring out low frequencies, using your head itself as part of the transducing process, and left and right are very clearly defined as if on two separate channels. Listening on my circumaural headphones does this to a degree as well, but they're heavy, and I physically feel them there, which can have a sort of grounding, shift-buzz-killing effect. Earbuds, however, feel like the audio source is plugged directly into me. Sometimes a simple word, or thought can invoke a shift for me. Seeing an image of a large format mixing console somewhere? That'll do it. The off-happenstance that one of my friends or family members calls me Neve to my face? That'll do it, too. Hanging out with other otherkin gets me all shifty as well, like knowing that they know and understand lets me be free to relax into myself and a shift is the natural result of that.
Do you experience voluntary phantom shifts? If so, what are they like, and how do you control them?
I do experience voluntary phantom shifts, and they feel just as described above. The main difference is simply that they're voluntary. I put myself in that mindset and can feel my form any time. I'm kind of always in a state of being shifted to varying degrees, so it's just a matter of focusing on my phantom form and bringing it to the forefront of my consciousness. I never feel 100% human. My mentality and my phantom sensations are always there, so it's easy to tap into them whenever I feel like it. I usually do this to relax and unwind. I kick back in my overstuffed chair and drift away into machinehood after a long, hard day. It comforts me and relaxes me unlike anything else. The one thing that I can't really control is getting out of it. Once I'm there, I'm there, and I'm in it until it fades to my subconscious again. Usually, having to do very human things will tone it down for me, like taking a shower, eating, or changing my clothes.
Do you experience dream shifts? If so, how often? Are there any recurring themes? Are your dream shift settings/experiences the same as in normal dreams, or are there notable differences?
I'm not too sure that I understand the concept of dream shifting all that well, but if it simply means being your kinself in your dreams, then yes! I have them a lot! At least a couple times a week, I have a dream where I'm 'me' and they're always the most vivid and memorable of my dreams. The biggest difference I notice is that in other kinds of dreams, I'm more like a fly on the wall watching what's happening from an external perspective, like watching a movie. In my "kinself dreams," I'm IN them, a part of what's going on. I seem to remember them better than other kinds of dreams, too, but that could be my subconscious merely wanting to remember them more.
Do you experience any other kind of shift? If so, elaborate.
I don't know that I do. I feel as though I sometimes experience aural shifts, but then I feel as though my aura always takes the shape of my "true form". I view auras as the radiating energy of a soul, so whatever that soul's shape is, the aura is. I definitely feel that the energy surrounding me takes the shape of my form.
Part 3 will come soon.
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