Guide to Explaining your Otherkinity
I always find myself having to explain why I have these beliefs as an otherkin and what they mean to me. Knowing how to explain yourself is important not only so that you can accurately introduce yourself to a community like this, but for presenting a reasonable view of otherkin to someone who may not have been exposed to the community. It can be hard to explain how you've come to believe you're otherkin, especially at first. This guide will attempt to give some pointers on what to avoid and how to get started with explaining yourself.
Use phrases that suggest belief:
Consider this (I will use myself as an example)...
"I was a wyvern in a past life"
"I believe I was a wyvern in a past life"
The first one is fine in quick chat conversations among people who know what you mean, but the fact remains that it is not provable. The second is not provable either, yet there is truth to that statement. Some do believe that, regardless of whether they really were a wyvern or not. In addition, any belief about souls being tied to otherkinity should be prefaced by a phrase like "I believe" that indicates it is an element of spirituality. The same applies to explanations from psychological otherkin since they can't be scientifically proven either.
Also, in the same vein...
"I am a wyvern."
"I identify as a wyvern" / "I see myself as a wyvern"
If you explain your otherkinity as how you see yourself, you will rarely get the "you're not a wyvern, you're human" comments. Instead, it opens up a means to talk about how you're otherkin and what made you identify as such. This is more of a problem when talking with those who may not have had much experience with the otherkin community, or anyone who has bias against the legitimacy of otherkin.
Avoid negative proof
What is negative proof?
It is a logical fallacy where one attempts to prove that X is true because there is no proof that X is false.
When is it used?
The most common time it is used is in a spiritual context while explaining mythological otherkin and fictionkin using the multiverse theory. Many otherkin or fictionkin believe they existed in some alternate universe; this explains different canons in fictionkin as well as unique kintypes that would be impossible given our knowledge of this universe. Though there is evidence to suggest it is possible for a multiverse to exist, there is no way to prove what is in it or that souls are reincarnated across dimensions. It is not wrong to have this belief, but it is wrong to claim it as fact. Negative proof, however, is not limited to this one instance, and it is sometimes prevalent in psychological explanations as well.
Why should I avoid it?
It can actually hurt your argument when talking with others who don't believe otherkin is a real identity. They already don't think you can identify as anything other than human, so there's a high chance their mind isn't open to hearing that it's because of an unlikely cosmic mix-up across multiple universes. And no amount of arguing with them about it will change their spiritual beliefs.
On a site like this, it can be used, but it should not be the primary basis for explaining your otherkinity. It does give insight into how you personally perceive the origins of your otherkinity, which is always nice to share with others in an introduction.
What should I do to explain myself instead?
Well, no spiritual otherkin has their identity solely because of a past life. It's their experiences in this life that lead them to identify as otherkin now, and it is also possible to have past lives without considering them as part of an identity. In that case, the past life is typically only a kintype if you still identify, in some respect, as that being. Some people believe to have had hundreds of past lives but only identify as a couple whose traits carried over into their current life. Consider shifts, self image, and other indicators that clarify how your life is affected in the present.
The burden of proof rests on you
As with Kinmunity's rules, the burden of proof rests on you should you make any fantastical claims. If you do not have this proof, do not insist that you are capable of these claims. It distracts from your explanation and it gives another reason for those who already have trouble accepting otherkin to dismiss it.
What claims would need proof?
If you claim anything that directly influences the physical world we live in, it needs proof. The most common example is physical shifting; however, telekinesis, manipulation of elements, and other psionic powers can also fall under this category.
Let's take two examples...
"I am capable of causing a thunderstorm."
"I believe my religion's ritual can increase the chance of a thunderstorm occurring"
The first one would be considered an extraordinary claim and require evidence. The second one is a religious or spiritual belief that does no harm and doesn't claim something directly impossible. What the difference is lies in the phrasing, removing the element of certainty from the claim so that the effect may have no correlation to the cause. This is only possible with some claims, and mentions of physical shifting, telekinesis, or similar will always require evidence.
Actually explaining your otherkinity
Now that you know a bit about what not to focus on in an introduction or post, let's move on to how you should actually go about accurately conveying your personal beliefs to another. Being true to yourself and accurate will allow you to get much more off of posting in a forum, and it enables the elders of the community to help you a ton more with your own journey.
So, where do I start?
An introduction is intimidating and it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin when dealing with the hardest topic to discuss, yourself. If you began liking something related to your otherkin identity as a child, start with that. What was the first time you considered one of your actions/thoughts to be nonhuman? It can be hard to remember way back, but it is important to give a full picture of yourself and remain genuine throughout. If you have trouble opening up to others, try to find where they started in their explanations. There is often someone out there who has explained something similar to what you are feeling; you are not alone.
Once you have where to start and what to start with, the rest is a bit easier. Talk about how those thoughts or actions evolved over the years, and remember to outline any significant occurrences that help clarify your reasoning behind your nonhuman identity.
The next important element of an intro:
It's all well and good talking about yourself, but something that says a lot about you is how you first found out about otherkin and what your reaction was. What realizations stemmed from finding out about otherkin? Was it a word to describe experiences you already took note of, or did it help you to start paying attention to them?
Then, finally, end with where you stand now.
Hopefully, this guide provided some assistance in starting to explain otherkinity. The main tip that I can give is to just be true to yourself. People will judge you anyway, and the best way to really give others a sense of how important your identity is to you is through being honest and thorough. If you have a strong explanation, answering routine questions or elaborating and referencing specific points becomes a lot easier. Additionally, people can tell when others are skimping on their introduction, and that encourages bias against them and further judgement. Though this guide may have some suggestions, only you can know the best way to describe yourself and your experiences.