“Fear and Boldness” by Tamuril, written on November 26, 2007
I often say that I get my boldness from my cat. Or, I used to often say that. I've stopped since the majority of the time I do, I'm reminded that wildcats are *not* bold, nor territorial, nor defensive. They're timid, fearful creatures. This is a fact, it is not something I try to put across as untrue. Yet that doesn't change the fact that my boldness comes from my felinity. I've known this for a great while, I feel far too feline in such circumstances, in mentality and physicality both.
"And when you know where your place is (cats, in their territory, always do), you're safe, cocky, bold, confident. The contrast between the leopard's shy nervousness, and between that confidence in territory, is very sharp. Leopard might think of himself as a shy or quiet person, but when he's home or among friends, he gets comfortable. Starts to appreciate fur-scritches and cheekrubs. When she's among strangers, she's secretive. She doesn't try to be, exactly, but she doesn't let a lot of stuff just come up of its own accord."
This is an excerpt from an essay that was linked me to. http://www.absurdism.org/therianthropy/leopardis.html for linkstuffs because I didn't write it. It sums up my feline fear, basically, how it works.
Yes, it says the feline is bold, cocky, confident in her own territory. That *is* the case. I *am* bolder and more confident in my territory. That doesn't mean I'm not bold and confident outside of it as well. Well, I should rephrase that: It doesn't mean I don't *act* bolder and more confident outside of my territory as well. For an animal to be bold is for said animal to get itself killed. No animal is bold all the time, and many aren't even bold *often*. Survival is a good thing, wariness lends protection. But displaying fear is also a way to get yourself killed, it displays one easily defeated, easily taken down. So I settle for a front, a display of bold (Ok, this word's getting overused) confident fearlessness, and most times human socializing amiable extrovertedness. Granted, its not anything set in stone. Its based on comfort level, the people I'm with, the specific situation, how comfortable I am and how I act.
Discomfort is difficult to hide, difficult to put up a front for. Discomfort means that I feel the feline fear and shyness, and I feel it intensely. It also means that I feel the equine fear lots as well. If I've enough space, I shift to horse. I don't-can't do it much at all yet, and my practicing at that is saved for nights alone-but when I've got the same emotions flowing to me from each of my animals, my shifting's determined by the space available to me. If I've larger amounts of space, I shift horse, all skittery, nervous, rearing-shying, fighting the flee instinct, head high and tossing, eyes wide showing their whites. If I've not enough space and am closed in too much-whether that mean one or twenty people in the room with me, I shift cat. When I am fearful-shy and cat, I react like one cornered: I bristle, head down, shoulderblades out, tail thrashing, feeling my fangs and claws, on the wary defense and preparing for a fight should it be necessary. I rarely sit, am rarely still, am usually pacing and moving, part of the discomfort. *heh* And if I manage to keep enough human, my animality is restricted to claws, fangs, eyes, and facial expression. Discomfort to that degree enhances itself. The inability to hide the fear makes the animal more fearful. And so I shift more, know I’m being more and more obvious, and as such get more fearful, make it harder for myself to hide. Its a lovely cycle. I'm usually quite obvious when I'm uncomfortable to this point. The cat and horse both are *scared*, and one knows it.
When I'm comfortable enough, I'm still wary, still defensive, still on my guard, still in fear but mostly catlike as I described above, not very horselike. The difference is that it is mentality, and while its there, I'm able to *keep* it in mentality, hide the waves and stop the projecting and shifting behind a wall of boldness, of socialization, of friendly chatting, of relaxed, unstiff, casual body movements or lounging. Everything that could be a weakness, that could lend me the disadvantage, is hidden behind a friendly amiable human mask. I chat, ramble, gossip, and socialize. At the same time I'm on my guard, careful to-despite my chattiness-say nothing more than surfacestuffs about myself, expanding my senses to know how many people are around me and where, and whether or not I know them. If animality is seen in me at this point, its usually in my eyes and facial expression, sometimes my hands. These have the tendency to be situations with people I know on some level and have been around before, situations I've been in before, or unfamiliar uncomfortable situations that I've grown to a degree of ease with.
I do not tend to be comfortable, to loosen up and have the cat's boldness, the cat's playfulness, be genuine and not an act, unless I am either in my own territory (and my family absent or in a completely different part of the house), or unless I am around my trusted people. Then are the times that I am sometimes kittenlike, then are the times when I play with people, poking at them or taunting or teasing, because, well, humans are toys. Unless I am around people I trust enough and in a situation I feel safe enough in, I'm not at ease, not unwary, not unafraid, not entirely smileygigglygoofy. I am sometimes kitten-like, I'm sometimes a lazy languid wildcat, lounging/sitting, watching, unhurredly contributing to the conversation. Sometimes I'm a mix of the two, a wildcat, curious, playful, grinning-hunty-prowly-like. It depends.
So in a sense, what I say is true, I suppose...I get my boldness from my felinity. It’s just a little more detailed and convoluted than that.