The time has come for me to say goodbye to the furry fandom, a personal decision that has been a long time coming. I feel these past several years have been equivalent to trying to save a failing relationship and it’s been an uphill battle for me to justify the taxing emotional investment. I will do my best to keep this post short but as these things tend to go I know I will probably leave many questions unanswered.
I joined this community at the end of 2007 as a misguided, ill-informed, and sexually confused outcast. At the age of 19 and fresh out of remediation counseling I was the textbook definition of the perfect mark. I needed a place where I felt like I belonged and here was a community welcoming me with open arms eager to tell me my strange feelings toward dinosaurs were completely normal. I immediately made some very poor choices regarding the company I kept, the things I believed, and the situations I allowed myself to get caught up in. My actions from these first few years do not represent who I am, nor are they what I wish to be remembered for. Throughout the years that followed I grew as a person and the man I am today is not the wayward boy I was over a decade ago. This has been a very difficult life lesson for me to demonstrate and I’ve realized the best way for me to do so is to find peace and move on.
I will always cherish the genuine moments I had with people from this fandom. Many of you brought me up during periods where I felt I was at the end of everything. I hold no grudges, but I do have regrets. I am thankful that in 2011 those who truly cared about my well being stepped up to intervene. With the help of close friends and therapists I came to realize the hole I was digging myself into; I understand now that a community so heavily sexualized was the last possible place I should have been when I was at my most emotionally susceptible, impressionable, and vulnerable. In the years that followed I made an effort to present myself as a better person and role model, but in the end I feel this departure is the best decision.
I look back at my early time and work within the fandom with immense shame. The anxiety associated with these feelings continue to haunt me to this day. I did not understand the gravity of things like the labels I identified with and the search terms/tags I used to describe my early works. Writing those few stories was a mistake. Involving myself with Herpy was a mistake. Listening to the opinions of people who were okay with these things and allowing them to encourage me further was a mistake. I have understood this for a very long time; I do not stand by or for any of these things and I haven’t for just shy of a decade. Unhooking myself from this initial mindset has taken years of work and remains an ongoing process. Over the course of the past decade I’ve been diagnosed with (and am receiving treatment for) a number of emotional and psychological disorders; I bring this up not in an effort to handwave matters away but to help illustrate a better frame of reference for the extent of how dire a situation I’ve worked through.
In short, I became entrenched in a bad community and got in way over my head; I was collectively groomed and taken advantage of and I allowed myself to be strung along because I just didn’t want to be alone. I was too afraid to talk about my situation, especially to a psychiatrist, out of fears of ostracization and even the involvement of law enforcement. (As absurd as it sounds I was scared that writing erotic stories about humans and dinosaurs was somehow illegal.) Within the furry fandom I didn’t have the courage to say “no”, there were (and still are) people whom I was terrified of angering and I allowed these fears to influence my choices. The feedback loop of misplaced encouragement hooked me hard and gestures such as being invited out to conventions due to my perceived popularity only served to bury me deeper and prevent me from seeing the bad track I was on. The identity I had built for myself was a farce. I wanted to “fit in” and I stupidly fell for the platitudes I was being fed using the reasoning “these people are my friends”. Obviously, they weren’t and I made an ass of myself. I am not trying to slander the entire fandom, there are actually many upstanding people to be found there, I simply had the misfortune of crossing paths with a shadier sub-community and believing the things they had to say.
“I’m sorry” doesn’t even begin to tackle the tip of the iceberg regarding how I feel but it’s a good place to start. I truly am sorry; I may have been a bad influence for Lord knows how many people because others were a bad influence on me. I was a useful idiot at best and a patsy at worst.
Our journeys deviate here. It has taken me many false starts and years of encouragement from friends and family to reach this point but I am finally ready to reclaim my life and continue from where I derailed in 2007. Before I lost sight of myself I was an entertainer. I performed on stage. I sang. I danced. I am ready to take these things back as the hobbies that truly defined me as who I am. This mess that I got sucked into, the mess responsible for the letter you are reading right now, isn’t me. It never was. “Dracokon” is the biggest screw-up I’ve made in my 30 years of life and everything that name represents to me is dead. The remnants of this era are a mark I will wear for the rest of my life and the emotional trauma that it has caused me is immeasurable. I do not have any interest in participating in furry fandom matters anymore and I do not wish to be roped back into them. I want to be left alone. My only request is that you respect this decision.
Please allow me to have the life I very nearly lost.