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Feb 23rd, 2020
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  1. This is going to be a long post, with a major content warning for abuse and trauma from around 10 years ago, but I need to get it off my chest. With a happy ending. "On Furry Cons."
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  9. Most of you here know that I am a furry. I don't have a fursuit (animal costume) but I've been an active participant as an artist, fan, and community member, of the furry fandom, since I was 14 years old. At 31 years old now as of October, that's 17 years, for you non Mathletes.
  10.  
  11. That makes half of my life a furry.
  12.  
  13. It seems silly, and by and large, and my involvement isn't the most dominating part of my life anymore. Transness, queerness, DND, pet ownership, being a budding professional D&I practitioner, there are so many other facets of my personality and life now beyond "i have a representative character for myself that is a grey and black dragon creature". But furry was a significant definer of my identity for many, many years, and during very formative times. When I found out about furry, I was exiting a harsh period of my life where being bullied by my peers was the norm. I was morbidly depressed, had no hope or real vision for my future, and I felt very very alone. I had a few friends but I always felt somehow on the outside. Not seen. Not understood or welcomed.
  14. The furry fandom was a group of other people like me, who didn't really fit in, and I clung to it. It's so much more than a group of people who like cartoon animals or costuming. Because of furry, I practiced drawing every day. I wanted to impress my new friends, and I could draw: In furry, being able to draw is equatable to celebrity statis. The whole idea of furry is typically that you have an animal character you relate to, that defines parts of yourself that you can't express right now. How can you formulate this expression?
  15. Through art.
  16. I was 19 years old when I met Tim. He went by a different name when I met him: A name that is so ridiculously germanic and unbelievable that I am sick to even type it for how foolishly I fell for it. Needless to say, he was lying to me about his name. More than that, he was lying to everyone we knew about his name. "We" being the chat group of people I talked to every day after school. I had just graduated high school and was in between life choices. I was working a dead end retail job, and deeply invested in furry and my art. Tim was someone I knew from my chat group online, for the past few years. I knew he lived relatively local (at the time I lived on Long Island, and he lived in southern Connecticut). One day, he told me his work was sending him to long island, and he'd like to meet up.
  17. Lie number two.
  18. He had concocted that lie to see me. Unsurprisingly: I was significantly younger than him, impressionable, bubbly, eager to please. We fell into an intense and exciting relationship that I very much wanted: a smart, witty older man in the Coast Guard was paying more attention to me than anyone else I'd ever met. Former boyfriends had been fine, I had just gotten through a string of slightly disinterested, stil-hung-up-on-their-exes boys I dated that left me confused and angry. My smoldering ashes of a sens of self esteem had rekindled and burned for this man who spoke German. He was /adopted/. He was cool.
  19. Lies.
  20. It's sickening to type it here. I can't believe I fell for it. But, dear reader, so did some others. He was always kind of 'that weird guy' in the chat group that people didn't quite Get, and some had their suspicions that he was lying about his whole shtick, but nobody wanted to say so. How could, WOULD anyone keep it up for that long? To their partner? To everyone they met in real life? He held a fake accent. Ocassionally it would slip, and I would question it. Sometimes I'd ask him to speak in German for me--It would upset him. He claimed he was bullied as a kid and it troubled him to talk in German, it made him feel bad. I cooed and acquiesed--I was the good partner. I would never hurt him.
  21. -
  22. Our relationship grew rocky for various reasons related to our gap in maturity, and also from various white lies he told me. At one point he ended up visiting a friend who was a girl, and he didn't tell me. I found out from a friend. I broke up with him on the spot.
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  24. A friend in our chat group grew weary of his bullshit, and paid good money to pull a background report on him.
  25. Not adopted.
  26. Not from germany.
  27. From Lowell, Massachusetts.
  28. And four years younger than he said.
  29. In the coast guard, yes.
  30. Chief petty officer, no.
  31. More like a janitor, really.
  32. It came out in our chat group. He was mocked beyond absolute restraint and pulled naked through town.
  33. After some time, he called me. His accent was gone, his voice was low. He told me he was fucked up and he wanted to kill himself.
  34. That was the first of many times he told me that. My memory of the next few months, years, grows fuzzy here, because this is the time period in which he called me at odd hours, begging for redemption. He didn't even want me 'back'. I was the angelic light of kindness and love that he clung to, and he wanted my forgiveness. I refused, and he clung harder. He called and called and called. Left voicemails of maniacal screaming and laughing. Left voicemails describing the feeling of blades on his wrists. Sent vague e-mails talking to me like nothing was wrong. Left voicemails saying he was outside my house. Saying I looked beautiful today. Saying disgusting things I won't write here. I called the police on him once in fear he would kill himself, and I sent them to his parents house. Voicemails of begging and sobbing turned to a voicemail of a low, chilled demand to never pull a stunt like that again, that I ruined everything for him, that this was all my fault.
  35. This was in 2009.
  36. I was very afraid.
  37. I tried dating again. He found out who. He contacted my boyfriend, he stayed in touch with my friends. I don't know if I ever fully articulated to them what he had done to me. I was never clear. I said he hurt me, he was bad. I think they wrote it off as my typical drama.
  38. I went to college. It persisted.
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  40. -
  41. Finally, the police were involved.
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  43. -
  44. He stopped trying to talk to me.
  45. Years passed.
  46. In 2016, he tried to message me on social media. I deleted the message. It was a general apology, hope you're well, etc. Said he was better. In Boston now.
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  51. I avoided Boston for a long time. Friends moved there--My best friend Alex Truglio, and Ryan Mason. I desperately wanted to visit, and I did indeed overcome my trauma. But everywere I went, I was hypervigilent. I sat with my back to corners. I looked out windows. It had been so many years. Why was I still so afraid?
  52. -
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  54. This weekend, I went to boston for a furry con. Tim and I's relationship was permated with the Massachusetts furry scene, and I had avoided it with dread and anxiety for so goddamned long.
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  57. I went to the con, I checked my bags in, sat down on the bed in my friends' hotel room, and checked my phone.
  58. Alex texted me.
  59. He saw Tim.
  60. Tim came up to him. Asked how he was. Said it had been a long time. Acted normal, said he was in Cambridge now, life was good; Implied he had a girlfriend. Made small talk. Asked about the programming, then disengaged.
  61. Alex texted me immediately.
  62. I dissociated magnificently. My voice was calm at my roommates as I relayed the situation. They watched me with concerned, large eyes, and we were all unsure what to do. I said in a chipper voice, "I might just go home!"
  63. I wanted to see Ryan, though. It had been a while. My friend Clover remembered that he had a fabric, medical face-mask with a print of a deer on it, and loaned it to me. With my hat and mask, very little of my face was revealed, and at a costume-heavy convention, I fit right in.
  64. My friends were notified, and they swarmed me. Nobody let me go anywhere alone. My small, tight little group that I'd grown so far apart from, coalesced and surrounded me.
  65. -
  66. -
  67. I never saw him.
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  70. Maybe he saw me; Maybe we crossed paths. Maybe things are better for him now. Maybe he does have a girlfriend. Maybe he got the help he needed.
  71. -
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  73. I realized today that if he was out to get me, if he wanted to kill me, as my persisting dreams demanded of me for so many years, if he really had a grudge against me and my part in his undoing and psychiatric breakdown, he had every access to me.
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  76. But I never saw him.
  77. -
  78. I think he must have gotten the help he needed, and maybe he isn't out to get me. I hope to never see him again as long as I live, but this weekend, community reminded me that Boston is a big city.
  79. And I have a right to it.
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